It was just a snog, just an innocent snog. At least, it was at first. That's how things always start out. Innocent. You start out innocent when you're a child and then when you grow up, you aren't innocent any more. Is that really what love is about? Growing up? Is that all that they were doing? "Growing up?"

It all started after the last Quidditch game of the season when Gryffindor won the Quidditch Cup. We were having a large party to celebrate. The music was loud and there were plenty of drinks. Obviously these drinks had been in storage for a while because they were putrid and tepid and positively revolting, in my opinion. I like my drinks cold, what can I say? But I, alas, seemed to be the only one. Some of these kids were drinking so much beer that they were dancing so oddly it was quite comical. Decidedly, I put down my drink. Then I realized I would look like an idiot without one, so I grabbed it back and started towards Lavender Brown, my best friend, who was sitting in the corner with a group of people.

"Hey Lav," I said once I reached over. She was talking to Colin Creevey about something-or-other, and she beamed when she saw me. Beamed a little too hard. She was obviously just starting to get drunk.

"Hey Pav," she said. Well, she could speak perfectly fine. That was a good sign. Ugh, I absolutely abhor the nickname "Pav". It just sounds so stupid. I don't care if "Pav" and "Lav" rhyme and so we should say it because it makes us sound cool (Lavender's argument. And yes, she is quite somber when she says this)!

"Hey, who wants to play Spin the Wand?" she asked. Inwardly I groaned. The only think other thing I abhor besides "Pav" and "Lav" (and you see my point with those, yes?) is stupid party games like Spin the Wand. I tried to quietly sneak out of the group without being noticed, but it didn't work out.

"Hey where are you going?" Lavender asked. Everyone stared at me. Okay so maybe I lied. I also abhor being the center of attention. And death. But four things isn't so horrible, is it? I don't really think so. I could feel my cheeks start to go more tepid.

"Just to refill my drink," I muttered. Everyone else seemed to accept that answer and I walked over to the drinks and pretended to refill. I took my time returning to our corner and when I got back there, the sight made me mouth drop open.

Lavender was snogging Colin Creevey. Colin Creevey. I completely and utterly forgot that they were playing Spin the Wand until Fay Dunbar, another roommate of ours, spoke up.

"Um…you guys can stop now," she said but to no avail. They stayed in that position the rest of the night.

When I confronted her about it the next morning (because I knew that she wasn't drunk) she just shrugged it off.

"It was just an innocent snog Parvati," she said, exasperated, "Stop worrying so much, will you?"

"Okay," I muttered. I knew that she was upset after her breakup with Ron (though all they did was snog. How exactly that was a relationship I'll never know) so I just figured that she needed an innocent snog to get over him and move on with her life.

So I said nothing.

Summer came and went, in such a flurry I couldn't believe that I was in seventh year already. Of course, I knew that this year was going to be different. I had seen in the Daily Prophet that the Carrows had taken over Hogwarts, and since they were known Death Eaters it was a cause of concern for my parents.

"If worst comes to worst," Mam told my sister and I, "We'll just flee to our relatives in India. But that's only a last resort." Padma and I both merely nodded, but I could see fear written on her face. I'm afraid I probably didn't look much better.

School started and the DA got back together. We started defying the Carrows, dangerous work, I know, but it had to be done. There were only so many first years that could be torturedbefore someone had to take action. At our meetings, I noticed that Lavender's gaze seemed to always be transfixed on Colin. She was watching him every second and after every meeting everything (and I mean everything) he said or did was discussed in detail.

"Did you see Colin's Patronus?" It was perfect! Did you hear his speech he made at the beginning? Totally inspiring, right? Did you see him help that fifth year-Romilda Vane, I think it is? So sweet of him," she would rant. I would always mutter, "Uh-huh," after every sentence so she thought I was listening.

