She never smiles.

This is the most important thing Theodore Nott knows about Padma Patil, besides the fact that she's in his year and has a twin sister in Gryffindor. He wants to know more which is bizarre because until this year, he really couldn't give a damn about her.

He decides to find out more by cornering her in the library one day (and, yes, the fact that they're at the library at the same day, at the same time and in the same section - Muggle Fiction - is merely coincidence).

When he spots her reaching up to fetch a book from the highest book, he stands a few feet behind her, simply just observing until he said as casually as possible, "You never smile." When she twirls around, he places his hands either side of her, officially trapping her.

Padma raises a single eyebrow at him and attempts to look indifferent, though her gaze momentarily falls to his lips. If he wasn't so close, he never would have noticed a rosy pink stain her cheeks. But he does notice, and he sends a smirk her way.

She scowls in reply and finally says, "There's nothing to be happy about."

Theodore's more than a little shocked for a moment about how kind of right she is and he lets the words sink in. In those few seconds he's trapped in thought, she manages to move herself and duck under his arm.

When she walks away, she doesn't give him a second glance.

&...&

They run into each other again about a week later.

He falls into the seat opposite her at a desk in the library (again, entirely coincidental), clasps his hands together and watches her read a book. She flips through a few pages until she finally looks up and simply says, "You're kind of a stalker."

He adopts a familiar smirk and leans back in his seat, kicking his legs up on the table. He's surprised by the power of her glare and almost immediately puts his legs back on the floor as he says, "I'm not a stalker."

When she gives him a doubtful look, he elaborates, "You just interest me is all."

Padma rolls her eyes, memorises her page number and closes it. She leans forward and raises her eyebrows in an almost threatening manner as she says, "Yeah, well... go be interested in someone else."

Theodore leans over the table and meets her in the middle, mere inches away from her lips. When he sees her eyes flicker down to his lips, he mirrors her and watches her breath steadily grow heavier. "Not a chance," he whispers with a knowing smirk.

He pulls away and leaves without a word.

&...&

Surprisingly, their next encounter is outside the library.

He runs into her on his way to the Great Hall and grabs her shoulders, steadying her. She looks impossibly flustered and tucks a piece of black hair behind her ear, worrying her bottom lip. She attempts to cover her flustered state by snapping, "What?"

Theodore doesn't smirk this time but rather frowns in concern which comes as a surprise. "What's wrong with you?"

Padma wraps her arms around herself, looking troubled as she clearly debates whether to confess her feelings to him or not. She end up deciding the latter. She shakes her and mutters, "I'm not telling you. I barely even know you."

He shrugs carelessly, leaning against a wall. "Alright then. Don't tell me. See if I care." But the thing is, he kind of does care, and he doesn't know why which bothers him because... it's not as if he fancies her or anything, is it?"

For someone so intelligent, she hasn't got great self-control as she suddenly blurts out, "TerryBootjustaskedmeout!" The confusion must show on his face so she repeats a little slower, "Terry Boot just asked me out."

"And?" he prompts.

"And I don't like him like that!" she snaps. "He's one of my best friends and I kind of just... yelled at him that I didn't want to go out with him and his face just crumbled so I ran away, just leaving him like that." She puts her head in her hands and groans, "Oh, Merlin. I can't believe I just did that."

Theodore feels a surge of relief race through him and - where the hell did that come from? Shit. He tries to look sympathetic for Padma, but it's not exactly working because of the grin beginning to cross his face. "Oh, no... that's bad?"

Padma shoots him a look as if to say, 'What the hell, you idiot?' and he allows himself to give her a crooked grin, despite how confused she looks at it. Her look falters slightly and she glances towards the Great Hall, sighing. "I'm going to go eat dinner."

The words escape his lips before he can stop them, "Do you need me to hug you?"

Instead of outright refusing and looking at him in disgust like he thought she would, she instead takes a step towards him and wraps her arms around his middle. "I think you need a hug more than me, you stupid Slytherin."

When she looks up she has a piece of hair in her eyes, so he reaches out and brushes it away. He catches her looking at his lips again and a realisation hits him. Almost sensing that, Padma quickly tears her gaze away and disentangles herself from him.

After she goes into the hall, he waits a few minutes before following.

&...&

The fourth time they have an exchange, it's in the library again.

He corners her and is straight to the point, saying bluntly, "You've never never been kissed." When surprise flashes in her eyes, he smirks and dares to take his bravery one step more. "And you want me to kiss you."

She looks ashamed for a second and she bites her lip, not denying a word of what he has just said. "So what if I do?" For a second, she mirrors what he's seen her sister do so many times and looks up at him from under her eyelashes. "What are you going to about it?"

Theodore pauses for a second. He doesn't want to kiss her sister, he wants to kiss Padma - a fact he's come to terms with since he last talked to Daphne Greengrass, an ex-lover of his who always did know too much for her own good.

Her face burns and she gives up the act. She's never been good at flirting anyway. She begins packing her things away into her bag. "Go ahead and get the teasing over with then. Go tell your friends that I'm an idiot already, thinking someone like you would kiss someone like me."

Theodore laughs in disbelief, taking a step towards her and cupping her face in his hands. "You stupid Ravenclaw." Without waiting for her to tell him off, he lowers his lips to hers and kisses her with everything he has.

When he pulls away, he finds that he's seeing what he's always wanted to from her. A smile.


A/N: Written for the Unlikely Pairings Challenge over at HPFC. To me, I'm not sure if I tied it up well. Anyway, thoughts? :)