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Her Smile by thecoolestdork13

Format: Novella
Chapters: 3
Word Count: 6,116
Status: Abandoned

Rating: 12+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Contains Spoilers

Genres: Fluff, Humor, Romance
Characters: McGonagall, Albus, Hugo, James (II), OC
Pairings: Other Pairing

First Published: 10/06/2008
Last Chapter: 01/09/2009
Last Updated: 01/09/2009


Maria, the leader of the fifth-year Slytherin girls, doesn’t smile. James, a Gryffindor goofball, gets on her last nerve. What are they going to do when they’re paired together in an “Inter-House Unity” competition, and James gets it into his head to make Maria smile at any cost?

Merlin, I think I just might end up murdering him.


Chapter 1: I don't do nice.

Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns the setting and the characters you recognize. I'm not her, no matter how much Polyjuice potion I take. 

Chapter One: I don’t do nice. 

“Good morning, Maria! Isn’t it a wonderful day? I bet this year will be our best year yet!” I cringed. It was way too early in the day to handle Penny Pucey’s peppiness. I gave her a quick, but scorching, glare and returned to my eggs. Penny, silenced, sat across from me and began to carefully select her breakfast.

“Remind me again what’s so wonderful about bloody O.W.L. year, Penny, because I forgot,” Charlotte, my best friend, suggested sarcastically. Penny blushed and wisely decided not to answer, instead focusing her attention on her food. She obviously didn’t want to piss Charlotte off on the very first day of school.

“It’ll be a year full of homework, homework, and more homework, topped with hellish exams,” Nicole complained between bites of toast. I nodded in agreement. I wasn’t looking forward to O.W.L.s at all. In fact, I was dreading them. I’ve never been a good test-taker.

“Hellish,” Gail Harper, who was never at her best in the morning, muttered darkly. “Abso-bloody-lutely hellish.” I nodded again, keeping my eyes on my eggs. I was afraid if I looked up, my classmates would see the faint flush across my face. Just thinking about any sort of test made me nervous. I knew I was going to bomb the O.W.L.s. However, these girls looked to me for advice and guidance, and I had to put up a brave front.

“We’ll make it,” I assured them with confidence I didn’t feel. “I’m sure everyone will get all O’s.” The four girls around me nodded, and the subject was closed.

“So, have you seen that Roxanne Weasley’s hair? I know all those Weasleys have red hair, but hers is ridiculous! It’s neon orange, and that fringe. Ugh,” Penny said. Charlotte nodded in agreement, and the girls launched into a discussion of the dos and don’ts of red hair. I tuned out, chewing listlessly and scanning the crowded Great Hall distractedly. None of my friends even had red hair, so I didn’t really see the point of the conversation. I was rather proud of my own hair, which was down to the middle of my back, dark blonde, and slightly wavy. It was nice and healthy, and generally stayed under control without too much effort.

Suddenly several boys came barreling down the space between the Ravenclaw and Slytherin tables, barely looking where they were going. I almost smiled as an idea quickly came to me. I leaned back as far as I could without falling off the bench and stretched my legs out so they were sticking out into the aisle. I glanced at the boy in the lead, James Potter, who wasn’t watching where he was running. Perfect for tripping, I thought smugly.

Charlotte noticed their approach and my plan and grinned manically. Since my face was mostly covered by the table, I gave her a quick evil grin of my own, before I felt my foot connect with another’s and. . .

“OW!” James Potter exclaimed as he hit the ground with a thud. I quickly pulled my foot out from under him and straightened up, ready to act innocent. To my delight, the two boys that were chasing after him, that I now recognized as more Gryffindor fifth years, had fallen as well, and now lay on top of him.

“Ugh, boys, I know we’re attractive, but that’s no reason to fall all over each other,” Penny quipped after she noticed the dog pile behind her. I snorted, which is about as close as I come to a laugh in public. Penny flashed me a quick smile at my recognition and then nudged a fallen Gryffindors with her foot. One of them let out a groan in response.

“I didn’t fall, I was tripped,” a voice I recognized as Potter’s complained. I snorted again.

“Tripped, fell, what’s the difference?” Charlotte asked sarcastically. With many grunts and groans the boys untangled themselves and stood up. Potter, his red hair flopping in his brown eyes, immediately glared accusingly at me. I widened my eyes in fake innocence.

“There’s a world of difference,” one of the boys, whom I was pretty sure was William Finnegan, stated, glaring at all five of us in turn. I just gave him a smug look and returned to my breakfast, ignoring Potter’s eyes still on me.

“Oh go take a long walk off a short pier,” Penny retorted.

“You Slytherins, always so mean,” Potter admonished mockingly. “Why don’t you try being nice?”

Penny smirked, tossed her white-blonde hair and looked Potter right in the eye to deliver her comeback, “I don’t do nice.”

