A/N: Written for the Five Kisses Challenge, where we write about the five most important kisses in a character's life. Mine character is Lavender Brown. I quite enjoyed writing this piece, especially since I've never written Lavender before. I hope you enjoy! All comments are appreciated!
There is a picture hanging on a wall in her older sister's house. The frame is plain and wooden and worn. The glass has a few scratches here and there. The photo inside is almost fifty years old.
On the back, their mother's neat cursive declares: Jasmine and Lavender, 17 May 1980
She couldn't remember the moment it was taken, obviously. Her sister did though. Her sister treasured that photo, that image that signified the beginning of one of the most precious friendships of her life.
Despite the seven year age difference, the two had always been extremely close. When Lavender was older, Jasmine was her confidant, her advisor, her steady companion. Her older sister was there when she had crushes on boys who didn't know she existed, when all the other girls looked prettier than her, when she wanted to cry because she didn't understand her classes. Even when Lavender's best friend forever got mad at her and wouldn't talk to her for a week, Jasmine was there.
When they were younger, Jasmine had taught Lavender how to play all the fun games. They could spend hours and hours together, just the two of them and a dollhouse or deck of cards or board game. They used to run around the yard and collect flowers, threading them together to create magical fairy princess crowns, with mommy as the fairy queen.
And when Jasmine was seven and Lavender was just a baby, she always wanted to hold her, feed her, and read her bedtime stories.
Yes, they had always been close, starting from that very first day when Lavender was born into the world. Even when their daddy told Jasmine to look at the camera so he could take a picture of her holding her new baby sister, the seven year old leaned down and kissed her on the forehead instead.
Her best friend in the whole entire whole has a scrapbook filled with pictures. Actually, she has multiple scrapbooks filled with pictures, but she has this one in particular that only contains pictures of the two of them. It's decorated accordingly, with a pale rose cover and white letters that spell out: Parvati and Lavender, Best Friends Until Forever
Since the two girls didn't meet until their first year at Hogwarts, most of them are in the castle or on the school grounds. There are a few from the times the girls would visit each other's houses during breaks, but not many.
Hogwarts had been their home away from home, with their family outside of their family. Parvati and Lavender had been as close as two friends could be, despite their occasional arguments and disagreements. And, being the girl she was, Parvati liked to document big events in their lives.
On the very first page of the book, there's the first photo they took together: the two of them squished next to each other in a compartment on the Hogwarts Express. Parvati had actually taken that one, though most of the later photos from their second year onward had been taken by Colin Creevey, including one of the two of them with Professor Lockhart and another with Professor Trelawney.
In truth, though, not every photo contained both of them together. Some contained just Parvati, or just Lavender, or one of them with a group of other students. In fact, one of the pictures Lavender loved the most out of all the memories in that scrapbook didn't include her best friend.
She had been there, all right; just not in that specific picture. Everyone had been there.
It was during their fourth year, one of the most exciting years out of their seven in Hogwarts, though none of the seven could really be called boring. But the Triwizard Tournament had already begun, with a fellow Gryffindor faring well in the standings. Of course, it hadn't be a complete surprise to the two girls when Harry Potter was chosen as Champion; somehow, that boy always seemed to get mixed up in things.
And lucky for them that Harry was chosen as Champion, because that meant Parvati got to open to Yule Ball. Preparing for the night had taken hours, but they were hours well spent. Laughs and giggles filled the air as the two created memories before the dancing and celebrations even began. Parvati had worried about her dancing, so the two had practiced in their bed clothes, hair in curlers and make-up half done. It was because of times like those that they were such good friends.
Lavender had been worried, too, but not because everyone would be watching her dance as she opened the ball. No, Lavender had been worried about appearing foolish in front of Seamus. Although she giggled and blushed when he had so casually asked her to the Yule Ball, she actually felt a bit shy and very nervous. For a few months by then, a slight crush on the boy had developed slowly within her. She doubted he even noticed, and had to remind herself that he didn't ask her to the Yule Ball because he was romantically interested in her.
