The Sky's the Limit

A HariPo oneshot

by mew-tsubaki

Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not me. This pairing was discovered by my twin, Morghen, so please give her a little mention if you write them! Thanks! It is one of many of Mew and Mor's Weird Pairings, most of which you may find in the M&MWP forum. Check out and join the forum FUN! Read, review, and enjoy!

- ^-^3

"Well, I'll be… I think that's Hermione and Ron's daughter."

Lavender Brown turned her head and followed her best friend, Parvati Patil-Smith's, gaze in the shop. Her eyes landed on a redheaded witch with few defining features. Lavender frowned. "Are you sure?"

"Yeah, I think so." Parvati switched her bag from left shoulder to right. "But I wonder what she's doing here?"

Lavender wondered the same thing. She had convinced Parvati to join her in Quality Quidditch Supplies. They'd gotten in a new shipment of jerseys for England's national team, and Lavender wanted one for each player. After all, she still liked her Quidditch players. Lavender turned back to her shopping trip, though. "Well, whatever. She can do as she pleases. She looks grown."

Parvati counted off on her fingers and muttered something under her breath. "You know, I think she's eighteen or nineteen now."

"And how would you know?"

Parvati gave her a look. "Zach and I might not have kids, but Hannah does. Her and Neville's son, Frankie. He's in his fourth or fifth year, I think. He's a few years younger than…ah, Rose! That's her name. Can't believe I forgot it."

Lavender snickered and shook her head. "I think it's easy to forget about their names. All you have to do is see the red hair and at least know it's a Weasley. But there are too many of them to count, these days." She knew Parvati was giving her a confused look, because Lavender would've done the same. Her tone had come out a little harsher than she had intended. But she brushed it off and willed herself not to care. She'd had her fill of Weasleys. Now she wanted her fill of Quidditch players. "Excuse me," she said, catching the cashier's attention so that she could pay.

- ^-^3

It wasn't even two weeks later when Lavender dragged Parvati back to Quality Quidditch Supplies. They were back for jerseys again—the same ones Lavender recently had bought.

"You've got to get Seamus to bring you here, not me," the Indian woman whined as Lavender sifted through the shirts.

Lavender growled. "Yeah? Then what, 'Vati? He can blow up this place, too?" The cashier watched them with wary eyes, and Lavender made a rude gesture to him. Parvati apologized.

"He didn't mean to torch three of your collectibles," Parvati stated, trying to speak softly to soothe her best friend's quick temper.

"Yeah, well, he still did it, didn't he? So it doesn't matter why he did it."

"Lavender Brown!" Parvati had had it and settled her with a furious look. Lavender had no choice but to face her. "Did you just hear yourself? You know Seamus has always been a little accident-prone—"

"A little?" Lavender mumbled.

Parvati narrowed her eyes at her. "Yes, a little. But you know just as well as the next witch or wizard that emotions can screw around with our magic. And you know as well as I do what he's been through with Dean. They've never been on the outs like this before."

The blonde witch sighed, showing that she acknowledged Parvati's argument. She had known that Seamus and Dean weren't bosom buddies at the moment. And she had invited Seamus to join her at a Quidditch game—for the Appleby Arrows. But she had not expected that, at her flat before they headed out to the game, one vague comment about Dean would've sent Seamus to shambles. Apparently it was really bad to mention his lover's name while they were going through yet another one of their break-ups.

"They'll be back together soon enough," Parvati finished. "You know they can never stay apart."

Lavender smirked. "Aren't you glad that we can never stay apart but not in their sense?"

Parvati rolled her eyes, ignoring a certain memory. Instead, she gestured to her dress. "Now, Lav, can I please go home? You said it was an emergency, so I told Zacharias that I'd be right back. And I'd like to go back, too, and have a nice, romantic dinner with my husband."

The other witch sighed and shrugged. "Yeah, yeah… Go have a nice romp for me, will you?"

Parvati darkened to Gryffindor maroon. "Lavender!"

Lavender laughed, but she saw Parvati roll her eyes and leave anyway. Hey, she couldn't let Parvati have the upper hand all the time.

Eventually Lavender returned her energy to finding the three jerseys she needed. Up at the register, she sensed someone behind her in line. When the cashier gave Lavender her change, she stepped to the side and took her time putting the money away in her wallet. It gave her the chance to scan the person from the side.

It was Weasley. Rose Weasley. With her red hair that Lavender now realized had more of a cherry red sheen to it than most of the other Weasleys and lack of freckles, Lavender actually was a bit stunned that Rose was a Weasley. Surely it couldn't have been Hermione's genes…but Lavender begrudgingly agreed that it had to have been. In many ways, Lavender thought Rose looked like Ron, but without all those markers that…well, that would've branded her a Weasley.

Then Rose looked at her and Lavender saw brown eyes, not blue.

