This was written by request from some of the Daydians who asked to see Lavender's POV in the aftermath of the assaults discovered in Chapter 13 of DAYD. I don't usually put Author's Notes at the beginning of my stories, preferring to simply drop the reader in, but in this case it is important to make several things clear that may not have been so in "Give And Take," which, by portraying it from the PoV of the attacker, implicitly presented his thought process as in the wrong.
1) There is no "right way" to process sexual assault. Lavender's process is not universal, and should not be taken as a "model."
2) This is all the more true because she is entrapped by several common misconceptions held by sexual assault victims, victim-blaming most prominent among them. (for more information about myths and misconceptions about rape and assault and the recovery process, visit rainn dot org.)
a) She did NOT ask for it, did NOT deserve it, and is NOT at fault because she didn't "fight back enough" or dressed or acted a certain way, nor because she complied with the assault itself and kept returning to her abusers.
b) It is also not her fault that she did not report the assault sooner, and that's not only because her family was being threatened, but because it is not the responsibility of the victim to stop the attacks.
c) While Neville and the other boys had their hearts in the right place, their act of revenge wasn't really what Lavender or any other victim needs (unless they explicitly ask for it, and even then, vigilantism is 999 times out of 1000 a Bad Idea IRL)
d) Despite Lavender's offhanded rejection of her to the point of not even really registering her words, Ginny was right. It wasn't her fault. It didn't dirty her. She didn't deserve it.
e) The things that are said to her in the aftermath I have deliberately left vague. We don't know if Lavender's own head said them, if it was a specific student, teacher, or stranger, several people, how much was literally said vs how much she considered implied or how far the information spread. In those situations, it hardly matters. "They" say and "they" all know. Likewise deliberate and very much for the same reason is the random mishmash of active and passive voice, present and past tense, second and third person. Trauma is not a pretty, tidy, linear thing.
3) TRIGGER WARNINGS for graphic portrayal of extensive, extreme sexual assaults, sexual and physical abuse, slut-shaming, and the psychological disaster left in the wake of what Neville rightly identified as sub-human brutality. PLEASE read with caution if you are sensitive to this kind of subject matter. If you are struggling with what you have read or with your own experiences during or after, please call RAINN at 1-800-656-HOPE
Everything always started with a sketch.
Some designers did theirs in exquisite detail, placing every shirred stitch and even selecting the jewelry or hair and makeup to go with the final look. Hers were more sweeps of the pen or pencil, shapes that her mind's eye filled in well enough and her expertise and the whims of the cloth refined in the moment. It had been a joke that she didn't just fly by the seat of her pants, she flew while making the seat of her pants.
But like so much else now, the joke rang hollow. It was always just an idea and you ran with it. We should fight back. We should organize. We should get ready. Make a stand. A whole year's sketch, crumpled and tossed aside in a single epiphany that fighting back had suddenly been rendered passé by this winter's hot new trend in blackmail.
A few lines, curse burns and wand strikes and ropes of energy that delivered the gist of an idea. A framework, somewhere to start the process.
It was the underpinnings that really mattered, so much more than people realized. The little tricks of boning and piecing and interfacing that could make a light sateen fall as crisply as duck, nip a waist and then explode a skirt to stand on an unseen scaffold of tulle, a leg o' mutton shoulder to puff just so. It was the things you never saw that made all the difference, but they had to be done right. They had to be done just right, and then the effect on the outside could be almost any illusion you wished.
First, you had to start with the foundation garments. The right bra, the right knickers every time. Suspenders and stockings and crinoline and corsetry varied, but the first two had to be perfect every time, even if they were little more than stickers and glorified dental floss. They made sure that the darts of the bust hit at the perfect angle, the buttons fell in a straight line and didn't gap, necklines lay smoothly, no unsightly lines at the hip or bum and nothing showing through if it was a light fabric. She had almost two dozen bras alone, every one modified by hand to fit perfectly, even compensating subtly for the right one being just a little bigger than the left.