The other Slytherin girls all snickered loudly, and I had to have a coughing fit to hide my laughter. The boys just groaned and walked back to their table.

“That James Potter is such an oaf,” Nicole said after they were gone.

“Agreed. All the Gryffindors are oafs, but especially him,” I said. Potter was constantly irritating someone or another, and it was often me. He just wasn’t happy unless he was getting on someone’s nerves. Needless to say, I despised him. Well, maybe not despised, because that would give him too much control over my emotions, but I definitely didn’t like him. He was kind of like an irritating itch in the middle of our back that you can never quite reach, but you occasionally forget about.

“Attention, attention students,” Professor McGonagall stood up from her place at the head of the staff table and addressed us in a loud, carrying voice. I frowned in confusion. She usually said everything she need to say at the start of term feast, why did she have to talk to us at breakfast? “Quiet please!”

Silence fell immediately. No one wanted to get on the Headmistress’s bad side. Nicole nudged my ankle, shooting me an inquisitive look when I glanced at her. She too was wondering what was so important it called for a breakfast announcement.

“The staff and I have made an important decision. We’re going to try something different this year. Since last year’s Inter-House Unity event was such a success . . .,” I rolled my eyes. Last year’s “Inter-House Unity event” was a gift exchange. If McGonagall considered several third years breaking out in purple hives “a success,” then yes, it was a success.

“we’ve decided to hold another Inter-House Unity event,” McGonagall declared grandly. Most of the student population groaned, I among them. I hated last year’s gift exchange. I was forced to give some Hufflepuff a present. I gave her socks. James Potter, on the other hand, got creative with my gift, and sent me a present that exploded with what smelled like dung all over the dormitory. Needless to say, that didn’t exactly “unite” me with the students in other houses.

“Well this will just make the school year even better,” Charlotte whispered in my ear, sarcasm evident. I nodded, scowling at the Headmistress who obviously took delight in torturing us.

“This year there will be a school-wide contest,” she continued. I perked up slightly at this and instinctively knew that my friends did too, even though I was gazing intently at McGonagall. All Slytherins loved a little healthy competition. Or, not so healthy competition.

“Every student will be paired up with another student in their year, but in a different house.” I groaned, as did everyone around me. “The pairings will be males with females, to limit physical inequality.” Well, if I was with a good-looking bloke, that wasn’t irritating, it might not be so bad. A Ravenclaw might be alright. “And they will be random. The competition will be made up of rounds, and each round two pairs from each year will be eliminated. Eventually there will be one pair from each year. Those fourteen students will then compete for one final prize.” And what’s the prize? “The prize will be announced later in the competition.” Blast.

“Each round will be different. There will be an obstacle course, riddles, and other mental and physical struggles. All of them, however, will call for a copious amount of teamwork.”

McGonagall cleared her throat once before continuing, “Before I announce the pairs, I would like to remind you that they are completely random. I’ll announce the pairs starting with first years.” She picked up a long scroll of parchment off the table and read the first names off it “Hufflepuff Emma Crush with Ravenclaw Jake. . .”

I zoned out immediately. I didn’t care who silly first years were with; they were all going to lose anyway. I, on the other hand, was going to win. I fervently hoped for a competent partner who wouldn’t ruin my chances of winning spectacularly.

On my left, Nicole had her eyes shut and seemed to be chanting something under her breath that I could only assume was a spell to ensure she got a good partner. I pushed back the smile that came at her serious expression and began to scan all the boys in my year, wondering which one I would be forced to work with.

All the Gryffindor boys were complete hooligans. They seemed to fancy themselves as above the rules, and loved goofing off, flirting with girls, and causing general disturbances to the fragile peace of Hogwarts. I wouldn’t be able to stand having one of them as a partner.

The Hufflepuff blokes varied widely. There was the twitchy and paranoid Zachary Webber, the short and squeaky Peyton Coleman, the average Petree twins, and the good-looking, Quidditch hero Kyle Malone. I was pretty sure none of them were very bright, but the one of the Petree twins (whom I could never tell apart) or Kyle Malone might be alright.

The fifth year Ravenclaw males, besides all of them being intelligent, were also different. The one I knew I couldn’t have as my partner was Christopher Roberts. He was overweight and looked like he never set foot outside the library, except for meals and classes. He would never do for the rounds that require moving. The rest of them were all acceptable, especially a fit one named Anthony Flood.

I was eyeing Anthony when Charlotte jolted me back to reality with a swift elbow in the ribs.

“Ow,” I muttered, glaring at her. She shrugged unapologetically.

“They just started on fifth years,” she whispered in explanation. I snapped to attention, staring at Professor McGonagall.

“ Slytherin Charlotte Bletchley with Ravenclaw Christopher Roberts,” she announced. I burst out coughing (laughing) as Charlotte’s jaw dropped in dismay.