No, no, she wasn't a thing like Ron, not at all.

"Excuse me," Rose said, pushing a lock of hair behind her ear. She was blushing, which was cute on her since she had no freckles that would stand out, and the red color of her cheeks wouldn't clash with the red color of her hair.

Then Lavender blinked, when she realized Rose was waiting for her to say something. "Sorry?"

"Excuse me, but do you have two Sickles? I'm a bit short."

Well. Ron's bluntness with Hermione's manners. If Lavender wasn't so ready to gawk at the combination, she would've laughed. "I—"

Rose rushed ahead of her. "I can pay you back, no worries. I'll have enough next week. It's just that I came up short today… I can leave it with the cashier to give you, if that's all right?" she continued, looking at the man who nodded. She turned back to Lavender.

Lavender closed what she now knew to be a gaping mouth. Her hand moved on its own to drop two Sickles on the counter. And her brain worked for her when the words "Keep it" tumbled from her mouth. Lavender turned and left the store, her cheeks warm. She chocked up her kind action to a kind of programmed reaction she'd gained after surviving Greyback's attack years ago. Or maybe it was because she was trying to make up for worsening Seamus' heartache earlier.

Or maybe it's just indigestion, she told herself as she walked up Diagon Alley to head for Florean's.

- ^-^3

When Lavender looked out her window one morning, she was reminded of a little rhyme her mother had taught her. It was from a few hundred years ago when Britain was stumbling around, losing power as those dastardly colonies became America. "April showers bring Mayflowers," her mother had said.

Merlin knew it had been raining enough lately. Lavender had forgone about half as many Quidditch matches as usual because of it. It was so annoying to try and focus on a good game when she was determined to look decent in spite of the weather. Even though Greyback had hurt her—and her neck ached at the memory of him—he had not made her think that her outside was worthless. Sure, she'd come to think that the inside meant a lot more, but there was nothing wrong with wanting to be pretty. Er, stay pretty.

And her mind thought of pretty things until her eyes landed on a flower near the entrance to her apartment building. And it had not been there before.

The delicious grogginess of morning vanished from Lavender as she nervously ran a hand through her hair and heard what she had hoped she wouldn't: footsteps. They drew near her front door and Lavender held her breath and squeezed her eyes shut, telling herself that they'd move on, they'd move past her place.

They didn't.

So when the knock came, Lavender froze. She didn't know what to do. Would Parvati know what to do? Oh, hell, Parvati wouldn't know what to do either, plus she'd be peeved with Lavender if she happened to be interrupted. Just because it was the morning didn't mean that Parvati and Zacharias were sleeping.

There was another knock after a while, and Lavender thought of a brilliant plan: She would hide! Yes, she could hide. The question was where. Her bedroom was on the other side of her flat, so it was not worth reaching if she made noise. The same reason threw the kitchen area out, too. Lavender looked around her. There was a big chair, the sofa, her stand with her nice wireless on it… She twisted and looked out the window. Since she was between the chair and the window and she might been seen out the window, Lavender decided to crouch.

The person had decided to walk away right as Lavender crouched…and a floorboard gave her away. Lavender rolled her eyes and internally cursed. She would have sucked as an Auror for her failure to plan ahead. And she had sucked as a Gryffindor, to hide now instead of answering the door. To be taken out of the fight early on, Lavender thought as she stood and heard another knock, scenes of Greyback over her flashing in her mind's eye as she walked to the door.

She gripped the handle, banished the thoughts of the werewolf from her mind, and opened the door.

"Oh, hello," Rose said. She chuckled and pointed. "You, uh, forgot to take the chain off."

Lavender stared at her for a second. Really, the girl was baffling. But the older woman closed the door anyway, undid the chain, and let her inside. "Can I help you?"

Rose, who had been admiring her home, turned and faced her. "It's been almost three weeks. I left the money with the cashier, but he said he hadn't seen you in a while."

"And he just gave you my address?"

"Oh, he knows me, ma'am." Lavender's eyes twitched at being called "ma'am." "And he knows you, too. Said you've been a loyal customer for a long time. Besides, I knew it would be fine once he gave me your name."

"Oh?" Lavender said through gritted teeth.

Rose paused. "You are Lavender Brown, right?"

Lavender sighed. "Yes, I'm Lavender Brown."

Rose's face lit up. "Great! I'm Rose Weasley. You knew my parents, Ron and Hermione."

"Don't remind me."

"Uh…" Apparently Rose wasn't used to that reaction when people heard her parents' names. "Sorry?"

"Yes, I knew your parents. But what did they tell you?"

"Um, they said you were a friend…part of the reconstituted D.A., too…"

Lavender smiled and shook her head. Go figure that they breezed over their history with her. "I dated your father once."

"I heard that from Aunt Ginny."

