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To Grandmother's House We Go

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Lavender watched as Parvati darted frantically around her flat, packing away the various dishes she'd spent all morning cooking: a large dish of spicy vegetable curry, rounds of garlic-flecked naan, a steaming mound of fragrant rice, and neat squares of cardamom-scented Mysore pak, all of which would be carted over to Parvati's grandmother's house, without so much as a bowl of rice leftover for Parvati's supper. Her grandmother refused to be put into a home, and was entirely too willing to cut any family member she was displeased with out of her substantial will, which meant her children and grandchildren indulged her every whim and took turns bringing her food every few days.

Lavender might not have been quite so resentful of the task that claimed an entire day of Parvati's time every other week, if it weren't for the fact that Parvati's nan was a hateful bitch. Lavender had always known her and Parvati weren't close, but it wasn't until Lavender and Parvati had finally officially started dating six months ago that Parvati had truly let Lavender see the extent of the emotional and psychological abuse her grandmother subjected her to. The hag never failed to bring Parvati to tears during their special visits, stabbing at every single one of her insecurities and twisting the knife, leaving Lavender to pick up the pieces afterward. Lavender didn't just lose out on the full day it took Parvati to make and deliver the food; the effects of the visits always lingered for a long time afterwards, leaving Parvati diminished and drab in their aftermath.

Lavender hated it.

Parvati was hers, her to love and care for and protect. She was Lavender's whole world, and it was only right that Lavender be the centre of Parvati's world, too. But her sense of duty and honour were in the way, causing her to give away her time and attention to a woman who didn't deserve them, squandering the time and attention that should be Lavender's. Lavender knew Parvati hated her nan almost as much as Lavender did, but her familial loyalty prevented her from letting the evil woman starve. So every week she went over and subjected herself to abuse, leaving Lavender helpless and furious, until she'd finally had enough and taken matters into her own hands.

"Are you sure you have to go?" Lavender asked, her heart twisting at the miserable expression on Parvati's face. When she was in Lavender's presence, she should feel only love and devotion. Lavender knew Parvati wouldn't stay, though it didn't stop her from asking. The day after the full moon always left her randy, full of an excess of energy just begging to be burned off, and spending the day rolling around in bed together was Lavender's favourite way to do so. Then again, if Parvati didn't go, she wouldn't see Lavender's gift.

Parvati flashed her a weary smile, her expression full of longing regret as she clearly picked up on the lascivious nature Lavender's thoughts had taken.

"If you wanted a shag you should've come over last night."

The question was just shy of pointed, and Lavender forced herself not to prickle and snap at her; Parvati didn't know any better, and there'd be time for Lavender to gently guide and correct her later, after the last of the secrets between them had finally been revealed. Parvati knew, of course, that Lavender had been attacked by Greyback during the Battle of Hogwarts, but she didn't know that Lavender had actually been turned. Not officially, anyway. But she was smart, and she had to have noticed that Lavender made herself scarce every full moon. It wasn't that Lavender meant to keep it a secret, it had just sort of happened, and like so many secrets it had taken on a life of its own the longer she'd kept it. But she was going to tell Parvati. Tonight, after she got Lavender's present.

"I'm sorry, love, trust me, but there's no way around it," Parvati said as she finished packing everything up, shrinking the dishes down and placing them carefully into the fashionable wicker handbag Lavender had bought for her last month. "I'll come to yours after?"

"Of course," Lavender replied, as if there was ever any other option, and then, slyly, "I've got a gift for you."

Parvati's face lit up. She loved presents, and Lavender loved spoiling her. "Ooo, a gift? Do I get any hints about what it is?"

Lavender flashed her a wicked grin, stepping in close and rubbing up against Parvati as she grabbed a red scarf from the hook just behind her.

"It's red, like this scarf. May I? You know how much I love to see you in this one."

Parvati nodded, and Lavender wound the scarf around Parvati's neck and head, adjusting it so it draped just so. The silk scarf was gorgeous, bringing out the warm undertones in Parvati's tan skin and making her eyes pop. Parvati was gorgeous, and hers. Lavender couldn't help herself, stealing a brief but passionate kiss. When she pulled back, Parvati blinked at her dreamily.

"Red you say? Did you get me rubies?"

Lavender laughed. "Even better." I got you freedom. "Now run along. The sooner you leave, the sooner I'll get to see you again."

"All right." She brushed another quick kiss, this one much more chaste, against Lavender's lips, her scarf caressing Lavender's cheek. "I'll see you soon."

Lavender left Parvati's flat with her before Apparating back to her own, excitement and anticipating bubbling in her gut. She almost wished she could be there with Parvati to see her face when she saw Lavender's gift, when she realised what Lavender had done for her. It would be a shock, Lavender knew, especially for somebody so tender-hearted as Parvati, but she was strong. She'd get over it. With Lavender's guidance, she would see that it was for the best, that Lavender only had Parvati's best interests at heart. She'd come over, after, and Lavender knew she'd be shaken, but Lavender would make her understand, and then she'd be so grateful. Lavender was going to take care of her. Nobody was ever going to hurt her again.

Lavender had been worried, at first, that she might not be able to follow-through with her plans while on wolfsbane, but the potion merely allowed her to keep her human intellect; it didn't take away her lethal abilities. Frankly, she was glad she had her full awareness. It meant she could still remember the way Parvati's nan's eyes had gone wide with fear and shock when she'd seen Lavender's luminous eyes in the darkness of her bedroom, and how she'd used her hateful, poisonous mouth to beg for a mercy Lavender had never intended to give.

She was still there now—what was left of her anyway—waiting for Parvati to discover her. Lavender wondered if Parvati would make the connections right away, if she'd notice how blood had stained her nan's bed sheets the same colour as Parvati's scarf. Would she scream? Would she faint? Would she laugh at the sight the way Lavender had? Soon, Lavender would know it all, would coax out every thought that passed through Parvati's pretty little head at the glorious, gruesome sight. Soon.

Lavender settled on her sofa facing the door, patient as the predator she'd become, and waited.