Thoughts in italics.

Ron stood outside the book shop, a bouquet of roses in one hand and the other busy running through his hair. He was sweating slightly and was more pale than usual. "Can't believe I'm going to do this," he muttered to himself. Preparing himself, he cleared his throat and stepped forward.

"I can't do it," he said miserably, walking over to the bench next to the shop. He sat the roses down next to him and lay his head in his hands.

Ron Weasley, the clown of Gryffindor, best friend of Harry Potter, and all-around outgoing guy was having woman trouble. That is to say, he was having Hermione trouble. Ever since first year, the first time he'd seen her, he'd been in love with her.

At first it showed itself as love tends to do among the younger generation. Teasing, mocking, and constant arguing were his defense. She was a know-it-all; he was a slacker. She was a perfectionist; he was a slob. She was perfect; he was not. This is what he kept repeating to himself as he sat on the bench on that day in late June.

"I just have to go in, hold out the roses, and say it," he told himself. He held up his head and looked out across the street. The traffic was horrible that day, which definitely didn't help the mood. The hustle and bustle and general noise of the packed cars made Ron feel more nervous. He rubbed his sweaty palms on his faded jeans and sighed. "Hermione, I love you," he said. Feeling dumb, he shook his head and laughed nervously.

"See? That wasn't so hard," he told himself. Harry had told him it wouldn't be difficult. "Harry had also told me that it was going to rain that day," Ron thought looking down at the discarded umbrella he'd brought with him. He had no clue how to work it but he'd been informed that was how muggles kept dry during the rainy days.

"Harry, you were bloody wrong," he muttered, and looked again at the roses. He sighed and picked them up and held them to his nose. Inhaling deeply, he was reminded of her. The way she smelled entranced him, as did everything else about her. The way whisps of her hair fell in her face as she read. The way she chewed her bottom lip when she came across new information, and the way her brows furrowed slightly. He had memorized it all.

"I have to do it," he repeated, and stood. With an air of determination, he turned towards the shop.

With the grace he was always known for, Ron ran straight into Hermione as she exited the shop. She dropped the bag full of books she had held onto his foot, causing him to drop the roses and clutch his injured toe.

"Oi! Hermione! What've you got in there, a whole shelf?" he said, moaning melodramatically in pain. Hermione, however, wasn't paying attention to her friend's current predicament.

"Ron?" she asked tentatively.

"Yeah?" he asked, still rubbing his sore foot. He was glaring at the bag of books which had tipped over and revealed at least two rather large hard-backs. "Typical Hermione," he thought.

"Are those for me?"

Ron froze. She was now holding the bundle of roses and inhaling deeply as he had just done. His eyes widened and he suddenly realized how hot it really was that day.

"Er, yeah," he said, tugging at his collar. "Brilliant," he thought. "Just sweep her off her feet, why don't you?."

Turning towards him, Hermione gave him a wide smile. Before he could react, she had leaned up on her tip-toes to reach his cheek and given him a light peck of appreciation.

His face slowly melted into a giant grin and his cheeks and ears reddened. Ron looked down at Hermione, who was clutching the roses to her chest. His Hermione, with whisps of hair hanging in her face. His Hermione, whose brow was furrowed as she contemplated the meaning of the gift. His Hermione, who smelled better than any roses one could ever find.

"Hermione," he said, taking her free hand in his and staring deep into her eyes. "I love you."

With that, the roses fell to the ground as the two new lovers' lips met in a kiss filled with the emotions they had bottled up for so long. Neither of them remembered they were standing on a crowded street outside of a bookstore until many minutes later.

Written for a contest on "The Hideaway" forum. This is my first Ron/Hermione fic. Hope you enjoyed it.