She had learned what they liked to see. Black and red and purple; whore colors, slut colors, trashy colors, bold and wanton and so cliché. They liked lingerie, liked the show and the striptease, and she had sewn for them in the middle of the night, planned for them in the daylight as fastidiously as for any contest or special event. Babydolls, Merry widows, Charmeuses that tore so easily, Teddies, waist cinchers, lace chemises, wispy thongs and sheer cups. Sequins to catch the eye, feathers or velvet to draw a softer touch where the bruises were deepest, lacing that drew out the looking hole by hole.
She particularly hated the purple; it had always been her signature.
No one knew about the lingerie but her. Even they probably assumed she already owned all those pieces, girl like her. Only she knew that the bloody fingerprints on the hidden parts of her pillow were most often from sewing too much and too late for them. Making it pretty. Sexy. Perfect. Slutty. Only the foundation garments, but they were the most important in the end, and they really said it all.
Once the foundation garments were made, the pattern was the next step away from the sketch. Sometimes you did it live, draping on the form or the model themselves, pinning and tucking and cutting as you went. Simpler or more tailored looks called for a sloper and toiles. Truly bespoke tailoring and menswear – that beautiful coat of Michael's she should still be so proud of but somehow wasn't – needed drafting. Every curve was calculated, every easement and grading. She always made her patterns herself. They saved so much time in the end, so easy to tweak and re-use once you'd worked out the basics.
And really, hadn't she known the shape of what she was making for years now? She'd certainly been warned enough. From the rise of McGonagall's eyebrow at the hem of her skirt skimming the absolute edge of dress code to the outright catcalls on the streets, she'd been warned. This was what happened to bad girls like her. This was the threat and the promise that made "slut" a dirty word and what made it an inevitable act of nature to do "things" to sluts. No one had said it in those terms, but they didn't need to, the pattern was clear.
What were you wearing? (You set the pattern. Short skirts. Tight bodices. Low necklines. Cutouts. Sheer. Lace. Leather. Stockings with seams up the back. Peekaboo heels. Slits. Straps. Curves. Untieable bows. That shade of lipstick. False eyelashes. Getting around dress code by eroticizing the nape of the neck, the wristbone, the good old Victorian ankle.) Whatcha got tonight, slut? Eyes unpeeling her skin like razors glinting in the dark. Lessee whatcha got. Oh, that's nice, that's real nice…give us some tits, yeah?
Why were you out alone? (Rulebreaker. No steady boyfriend. Why should you expect to be able to keep a man? What do you mean you don't want kids? Don't want to get married? Want to travel to France alone. To Milan. Sneak out and fake ID to get into fashion events in London. Make business cards that don't say your age and pass them out to suppliers and clothiers like you're someone already presumptuous little ambitious liar should have been a Slytherin.) Ain't nobody out to hear you, bitch. The slap echoes empty in proof. You only make noise if we say.
Why didn't you tell anyone sooner? (You think so fucking much of yourself, don't you? Do you have any idea how much you've hurt people letting it go on this long? Neville's never going to forgive himself. Seamus cried, right there in front of everyone. You called Ernie out of bed with his wife and you know they almost never get that. It could have been taken care of the very first night, no big deal, if you'd just said so.) Remember, slut, one word to anybody and you'll be gettin' called to the office for some sad bloodtraitor news. Wand held a twitch away from the black brand pulsing on the same rhythm as the cock being mashed between her tits and the pads of the fingers smashing her nipple until blood seeps in little pinpricks from the too-pink flesh. All we gotta do is touch these, and there's two of us, so you'd better be real sure you can get us both fast enough.
Why didn't you trust us? (Like we haven't laughed at you, called you stupid shallow bitch when we didn't want your approval or to be dressed, taken sides for the 'underdog' and called you a whore and a homewrecker and worse when you let your crush get in the way of the crush of another girl who had always treated the boy like shit and hadn't made a move in more than five years of chances and was dating someone else) Daddy told me he saw Lestrange take a bloke's whole skin off with nail scissors today. A kick to her kidneys that arches her back so hard that when she hears the crack of her knees on the floor she thinks it's her spine breaking for an instant. Daddy says the Dark Lord's snake digests real slow and you can see 'em wriggling around and hear 'em screaming for a while 'til he figures they suffocate. Hand in her hair until she can't stop the tears but that's good and she wore the mascara that streaks, the kind that lets them see it. Three coats. Who gives a fuck about spider lashes. Daddy says there's big bonuses for blood-traitors.
