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19 December 2012 @ 07:31 am
Fic: what if this storm ends? for primeideal  
Title: what if this storm ends?
Author: ???
A Gift for: [personal profile] primeideal
Rating: PG-13
Length: 2,345
Character(s): Lavender Brown
Warnings: character death, a few swear words.
Author's Notes: I stumbled upon this fest a little late, but fortunately still got the opportunity to participate by pinch-hitting. Thanks go to my beta for looking at this even though I didn’t tell her about it until I sent it her way and demanded it back the same day. For [personal profile] primeideal, who wanted to know about kids in Dumbledore’s Army, perhaps a fleshing out of a lesser known character, and hoped for a bit of humor. I hope this hits the spot.

01. black ink: She did it for the wrong reasons. Lavender knows that now.

The first time being part of Dumbledore’s Army was about Ron. Her name scrawled in black ink on the parchment, swirls and carelessness, and hope for something that wasn’t ever really there in the first place. A girl who imagined herself a princess going after the boy she imagined her prince, the hero of the story she’d spun in her head.

Even so, she’d learned how to cast a proper Patronus Charm.

The second time the D.A. had need to come together, there was no secret contract. The second time was about survival and courage, and all the things the Sorting Hat had obviously seen in some deep, dark corner of her being.

The thing about it is that even though she did it the first time for the wrong reasons, she did it the second time for the right ones.

And that’s what counts, in the end.

02. floating candles: When school started that year she could almost pretend nothing was different. Lavender had always been quite good at enchanting herself, after all. She liked to believe in things that were beautiful and romantic and fantastical, because why let reality be dull and dark and frightening? Why not hope for the best? Why not pursue a dream? Why not believe in soulmates and true love and destinies written in the stars?

At the opening feast that year, she found if she stared hard enough at the flickering flame of a floating candle she could ignore that Dumbledore wasn’t there, and that Harry and Ron and Hermione weren’t there, and that none of the Muggleborn students were there either. She could ignore the Professors Carrow sitting at the head table, and that the Gryffindor table was unnaturally quiet.

Someone had to be silly and cheerful and let’s-look-at-the-bright-side. Someone had to giggle and gossip about things that don’t matter. It’s the way it should be.

And really, nonsense can be a comfort when reality sucks. Lavender was good at nonsense.

03. first snow: Michael Corner was caught trying to free a first year boy from imprisonment in the dungeons. The Carrows punished him with torture and the Cruciatus Curse, and that changed everything.

Before it had been punishment in the Forbidden Forest for graffiti on the walls. Ernie Macmillan had been taught a lesson with a back-handed swing, or five. Others, too. Lavender knew it was serious. She’d personally tended to Ernie’s split lip and the cut on his hairline. She’d tended to a lot of cuts and bruises. (She had somehow become the D.A.’s de facto nurse. Maybe because she was all nonsense and they could just breathe when she chattered about anything but the reason why she was oh-so-gently dabbing away blood and rubbing in bruise balm).

But when she’d brushed Michael’s hair back as he slept to calm away the twitching, she watched his dreams make him whimper, cause tears to leak at the corners of his eyes. Lavender did not chatter. There was no silly nonsense. There was only grave seriousness in her pale eyes. He was lucky. The curse hadn’t lasted for more than a moment. He would not be like Neville’s parents.

But it hit her that day that this was War and that they might not all make it by the time it was over.

She lost her virginity to Seamus Finnigan on the seventeenth of December beneath the Quidditch stands. It snowed.

04. please forget me never: She told Parvati about it, of course. On Christmas. Because what else was there to be excited about on Christmas this year? There was no postl, no gifts, and no guarantee that those who’d decided to go home for the holiday would even come back.

There was no guarantee of anything.

That was why Lavender had snuck away with Seamus. (And not just that one night, either. On Christmas Eve they’d snuck out again because they could, and because it made their hearts race in a good way, and because touching and feeling and breathing so fast because your skin is so sensitive, and oh my god, don’t stop... because it made them feel alive, and what’s better than that as a Christmas gift to each other in the middle of a war?)

Parvati was scandalized, but they giggled like mad and Lavender shared all the details because that’s what best girlfriends do. If only for a few hours, they felt like they were supposed to feel: seventeen years old, concerned with nothing but boys and the right now, and if they think about tomorrow at all they know it’s nothing but bright possibilities.

The silliness even carries them to a silly-morbid-madness, and they laugh hysterically about the scandalous things they’ll say at each other’s funerals if they don’t make it, because can you imagine the look on McGonagall’s face?

But eventually the giddiness leaves and it gets quiet, and as they lay there in the dark of their dorm room, Lavender reaches out and links her fingers with the one girl who is the sister of her heart. Please forget me never.

Parvati holds tight. Never, never.

05. not listening to a word: Seamus wants to go steady. He talks and talks and talks. He tells her he loves her.