The words "Aunt Ginny" made Lavender wonder what she'd done with her life. She went to the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of firewhiskey from the fridge; she knew she was weird for keeping it there, but there was nothing like pouring a frozen fire down one's throat, and she needed that right now.

Rose stepped lightly in the silence. "You're, ah, one of the few friends I haven't met."

"And why do you think that is, dear?"

"Because of you and Dad."

At "Dad," Lavender took another sip of her drink. She looked at Rose over her glass. "You're weird."

"So I've been told."

"Why did you want to meet me?"

Rose shrugged and rudely sat down on the couch, dropping her bag beside her. "I'd like to meet everyone my family met, someday. I like to know the stories they share, the good and the bad." She briefly closed her eyes. "It's not as though parents share everything with their kids."

The remark made Lavender smile. "So, you like gossip?"

Rose looked at her, her rosy cheeks giving her away. "Well, er, not exactly…though it's hard to escape sometimes with such a large family…"

"I like gossip, too," Lavender said, walking over and sitting in the chair. "But it'll cost you."

The redhead smiled and passed the two Sickles over, happy that she'd fulfilled her quest. "Well, I suppose I could hear a story or two now."

- ^-^3

Lavender rushed through a few of her favorites—finding Hermione with Harry the night Gryffindor won that awesome match thanks to Ron and making Ron think Hermione and Harry were in the spot in which Lavender and Ron wanted to be. There was also the time that, though Lavender had been distraught at the time, Hermione had made a fool of herself beside Ron's caught in the Hospital Wing, trying to assert that as a friend she meant more to Ron than Lavender, as his girlfriend, did. She also shared the tale of Hermione's first Divination class, because Hermione really didn't have the Sight for it.

She blundered through the short tale of her break-up with Ron, too, and before Lavender knew it, hours had passed. Rose stood after checking her watch, thanked Lavender, and said goodbye, dashing through the door.

Lavender was surprised that she had shared someone's company for so long, someone who wasn't Parvati. But…there was something in Rose's face that made Lavender want to talk.

But that was the end of that. Now that she had satisfied Rose's curiosity, she had gotten her out of her hair.

- ^-^3

When the girl showed up a few days later, Lavender thought she was damaged in the head.

"Hello, Miss Brown," she said cheerily. Pushing past Lavender again, she took her former spot on the couch.

"Uh…can I help you?"

Rose smiled. "You said that last time, too."

Lavender rubbed the back of her neck as she closed the door and eyed the girl. "Yeah. I did. But I never thought you were coming back."

"Why not?"

"Because…well, because!"

Rose didn't seem to understand Lavender's brilliant explanation. "Well, it's not as though I've heard all your stories, right?"

Lavender bit her tongue. Of course she hadn't heard every story, but did this girl really want every little last detail? "What's with you?" she finally asked. "I'm a stranger, for all you know."

"No, you're not. We introduced ourselves, didn't we?" Rose beamed at the disgruntled look on Lavender's face. "Besides, you can't be too bad if you fought alongside my family."

The blonde sat down in the chair. "Tell me something. You're of age. You're out of school. Don't you have a life?"

Rose shrugged. "This is my life," she said, as though that sufficed.

Been there, done that, Lavender thought. She'd had decades of experience with not-quite-answering questions, particularly ones from her closest friends, Parvati and Seamus. "All right, Smarty Pants. I guess I have a few more stories I can share."

Rose raised her eyebrows, and it made Lavender smile. Maybe Rose was all right. Weird, but all right.

- ^-^3

In some ways, it embarrassed Lavender to say that she managed to retell all of her first three years of Hogwarts. She had realized before just how well her school years had been burned into her mind, but they had been. But as they had been, it took more than one extra sit-down with Rose. In fact, one extra one became two, two became three, three became five, five became eight, and so on and so forth.

And it was different. Parvati was much cheerier when she hung out with Lavender now that she wasn't being dragged away from her home every time Lavender needed a friend. Besides, Rose liked going to the Quidditch shop.

"Why is that?" Lavender finally asked as June rolled in. They were in Quality Quidditch Supplies again as Rose grabbed fresh arm guards.

"I…like Quidditch," Rose said after paying. The two witches exited and stood in Diagon Alley for a little while.

"No, you don't. You love it." Lavender dropped her eyes to Rose's bag before locking eyes with her. "You told me before that you work part-time as an assistant to your mother. If that's the case, then why do you keep buying Beater equipment?"

Rose scowled, reminding Lavender briefly of Ron. "It's my one vice."

Lavender whistled and walked, Rose keeping up beside her. "Quidditch as a vice? This must be priceless."

"I don't do a lot of things right, okay?" Rose was fidgety as they entered Eeylops Owl Emporium. She winced in response to the noise from the owls.