Why didn't you fight back? (Like you could have you know it and we know it. We've seen you in training. You can circumcise a gnat at fifty paces. We know you could have taken them. We would have. We'd have fought to our last breath before we'd let someone put their hands on us like that or take our clothes off. But we know that doesn't matter to you does it? You set the pattern that your body's for whoever wants to see it.) Daddy says they've got a bloke in from Egypt who's teaching all kinds of wicked cool new stuff about pain. Spread herself against the back of a chair and it keeps a barrier in exchange for just a little more humiliation. Daddy says they're adding a whole bunch more Death Eaters. They want her to put WHAT oh shit thank Merlin they won't notice the Reducio if she screams convincingly and scratches herself with her nails to bring a little blood. Daddy says the Dark Lord threw a whole family of Blood Traitors into the North Sea yesterday and watched the sharks eat 'em.
Why did you encourage them? (You didn't admit it but you don't have to. We just know you did because you encourage everyone. Tease. Bitch. Cunt. Nothing gives you a thrill like a good set of blue balls. Did you really believe that they'd never get you back for that? You've been saying yes with every fluttered eyelash and cocked hip since third year. You made the pattern. You can't expect to lead guys on like that and not have someone act on it eventually.) Tell us how bad you want it, slut. Oh I want it so bad. I can never get enough. I want you both. I need cock in both hands. Beg for it. Please, please, hit me again! I'm a bad, bad, dirty girl! Filthy whore! Punish me, baby! Does it feel good? Oh, yes, yes, yes, hurts so good! Do you like it like this? Please! Want more? Yes, yes, make me bleed! I'm such a dirty, kinky bitch!
What did they do exactly? (Have your mother there tied up with a wand to her head? Knock you out? Tie you up? Imperius Curse? Some kind of potion or drug? Body-bind? Was there any legitimate reason you couldn't have kicked their arses from here to the Channel and back or even killed them?) Cum drying slowly in her hair and on her face and stomach, both of them splayed and spent and half asleep on their chairs. She should, could run, her wand is right there, and she doesn't know, she can never defend why she doesn't and didn't do any of a thousand things. But she just curls up and sobs until her throat hurts and they're all the way asleep, then she cleans up and gets dressed and Merlin knows why she makes sure to wake them before she leaves. So they don't get caught, you know. She'll be back tomorrow. They want something with laces this time, something they can tighten.
Did you really think they'd hurt your family? (They were sure saved easily enough. Not like those two are bright enough to pull anything serious off. Aren't their fathers on the outs with Malfoy's dad anyway? Besides, there's a big difference between a little bullying and murder. And if you were really that afraid of them, wouldn't you have fucked them too? Why take chances if it was real? You made the pattern, it was all in your head, you just let yourself believe it.) Eyes closed, making it look like pleasure and sound like pain in just the right balance while she slipped away inside her head. Not to a good place or a pretty place but to a place where this was her mother, her grandmother, her three year old niece being held against the wall while they ground against her bum and bit the skin at her waist that Rowan had made it so much harder to get hold of, bit patterns on her breasts, lines down her inner arms. So much better that it was her. She was strong enough and it was her fault anyway.
But they never put their dicks in you? They never really raped you? (You let Ron do enough. We all saw it, you made sure of that. Poor Hermione, really rubbed her face in it, didn't you, slag? We know you're not a virgin, and we all get the shit kicked out of us basically daily between the Carrows and the DA, so there's just not many tears to be had for the bruises. You set the pattern for this, sucking Ron's tongue down to your navel then wailing around for weeks like you'd been some innocent good girl.) Greg slipped that one time and knackered himself. She comforted him, genuinely comforted him, put her clothes on went down to the kitchen and got him ice because she didn't want to give him the wrong idea by asking for her wand back. You don't take care of your rapist if it's real or worry about him and whether it's going to go as badly for them as it obviously has for Draco or if their brutality will keep them safe.
