Author's Notes: This is my first ever upload on fanfic! ^ ^ Yay for sick days giving me time to write! Please no flames, positive reviews please. Thanks!
I remember when his hair first started to get long. I had seen him at the beginning of the year, hunched over his Potions book and twisting his hair around his finger. He had the tip of his wand in his mouth in concentration, and was completely consumed in his work. I couldn't take my eyes off him for hours, just watching him study. I wondered what he had been doing all summer. His hair had never been that long that I remembered, and he was so skinny! It didn't look like he had eaten anything since sixth year graduation. I was tempted to go and get him a plate of food from the house elves; they favored me, and I knew they weren't fond of him.
He looked up once, his almost white hair hanging over his face to just below his nose. It was mussed from his playing with it, and his blue eyes shined from reading. His skin was still as perfect as ever, with slightly darker eyebrows that stood out on his bony features. His lips were such a perfect pale pink, slightly chapped and turned up. That was when I realized he was smiling at me.
I remember feeling my ears turn red. He was smiling. Smiling! Not smirking, not sneering, smiling. At me! It was a soft smile, genuinely friendly and, it seemed to me, slightly sad.
I couldn't bring myself to say anything, and after a moment, he seemed to realize he was staring and he turned a soft rose color before looking hastily back at his book.
I played it off, thinking maybe he was in a good mood that day. That or maybe the shepherd's pie had been laced. But the next day, in one of the many classes that we shared, he did it again. And again at dinner one night, and again on the stairs. Every time it would happen, I wouldn't be able to stop thinking about it for days, seeing his face everywhere I went and seeing his smile in the oddest of places. I had absolutely no idea what was going on. After a few months, I still couldn't figure out why he was acting so differently to me that year.
I was in the library again, studying for an Astronomy test that I should have started preparing for weeks ago. I had developed some study skills over the years, believe it or not, but I was still prone to forgetting when my exams were, and had found that the library was the one quiet place to focus. The dusty musk of leather and aged paper floated around me and I was drowsy from long nights alone in the Gryffindor common room in front of text books. I heard the familiar sound of a chair being pulled back, and I glanced up to see him sitting down at a table a few yards off. He didn't see me, at least not that I knew of, and he was studying some very old book that was nearly falling apart.
I watched him for a few minutes, all thoughts of Astronomy gone from my mind. I don't remember exactly what made me do it, or exactly how it all happened, but the next thing I knew, I was pulling out the chair next to him and sitting in it to face him.
He looked at me, slightly bewildered. "Ron," he said, and blinked once, blond eyelashes batting.
I recall blinking back, trying to hide my shock. I couldn't think of another time when he had ever called me by my first name. What happened to Weasley? Weasel? Weaselbe? Weasel King?
"Malfoy," I managed after a moment. We just looked at each other for a minute. I was leaned forward, my elbows on my knees, and he was sitting up straight, looking down at me, still unsure what was going on.
"Why do you keep smiling at me?" I asked after an eternity.
"Is that such a crime?"
"No, but it's out of your character."
He didn't say anything back. I took a breath. "I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it, I'm just confused. For the past six years you've treated me like shit. But you haven't said one mean thing to me all year, and you've been smiling. I don't understand."
"People change," he said, looking away.
"No, they don't, Draco."
He looked back at me, startled.
"You're letting your hair grow," I said, not taking my eyes away from his.
His hand went up to it instinctively. "Oh, that? Hardly noticed. I've just had other things to worry about."
"I didn't say it was a bad thing."
His hand slowly fell into his lap, and he stared at me, obviously not knowing what to say.
"You've lost a lot of weight. You didn't need to lose any."
Here, he looked startled, more so than before. "I- Yeah, I j- Well." He made an odd sound, somewhere between clearing his throat and coughing. "I've got to-"
He stood so abruptly that he nearly knocked over his chair, and it made a sick scraping noise against the wooden floor. He didn't look at me again before he fled. He just sprinted off, leaving the book open on the table. I glanced at it when he was gone, seeing it wasn't a text book like I had thought.
It was a book on how to deal with being raped.