Looking at myself in the mirror, I could understand why no-one would call me pretty. I wasn’t ugly, exactly, but…well; I suppose I was more…plain.

I put my hand up and fingered my hair mournfully. There was no denying it. It was a terrible mess.

I suppose you must be wondering why I care.

Obviously, I, Hermione Granger, have never gone around displaying the fact that I can be self-conscious about my looks, but, after all, I am a girl.

Being smart, having two best friends that just happen to be males – I suppose it never really lent itself to the ‘glamorous’ image. No, it was always too difficult a concept to deal with. Intelligence is a trait I can handle – merely by reading and exercising my brain, I can keep it in shape. Unfortunately, beauty is a little different. I won’t deny that I have tried.

What little girl hasn’t tried on her mother’s clothes and fumbled awkwardly with lipstick? For a while I was like any other ordinary little girl, but by the time I turned nine or so, my priorities had…shifted.

After discovering books, the idea of spending time on my appearance seemed to me to be merely wasted learning time. Most people may find this a curious concept, but reading, to me, was like…water to a fish. I revelled in it. Looks became secondary and eventually nothing to me.

I leaned closer to the mirror and inspected my eyes.

They weren’t anything special – dark brown, quite large. A little too far apart.

My eyebrows were messy; if the hair on my head was anything to go by, there wasn’t much time for facial hair.

My eyelashes were quite dark, I suppose, and rather thick. They did make me look permanently startled, however.

I frowned as I studied my skin carefully.

It wasn’t awful, I’ll grant you, nothing like poor Eloise’s. But I had none of the dusky perfection of Parvati’s skin, nor the traditional English Rose that made up Lavender Brown’s face.

I suppose it is a universal curse for a girl to compare herself to other girls, but it wasn’t something I was used to.  Why was it, then, that I had taken so vigorously to looking in a mirror that had practically corroded from lack of use?

I would have to say, looking back, that it all began when Ron and Harry were discussing their lack of dates for the Yule Ball.  It had been all anyone could speak of for…days, weeks maybe.

I never had taken that much notice of the ‘event’, because I highly doubted it would be that much of one for me. Well, I had had my hopes, but they, obviously, yielded no results. I have learnt, now, not to hope for things that will not appear.  It’s a silly superstition, hoping, and it only ever leads to heartbreak.

It started when Ron and Harry were talking in the Common Room.

I would just like to point out here that my hopes had been at an almighty high that day. I don’t know why, but for some reason I just kept imagining that Ron would ask me.

He, being Ron, was absolutely oblivious to the fact that I was there and waiting – blistering for him to invite me to accompany him to the ball.

Right then, even ‘just as friends, you understand?’ would have sounded heavenly.

So I suppose their talking merely set me off. Not to mention how insensitive they were being.

I was studying for Potions, and Harry and Ron were, as usual, doing nothing constructive whatsoever.

I expect they were anticipating using my study notes for the Potions test, and, well, who really could blame them?

They would, after all, be using them. Just as they did every time.

Harry’s egg really had gotten me going though.

I told him he would look a right idiot if he didn’t try to work it out, but of course, Ron took his side, and the whole thing fell to pieces after that.

I had attempted to get back into studying, but something Ron said made me very, very mad.

Which started a whole chain of events, when I think back on it.

I only caught the last bit of Ron’s sentence, but it was enough to send any reasonable person off the edge.

“…don’t want to end up with a pair of trolls.”

I tried to hold it in. Truly I did. But it just came bursting out of me.

I let out a splutter of indignation and turned to him.

“A pair of what, excuse me?”

Ron didn’t even have the good grace to look embarrassed.

“Well – you know.” He said, shrugging (shrugging! The nerve of him!), “I’d rather go alone than with – with Eloise Midgeon, say.”

Well, that was just the last straw, wasn’t it!? That boy really needed to learn some manners. My feelings of good will towards him were vanishing extremely quickly. At this rate, I wouldn’t even want him to ask me to the ball!

“Her acne’s loads better lately – and she’s really nice!” I said loudly.

Harry made little shuffling motions out of the corner of my eye. I could tell he was embarrassed. Well, if he never stuck up for me…

“Her nose is off-centre.” said Ron.

I bristled. What an irritating little berk! It also brought back thoughts about my looks, which didn’t help matters much.

“Oh, I see.” I glared at him. “So basically, you’re going to take the best looking girl who’ll have you, even if she’s completely horrible?”

Ron scratched his neck. “Er – yeah, that sounds about right.”

I growled under my breath.

“I’m going to bed.” I snapped, and swept off to the girls dormitories without another word.

When I reached my bed, I pulled the curtains closed and whimpered into my pillow.

How could he be so tactless?

Lavender and Parvati were asleep, thank goodness, because I don’t think I could have put up with the insipid diatribe that they had going on most nights as well as my own thoughts.

~

The next morning came too quickly.

I decided that instead of facing Ron I would go to the library.

I hoped that this early, Viktor Krum and his legion of giggling fans wouldn’t be around.
They had been hugely distracting – their silly laughter could be heard from miles away.

I never could understand why Viktor hung around the library so much, though. The way he stared at the book he was reading, and then around the room, and then back to his book again, made me wonder if, perhaps, he didn’t know how to read. But what reason would he have to be in the library apart from reading?