Well, it could have been worse. Just so glad you're ok. (Lucky lucky got off lucky nothing to complain about. Attention whore. Do you have to be in the spotlight all the time? Drama queen. Don't you realize you're upsetting everyone? ) She stole extra napkins and used them to clean up. You could always throw those away bloody in the bins in the girls' washrooms and no one asked questions. She wore every layer the uniform allowed and opaque tights. For warmth. She wore track suits zipped up in DA workouts. For Vicky's sake. Now that she and Rowan were dating it wasn't fair to dress the way she used to. Wink. Cheeky grin and tit wiggle. She was struggling with homework, Parvati could shower first.
I'm not going to hold it against you or anything, I don't think less of you. (I could. I should. You know that. I'm being generous but I don't have to be. You don't have to be nice to a slut.) She could feel their eyes on her. Not just those two. All of them. At first it was just Draco and Ted and Blaise, then all the Slytherins, then everyone, even those who pretended not to know. She could hear them whispering and she knew what they were saying. Had she really been beaten so hard last night that she'd pissed herself? It was true! And she'd gotten down on her hands and knees and had her face rubbed in it and called herself a bad bad bitch! Completely disgusting! Made you want to puke! How did she dare show herself in public?
Those two are so gross, I'm not surprised they did something like this. (It's not really their fault. They're like animals. Between their IQ and their upbringing, they can't help it. It's what guys like that do. It's like you were dangling meat in front of a dog and then acting shocked when they bit.) She was being ridiculous. She'd always just rolled her eyes or teased back or even one-upped It. At least a third of the guys in school. More on the street. Blowing a kiss back to a wolf whistle with a snappy comeback about cock size shouldn't have felt like she'd earned another six strokes. It had always been everywhere. The looks. The comments. The jokes. The promisethreatoffers. They were normal and it wasn't allowed to matter even especially when because it did.
It's been stopped now, the guys were pretty awesome. (They treated it like a real rape and everything, even though it wasn't. Those at least involve saying no instead of, you know, going back night after night in custom made lingerie, performing hour-long stripteases, and screaming yes over and over again. It was amazingly good of them; Ginny had to stop them from killing those two for you. Wow, doesn't that say so much about the power of the DA's love for one another? Even touch their slut and we'll make an example of you like you'd raped their sweetest virgin. They're just that badass. They stopped it and did what you should have from the start. They even got revenge for you, so you'd better be grateful. Better be happy now. Better be fixed. They fixed it for you. Cleaned up your mess.) Needing to do something herself. Feeling petty and silly for it and like she had to ask Seamus' permission to help her and not understanding why. Feeling like nothing was fixed and she was an ungrateful cunt on top of a disgusting whorebag for it.
It's ok now. (No it's not.) No it's not.
Ginny said differently, but Ginny cheated, she didn't understand. She lived halfway in the boys' world, granted permission to be there by the right number of brothers and the right kind tomboy sass, the right kind of athleticism and the right kind of pretty that came with lithe lines and freckles and the eensiest little bit of an overbite and the sacrifice of anything deemed 'too girly.' Lavender was grateful for Ginny in having someone who just let her cry when there was nothing else to do and someone who kept her from having to actually confront them – because she'd have just caved and apologized and done it again, she knew, fucked up as that was – but Ginny had never really gotten the rules other women had to live by. Bitch.
But when the pattern is in place and everyone knows what's being made, it's time to choose your fabric, cut it out, sew it, do the actual work of the damned thing.
Sneak out every night after curfew using every trick that was supposed to be advancing their cause. Spend half an hour in the closet with a red light – hadn't escaped her how poetically perfect that was – and a tiny mirror mounted on the inside of the door. Get the makeup just right, curl her hair, straighten her stockings, clips and buttons and tear-away hook and loop arranged perfectly. She'd even lubed herself to make it feel better. You don't do that in a rape. You don't get ready for a sexual assault.
Report on time and writhe and shimmy and crawl and unlace and peel off and pout and smile. You don't choreograph a sexual assault. Know when to cry out like it hurt and when to make a sexy little moan and when to ask for another and when to pretend to fight and how much. You don't orchestrate your reactions to a real beating to maximize the pleasure of an actual attacker. Really, she'd just taken a job as a BDSM stripper that paid in a false sense of security for her family, and how fucking low was that? If she was going to degrade herself like that, she should have at least done it in the back room of the Hogs Head on Friday nights and gotten some startup money for her business.