Lavender wasn’t in it for steady, or for talking, or for love. Not right now. Doesn’t he understand that nothing’s for sure? Doesn’t he get that what they have right now is right now? Because tomorrow he could be gone, or she could, or the whole fucking world could end, and what then?

There’s a part of her that’s so, so sad about the girl she is now because she’s not the girl she should be. The girl she should be would have been so thrilled because this is love and beauty and destiny! Star-crossed lovers!

The girl she is now is closing her eyes and shaking her head ever so slightly as he tells her all the reasons they could work, why they can’t let anything stand between them, especially since the future is so uncertain. The girl she is now isn’t listening to a word he’s saying.

06. meanwhile: So she does what she’s always done. She’s the girl with the soft touch and a silly word to fix scraped knees and bandage hurts. They’re in the Room of Requirement now and so she holds first and second years when they have night terrors, and she tells stories of unicorns and princesses and lovers whose romance was written in the stars.

Lavender kisses away little hurts, and she kisses away her own with Justin Finch-Fletchley and Cormac McLaggen and Zacharias Smith. None of them ask to go steady, and none of them talk about love. They get it. They get that tomorrow might not come, and that it’s just for now and to feel alive and to be warm and thrilled if only for a moment.

She still giggles with Parvati in the dark, in their corner under the blanket fort they’ve made for themselves and Padma. When she’s not singing lullabies to the baby Gryffindors and Huffles, and ickle Ravenclaws too, then she’s telling her best-friend-forever about how Justin kisses like a fish and Cormac’s kisses are more than a little too wet, and who knew Zacharias Smith was so bold?! And so very clever with his hands.

She blushes and bandages. She sets aside her beloved Divination books and starts making notes in her Defense Against the Dark Arts text. She practices her swishes and flicks and is starting to get tired of waiting.

Lavender comes to realize that uncertainty and suspense is exhausting, and that war changes even the silly, nonsensical girls.

07. sun-faded photographs: The only thing she kept on her at all times was her wand and two photographs.

One photo is of her with her parents at the lake three summers prior. Her papa’s giving her bunny ears, and when the image of herself notices, she pokes him in the side. Hard. There’s an ‘oof’ and then he’s tickling her and she’s giggling like mad. Her mum rolls her eyes, but there’s that secret smile just at the corner of her mouth. Like Wendy’s kiss in Peter Pan.

The other photo is of she and Parvati laughing so hard they actually fall off the bed in their dorm room. It was taken when they were fifth years. Lavender can’t remember what was so funny anymore. (Parvati can. Parvati can tell the whole story so well that by the time she’s done they always end up laughing just as hard, fall off the bed, or just plain fall over if they’re sitting on the ground, and hold their tummies because it hurts they’re laughing so hard. Lavender forgets on purpose so it can be new and hilarious every time.)

She turns them over and writes on the back of them. Dear Papa and Mum. Dear Parvati. All the things she loves about them. How much they mean to her. How she wouldn’t be who she is today (and isn’t she pretty fabulous?) without them. That she loves them more than anything.

Lavender tries to tell herself these aren’t goodbyes. But she’s not the same girl she was before. She can’t stare into the fire anymore and pretend that everything’s okay. It’s coming. She can feel it. Like a buzzing thing in the air, a tension that’s ready to snap, and she’s honest enough with herself now to know that when the pressure gives way she might not have the chance to say all these things.

So she writes them down and puts them in her wooden jewelry box and knows that either she’ll be the one to find them and keep them to herself as she always has, or that someday they might make it to their intended recipients by another’s hand.

No regrets.

08. in cold blood: She may have joined the D.A. the first time for the wrong reasons, but she still learned how to jinx and charm and hex her way to the thick of the battle. The battle she’d hoped would happen so they could stop living half lives.

The battle she’d hoped would never come because it was the battle to end a war, and not everyone was sure to survive. And no one could be sure if what was on the other side of the battle would be any better than what was in front of it.

But she had to hope for the-something-better. They all did. And that’s why she gave it everything she had, and in some ways was so thrilled to be there and so thrilled to be effective and not silly or nonsensical or any of the things everyone said she was, because she was brave and deadly and courageous and maybe she’d be a hero when it was all over.

Maybe they’d all be heroes.

She never saw him coming. There was just blood, and then pain, and then the realization the red stain was hers.

They say it happens in cold blood, but the irony is that the blood leaking between her fingers is quite hot.

09. hush, little baby: When she was little Lavender was scared of thunder. Ottery St. Mary wasn’t a thunderstorm hotspot, but the late fall and winter always brought a storm or two off the sea that could shake their little cottage as if the earth itself was actually responsible.

