Who: Andrew Singh, Lavender Brown
Where: The Grotto
When: 1 June 2001, evening
By the time AJ arrived, having dutifully sat down with his Potions text for a while, the party was in full swing. But it was easy to spot Lavender on the crowded dance floor; she really hadn’t been kidding about that short skirt. His eyebrows went up, and then he wove his way through the crowd to surprise her with an arm slung around her shoulder, and a quick squeeze of a side-hug. “Hey, birthday girl. I made it. Can I get you another one of — whatever that is?” He grinned as he indicated her extremely colorful drink.
“Hello, Healer Singh,” Lavender said with a cheeky grin and a kiss to his cheek. She didn’t stop dancing for a single moment, the music moved through her body in way she couldn’t help. She’d always loved to dance, but something about her the preternatural grace that was part of Greyback’s inheritance made it as much instinct as it was fun.
“This is a Sex on the Beach and I would very much like some more.”
“Trainee Healer Singh,” AJ corrected her, kindly. “That’s why I can’t stay too long.” He felt it was necessary to keep repeating that, so he’d have some public accountability to hold himself to it.
“One Sex on the Beach, coming right up,” he promised, and wove his way back through the crowd to acquire one, and a beer for himself. When he returned and handed Lavender her fresh drink, he tugged on her arm and tried to gesture for her to step off the dance floor with him. Although he’d promised to dance with her, it really wasn’t his favorite activity, particularly when he was trying not to slosh his drink all over his dance partner.
“You’ll be a Healer soon enough,” said Lavender, waving a dismissive hand. He was so close to finishing, it seemed like semantics to her to insist that she call him a trainee. What was a few weeks and a few exams? AJ knew his shit even if he wasn’t sure he did.
She took the drink and allowed herself to be tugged off the dance floor a little bit reluctantly. She was having fun! He should join her in the fun having. “Don’t you want to dance?”
To AJ, that gap between “Healer” and “almost a Healer” felt pretty damn wide, even if it was closing by the minute. But it was Lavender’s birthday, so he wasn’t about to keep quibbling.
“I’m a better conversationalist than I am a dancer. Cheers! To your birthday. What are you, twenty—?” Shit, he was totally blanking on how old she was actually turning, and he was afraid to offend her by guessing either too high or too low. “—nine?” he finished, flashing the kind of smile that usually got him out of trouble. “Because you don’t look a day over thirty.”
Better conversationalist than he was a dancer? Humph. Lavender would see about that. She was fairly certain that she could make anyone into a good dancer with the right amount of encouragement.
“One!” she said, looking playfully affronted. (Though secretly she was worrying slightly that maybe she looked older than she’d thought. Were her monthly transformations taking a greater toll than she’d realized?) “We’re not all over the hill like you.”
AJ squinted and pretended to be examining her for proof of age. “Yeah, alright, I suppose I’ll buy it. But you can never tell, with girls and their anti-aging charms.” There, he’d hoped he’d successfully suggested she certainly didn’t actually look twenty-nine.
He sipped his beer and turned contemplative. “Twenty-one… That was an interesting year. Came back to Wales, started training…” Had his heart crushed a bit, which precipitated the other actions he’d mentioned, but he didn’t want to bring down the party with any reminisces about that particular part of being twenty-one. “What about you, planning on any major life changes this year?”
“You mean besides my potential trip to Azkaban on a life sentence?” Lavender quipped, attempting a bit of gallows humor and hoping he wouldn’t notice that her heart wasn’t entirely in it. “Not really.”
She didn’t have any goals, really. Maybe it was a consequence of her disease, or the war, or losing her parents. She wasn’t sure. But somewhere along the way she’d decided to just let life do what it would with her.
“Maybe I’ll write a book.”
AJ was glad that Lavender was now able to joke about the arrest — at least that’s how he interpreted the comment — but gladder when she supplied a change of subject. “A book? What about? Truth or fiction?”
He realized he’d somehow drained half his pint already, and made a mental note to slow down. He’d promised one drink, but he’d also promised to make it last. But maybe two wouldn’t hurt… If he had two, and stopped there, he’d certainly be no worse for the wear for his shift the next day…
Lav had to suppress a giggle at AJ’s sudden interest in her literary career. She knew that she’d never write a book. She didn’t have the patience for anything of the sort.
“A romance novel,” she teased, cutting her eyes at him over the rim of her fruity drink. “A really steamy one.”
“Truth, then,” AJ pronounced. “Or maybe a thinly veiled version of it.” He arched his eyebrows. “Am I right?”
OK, what the hell, he was going to finish this beer and get another.
“Definitely truth,” Lavender said with a flirtatious smile. Setting her drink down for a moment she stretched in a manner that she had found made men rather fascinated with the length of her neck. “Perhaps I’ll make the heroine a werewolf so that she actually has a reason to be so remarkably bendy.”
Every curse had to have some silver lining, right?
AJ stared for a moment, and then coughed and deliberately looked away, as though he’d accidentally walked in on Lavender in a state of undress and was trying to be a gentleman about it. Which, in his mind at least, he sort of had.
He took a sip of his beer, draining the glass, as he tried to come up with an appropriate response for all that bendiness. “That reminds me, did you ever try that yoga we talked about?”