And if Colin paid attention to another girl…

"Did you see Colin helping Romilda Vane again? That girl can conjure a corporeal Patronus already! She has for the last six months or so! Obviously she fancies him and that's why she's faking not knowing how to produce a Patronus. Ugh, she's not even that good-looking right?" I just nodded. I sighed. It had been like this before, all one had to do was replace Colin with Ron and Romilda with Hermione. Lavender was insanely jealous.

"Lavender, why do you care so much?" I ventured to ask one day.

"Because…because," she stuttered and faltered over absolutely nothing.

"Lavender Brown, is there something you need to tell me?" I asked knowingly.

"No," she said her eyes wide, "I have to go. I promised Fay that I'd met her in the library-we're going over Ancient Runes."

"Alright," I muttered and when she walked away, I smiled and laughed to myself.

Fay doesn't take Ancient Runes.

But I said nothing.

"And Muggles," Alecto, or Professor Carrow, as we are supposed to call her, "Are like animals. They are dirty and filthy. They drove us wizards into hiding! Without them, we were on top of the world! We practically ruled this earth and everything in it! Without Muggles, we would be free to do whatever we wanted. Without Muggles, the natural order or the world is being reestablished." Inwardly, I groaned. I don't know how much more of this I could take this year.

"So how much Muggle blood do you and your brother have?" Neville asked pretending to actually be curious.

"Crucio!" Alecto screamed and I covered my eyes and ears. I had seen enough of this even though it was only November. A few minutes later, when I had deemed it safe, I opened my eyes a crack. Neville was on the floor with scars I had never seen before, soaking in his own blood.

"Bloody hell," I heard Seamus say, and that was the exact way to describe Neville right now. Actually that was the way to describe Hogwarts right now. A bloody hell.

"Class dismissed," Alecto said with fake sweetness, "Unless anyone else has anything they'd like to say to me?" we all shook our heads. I just don't understand how some people can be so evil.

"Professor," Colin asked carefully, "May I take Neville up to the Hospital Wing?"

"Oh no," she said in that same sweet tone that so reminded me of Professor Umbridge, "Mr. Longbottom will stay here until he learns to keep his mouth shut." Neville groaned from the floor. I looked around desperately, but there was nothing I-nothing we could do. Professor Carrow was right there. We all started to file out of the room. I suppose I wasn't watching where I was going and that combined with a desire to get out of this room and as far away from Professor Carrow as possible, I tripped over a desk and landed in a pool of Neville's blood. When I accidentally tasted some of it, the blood was still tepid.

"Parvati, are you okay?" Seamus asked urgently, pulling me up to my feet and leading me out of the classroom.

"Fine," I muttered.

"You sure?" he asked.

"Positive," I said a little too harshly but he just gave me a whatever-you-say look. I glared at him.

"Hey," Lavender said brightly coming up to us. Then she saw our faces, "I'm just going to go now, I think I left my quill in the classroom." I merely nodded. The second she was out of sight, I broke my gaze and started laughing.

"What?" Seamus asked, confused.

"Oh, nothing," I sighed, "Want to go back to the Common Room?"

"Sure," he said, obviously still befuddled by my abrupt mood swing.

Lavender had been holding her quill in her hand.

But I said nothing.

"I hate February," Lavender concluded, as she laid down on her bed in our dorm.

"Why?" Fay asked curiously.

"It's because Colin didn't get her a present for Valentine's Day," I said knowingly. Lavender blushed but said nothing. Fay looked astonished.

"You like Colin Creevey?" she said, surprised.

"No," Lavender muttered, looking at the ground.

"Yes," I told Fay. Lavender threw a pillow at me.

"I don't, Pav!" she retorted, angrily. I stopped. The last time she had called me Pav was when she was almost drunk at a Quidditch party last year. She knew I hated it. That was a low blow from her.

"That's low and you know it," I told her. Lavender just stormed out of the room, huffing and puffing all the way.

It was eleven fifty-five on the nose later that night and I was worried sick. After storming out of our dorm after our "argument" Lavender had yet to return to our common room. The Carrows had an insanely strict policy on curfew, so the fact that Lavender wasn't back worried me. Wherever she was, had she been caught? Was she being beaten? Tortured? Whipped? Was I ever going to see her again? I heard the door creak open and waited in baited breath. Was it her?

