Title: Knowing Her
Author: Emcee Frodis
Pairing: Unrequited!Neville/Lavender, Lavender/Ron
Rating: K
Summary: Neville wondered how much Ron knew- how much he cared- about Lavender.
Author's Notes: One of the few times I'll ACTUALLY write a HBP-compliant story. Dedicated to ragdoll, 'cause she's awesome and should have lots of things dedicated to her, even if they are wretchedly depressing like this fic.

Neville had gotten used to secretly being jealous of Harry. He had not gotten used to being jealous of Ron. There had been fleeting moments... Neville was used to that. There wasn't a boy at school who wasn't better than him and he felt it. But the ongoing envious sensation was reserved for the boy who lived.

Until now.

Neville wondered how much Ron knew, how much he cared, about her.

Lavender wore glasses. She didn't want anyone else to know, because she thought they made her look geeky. She put them on when she thought no one else was looking.

She looked beautiful in her glasses, just like she did at every other time in her life. She looked especially beautiful in her glasses, because she was most beautiful when she thought no one was looking.

Lavender had great taste. He had seen the necklace she had given Ron- Neville was fairly certain it could be seen from space- but he suspected it was her way of branding Ron, trying to ward off Hermione. Maybe it was a test of loyalty. If he loved her, he'd wear a hideous chain. Neville couldn't help but think how different it was from the delicate gold chain Lavender wore around her slender neck, with the small pearl that rested just above her neckline.

Lavender was of noble blood. He could tell by the way she walked, the way she carried herself. Her smile was aristocratic. He had told her this once and she laughed, saying she was Daddy's little princess.

After a DA meeting, there had been talk about families- about the idea of pureblood and You-Know-Who's beliefs. Lavender had said her family had originated from one of the older pureblood houses, a branch long-since pruned after their love of Muggles was discovered. Since her great-great grandmother, each resulting generation had married a Muggle. Neville hoped Lavender would break the pattern and fall in love with a pureblood. Neville should have been more specific.

Lavender liked Trelawney because Trelawney liked her. Lavender thought she was kind of lousy in school, but she actually did well in Divinations. She called herself a bubblehead and just barely made it through her OWLs. She made remarks about Hermione, but when Hermione was out of earshot she would quietly say that maybe she was pretty now, but Hermione would be smart forever. She wanted to be smart, but she just wasn't. Trelawney made her feel smart.

Lavender liked to sew. She was very good at it too. She was also very generous with her gift. Neville often tore his robes or singed them during potions. Lavender was sweet, always offering to mend them for him. She never sighed or complained about the destruction of his clothes. She took to the task and made them like new... Better than new, because Lavender had put her own special touch on them.

Lavender wanted to be a fashion designer. She wanted to make the world more beautiful, to help modernize the Wizarding World with the innovations of the Muggle. She would curl up in front of the fire when she thought everyone else was asleep, glasses slipping down the bridge of her nose and sketchbook in hand. She made her own dress for the Yule Ball. Her father was right- she was a princess. Neville had desperately wanted to be her prince.

Lavender was Neville's friend. Of everything about her, this was probably the least known. It wasn't that she was ashamed of him. She told him how much she liked him. How kind he was and he just needed some confidence. It was Neville who didn't want anyone to know. They would laugh at him, tell him he shouldn't be around someone as pretty as Lavender. As long as he kept it a secret, it was safe. No one could destroy it.

Lavender was beautiful. This was probably the only thing Ron knew about her. But what he didn't know was she was beautiful inside and out. Yes, she acted like a silly girl sometimes... But there was so much more to her. Lavender had to be caught off guard, when she thought no one was looking.

Except Neville. Neville looked. But he supposed he was no one. At least to her. She would never notice, never care. Not like she did Ron.

Lavender was the love of Neville's life. And it killed him, because he wasn't hers.