And Merlin, if she was honest – if she was really fucking honest for once – hadn't she thought about that? Wouldn't she be doing that right now if she'd not gotten wrapped up in the DA? She'd even defended it to Mike when she'd asked for help learning to do the splits over a year ago. Told him it was an empowering choice and turning the liability of her looks around to get her capitol fast. If she'd been willing to strip for strangers and get beaten to hell for the DA, how was this different at all? It wasn't. You couldn't be ready to be a fucking stripper and then be upset when you had to fucking strip.
It was a job. A sick, sick job in a sick, sick year, but since when had anyone promised her that life would be easy or pretty or fair? Well, except when they said that if you were easy and pretty, anything was fair. That much, at least, was true.
And when all was said and done, there was no leaving what she'd made hidden, no matter how she tried. It was shameful what she'd made, but there was only so much layers could get you by. Eventually the rumors had been right that the only reason a girl like her would ever cover up was that she'd gotten herself in trouble.
Merlin, she'd never forget Neville's eyes. Last boy in the school she'd ever have wanted to hurt. He was so kind, so good to everyone, had been through so much more than his fair share and had always treated her like a little sister, even before he had blossomed into himself with the DA. She'd seen the awful shock, and it had felt like she punched him and then stole something precious while he was down.
Somehow, there'd been less shame in sticking her fingers up her own ass and begging to be beaten for it. That was an expected consequence of her choices. Hurting a good boy who'd never given in to her temptations wasn't.
Once she saw that look, that understanding, there was no further to fall. Nothing more to hide. After that she'd just let him see the mess she'd made, and the only thing that had stopped her from taking the rest off too was a last second realization that he was already rattled by the amount of skin she was showing. Then it was just standing there and being seen. That she was used to, or she should have been.
It shouldn't have been so hard to hear the things said and asked that she'd already known and heard in her own head so many times. It should have helped when Parvati and Ginny came down and wrapped her in blankets and talked to her. If she'd been anything like the poor little victim they thought she was, she'd have not been faking all the right responses to that just as much as she'd faked cumming for Vince and Greg.
But they wanted to make it go away, and she knew that wasn't possible. She'd made it; this seamless, perfectly shaped suit of soft leather mottled in so many colors and subtly torn. Now she had to wear it. Live in it. Live with it.
Accessorize it with smiles and bravely subdued tears that still flow just freely enough to let the right people know she's contrite and understands what she's done. Pick up the hue of gratitude with a sweet hug to the boy whose good upbringing from his grandmother should have been enough to keep him safe from the swirling disaster around girls like her and kiss his cheek and thank him for fixing it for her. Mean it about her family, even…nothing brings the look together like a single real gem among the paste.
The effect is beautiful.
It's like her own, feminine version of Seamus' stunt at the beginning of the year, really. She brought it on herself, but the other party still makes such a delicious villain for it and all the better for the satisfying revenge and the brassy bounceback as if it never happened. Those irrepressible Gryffindors. Brave to the point of stupidity. No sooner are the bruises gone than the cleavage is back and she's eating bananas bold as anything in the Great Hall as if it never happened. Even Ginny is proud of her.
The underpinnings hurt.
Still hiding in closets to scream silently in her hands for no good reason. Still feeling like she was going to vomit when she passed them in the hall, even if they looked terrified to even be on the same floor as her. Still unable to look at herself sometimes when she changed or bathed, but then other times examining her body in the mirror for as long as she could get away with. Being suddenly, hysterically certain that she would never be able to enjoy normal sex again and wanting to shag the nearest nice boy into the wall right there just to see if she could…and five minutes later watching Wayne stretch with his soaked shirt clinging to his abs and the little trail of ginger and freckles leading below his waistband and being so dry it itched. Wanting to be held all night and held naked and knowing what that said about her even if she never acted on even half of it and how it wouldn't be fair to ask a wizard that if she didn't want to give him the rest, especially when she already had once.
Knowing she'd be fine because she expected this and had been warned about this in a manner of speaking since puberty and it wasn't so bad and her family was safe and it could have been so much worse and knowing she'd never be fine again. Knowing she'd been right all along.
Beauty's a bitch.