I first noticed her at her Sorting.

She looked older somehow than the others, less childish. It's not that she was taller, or had more curves; it was something in her expression that made her look more mature. Of course, that she had a peculiar beauty didn't hurt either. With her pale, heart-shaped face and wavy auburn hair she looked like a medieval Madonna, the kind Memlinc and Van Eyck loved to paint.

The only thing that set her apart from those too sweet paintings was her eyes. She had eyes as green as any vampire; but unlike theirs, hers were very much alive, and filled with light.

I knew then already that, no matter what I wanted, there never could be anything between us. Not only was she three years my junior, and a Mudblood, she also got sorted into Gryffindor. Her eyes would never seek mine, but twinkle, dance and seduce only those of her own age; and of those only the Gryffindors.

Still, from that moment on, my concept of beauty has been defined by those two traits: auburn hair framing vibrant green eyes.

I never contacted her, but I did keep an eye on her. I saw her body hurry to reach the same maturity as her eyes, and by the time she was in her Fourth year at Hogwarts, she no longer resembled the eager child that had walked confidently to her Sorting. Already there was much to be seen in her of the woman she was becoming. The hair, the eyes, the perfect skin of her pale face, they all were still there, but no longer did she put thoughts of Madonna's in my mind. The soft curves of her body, the fullness of her mouth led to very different thoughts indeed, the kind that would be sacrilegious had she indeed been a Madonna.

I will never know what possessed me, but at the Yuletide ball that winter, I told the hopeful gaggle of Slytherin girls to go fly a kite; and asked her out.

Neither will I know what possessed her to accept my invitation, I only thanked the Gods I never believed in for my good luck.

I know I was looking very good in my new, blue velvet robes, and would draw a lot of attention. She outshone me. She wore velvet too, a rich burgundy velvet, which made her skin shine like the moon and her eyes as green fire. The bodice clung to her skin, the rather high neckline only hinted of her bosom, and the wide, wide skirt had her looking like a queen, as she seemed to float along.

I led her into the Hall, and our entry left quite an impression, I must say. While her Gryffindor friends were speechless, it was obvious they didn't like the situation one bit. I assumed a protective air, but what really stopped them from any unbecoming actions, was Lily. She only looked at them, but she might as well have been shouting: "Don't ruin this for me, or else…" They backed down none too graciously. My own house mates didn't bother me, they knew better than to question anything I did.

It was one of the most pleasant evenings I ever had. Lily wasn't just a pretty face - though she was pretty, and more than that - she was smart too, and had a wonderful sense of humour. We danced, we talked, she made me laugh, and I fetched her drinks… I almost forgot this would be for one night only.

I wanted it to be more, so very much more. When I walked her to her dorm, after the party, I desperately wanted to kiss her, tell her that I loved her, beg her for another date. I believe I even started saying some of those things, but she put a slender finger on my lips, stopped me from making a fool of myself.

Lily was far too smart to fool herself, or let me fool myself for that matter. She knew as well as I did the differences were too great. She would follow her heart, eventually, while my marriage had been arranged years before I even came to Hogwarts. She had no family traditions to live up to, and I, being a Malfoy, had my whole life planned for me by traditions. And, though she never mentioned it, I knew that she knew it would be only months before I joined the Death Eaters. She didn't insult me by asking me to let my whole life behind me, and I didn't insult her by pretending I would.

She simply shook her head, and kissed me sweetly on my cheeck before she left me.

That was all there ever was between us, and it was enough.