"Parvati?" A voice asked, "What are you still doing up?" It was her.

"Lavender!" I said in relief than ran over and hugged her, "Where were you? You had me worried sick!"

"Sorry," She mumbled, "I was doing a top secret mission for Neville, and I'm not allowed to talk about it until it's over." I merely nodded. Sadly, this wasn't uncommon.

"Right," I said, trying to sound happy, "Let's get to bed, shall we?"

It had been a few weeks later, at the next DA mission when I had finally been able to corner Neville alone. In those past few weeks, Lavender had been out late every night but had always returned at midnight on the dot. I knew she had because I had always stayed up until then to make sure she was okay. Call me a worry wart, but she was my best friend.

"Hey Neville, can I talk to you for a second?" I asked.

"Sure," he said, looking up from the papers he was working on. I assumed they were for the next DA meeting.

"Can you tell me anything about Lavender's mission?" I asked. He scratched his head.

"Lavender's mission?" he asked me, befuddled.

"Well, for the past few weeks, she's been coming to our dorm at exactly midnight. The first night I'd asked her where she'd been, and she said she was working on a mission for you, and it was top secret. That was almost a month ago, and I want to know how long this mission's going to be," I explained, perplexed by the lack of remembrance on Neville's face. Then again, he was Neville, notoriously known for forgetting things.

"Top secret you say?" he asked.

"Yeah," I replied.

"Well, you see the thing is, Parvati, we only have one top secret mission going on right now. I'm not allowed to talk about it," he said.

"Understandable," I said and it was a minute before the truth sunk into me.

"Wait just a minute," I said, "Are you telling me that all this time Lavender has been telling me she's on a top secret mission for you, she's actually been lying to me?"

"Um…yes," he said hesitantly, not certain whether I was going to freak out or not. I took a deep breath, the stormed out of the room, not bothering to say goodbye to Neville.

"Lavender Brown!" I yelled the second I reached our Common Room, "I need to talk to you right now and I'm not going to take no for an answer." Everyone stared at me as though I'd gone mad, but in their defense, I probably looked like I had. I grabbed Lavender's arm and dragged her up to our dorm.

"What is it Parvati?" she asked, a little annoyed.

"Do you mean to tell me," I said, my anger seething, "That this whole time you lied to me and told me you were on a "top secret mission from Neville" you were really off gallivanting the halls, or doing…who knows what? You'd better explain to me right now what exactly you were doing and why you decided to lie to me." Lavender looked at little embarrassed and really sad.

"I want to tell you," she said, "But I thought you'd laugh at me."

"Wanted to tell me what exactly?" I asked cautiously. She smiled and she looked happy. It was the first time I'd seen anyone happy in months and just the sight of it made me do a double take.

"I'm engaged, Parvati," she practically sang, and she lifted her hand and there was indeed a ring on it.

"Engaged?" I asked, shocked, "To whom?" Lavender looked like she was floating on cloud nine then, and suddenly I knew exactly who it was.

"Colin," she said, "All those nights I've been gone and a few other times too, we've been together."

"You were with Colin?" I asked, in complete and utter shock.

"Yes," she replied her voice dreamy.

"Why did you think I'd laugh at you?" I asked, befuddled.

"Because you're Parvati, she said, as though it was obvious, "You've always been the more sensible, more beautiful one."

"No I haven't," I replied startled, "Lav, you've had two boyfriends now."

"Yes, but one you haven't wanted to date, two, people have asked you but you said no, three you went to the Yule Ball with Harry Potter, and four, that's just your sensibleness shining through." I did try to respond, but she wouldn't here it and I just moved on, though I was still slighted that she thought of me that way and had never even bothered to mention it to me.

"Right," I said with fake cheerfulness, "So what exactly have you been doing with Colin?"