Still, it was with great care that she twirled up her hair and applied her make-up. When she donned her dress robes, she stressed about whether they fit her well enough or if they happened to be a color he hated with a passion. Parvati was the one to calm her down and talk her into going down into the Common Room to wait for their dates.
Lavender had been a complete mess inside, but somehow she managed to descend the staircase without tripping over her own feet. Fortunately, they only had to wait for a couple of minutes before the boys started coming down. The fifth and sixth years came first, followed by a few of the seventh year boys, but then, finally, the boys their year came bumbling down into the Common Room.
While still across the room from each other, Lavender caught Seamus's gaze, blushing lightly and bowing her head towards her chest ever so slightly as his eyes widened momentarily at the sight of her. A touch of red filled his own cheeks as he approached.
And that next moment there, right after he murmured that she looked wonderful and she softly thanked him, was when some girl Lavender didn't even know had taken the photo.
It was perfect timing. Repeated a million times over in the picture, Seamus gently took hold of her left hand, never letting his gaze break from her own as he slowly brought her hand to his lips and pressed a kiss in between her fingers.
For the first time in her life, Lavender had felt truly beautiful.
On her mother's fireplace, there is another photo. This one has the most beautiful, elaborate, silver frame, designed with twisting vines and leaves. It's much bigger than the others, with faces large enough that one can stare into the eyes of the people clustered inside its frame and almost detect the emotions within.
And the emotions that day had been very close to the surface.
Almost every day, her mother passes by that picture and pauses, gently running the tips of her fingers over one of the two male figures, the older one, with slightly graying hair and eyes that twinkled like starlight. He had been, after all, the love of her mother's life. Until the very end, Lavender's parents had been very much in love.
It had been the summer after her fifth year at Hogwarts. The world was in turmoil, with the break out of the Second Wizarding War with Voldemort affecting wizards and Muggles alike. The war hadn't been what tortured her family that summer though. No, that had been something much more mundane: illness.
Her father was dying. Lavender didn't remember the name of the disease the Healers said he had. Even two seconds after she and her sister had been told, she couldn't repeat it correctly. Instead, she had turned to her older sister and cried, their arms somehow finding their way around each other. When their mother walked into the room, already having heard the news a few hours previously, they immediately went to her, folding around her as all three women offered and sought comfort.
They parted only when Jasmine's Peter had arrived with baby Karen. The small family hugged and spoke quietly as Lavender asked her mother about her father's condition. It wasn't looking good.
A short while later, they got to visit him. For the next two months, most of the family's time was spent in that hospital room. Laughter and tears spilled equally in that room; many hours were spent talking, sleeping, or sitting in a comfortable silence together.
When the time came and her father only had a few days left, he gathered everyone around him. He spoke collectively to his family, then addressed his wife, each of his daughters, and his son-in-law individually. That was when the Healer walked in and offered to take their picture. Immediately, her father agreed for them.
So they closed in around his bed, sitting on the edges of the mattress and hugging the patriarch of their small family. It was now her mother's favorite picture in the whole entire world. Within the photo, the image of Lavender's father echoed his actions right after the Healer had finished.
One by one, he leaned towards each of his family members, and one by one, he kissed them lovingly on the cheek for the last time.
Beneath the pillow of the love of her life, there is a single sheet. The edges are tattered. The image is slightly blurred. It had been taken by an amateur trying to fill his more experienced, older brother's shoes.
The Battle of Hogwarts had taken place fifteen days ago. On that day, Parvati and Dean and Seamus came to visit her and attempt to celebrate her eighteen birthday. Even though her injuries were extremely severe, she hadn't been one of the many victims transferred to St. Mungo's. Madam Pomfrey told her that it was because the hospital was still recovering from the attack and didn't have enough room for everyone, but Lavender had overheard them talking. She knew that she wasn't stable enough to move.
But on that day, Parvati, Dean, and Seamus were determined to make her forget about the never-ending pain and agony. They sang her the birthday song and even brought her a cake – albeit a small one, but it was her favorite flavor and tasted absolutely divine; nothing like the numerous potions Pomfrey was having her take every day, multiple times a day.