I walked slowly into the library, trying to work out in advance if he was in there, but I could hear nothing. This was when I best liked the library. It was so quiet that I could let my other senses take over and merely smell the knowledge and feel the weight of age and magic settling around my shoulders as I sat down.

I had been sitting there for perhaps half an hour when I felt the strange tingling sensation that presents itself when someone is staring intensely at me. I looked around and the feeling seemed to vanish.

I shook it off and returned to my reading, but a minute or so later felt it again. This time, when I looked behind me, I saw Viktor sitting a few tables behind me, his head in a book. I sighed deeply and rolled my eyes.

Certainly his fans weren’t around at the moment, but give them an hour or so…

I tried to concentrate on my book again, but the letters swum in front of my eyes and my thoughts kept sliding back to a certain famous Quidditch player.

Eventually I realised that I wouldn’t have any luck with him around, so I began to gather my belongings, ready to leave.

As I stood, a hand touched me lightly on the shoulder.

I spun around in shock and saw him standing there, a smile on his face.

He was very tall. It was rather a shock to have him standing so close, as I had never really had the chance to look at him properly.

I’m ashamed to say that I had paid him less attention than many others would have, merely because so many people found him fascinating. It’s a problem I’ve had for a while. If something or someone is seen as ‘mainstream’, I find myself turning my nose up at it, as though it must be beneath me. Silly, really. Because, there must be a reason things are mainstream, mustn’t there?

He was looking at me very seriously, and when I glanced down at his hand, which was still on my shoulder, he removed it with a small smile.

I couldn’t help but smile back.

“Hallo.” He said, looking a little nervous.

I nearly laughed out loud, but managed to merely smile encouragingly.

He was nervous, talking to me? It was amazing, and very unexpected.

He seemed to become a little less nervous with my smile, however, and rushed onwards, tripping slightly over his words, his broken English really rather endearing.

“I vas vondering…vell. I have seen you here, in the library…nearly every day, I am thinking?”

I nodded, embarrassed but strangely pleased that he had noticed.

“Vell, I vatched you for a vile. I came in here a few days, yes? But I vanted to speak to you, and I never got the courage to come over…and, vell, you are vairy pretty, no?”

I blushed. No! But I couldn’t say that to him.

“Thank you.” I said, my eyes on the floor.

He smiled and tilted his head to one side, as if curious about something. He studied me for a moment longer and then he stood very straight

“My name is Viktor.” He said, holding out his hand. As if I didn’t know already!

I put my hand in his, rather larger, hand.

“My name is Hermione. Hermione Granger.” I said, and we shook firmly.

He had very nice hands, I thought. They were quite rough, but he handled me very softly.

He held my hand for a moment longer than entirely necessary and I felt a blush creeping up my cheeks again.

How embarrassing! Not only was he holding my hand, but now I looked like a tomato! Eurgh.

He let go of my hand, grinning widely, and I kept my eyes trained on the floor.

His next words nearly gave me whiplash, I looked up at him so fast.

“I vos vondering if you had a partner for the Yule Ball?”

I stared at him for a moment and he looked anxious.

I nodded slowly, my eyes never leaving his face.

Had he,Victor Krum, just asked me to the Yule Ball? What had happened to the world?

His brow was furrowed and I realised I had nodded. Nodded. What kind of a fool was I?

“Vell, if you already have a part…”

I interrupted him quickly, my face going bright red again.

“No! No, no. I…I don’t have a partner. I was nodding...er, yes. Yes, if you’re asking me.”

Oh Merlin, he was asking me, wasn’t he? He wasn’t merely asking for a friend of his or something…oh no, had I made a complete fool of myself? Again?

He smiled. “Really? That vould be vonderful, Miss Granger. I vould be honoured if you vould accompany me.”

I nearly melted with relief.

Instead I just smiled and sagged a little.

“That’s…that’s…great! That’s wonderful!” I said, trying very hard not to do something to embarrass myself.

Which is why, of course, I did.

As he held out his hand for mine again, I tripped – I don’t even know on what – to come close enough to take his hand.

He caught me quickly – seeker reflexes, I couldn’t help thinking – and held me for a second before placing me on my feet.

I blushed so hard I wouldn’t have been in the least surprised if nearby books had caught fire.

“Sorry.” I mumbled, my eyes on the floor.

He seemed to find it amusing and chuckled.

“That is alright, Miss Granger. You are vairy cute, yes?”

I couldn’t help but smile.

He was so…nice. He just seemed to exude confidence and compliments seemed to come as second nature. I doubted most of them were true, but it was nice to feel appreciated, anyhow.

I leant up and kissed him on the cheek, running out before I could do anything more to embarrass myself.

I couldn’t believe it! Viktor Krum! I had a date for the Yule Ball!

I hugged myself as I ran down the corridor and nearly fell over as I did so.

Wait until Ron found out.

XX

A/N: The title of this fic comes from the song 'maybe it's you' by The Carpenters; listen to it, or read the lyrics and you'll understand why. It's a beautiful song.Anyway, I hope you liked it, and the next chapter should be up soon. If you don't review, I will set my grandmother on you. She will bite you, and I will not try to stop her. Seriously though, it only takes a few seconds, and it makes my day. It's the courteous thing to do, so DO IT.

Love you. icefire_lioness
xxx

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