"So then, tell me about it." Lavender thought it funny that a daughter of Hermione's would say such a thing.

Rose gave her a look. "Isn't it too noisy in here?"

"It's supposed to be. That way you don't have to worry about someone overhearing you."

A fleeting look of gratitude passed over Rose's countenance. Then she opened her mouth. "I tried—try—to be like my mum. They all thought I'd be as smart as she was when I was little. But I wasn't—I mean, I'm not. I preferred brooms over books. My best mate, Scorpius, was the smart one. But everyone expected so much from me. When I graduated school, there was little applause. I hadn't turned out to be as spectacular as everyone had wanted. I wasn't the girly-girl my parents had wanted." She closed her eyes then, as if there was something else to be said about that point itself. But she reopened her eyes. "My parents don't even know about me stocking up on Quidditch supplies, even though I was on Gryffindor's team as a Beater for four years."

"They thought it was a hobby," Lavender surmised, and Rose nodded.

"I can't be perfect, but I can try, y'know?" Something caught in her voice, and Lavender heard it despite the Screech owls beside them. The noise from the girl made Lavender's heart soften, something it hadn't done for a very long time.

She reached out and patted Rose's head, bringing her close so that Rose could hide her face in Lavender's shoulder. "Oh, kiddo… You shouldn't have had to bottle that up."

They left and returned to Lavender's flat, where Lavender cooked a meal for them. Dinner was a silent affair, but as the older witch put the plates away, she spoke from the kitchen, knowing Rose was listening from the couch.

"Hey…you can't expect to come over here and just hear stories from me, you know."

There was silence. Lavender sighed.

"What I mean is…you should open up a bit more. I'm not family, but I'm not going to run tattling to them. It's just bad for you to keep emotions like those bottled up inside. And it's not as though your best friend will want to hear everything." Lavender squinted, pausing. Yeah, that sounded right. To have a best friend away from one's best friends… Lavender wished that she had had one, especially in her seventh year. Then maybe…maybe things wouldn't have become awkward with her and Parvati. Still, it was silent, so Lavender turned. "Rose?"

Rose was awake, and her brown eyes found Lavender's. "Yeah, I hear you. …thank you."

Lavender smiled. "You're welcome."

- ^-^3

"Dean and I are back on!" Seamus happily declared as he interrupted a girls' night between Lavender and Parvati a few weeks later.

"What? That's great!" Parvati said, scooting over so that Seamus could sit. He stole a sip from Lavender's butterbeer. Then he spit it out.

"Oh, Merlin… You still 'ave got ter stop askin' fer firewhiskey-spiked butt'rbeer," Seamus said with a shake of his head. "Tha' tastes foul, Brown."

"Then get your own drink, Finnigan," Lavender replied as she moved her mug out of reach. "Did you come find us just to tell us the good news?"

Seamus grinned. "Of course. Tha', and you two are creatures of 'abit. Why is girls' night always a Wednesday in th' Leaky Cauldron?"

Parvati chuckled. "Because Wednesday is the hump day. It means we're almost through the week."

"Why wish fer th' days ter rush by?" he asked, sighing. "We're old enough as it is."

"Because some of us are going to Switzerland to celebrate their anniversary in a week," Parvati chirped.

Seamus made a gagging sound and Lavender laughed as Parvati blushed. But that old jealousy crept up on the blonde again. Yes, they were all much older now, but life had been easier for them postwar than it had been for Lavender. Seamus and Dean had finally kicked off their long on-again/off-again romance, and Parvati had played cat and canary with Zacharias at The Daily Prophet for a while before they finally married.

But none of that had been an option for Lavender. Even if people didn't see Lavender's scar, plenty of them knew about it. So many had seen her lying in the Great Hall, recovering with Parvati and Trelawney hovering over her. Those who didn't know about Greyback's attack then eventually came to learn of it. And then Lavender found herself back at square one.

Parvati kicked her foot under the table and jerked her head. "You okay?" she mouthed.

Lavender opened her mouth and closed it. If she had a Knut for every time she'd been asked that, she would be rich. But she wasn't rich. She wasn't much of anything. She was not as pretty as she'd once been. She was not happily married as Parvati was. She was not swooning over a love as Seamus was. She was not conflicted about her identity as Rose was. She was just Lavender Brown.

Crap.

Lavender called it an early night, and girls' night took on a funny new meaning as Seamus finished drinks with Parvati while Lavender headed home. Back home, rain that one would expect from the springtime fell, and Lavender couldn't be bothered not to be drenched. In the downpour, she also couldn't be bothered to make out the figure sitting on the front steps of her apartment building. But then she was near enough to see who it was. "Rose?"

The girl looked up, and Lavender could tell through the rain that Rose had been crying. Her eyes were red.

Lavender grabbed her arm and heaved her up. "C'mon."