"Oh snogging," she replied, "Mainly snogging." Funny. Exactly like her relationship with Ron. Positively uncanny. And look how that worked out for her (there was the minor issue of Ron being in love with Hermione but her not knowing, but besides that).

"Right," I said uncertainly, "And now you're getting married to him. When all you've done is snog him."

"Exactly," she said, obviously still in her daydream.

"Okay," I muttered, though Lavender didn't seem to hear me.

"And there was this one night where-" she started, but I cut her off.

"Spare me the details, Lav," I replied, disgusted, "I really don't need those visuals." She looked a little put off by this.

"Okay," was all she merely said though.

"Lav, are you sure about this?" I questioned, "I mean you hardly know anything about him," she opened her mouth to protest, but I put my hand up, "No let me finish. When's his birthday? What's his favorite color? What wand type does he have?"

"I don't know," she muttered, "We don't talk about stuff like that!" I sighed.

"Here's an easy one," I replied, "What does he want to be when he grows up?"

"How should I know?" she shouted. I just stared at her. Everyone knew that Colin wanted to be a photographer when he grew up. Everyone. Or so I thought.

"You've never talked about this?" I asked gently. Surely, the future must've come up sometime in their late night excursions, for lack of a better word.

"No," she said, rather defensively, "It's mainly-"

"Snogging," I finished for her with a sigh, "Lav, snogging isn't the most important thing in a relationship. I mean honestly, snogging was all your relationship was with Ron, and look how that turned out."

"It's different than that!" she shouted and she started to cry. I sat down next to her and started to hug her.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you cry," I whispered.

"It's just…" she choked, "It's just…it's different than with Ron. I love him Parvati." I was stunned into silence by her shocking revelation. I knew for certain that she'd had a crush on him, but love, that was different. She looked sincere, too. I mean, she was crying about it, for Merlin's sake.

"I believe you," I said quietly.

"You do?" she asked in between sobs.

"Yes," I said, "And I think you should do what makes you happy. And if Colin makes you happy, go for it!" she smiled.

"And it was just some innocent snogs," she said.

"Sure," I replied.

"Thanks Pav," she said and walked out of the room. But it was different from the last time she had used Pav, so for once, I was okay with it.

The next month or so passed quickly, too quickly in my opinion. As much as I wanted to be out of Hogwarts, I would never be able to do something like I was doing now again. If Voldemort wasn't gone by September, my family and I were moving to India. Forever. I would probably never see any of my friends ever again.

Lavender and Colin were trying to keep the fact that they were engaged hidden. They didn't want anyone, especially, Merlin forbid, the Carrows to find out. I don't even want to think what those evil scums would do with that information. Lavender confided in me that I was the only one that she told, which made me feel oddly special. However, I was her best friend.

I had never seen Lavender so happy in my entire life, even when she was with Ron. Every day waking up her eyes seemed to dance. I was happy for her, but personally I had my own worries, none of which I cared to share with Lavender. First of all, she was only seventeen. That was hardly an age to be getting married. But because of the war, people always rushed things. It was almost as if they were scared that their loved ones wouldn't love them back or something if they didn't get married as soon as humanly possible. Also, what if one of them died in the war? Then they wouldn't (or couldn't, I should say) get married. The thought of it sent shivers up my spine. Of all of my four fears, death was the one that was most prominent, and frankly, most terrifying. I had all these questions about it, none of which I will bother to share.

May 2nd, 1998, while it may not seem like it, was an ordinary day. We were all in the Room of Requirements (and had been for several weeks). Well, it was an ordinary day until Neville came with Harry through the passageway, although I smiled and screamed like the rest of the DA, inside I was feeling extremely nervous. I looked around the room, at all of the people there, and wondered how many of them I was never going to see again. What if Lavender died? What was I going to do? Calm down Parvati, I told myself, you'll cross that bridge when you get there. But sometimes, the negative part of me persisted, Death gets in the way. Stupid nursery rhymes, I cursed silently. They scar you for life. Do me a favor. Don't read your kids nursery rhymes when and if you have them. It's just going to scar them. I looked at Lavender silently, tears welling up in my eyes.