“No, no, no, no, no, no,” she muttered, looking horrified. “There has to be some sort of mistake.”

Unaware of Charlotte’s dilemma, McGonagall continued, “Gryffindor Sarah Dachtler with. . .” So, they were going in alphabetical order by girls. That meant I would be one of the last ones called. I leaned back in my chair, settling in for a wait. Charlotte was still gaping in horror. I looked over at Christopher Roberts and saw that he didn’t look at all upset with his partner. In fact, he had turned around in his seat and was giving Charlotte a thumbs-up. Charlotte finally looked at him and groaned when she saw his eager expression.

“Maria, please kill me,” she said, dropping her head onto the table in defeat. “Just make it fast and painless. I promise I won’t haunt you.”

“Sorry, I’ll pass. Roberts just looks so happy, I couldn’t crush him like that,” I whispered slyly. She let out a moan and didn’t remove her face from the table.

“Slytherin Gail Harper with Gryffindor William Finnegan,” McGonagall announced. Gail groaned. Penny patted her sympathetically on the back, but I was just glad I wasn’t stuck with Finnegan. He was the leader of the Gryffindor pack, and almost as bad as Potter.

Professor McGonagall rattled off a few more names, and then, “Slytherin Penny Pucey with Ravenclaw Anthony Flood.” Bugger. Penny smiled widely and turned around to give Anthony a flirtatious wave. Charlotte kicked her in the shin.

“Lucky,” she shot at Penny, clearly irritated. Penny just smirked and continued eating her breakfast with a self-satisfied smile. I frowned. My choice partner had just been taken, and I hoped there were some decent ones left.

“Slytherin Nicole Urquhart with Hufflepuff Zachary Webber,” McGonagall called. Nicole’s reaction was almost as funny as Charlotte’s, and very similar. The only difference was, instead of asking me to kill her, she looked like she might kill McGonagall.

A few more names, and then it was my turn at last, “Slytherin Maria Warrington with Gryffindor. . .” No! Not a Gryffindor! This couldn’t get much worse!

“James Potter,” McGonagall finished. Apparently, it could get worse. Much, much worse.

“Oh dear Merlin,” Nicole whispered, looking at my stunned face in alarm. “This can’t turn out well.”

“We might want to warn Potter,” Charlotte chimed in, smirking. “She looks like she’ll end up murdering him.” McGonagall was saying something about good sportsmanship and a “get-to-know-your-partner-event” but I was too stunned to listen.

“Cheer up, Maria, maybe it won’t be so bad,” Penny chirped, blue eyes glistening with obvious delight at getting a better partner than me.

“Not so bad? Not so bad? Yes, it well be ‘so bad’! It will be absolutely horrid! I can’t work with, with, that, that, miscreant! There’s no way we’ll win, and we’ll probably end up driving me crazy!” I cried hysterically. Luckily, McGonagall was done calling out the partners and the usual chatter had filled the Great Hall, so no one heard be breakdown besides the girls around me. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I dimly registered that I was overreacting, but I was too upset to care. My dream of winning this competition was shattered into a million pieces on the floor.

Okay, so it had only been my dream for about five minutes, but it was still shattered into a million pieces. I pushed my breakfast aside, appetite gone, and collapsed onto the table with my head in my arms. My friends didn’t seem to know what to say to comfort me. That, or they were scared of setting me off again.

After five more minutes had passed, and I decided I was under control, I raised my head from my arms and dared a glance over at the Gryffindor table. Potter was looking right at me, grinning cheekily. I narrowed my eyes and shot him my patented death-glare that usually worked like a charm. Potter’s grin just widened. He waved and mouthed something at me. My forehead wrinkled in confusion; I was horrible at reading lips. He mouthed it a few more times and I finally got it.

“Hello, partner.”

Charlotte was right. Merlin, I think I just might end up murdering him. 

A/N: Woot! New story alert! So, read, review, send gift baskets with assorted nuts, and tell all your friends about how fabulous this story is! Hah, seriously though, review please. Reviews make me smiley. Oh, and the next chapter will be in James's point of view.

NEXT CHAPTER PREVIEW: “Why don’t you ever smile?” I asked Warrington suddenly. Her frown deepened, but for some reason I thought she was suppressing a smile.

“I don’t have any teeth,” she answered. If I hadn’t known any better, I could’ve sworn she was teasing.

“I’m serious.” I really was.

“So am I.” But she wasn’t, I could tell. Her eyes were smiling, even if her mouth wasn’t. “I have no teeth.”

“If you had no teeth you couldn’t talk normally,” I pointed out. “So tell me what the real reason is.”

“I’ve got a reputation to uphold,” she answered with a careless shrug. This time I knew she was teasing. I rolled my eyes.

“Well that’s---“