After cake, they brought out presents, completely taking Lavender by utter surprise. She had even started crying, she was so touched. Parvati presented the most marvelous scrapbook, with just pictures of their friendship, with a pink cover and everything. Proudly, her best friend reported that she'd been working on it for many years, hoping to give it to her at graduation. That had brought a bout of laughter, because they all knew that nobody would be graduating from Hogwarts that year. But fortunately, awkwardness seemed banned from the room that day, because they easily transitioned back to happier thoughts when Dean pulled out a collection of sweets from Honeydukes. Grinning and thanking him loudly, the four enjoyed entirely too much sugar while laughing and chatting and giggling the night away.
Hours later, Parvati had been the one to point out that Seamus hadn't given the birthday girl her present yet. At that moment, right after the words escaped her best friend's mouth, Seamus looked at her and his eyes turned serious. He fidgeted a bit, biting his lip in that way that made her smile, and peered shyly at her as he slowly dropped one knee to the ground.
Over the eight previous months, Seamus had become the man in her life that fourteen year old Lavender had once dreamed he would be. They had started officially dating shortly after Halloween, and it was nothing like her prior relationship with Ron. There was something deeper, something more to what she had with Seamus. Sometimes he would kiss her, and she would wonder if anybody in the history of the world had ever been kissed like he was kissing her right then. It felt so right, so wonderful, so loving, that she would forget about the war raging both outside and inside the castle walls.
By the final battle, Lavender knew that she loved Seamus. And not like she had thought that she had loved Ron. No, this was a different type of emotion all together. She hadn't told him though, until the night of the battle. It had been right then, when faced with death, that she gathered all the Gryffindor courage within her and ran to him, snogging him senseless as she repeated over and over again that she loved him and had for the longest time. Although a bit surprised, he grinned that ridiculously happy grin of his and confided in her that he felt exactly the same way.
Then they had parted, separated in the chaos of the fighting. He hadn't been there when she was fighting Greyback, and she didn't blame him, though that didn't stop him from constantly blaming himself. Even then, as he enclosed her hand in his, she saw the way his eyes took in her injuries and filled with sorrow.
But a split second later, almost as if he had commanded himself to set aside that thought, he pulled a small, sparkling ring from his pocket and smiled.
Before he could even ask the question, she announced her acceptance and yanked his hand towards her, wrapping her arms around his neck to keep him close as her lips captured his.
Lavender couldn't have described anything else going on in the room at that moment, so she didn't realize that Parvati was crying and smiling, Dean was shocked but grinning, and that young Dennis Creevey had snapped a picture, forever documenting the moment. All she knew was that she was the happiest person on the planet, fatal war injuries and all.
The wedding took place two months later. Her injuries were so extensive and severe that she still couldn't walk, but Dean had suggested a Muggle wheelchair, and it had worked just perfectly. During their short marriage, Lavender sometimes felt guilty for restricting Seamus's life, for being such a burden, but he never let her think those thoughts for more than a fleeting second. He was always there, always smiling, and always loving her.
When she died, almost two full years after the Battle of Hogwarts, she left behind a grieving husband and clueless two month old daughter. But she didn't remain clueless. As she grew, her daddy told her countless stories about her mommy and how beautiful, kind, and brave she was.
Some nights though, Seamus would fall still fall asleep clutching that old photo under his pillow that he loved so much.
Yesterday, Isabella Finnegan was married. At the wedding reception, they had a special display for her mother. On a soft pink background, her mother's best friend had arranged a number of items. There was a pretty white ribbon that Isabella had worn in her small tufts of hair when she was first born. There was a letter that her mother had written for her just for this day that still brought tears to her father's and her own eyes whenever they read it.
And there were pictures. Dozens of moving pictures of her and her mother and her father, laughing, smiling, and playing.
But Isabella's favorite was a photo that was taken the day she was born. Her mother is lying down in a hospital bed, her father seated next to her with his arm around her waist. And she, all five pounds, seven ounces of her, is cradled in her mother's arms, contently asleep as the beautiful but frail Lavender Finnegan leans down to kiss her baby girl on the forehead.