A/N: This piece was written for the Fairest of the Rare's advent event. Many thanks to my beta, gaeilgerua.

Disclaimer: All recognizable characters belong to JK Rowling and associates. No copyright infringement intended.


Second Chances

Lavender sipped at her Butterbeer, wondering once more why she had bothered to attend this little Christmas party in Hogsmeade.

Oh, right, it had been because Ron and Parvati both wouldn't stop bugging her to attend.

Was either of them around? No, they both had disappeared as soon as the three of them had walked into the Hog's Head. Ron was likely snogging Hermione in some corner while Parvati was likely making eyes at Blaise.

So here she was, sitting all alone at the bar. Glancing at the time, she decided she would stay for another fifteen minutes or so before leaving. That gave her enough time to finish her drink and linger as long as necessary.

"Can I get another Butterbeer?" she asked, turning around to face the bartender. She ignored the way his gaze lingered on the scar that covered her face.

"Sure," he said, turning around.

Someone took the seat next to her at the bar. Turning, Lavender was surprised to see her old classmate, Dean Thomas.

"Lavender!" he exclaimed upon seeing her. "How are you? I didn't know you were coming tonight!"

She blushed slightly. "I've been fine," she answered. "And me coming tonight was a last minute decision. You can thank Ron and Parvati for dragging me here." She took her Butterbeer from the bartender and paid. "How have you been, Dean?"

She looked him over discreetly. It had been some time since she had seen Dean, and she had to admit that he looked good. He was more fit than she remembered and his eyes… Had they always been that lovely shade of brown?

"I've been busy," Dean answered. "I've taken up a Charms apprenticeship at Durmstrang."

"Oh, not Hogwarts?"

Dean shook his head. "I needed to get away from Hogwarts. After everything…" he trailed off.

Lavender briefly touched his arm. "Trust me, I know."

"Has it been tough?"

Lavender shook her head. "I forget the scaring is there until someone stares or comments on it." She paused. "It doesn't bother me as much as it did when it was fresh."

"I admire you for being so strong," Dean said quietly. "We all went through stuff during the war, but you, Lavender…"

"It's nothing," she said, cheeks turning redder. The last thing she wanted was to listen to someone comment on how strong she was. What she went through was horrific. She didn't have a choice.

"I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable," Dean quickly said. "I'm sorry."

"It's okay," Lavender said. "I… I'm actually going to be heading out soon, though. These types of get-togethers aren't really my thing."

"Mine either, but Seamus bugged me to come."

"Seems like we both have pushy friends," Lavender said, laughing slightly. Picking up her Butterbeer, she took a few finishing sips. When she had finished with her drink, she placed it back on the counter. Surprised, she realised that one, Dean was still looking at her, and two, he didn't order anything to drink.

"Well, I think I'm going to head out," Lavender said. "It was nice talking with you, Dean."

"Let me walk you out," Dean said, standing.

Lavender was taken aback, but she nodded in agreement. The two of them made their way through the crowd of the Hog's Head, finally coming to the door.

"Oh," Lavender said, eyes widening as she felt a wave of magic wash over them. Looking up, she saw a small sprig of mistletoe. "Um, Dean?"

"Hmm?" he asked, his hand on the doorknob. He followed Lavender's pointed gaze and looked upwards. "Oh, that's mistletoe."

Lavender couldn't help the small giggle that escaped her lips. "It's mistletoe."

Dean turned to face her, placing his hand on her hips. He wasted no time in pulling her close and pressing a kiss to her lips. He lingered for a few seconds, his grip on her waist tightening slightly.

When he moved away, Lavender was surprised and slightly breathless.

"I've wanted to do that for ages," Dean admitted, his skin darkening slightly in a blush.

Lavender's eyes widened. "Really?"

"It's why I came tonight, really." Dean looked sheepish.

Lavender was speechless. Looking over Dean's shoulder, she realised they had caught the attention of quite a few people.

"Dean," Lavender said, taking his hand. "Want to come back to my place for some Christmas cookies and hot cocoa?"

Dean's eyes widened. "Really? I, yes!"

Lavender smiled. "Come on, then." She pulled him through the door, shutting it behind them. With a smile, she Disapparated them both with a pop!