Summary: One minute Lavender Brown was okay. And then, suddenly, she wasn't.
Warnings: Sensitive issues (mental illness), some bad language... mostly the mental health thing.
The first time Parvati realised something was wrong was a fortnight after she'd moved out.
She hadn't wanted to move out, really, but needs must – Lavender had understood and Padma had needed her. After seven years of only really seeing her twin in the holidays, of putting Lavender first, it was her duty to pick up the pieces of her sister when she fell apart.
They were all busy. The world was busy recuperating, fixing things, weeding out all the last remnants of the dark that lingered over the whole wizarding world. The smoke was clearing and they were all busy fumigating. She'd written Lavender a few brief letters to receive nothing in reply, but she hadn't been worried – her best friend had a new job, was likely slightly irritated about having to search for a new flatmate so soon and was never much good with letters anyway. So, Parvati had decided that it was time to visit.
She'd let herself in with her old key and found the cups: a stark row of them, lined up like soldiers on the kitchen table, all clogged up with the dregs of tea leaves. The cups had been an extravagant purchase made the day Parvati had breached the conversation about moving out – fine china, curling flowers in precise delicate patterns which had that perfect nostalgic feel clinging to them. Perfect for reading tea leaves. Lavender's favourite divination book was open, the crisp, well-thumbed pages exposed to the kitchen. Lavender knew enough about reading tea leaves to render the book unnecessary, but it was habit to retrieve and open the book. Then there was her notebook, too, pink and patterned and closed with a page folded over which marked the point at which she'd last been writing.
it had only been a couple of weeks ago when they'd done this together, laughing and sipping tea as they predicted mad, bright futures. It was a comfort. It reminded them both of Hogwarts. Just one of the simple, easy pleasures that they had left.
At first, the number of cups didn't bother her. Lavender probably got carried away with some train of the future, pouring cups of tea and drinking cups of tea to convince herself of some handsome stranger or confirm some symbol in her cup.
Parvati smiled to herself as she refilled the teapot with a wave of her wand and pulled out the single cup still in the cupboard. She sipped her tea quickly, drained the glass, sat down on the familiar seat and began to twist it in her hands. Her own cup made her smile: the symbol for the tightening of bonds, of family relationships, the phoenix – a whole new life rising up out of the ashes of a war. It was what they were all dreaming of, hoping for, what was beginning to happen. The promise of a whole future just beyond the current.
It was curiosity that sparked Parvati to take a glance at Lavender's cups. Lavender would have chastised her for it, for looking at her future, but Parvati wanted to know what possible could have provoked lavender into drinking so many cups of tea (Lavender barely liked tea, unless she was reading tea leaves).
She felt her heart stop in her chest for a second as she picked up the first cup and saw a grim staring back at her. For a second there was something icy lodged in her throat, then she remembered how to breathe and let out a shaky breath. She picked up the second cup with her hand shaking slightly. Another grim. And then the third, the forth, the fifth; all identical.
It was a nightmare. Impossible. Some horrible omen of death sent to cast a shadow on their whole future. It was the sixth cup when she noticed something worse: she had it held right up to her nose, staring at the black lumpy creature feeling sick, when she noticed the marks on the bottom of the cup – residue from tea leaves, tea stains, as though someone had used a fingernail to brush the tea leaves into shape. Trelawney had told them about this, about how to recognise when someone had corrupted the predictions, then Parvati picked up each of the cups in turn and searched for the evidence that these were corrupted predictions, tea leaves forced into these unfathomable, dark shapes.
Ten minutes later she was able to think again. She picked up Lavender's notebook with her slender hands and prized open the pages. Prediction: hope. Wrong. Faulty. And then, worse, I predicted my death again today.
Over and over, the same words in Lavender's, neat, curly handwriting.
Parvati Patil jerked out of the horrible images growing in her mind, cleaned the cups with a flick of her wand and closed her eyes. She needed to find Lavender. She needed to find Lavender and make sure she was okay. And she needed to do it now.