Five times she truly saw Draco Malfoy

Summary: The first time Astoria Greengrass encountered Draco Malfoy, she wasn't sure that she liked him very much… One-shot. Sort of fluffy-angst.

Rating: K+

Disclaimer: Hah, I wish! All characters belong to JK Rowling; the only thing I own is the plot.

The first time she actually saw him, he was loitering rather sullenly behind the regency sofa in his father's ostentatious living room and drumming surprisingly graceful fingers on the marble floor, a dour expression on his face. He was seven and she was five. His hair was so blond it was almost white and she didn't think she had ever seen a boy with such pale skin as his.

One of the usual pretentious Christmas parties was taking place at Malfoy Manor and Astoria Greengrass, to put it quite simply, was bored. Her older sister Daphne was off somewhere, probably taunting the house elves or wreaking her usual havoc amongst the tinsel and garlands that garishly decorated this imposing house, but Astoria wasn't like that. Rather timidly she approached him.

He lifted his head when he saw her stood there, silently. "What are YOU looking at?" he demanded.

Astoria's blue eyes widened. No one had ever spoken to her quite so nastily before, and he was only a little bit older than she was! She ducked her head, quite taken aback. What a rude, horrible boy, she thought to herself, perplexed.

"Well?" the boy demanded, his grey eyes steely.

"Do you want to play exploding snap?" she faltered, venturing the first idea that came into her head. She wasn't even sure why she had approached him, all she had thought was that he looked as bored as she herself felt at this silly party. Not to mention a bit lonely.

The boy's eyes looked surprised at first, and then scornful as a little sneer curled the corner of his mouth. "I can't play with you," he sniggered disdainfully, before getting up and walking away. His smirk would unfortunately be firmly imprinted on Astoria's mind for the next few years; "you're a girl!"

The second time she saw him after that, was on the Hogwarts Express. She was a petrified first year on her way to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, straggling behind Daphne who was very pointedly ignoring her. The "effort" of having to look after her little sister was clearly more than she could handle as she strode imperiously down the smoke-filled platform. Astoria felt panicky and her stomach was in knots. She didn't want to go away to school, even if she was a witch.

"Keep up!" Daphne snapped impatiently, "and don't speak to me or my friends unless you're spoken to, alright? You'd better be in Slytherin!"

Astoria felt her knees trembling and nodded silently as they climbed onto the scarlet steam train. The plush carriage they entered was full of laughing older boys and girls, jeering and joking. They barely even looked at Astoria as she timidly sat in the corner, wishing herself as small as possible and hugging her knees.

"Do you want to play exploding snap with us?" said a kind voice ten minutes later, almost as if the person sensed how scared and frightened she was feeling and was trying to make her feel better.

Astoria looked up into steely grey eyes that were quite unexpectedly kind, and found herself nodding with relief. That was when she realised that she was seeing him as a person for the first time and not as an obnoxious, spoiled little boy. The thought made her smile only this time, he smiled back.

The third time she truly saw him and realised that he could be an arrogant bully, was when he was being horribly mean to Harry Potter. It was just before the Tri-Wizard tournament. He was fourteen, she was twelve and the Slytherin's had made little badges with Harry's face on them, accompanied by rather unflattering slogans. He seemed to be in the middle of the furore, enjoying the attention and making horrible unnecessary comments.

Astoria was sat in the shade of a large oak tree in the quad, reading through a History of Magic textbook, and watching the whole debacle with hooded eyes. She felt disappointment unconsciously welling up in her stomach when she saw Draco Malfoy as the students in other houses saw him for the first time: he was ignorant, selfish and spiteful, not to mention jealous that he wasn't the centre of attention for a change. She drew in a breath as she saw him pull out his wand on Harry's turned back. That was terribly wrong. She knew you should never cast a spell on a fellow student, least of all one whose back was turned and couldn't defend themselves.

Still, Astoria couldn't help smiling when Draco was turned into a scraggy white ferret by Professor Moody. She gathered her books to herself, an amused grin playing about her lips, and realised that he'd rather deserved that one.

The fourth time she truly saw him and felt that maybe he had changed from that obnoxious boy, that arrogant bigot, was almost seven years after she had left Hogwarts. She spotted him drowning his sorrows at the bar of the Leaky Cauldron one Saturday afternoon. She herself had made a detour to Diagon Alley whilst out shopping in muggle London and had all of a sudden had a particularly strange urge for one of Fortescue's chocolate chip sundaes with lots of squirty cream and toffee sauce. The sight of the platinum crop of hair in the otherwise dingy pub was like a beacon and he looked up at the same time as she did and caught her eye.

He was haggard, thinner than he had ever been at school, with three days worth of stubble on his still-handsome face, though he looked older, much older, and tired- like he had the weight of the world on his scrawny shoulders. His robes were still elegantly expensive yet the complete expression of sorrow in his eyes made her stand still in empathy. He looked so lost and alone, more alone than she herself had ever felt and with a pang she remembered his hellish last couple of years at Hogwarts and no doubt the torment he had been going through ever since. Cautiously, she approached him, surprised when he pulled out the knotted wooden stool beside him for her to sit down. She studied him and then for the first time in years, he spoke to her; "I don't like to drink alone."

Astoria tilted her head inquisitively at his half-empty glass of Fire Whiskey, "I don't like to drink at all on a Saturday afternoon," she said mildly; "do you fancy coming to Fortescue's with me and getting an ice-cream instead?"

He studied her almost suspiciously through narrowed grey eyes, as if suspecting this was a trick. Then he visibly relaxed and got to his feet; "alright," he said just as casually.

"Don't strain yourself," an amused grin pulled at her lips now at his reticence, "no one's forcing you, and don't forget: I am a girl after all."

This time his smile was genuine as he followed her from the pub into the bright sunlight at the rear of the Leaky Cauldron; "you're different from most girls. Most other people infact."

"How so?" Astoria couldn't help asking him curiously, blue eyes meeting grey once more.

He tapped his wand on the crooked bricks and faced her again as the bustling Diagon Alley was revealed in front of them; "I get the impression that unlike most other people, you truly see me."

The fifth time she truly saw him was not only as her husband and friend, but as a father. Awed grey eyes stared at her as she held their newly-born son in her arms, resting back against the comfortable bed sheets of St Mungo's that cloudy March afternoon. Rain splattered the windows, yet inside the room was cosy and flooded with not only warmth but love. He still couldn't believe it, she thought with that same amused smile; even after everything.

"You did it," he said, his voice cracking slightly as he traced the sleeping Scorpius' tiny fingers with a hand that shook.

Astoria looked up at him and shook her head simply, "no," she said honestly, "we did it."

"What do you see?" Draco asked her quietly, resting his head against hers and looking into her eyes.

"I see you," Astoria replied honestly, and not for the first time, she truly did.

A/N: Love it? Hate it? Please let me know what you think.