They trudged up the stairs to Lavender's place. Inside, Lavender flicked on the lights with a spell and then gathered her hair over one side of her neck and squeezed the water from it, getting the carpet damp. Rose stood still, and her eyes weren't as red as before. Now they were just wide.

And Lavender knew why. Because she had stupidly exposed the side of her neck upon which Greyback had feasted. Lavender knew it didn't look right and never would, not when the skin was mismatched in jagged patches; it had never healed right. But as open as she and Rose had been with one another—or had it only been Rose being the open one?—it hurt that Lavender saw now on Rose's face what she'd seen in Parvati's eyes a long time ago.

And it made her so, so mad.

Lavender stormed to the bathroom and slammed the door shut behind her. She stepped into the shower with her clothes on and turned on the water. Finally, she cried. Because crying was another form of anger, and Lavender Brown was an angry, angry person.

- ^-^3

Sometime later, Lavender was done in the bathroom, dressed in a bathrobe and toweling her hair dry. She didn't expect Rose still to be in the living room. But she checked just in case.

To her surprise, Rose indeed was still there. In fact, she was still standing where Lavender had left her. Lavender tossed a towel and it landed on the couch behind Rose. "Stop dripping everywhere and go shower. There's another bathrobe you can borrow, and there's a blanket and pillow in the cloak closet. Goodnight." She turned before Rose had the chance to respond.

In her bedroom, Lavender dropped onto her bed and heaved a large sigh. Her head hurt from crying, something she hadn't really done in a long time. She reclined, though, and drifted off, and her dreams reminded her why she hadn't cried for so long.

In her dreams, she was transported to that day in May. She'd already been attacked by Greyback and subsequently been rescued by Hermione and now lay stretched out in the Great Hall. She knew Parvati was leaning over her, though she looked a bit blurry in Lavender's sight.

"…attack…beast…drop the balls…edge…advantage…" she heard from Trelawney, who came into view.

The teacher eventually left her side, but Parvati didn't, not after she had found her best friend mauled. She gripped Lavender's hand in hers, whispering "You and me, babe, you and me" over and over and over again, so much so that if Padma had overheard them, Lavender would've apologized. She'd always felt that she and Parvati were closer than the twins ever would've been.

Eventually the battle ended and their side, in a nutshell, was victorious. Someone—probably Madam Pomfrey—kept slathering salves over her neck, and Lavender's eyes fluttered open and close so much that her eyelids grew tired.

Sometime in the night, when much of the debris had been moved aside, Lavender opened her eyes, and it didn't hurt to do so. The first thing she saw was Parvati's soot-streaked face. She looked as though she'd been standing beside Seamus during Potions. "Hey," she croaked, her voice cracking painfully. Her throat felt as though it had been petrified and now slabs of rock were sloughing off it.

Parvati's eyes widened and she shook her head. "Don't talk, don't talk. You're neck—it's all mangled. Madam Pomfrey says we'll get you to St. Mungo's soon, but you shouldn't talk right now."

Lavender grinned very gently. "Love you," she said hoarsely.

Parvati hiccup-laughed, her voice and eyes wet. "Me, too, bestie."

Though it hurt, Lavender shook her head. "Love you," she repeated. And she knew she had to say it, because even if she went to St. Mungo's, there was such a big chance that she wouldn't be leaving there. And during this school year, with her worries always being concerned with Parvati's safety and not her own, Lavender knew she had to be straight with Parvati. Oh, haha, what a funny turn of phrase—being straight with someone…

Parvati looked confused. "Wha…? Lav, you—"

"Love you," Lavender repeated for a third time, and she squeezed her hand.

But when everything should've been warm, it all grew cold as Parvati slipped her hand from Lavender's grip. She patted her shoulder. "It's the germs from that mongrel's mouth talking. It's fine. You'll be better soon."

But Lavender had never been really better. She had gone to the hospital and been Healed—with some effort—to a certain point, but Lavender wasn't whole. She never would be. It took four days for Parvati to visit her and, when she did, the girls had locked eyes once and Parvati learned that Lavender had been serious about her. But Parvati couldn't be serious about her in that way.

"You're my best mate" was all she could say, and it was all she had said ever since then. The ache from it produced a dull ache in Lavender's neck, but she slept through it, even as she pictured hearing those words in Rose's voice, with that same stunned expression that had once graced Parvati's face.

- ^-^3

When morning came, Lavender tiptoed out into the living room. Rose was still asleep, so the older witch went into the kitchen and cooked up some pancakes. The smell roused Rose, and she almost fell off the couch trying to sit up.

"Take it easy," Lavender admonished, setting down a plate on her lap before curling up in the chair with her own stack. She used the side of her fork to cut it and began shoveling pancakes into her mouth. They tasted like heaven—and that was something she really wanted at the moment.