"I know, it's great that he's back, right?" she said and the turned to hear Neville say, "But then the girls showed up…" I rolled my eyes. The boys that had been living in here before we girls came in here had literally been living like pigs. We had taken it upon ourselves to clean the room and what do we get as thanks? They boys won't stop griping about it. Honestly, you're in the middle of a war. Reality check.

"…and thought they would quite like to wash, yes," she supplied and I gave her a weak smile.

I hate to say it, but the whole battle was a blur. Sparks of red and green (that quite reminded me of Christmas) were constantly flying around, while numerous bodies were falling down, never to see the light again. It was quite gruesome, actually. I won't bother to go into detail. I was standing back to back with Lavender. I was dueling one death eater, and her another. Though I slashed and smashed at the Death Eater, nothing happened. Groaning in annoyance, I gave a particularly fast jab and the Death Eater howled in pain. Don't ask which spell I used because I can't remember for the life of me. Then the Death Eater raised his wand.

"No more fun and games for you, pretty girl," he said in a rough voice and froze me on the spot. Seconds later, I realized I was going to die. This was my worst fear. The fear of death is worse than any other fear, because unlike other fears, death can't be conquered, not until you die. Then suddenly the Death Eater fell to the ground and I found myself unfrozen. I looked around wildly for my savior, and Dean Thomas stepped out of the shadows.

"You idiot Parvati," was the first thing he said to me, "Why didn't you Stun him or something?"

"Hullo to you too," I muttered under my breath and then added, "He froze me. I couldn't move."

"Oh," he said quietly. We just stood there for a second, with the battle happening all around us, when suddenly Lavender let out an ear-splitting, gut-wrenching scream from right next to us. Dean grabbed me arm, as if on instinct, but I shook him off and ran over to Lavender.

"Are you alright?" I asked, "What happened? Are you hurt?" Lavender fell to the ground and started sobbing. I dropped down to one knee. Dean was off, hovering to the side, obviously feeling very awkward, but I didn't say anything. I was too focused on Lavender.

"What's wrong?" I asked, and she lifted her hand, which was trembling. My eyes followed her arm. I let out a small gasp. Although the night was tepid, I felt uncommonly cold.

Colin Creevey lay dead on the ground, surrounded by a pool of his blood.

After the battle was over, I found Lavender crying in a corner, unlike everyone else, who were all cheering.

"Are you okay?" I asked gently.

"Yes," she said, "I'm fine." I was startled. I had not expected to hear this as my answer.

"Are you sure?" I asked confused. I mean, a month ago she was going on and on about how much she loved him, and now he died and she said she was fine? Excuse me if that seems a tad bipolar.

"Yes," she protested, her voice trembling, "H-he didn't m-mean anything to me. It was just an innocent snog, Parvati." With that she got up and left, probably to go cry in solitude. I didn't follow her. I just stood there, shocked.

If it was just an innocent snog, then why did she go out every night for months to meet him?

If it was just an innocent snog, why did she say she loved him?

And if it was just an innocent snog, why did she cry when he died?

A/N-I can't believe I just wrote that! This is my longest one-shot ever. Word has it at 4, 035 words, not including Author's Notes and such. Anyway, this was for Dear. Dark. Destiny's 3rd Annual Can You Write a Romance Challenge. My pairing was Colin and Lavender. Also, I had to use the word 'tepid' in the story three times. I decided to do Parvati remembering it because I thought it was easier that way, from an outside POV. Just out of curiosity, did anyone get the allusion to Tale of the Three Brothers? I also tried to focus on all the Carrow stuff that was happening because it all wasn't obviously ponies, rainbows and unicorns. I hope I made it romantic enough…I'm actually quite proud of this, and I would love, love, love it if you could tell me what you think. Especially if you could tell me whether it's romantic enough or not. Thanks!