She remembers crying, running to her parent’s room. Her mum would always pull her into bed with them and wrap her up into the curve of her body. Lavender would always press her cheek to her mum’s chest, listen to the the steady thump thump thump of her heartbeat. She remembers her mum petting her hair away from her face, and the whisper song she would sing to chase away the fear.

Hush, little baby, don’t you cry...

It’s an odd thing to remember at a time like this. Because Lavender is sure she’s dying, and that this time the not-so-steady thump thump thump roaring in her ears is her own heart slowly losing its rhythm.

It occurs to her that she should be in pain.

When she’s too tired to keep her eyes anymore, she wonders if she’ll ever open them again.

10. for what it’s worth: “She wasn’t all silliness and nonsense, and she didn’t just concern herself with beauty and love, and soulmates with destinies written in the stars.

Lavender loved hard, and she loved big, and with her whole self. She never did anything halfway. She stood up for her friends, and for herself, and for all the things she believed in like beauty and love, but also truth and justice and honor. She rocked others to sleep when they were too scared to fall asleep on their own. She told everyone stories about princesses and princes defeating dragons, and how everyone lived happily ever after because she knew that’s what people needed to hear even if they knew it wasn’t true.

It should be said that Lavender was more than the small little box others put her in.

She was there that day, after all, and she fought fiercely and passionately, and why else would have Greybeck gone after her anyway?

For what its worth, Lavender was pretty fucking amazing.”

Parvati swallowed away the sob wanting out, folded up the scribbled-on parchment and slipped the photograph inside, and then stepped away from the lectern. A yellow rose was laid on the coffin.

A broken half-sob, half-laugh escaped. She knew Lavender would have been proud. She’d had the stones to swear at her funeral. And McGonagall’s face had truly been priceless.

Tags: ,
pitrypitry on December 19th, 2012 07:46 am (UTC)
My heart just broke. And the ending was absolutely brilliant!
Elle Blessingway: Stock: Kiss Meelle_blessing on January 6th, 2013 08:12 pm (UTC)
The ending gave me fits, so I'm glad it worked for you.

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!
primeideal.dreamwidth.orgprimeideal.dreamwidth.org on December 19th, 2012 04:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! :D Glad you were able to participate on short-notice. The little details like the story that always had Lavender laughing and her writing on the back of the photographs were particularly engaging. :)
Elle Blessingway: Stock: Kiss Meelle_blessing on January 6th, 2013 08:15 pm (UTC)
I'm glad I was able to participate on short notice, too :) Your prompt was challenging for me because I like writing the bad or morally questionable characters, haha!

I enjoyed writing the "sun-faded photographs" section -- glad you liked it!

Thanks for reading and reviewing!
lyras: Molesworth the Hufflepufflyras on December 19th, 2012 05:25 pm (UTC)
This was wonderful! I love that you embraced the way Lavender is portrayed in canon but made so much more of it. I read the warning at the beginning, and was worried that the ending would be oversimplified or schmaltzy, but you carried it off perfectly. And the friendship you showed between Lavender and Parvati was beautiful. Lovely stuff.
Elle Blessingway: Stock: Kiss Meelle_blessing on January 6th, 2013 08:19 pm (UTC)
Lavender wasn't a character I liked much in canon. She's very annoying, haha! But people aren't one dimensional, so my challenge with her was to try and make her more than what Harry saw.

I had a hard time with the ending, so I'm really glad it worked for you. I was trying not to make it oversimplified or schmaltzy. It's a relief to hear that you didn't think it was!

Thanks so much for reading (despite the warning) and reviewing!
mollywheezy: Gryffindor Womenmollywheezy on December 19th, 2012 09:47 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed your characterization of Lavender and your way of showing how she grew up. The end had me sobbing and laughing at the same time. Beautiful work!
Elle Blessingway: Stock: Kiss Meelle_blessing on January 6th, 2013 08:21 pm (UTC)
I know Lavender isn't a character fandom generally likes much. I'm glad you enjoyed this exploration of her character!

Such a huge compliment that you were both amused and sad at the end -- exactly what I was hoping for!

Thanks for taking the time to read and review!
Feather Quill: Christmas Summerfeatherxquill on December 20th, 2012 04:40 am (UTC)
This is lovely. A wonderful exploration of her character, made all the more poignant by the inclusion of her film-canon death. I love the way you show that Gryffindor bravery comes in many shapes :).
Elle Blessingway: Stock: Kiss Meelle_blessing on January 6th, 2013 08:25 pm (UTC)
I know Lavender isn't a character fandom likes much -- I didn't like her much in the books! I'm glad you enjoyed my characterization of her.

We get a lot of ostentatious examples of traditional bravery with Harry, but Neville's bravery was also highlighted in the books. Which was the thread I followed for Lavender. The every day braveries are just as important as the huge gestures and moments.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!
Deslea R. Judd: sophiebbrighterdeslea on December 20th, 2012 05:46 am (UTC)
Oh my. I've never liked Lavender before, but I could feel her just melting my heart as I followed her journey. Beautifully done.