"Oh…," Rose slowly said. "Good morning."

"'Morning," Lavender said around a mouthful.

Rose rubbed her eyes and got a good look at Lavender and snickered. "They smell good."

"De arrre gud," Lavender said rudely.

"You shouldn't talk with your mouth full," Rose teased.

Lavender made a face at her.

Rose began to eat, though, as they fell into silence. "Um…"

"What?"

"I'm sorry about last night."

Lavender paused but said nothing. She wondered for what Rose was sorry.

"I guess it was rude of me to surprise you like that."

"Well," the blonde said after swallowing the last of her food, "I can't say it was rude. We're…friends, aren't we?"

Rose nodded. "I thank you for that."

"Why were you crying, though?"

At the question, Rose tensed, but at least she didn't start crying again. "My parents…they found my Quidditch gear."

"Oh, luv…"

Her eyes ended up watery anyway. "I hated how they said I could've done anything with my life, anything. They said if I started making good decisions right now, that I could change all that. But if they took Quidditch the wrong way…" Rose shook her head.

Lavender put her plate down and joined Rose on the couch, taking her legs on her lap. "I know Hermione can be a pain, but she just wants the best for you, Rose," Lavender said, trying to believe that something nice about Hermione was coming out of her mouth. "And your dad… He grew up without much. I imagine they both worked hard to give you and your brother everything, but they want to see you able to give yourself everything now that you're an adult." As she said the words, she realized how much sense they made. Perhaps she hadn't just been another one of Rose's parents' Housemates. Perhaps Lavender really had been their friend. Even so, Lavender was giving Rose some really good advice that she herself had never followed, the idea that one gave oneself happiness.

Rose calmed herself so that she didn't cry. "I keep mucking things up, though, Lavender. I can't exactly change things." She wrapped an arm around the older woman and rested her head on Lavender's shoulder again, a favorite spot of hers.

Lavender craned her neck and kissed Rose on the forehead. Rose's fringe was soft and tingly against her lips. Lavender forgot the sensation and rested her cheek atop the young girl's—no, young woman's—head. "There are some things that we can't change once they happen. But we work through them."

"…kind of like your scar?"

Lavender gritted her teeth.

"You've bottled up about that. I've noticed." Judging by the tone of her voice, she was implying a reference to something Lavender had said to her not that long ago, that bottling up was not a good idea. "Tell me," Rose said.

"It…wasn't just an attack," Lavender explained. "It almost lost me my best friend." Just like that, Lavender tapped into her dream from last night, using it to make her memories resurface as she buckled down and told someone that she had once been in love with Parvati.

Rose was a little shocked. "But, my dad—"

"A phase," Lavender commented with a dismissing wave of her hand.

Rose looked a lot cheerier now. "Wow, though. I never would've guessed you liked witches." And she didn't even shrink away from Lavender as she said it.

"It's not like I've dated a lot after the war, though I'll admit to finding some women attractive," Lavender admitted. "Parvati's still one of the prettiest I've ever seen, though," she mumbled wistfully.

Rose smirked. "Only one of them?" she asked with a knowing wink.

It broke the ice. Lavender laughed. Suddenly it seemed…silly to care about almost losing her friendship with Parvati once upon a time. It seemed silly, even, to think that Greyback had robbed her of the comfort of peace of mind. Lavender still had a lot. She still had Parvati. She still had Seamus and Dean. She still had her life.

She still had Rose.

"Yes, all right, you're the most gorgeous thing I've ever seen in my life, okay?" She ruffled Rose's hair and tickled her sides, and the two of them laughed like ridiculous little twits. But it was good to laugh with Rose like this. It was very good.

- ^-^3

Rose now worked fulltime as Hermione's assistant in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, so Lavender did not see her as often. They both hoped that by listening to Ron and Hermione for a while that perhaps they would lighten up and let Rose make some of her own decisions. It wasn't as though the young woman was still a minor in need of their care.

"I simply like living at home and saving up for my dreams," Rose declared. She had snuck off to Lavender's apartment after work. Though she had made no promises to be home for dinner, the nineteen-year-old thought it best not to test her mother's patience and skip dessert.

"And what are you going to do about those dreams?" Lavender asked. She laid out her favorite Arrows' fan jersey and selected some jewelry to match their colors—pale blue and silver.

"Hmm…become a Beater for the Arrows?"

Lavender smirked and caught Rose doing the same. "You get enough of my attention as it is, Weasley."

"I can't ask for more, Brown?" Rose laughed. "But I do want to play Quidditch professionally… And I refuse to be on the same team as my insufferable cousin, Louis. I just know that the Cannons will snatch him up to train as their new Seeker."

"The Cannons? That's a laugh."

"You haven't seen how good he is, Lav. They need him to turn around their game."

