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The Nature of Smiles by VeniceLily

Format: One-shot
Chapters: 1
Word Count: 2,412

Rating: 12+
Warnings: No Warnings

Genres: Fluff, Romance
Characters: Hermione, Draco
Pairings: Draco/Hermione

First Published: 02/23/2007
Last Chapter: 07/25/2010
Last Updated: 07/25/2010

||Thank you to CelticKisses for the banner||

He hadn’t really looked at her, ever. Since his first impression was formed of her, before he even met her, he never bothered to actually try to see her. Today, she caught him off guard, and he was astonished.


Chapter 1: The Nature of Smiles
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A/N: This is a revised, and I think, much better version of a fic I wrote about three years ago. There is a sequel posted, but it too has been re-written, and will hopefully make it's debut fairly soon!

The Nature of Smiles 

Draco Malfoy. Pureblood. Slytherin Prince. Death Eater in Training. He was always known by these titles, to everyone he knew, and to many people he didn’t. These were the characters he played, he had always played, and he prided himself on the fact that he fit every single one of them. He had never wanted to be anyone else, until that day.

He had been walking down the halls of Hogwarts, not caring enough to really pay attention to what was going on around him – who would dare to crash into him? He was wrapped up in his own little world, and he managed to forget all about her.

She was the only girl of the Golden Trio, and unlike him, only good things were attached to her name. Hermione Granger. Smartest Witch of Her Age. Beloved Best Friend. Object of Weasley's (among other's) Affection. Everyone else was aware of how talented and special and one of a kind the girl was. Except for him. To him, all she had ever been was the mudblood best friend of Scar-head and the Weasel, and he just couldn't seem to get past that. All those years of torture he had given her, degrading her for something as small as her bloodline. He had never noticed anything, but that miniscule, solitary imperfection about the girl. Until that day.

She walked smack into him as he was rounding a corner of an otherwise empty hallway. 

Her books went flying, and she tumbled backwards onto the ground in a mess of jeans, hair and paper.

He had stared at her, his face surely mirroring the look of utter amazement on hers. She recovered first, and began to bustle about picking up her large pile of books, tucking a stray piece of hair behind her ear, he noticed, as she did this. She looked at him a few times, seeming puzzled by his silence, maybe annoyed at him still watching her. She said nothing, and when she had all her belonging piled up again, she continued on her way down the hall.

Draco's mind had been screaming at him the whole time that the girl had been there, but it seemed that he was no longer functioning. He knew he should have been insulting her, making fun of her, blaming her, but he couldn't. The thoughts he had so long associated with her – those of disgust and annoyance, were almost entirely concealed behind something else. It took all of his strength and concentration to keep from bending down and helping her.

He hadn’t really looked at her, ever. Since his first impression was formed of her, before he even met her, he never bothered to actually try to see her. Today, she caught him off guard, and he was astonished.

Never before had he noticed how beautiful she was. He was stunned by the shape of her body, not perfect, but still beautiful, now proudly shown off in a fitted deep blue sweater and dark jeans. He noticed how she had an air of independence, so different from their earlier days of acquaintance. Her eyes had held a reserved tinge of kindness that was hidden by a more obvious look of irritation. Still, he noticed the beauty of her eyes, rich brown pools laced with flecks of cinnamon. He noticed how her hair had calmed and smoothed over the years, now falling in soft shiny brown curls around her slightly flushed heart shaped face. 

He could, even to this day, tell you precisely the way that moment occurred. The way her hand brushed his chest, her hair touched his face. Exactly the way she smelt, like she had just stepped out of the shower – fresh, warm, with the slightest hint of raspberries. He noticed a bracelet dangling on her right arm, and the care with which she picked up her books. Much as he tried, he couldn’t make himself see her as the mudblood he had always known.

Draco unconsciously changed that day. He couldn't help but notice her after that. And unknown to both him and her, he began to watch her.

At first, he would only notice her in passing. He’d subconsciously note which classes she shared with him, he’d see her sitting quietly in the library, or just happen to look up as she came into the Great Hall. As time passed, he began to look for her, instead of only noticing her by accident. He began to remember which routes she took around the school, where she sat to watch Quidditch matches, where her favourite spot was in the library. He didn’t even realize it, but he began to think about her all the time.

He memorized how she walked and talked and stood and ate. He knew her laugh, could hear the beauty of it in his mind at any time, or pick it out in a crowd. He noticed how she had more than one simple smile. She, in fact had five. The one she faked, when she wanted everyone to believe her happy. The one she forced, when her world was crashing down and maybe holding the corners of her mouth up would stop it. The beautiful smile she wore when she was genuinely happy, usually laughing as well. She wore a smile, a still different one, when she scolded Potter and Weasley for their idiocy, and this was perhaps the most common. She smiled a little too big or a little too small when she was hiding something, a dead giveaway to anyone who noticed, and it appeared no one else did.

He watched her smile these smiles from a far for what felt like a long time. Soon enough, he felt himself wanting to be the one she smiled at. He started making efforts to be nearer to her – taking the same routes he knew she took, studying at a table near to hers in the library. At first, she appeared not to notice him, but every once and a while, she would look at him, confused. He took these rare opportunities to look at her, with what he hoped was warmth. He never smiled at her, but he ceased to insult her or glare. 

He worried he would scare her away, so he tried to appear he didn’t care at all that she was sitting several feet away from him, or that he noticed when her hair was up or down. He tried in vain to ignore her, and for a time, it seemed she did run from him. She took different routes around the school, sat somewhere else in the library, got to the Great Hall early.