The silliness even carries them to a silly-morbid-madness, and they laugh hysterically about the scandalous things they’ll say at each other’s funerals if they don’t make it, because can you imagine the look on McGonagall’s face?

That one just got me, right there.
Elle Blessingway: Stock: Kiss Meelle_blessing on January 6th, 2013 08:26 pm (UTC)
I never liked Lavender much either, haha! I'm really glad you enjoyed my take on her.

That moment ... it was one of the more vivid scenes for me. I'm glad it translated.

Thanks so much for taking a chance on a Lavender fic, and for reviewing!
Rozarka: lavenderthimble_kiss on December 20th, 2012 06:48 am (UTC)
That made my heart ache in the best way. Beautiful portrayal of Lavender and her friendship with Parvati, and of that whole year at Hogwarts, for that matter.
Elle Blessingway: Stock: Kiss Meelle_blessing on January 6th, 2013 08:27 pm (UTC)
It's always a huge compliment to hear that your writing evoked emotions :) I'm glad this piece worked for you.

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!
minervas_eule: my Minervaminervas_eule on December 20th, 2012 03:19 pm (UTC)
A very moving, believable story of growing up in difficult times... and the end was just *oh!*, you did prepare it so well... to get back to the promise made earlier, disguised as a joke, but to be taken serious after all... Bravo!
Elle Blessingway: Stock: Kiss Meelle_blessing on January 6th, 2013 08:29 pm (UTC)
The ending gave me fits. I wrote it several times and then inspiration struck and I ended up reworking the beginning a bit to get the ending. I'm glad it worked for you!

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!
dexstarr: owldexstarr on December 24th, 2012 07:45 pm (UTC)
I have to admit, Lavender isn't a character I've ever really cared for. But in this fic, you totally changed how I saw her. And the ending, guh, the ending!

Great job, mystery author.
Elle Blessingway: Stock: Kiss Meelle_blessing on January 6th, 2013 08:30 pm (UTC)
Lavender isn't a character I've much cared for either, if we're being honest ;) It's a huge compliment that this piece changed the way you perceive her -- I'm glad my characterization of her worked for you.

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!
#!/usr/bin/girl: rosesdelphipsmith on December 27th, 2012 01:38 am (UTC)
Oh, Mystery Author, you've made me cry... how lovely to see the real Lavender: complex, loving, brave, passionate, strong, loyal, clever...all the things that no one had time to learn before it was too late. Thank you for this, it's beautiful. ::wipes eyes::

Edit: And my goodness, such a stunner for a pinch hit!! I can't wait to find out who you are...

Edited at 2012-12-27 01:39 am (UTC)
Elle Blessingway: Stock: Kiss Meelle_blessing on January 6th, 2013 08:31 pm (UTC)
Aww! On the one hand I'm so sorry! On the other, it's a huge compliment that my writing made you feel so deeply -- so thank you :)

I'm not a huge fan of Lavender, but people aren't one dimensional and I figured there had to be more than what Harry saw in her. I'm really glad you liked my take on her character.

Thanks for taking the time to read and review!
DoraeAzure: Shinydoraeazure on December 27th, 2012 04:13 am (UTC)
What a beautiful portrayal of Lavender. i normally don't lik eher much--she's a bit...fluffy--but you made her strong and likeable and caring here. I particularly liked the depth of Lavender's friendship with Parvati. And the ending was so tragic! Very well done.
Elle Blessingway: Stock: Kiss Meelle_blessing on January 6th, 2013 08:33 pm (UTC)
She's definitely not one of my favorite canon characters either! But I figured there had to be more to her than what Harry saw. People aren't one dimensional, after all. I'm glad my characterization of her worked for you!

Thanks for reading and reviewing!
忘れな草: reading and researchingwasureneba on December 30th, 2012 06:01 am (UTC)
Oh my. This is just. . . wow. How heart-wrenching. (And such a deep and good portrayal of Lavender, too.)
Elle Blessingway: Stock: Kiss Meelle_blessing on January 6th, 2013 08:35 pm (UTC)
I've only written Lavender a few times, but this is the first time I've stuck with her canon death. I tend to like happy endings. I'm glad this worked for you though -- and my characterization of her.

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!
ARWitchyWoman: pic#119660392arwitchywoman on February 21st, 2014 11:21 am (UTC)
What great character development, and great treatment of an often maligned character. Lavender deserved the treatment you have given her. Just beautiful.
Elle Blessingway: Stock: Balletelle_blessing on March 11th, 2014 03:10 am (UTC)
Lavender isn't a character I'd explored a lot before this fic (and this one, that I wrote about the same time), but in writing these pieces, I found a new appreciation for her. It's really nice to hear you liked the development in particular -- Thank you!!