Though it was said in passing, Lavender couldn't help but think how pleasant it was to hear Rose call her "Lav."

"Anyway, do you want to catch Wimbourne's next match next week?"

Lavender pulled a face. "But I'm an Arrows fan… Wimbourne is Appleby's archenemy!"

"But Quidditch is Quidditch."

"Maybe." Lavender gestured to her Arrows jersey. "There's no chance you could sneak out and join me for the Arrows' game tomorrow, is there?"

Rose shook her head. "Can't. I haven't had a lot of time with Scorpius and Al lately, so we're going over to Malfoy Manor tomorrow for dinner with his parents." She looked excited. "I'm looking forward to it.

Lavender's heart sank a bit, but she was happy for Rose. Their closeness had cheered up Rose about her other relationships, and their friendship had reminded Rose why she had her other friendships, too. "Well, can we catch dinner later this week?"

"Sure," Rose said, and Lavender's heart rose once again.

- ^-^3

"COME ON, APPLEBY! WIN, WIN, WIN!"

Seamus was scared of Lavender's roar, and he looked scared to be seen in public with her. "Erm, um, Lavender…you don't 'ave ter shout so loud…"

Lavender pretended not to hear him, though. For some reason, she just really wanted her team to have this win. If they could win, then—then maybe she could win, too. Sure, it didn't make sense on the surface, but…

The Arrows did win the game against the Montrose Magpies, and Lavender felt a rush of adrenaline. It reminded her of how she sometimes felt with Rose, and she liked that.

"Shall we grab a celebratory cuppa?" Lavender asked Seamus as they left the stands.

Seamus laughed. "I feel as though you've 'ad about three already, Lav!"

She stuck her tongue out at him. "I can't help it if I was excited. That was a great game!"

Seamus jogged to walk beside her and he slung an arm around her shoulders. "Look, buddy, tha' wasn't excitement just fer th' game. Something nice you 'aven't told me or Parvati?"

Lavender shook her head. "No. Though I'll confess…I have plans this weekend."

"Well, I'll be—Lavender Brown 'as a date!"

She blushed and shrugged his arm off, shaking her head again, vigorously. "No, no. Not a date. It's just with a friend."

Seamus grinned. "Of course it is. So, what's 'er name?"

Lavender opened her mouth then stopped. "Wait…you knew…?"

He realized he'd walked into uncharted territory and moved carefully. "Lav… I can't exactly miss th' stares you give Parvati sometimes. But I've seen your eye wander when anuther pretty witch walks by," he hastily added.

"Am I that obvious?"

He shook his head. "Merlin no! But I've known you almost all my life, woman. You learn a thing or two when you've known someone fer tha' long."

Lavender's excitement had dulled in lieu of Seamus' subject. Because now it had her thinking. Had she actually asked Rose out? The idea…wasn't incredulous, she presumed. But Rose? As clichés would have it, the sound of her name echoed in Lavender's brain, just as pictures and clips of all the time they'd shared came flooding into her mind. Bloody hell. Had she fallen for Rose Weasley? Perhaps I'll have my answer at dinner, Lavender hoped. Now she couldn't wish for the weekend to come.

- ^-^3

"Oh, wow…you look…nice?"

Lavender raised an eyebrow at Rose's squeaky voice. "I did say we were going to dinner."

"Right…haha. Um. Can I be right back?"

"I made a reservation for ten o'clock."

"I promise I won't be more than five minutes!"

Lavender sighed and acquiesced. "I suppose I have no choice."

"Thank you!" Rose kissed her cheek and Disapparated on the spot, nearly giving Lavender a heart attack.

The older woman supposed she deserved it. She had mentioned to Rose the day before that they were going someplace nice to eat. Granted, Lavender had never told her to dress up and she knew Rose had never been, in her words, a "girly-girl," but Lavender had been hoping for a little something. Sometimes Rose could be such a…bloke.

Lavender looked down at her dress and wondered if she'd overdone it. She was only wearing a black dress that fell to her calves. It reminded her of the Yule Ball, but she'd never worn it. Hell, she wasn't sure why she had it. Hmm, maybe it had been something Parvati had bought and loaned her and just never gotten back…

Rose was back within her five minutes, and she looked smashing for presumably knowing nothing about being feminine. She wore a short, swishy silver dress and let her hair down. She'd even brushed on a dash of eye shadow and lip-gloss. The overall look made Lavender feel plain beside her.

"All right, let's go!" the younger witch said, and she tugged Lavender out of the flat.

They Apparated to the heart of London, where the nightlife breathed life into them. Rose twirled around as though she had never been there before, and Lavender enjoyed seeing her so happy. If that wasn't love, Lavender mused to herself, then what was?

At the restaurant, the witches sat by a shaded window. They ordered and waited for their drinks to come, but the wait wasn't a bother. It was lovely just to watch the passers-by. "I've never done something like this," Rose gushed.