He told himself this didn’t matter. He told himself he didn’t like her anyway – why would he? He told himself he wasn’t watching her, he didn’t care that her eyes sparkled when she laughed. He told himself that he just happened to take the same paths through the school now that she did, that he just happened to like to walk around the grounds at precisely 7pm, it was just a coincidence she was always there too. As hard as he tried to convince himself, he couldn’t help but wish she would look at him.

And so he watched her, waiting.

Finally, she smiled at him one day, just slightly. It was a new smile, different from any other, and he soon discovered she reserved it only for him. She would look at him from across the room, and when he met her eyes, one corner of her mouth would raise ever so slightly. When he blinked, it was gone.  

With this tiny little bit of encouragement, he also began to notice little details about her because he watched her even closer now. She was so different, so beautifully unique. She wrote with her left hand, but did everything else with her right. She bit her lip when she was thinking, and tapped her left foot while she was taking notes. Her nose wrinkled up when she didn't like something, and she scrunched her mouth to the right before she made a decision. She absently played with her hair, or drummed her fingers while she worked. 

All of these things Draco noticed, and to his amazement, he found he liked. He liked the way the area around her eyes would crinkle when she laughed, and the way she tucked her hair behind her ears with delicate hands. And, he liked the way she gave him those little smiles. He actually found himself waiting to see her each day in hopes of seeing the slight upturn in the corner of her mouth. 

He did try to persuade himself again into believing what he had always thought about her – that she was a mudblood, and therefore not good enough for him. He tried to ignore the dropping in his stomach and the quickening of his heart each time he saw her. After all, this was the girl he had once hated, whom he could never be close to. But he couldn’t get the image of her smiling at him out of his mind. He was entirely entranced by her.

One night in June, shortly before he would have to spend the summer without her, he had the chance that he did not realize he had been waiting for.

Draco stood just outside the front doors of Hogwarts after dinner. He often did this, for he often needed time to think and breathe on his own. He was lost in thought until he was pulled from his reverie by the exit of another.

The girl came running full speed through the doors and out into the night, too caught up in her own to notice him standing there. He did not need more than a glance to know who she was, and know something was wrong. He stood there for a moment, in silent contemplation and almost went back inside, but his heart and curiosity got the better of him. He took off at a run, following her direction into the fading light. 

He slowed as he saw her crouched by the edge of the lake. He knew it would be too much for her if he went too close – she probably wouldn’t want to see him anyway. She smiled at him yes, but she had a kind heart. It couldn’t possibly mean anything.

He stood there in the shadows, and worried about her. She was fragile, as much as she hated to admit it, and much was always placed on her shoulders. Apparently, tonight it had been too much for even her to handle.

He never knew himself to be an empathetic person. Really, he never thought he could feel much at all. But as he sat and watched her cry into her hands, it physically hurt him. He ached to say something, to comfort her, to make her tears stop and smooth the surface of the lake to show her how beautiful she was. He hated to see her shake with sadness, have to deal with whatever it was that was causing her such terrible pain. He knew he would never forgive himself if he allowed this to happen to her again. 

Eventually, he saw her become still, and the water was smooth as glass. He saw her close her eyes and lay down on the grass, her breathing gradually slowing. Cautiously, he moved towards her. He reached a gentle hand out to touch her cheek, and wipe away the remaining tears. She did not start, but opened her eyes, which betrayed her shock, and mirrored his own at his actions. She did not speak, but only smiled that smile she reserved for him. He tried to seem like this didn't make his heart jump inside his chest, but he knew it was impossible, and his face broke out into a smile. She laughed softly at this, and closed her eyes again. 

He moved closer to her, and pulled her into his arms. She did not object, much to his amazement. She rested her cheek on his chest, and he held her as she silently cried. He felt her tense body relax as she fell asleep, safe in his arms, the soft rise and fall of her chest the only movement. He thought she was most beautiful now as she was sleeping, and he stayed gazing at her until he drifted to sleep in the early morning hours. 

The sun came up, and with it, they awoke. She felt so right in his arms, he was afraid to move, to lose this perfect moment. She turned her face to his, and softly whispered:

"Thank you."

"Anytime," he hesitated, before deciding, "Hermione."

He hadn’t been able to address her directly for a long time now – Granger felt wrong on his tongue, but he couldn’t possibly start calling her Hermione. But as he said her name, he looked into her eyes, trying to make her understand. She stared at him, surprised, and he waited to see what she would say.

She didn’t say anything at all. She stared at him, and smiled, a whole new smile that lit up her eyes, and brought beautiful colour to her cheeks. She threw her arms around him, and he was so stunned he could only laugh.

They slowly pulled back from each other, both wondering what would happen next.

“You’re beautiful, Hermione” he said, urging her to accept him.

He loved her, despite all his previous prejudices, despite all of their horrible past. He had fallen for her.
“I don’t know how, I mean, it’s entirely unlikely...” she said, biting her bottom lip. “But I love you.”

She smiled again, and he felt the tension that had been holding his heart for months relax, as he could finally love her, not just from a distance, but really love her. He kissed her soft cheek, and held her hand gently in his own.

And as he looked into her eyes, he smiled a smile just for her.  

A/N: Please, if you read, review! I love the feedback. 

As I said, the sequel will be out soon. It will say: Revised: What She Saw in His Eyes.

With Love,