"Neither have I," Lavender remarked. "So…you like this?"

Rose nodded. "This is just…so different." She chuckled. "So un-Rose."

Lavender bit her lip. Maybe it was her newfound feelings that were screaming at her to snog that sweet face. But she kept that urge in check. "You never told me how things went with your friends."

The waiter stopped by to drop off their waters, and Rose sipped hers. "Oh, it was fine. It was just like old times with Scor and Al." She grinned. "I love being at Scor's house. We used to have a lot of fun there when we were kids."

The tint of Rose's cheeks worried Lavender. Did she mean something more than that? Lavender cursed herself internally. She had never asked if Rose and Scorpius had ever been more than friends.

"But it's nice when it's just the five of us—Scor, Al, me, and Scor's parents. Draco's not too bad when he's around us. And Astoria's… Well." Rose's cheeks were very red now. "She's, erm, awesome."

With a bottomless feeling in her stomach, Lavender's smile faded from her face. Now it made sense. The little said about Scorpius and his family. Rose's regret at not having been "girly." Her ecstatic excitement to go to Malfoy Manor when she hadn't been there in so long.

Rose leaned forward. "Can I tell you something?"

Lavender was frozen.

"I haven't told anyone this, Lav. No one."

But she nodded anyway.

Rose closed her eyes and sighed. "I've fancied Scor's mum for four years now."

Just like that, Lavender felt her world come crashing down all around her. It was as though she had been flying upward nonstop, thinking that there'd be no limitations. She'd thought that it would be easy to confess to Rose, easy to nudge a romantic love from their platonic one. But just as Lavender had failed with Parvati, she was failing with Rose—and she hadn't even had the chance to say anything yet. But that didn't matter. On a broom, one sometimes forgot that even the sky ended at some point.

"She's elegant, gorgeous, stubborn yet kind…charming, really," Rose said with more admiration than Lavender would've wished. She glanced at Lavender. "But I know I have no chance with her. I know how you feel."

"What?"

"I don't have a chance with Astoria. So I know how you feel, with Parvati and all," the redhead stated, and she sipped at her water again. "So, are we going to have dessert, too? If so, I might as well skip the salad. The dessert will totally negate it anyway."

Lavender took a moment to get her mind to stop reeling. She had no idea what to say. Only a small part of her was flattered that Rose had shared her innermost secret with her. But it wasn't something that Lavender had wanted to hear. Yes, she had figured out only recently that it was not the kind of thing she would've wanted to hear from Rose, but still.

"Lavender?"

But still.

"Lav?"

Lavender looked up to find real concern in Rose's coffee eyes. "What if I told you that you're the most gorgeous thing I've ever seen in my life?"

"Lav, I—" Rose was initially embarrassed by the abrupt compliment. But she knew she'd heard these words before from Lavender. "Oh, Merlin… Oh." She dropped her eyes to the table. "But, Lav…," she whispered.

"I know," Lavender said, closing her eyes. She felt like a right fool for saying it. "I know. I'm hopeless."

"Just because she might not love me that way doesn't mean I'll stop loving her that way."

"I know," Lavender hissed, not opening her eyes. She really didn't need to be told that.

"I…I can't, Lavender…"

"Then just stop speaking already."

Several minutes passed, and their food arrived. The waiter sat their plates down, but he didn't ask if they needed anything. Apparently even he could pick up the vibe of the table.

Lavender rummaged through her purse—she didn't want Rose to have to spend her dream money on a silly little dinner like this—and dropped enough bills on the table to cover everything. Then she stood.

Rose looked up at her. "Lavender—"

"I have no more stories to share with you," Lavender said in a clipped tone. She hated that Rose's face crumbled—oh, how she wanted to kiss it and make everything better!—but she thought it better to leave the girl be and move on. She had no need for Lavender, even if Lavender had a need for her.

But Lavender scolded herself for thinking so when she got home. Who was she to think that her life could be fine, could be normal? If she thought about it, it was all Greyback's fault…but she knew she was partially to blame, too, for thinking that Rose might be different from Parvati. Of course, she was, but not in the way that Lavender had hoped. And it made her an angry, angry person.

- ^-^3

Well. Finally. My 1st unhappy ending…or is it? Lavender didn't want to burden Rose by forcing them together…buuuut there will almost certainly be a sequel. XD So no killing me, please! I still like this nice start to a new pairing. And I adore Rose/Astoria, another M&MWP like Parvati/Zacharias, so it was pretty hard for me to write this, though I've had this idea for a while. *Cookies to you if you caught my math-nerdy-ness and saw the Fibonacci sequence within the story. 'Cuz it's there. B)

So, what'd you think? Thanks for reading, and please leave a review!

-mew-tsubaki :O