Title: Miss Perfect
Author's Email: bananacosmicgirl (at) hotmail . com
Author's Site: www . cosmicuniverse . net
Author's Journal: http / bananacosmic . livejournal . com
Characters: Hermione Granger
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Summary: Hermione comes back to school in sixth year looking absolutely gorgeous. But is it really what she wanted?
Beta: Jen (magicgerbil on LJ)
Britpicker: Amythyst23 (flawedamythyst on LJ)
Author's notes: This is a challenge answer to the 'twist a cliché' challenge on FictionAlley. The challenge was to take one of the big clichés and twist it around. I chose the horrible, awful and for me un-readable 'Hermione Turned Beautiful Over The Summer' cliché. I'm not certain which category it's supposed to go in; it's part humor, part parody and perhaps part serious.
- - -
- - -
She didn't know what had gone wrong, but something definitely had. Hermione Granger had never failed a potion before – but it seemed like everything that could possibly have gone wrong with this one had.
Hermione sat up, rubbing her head gingerly. The odd thought of, 'I've never seen my room from this angle before' ran through her head.
Her clothes were drenched in the failed potion and she felt the icky substance on her face and arms as well. She was soaked and mumbled obscenities under her breath. She wasn't one to swear, but this situation seemed to warrant it. It was lucky her parents weren't home – they would have been scared to death from the loud bang that had erupted from her room when the potion exploded.
She grabbed hold of the desk and pulled herself up. There were stains from the potion on the carpet as well; she'd have to scrub it away best she could. After all, she wasn't really allowed to do magic outside of school.
She walked over to the door, finding that her balance was off. She signed it off to the blow she'd taken to her head; she was just a bit dizzy. She opened the door to the hallway and listened for a moment to make sure that her parents hadn't come home while she was out. But the house was quiet and empty. She walked to the bathroom and went to the sink.
And she screamed.
Staring back at her in the mirror above the sink wasn't her usual reflection. She staggered back at the sight; that wasn't her – the person staring back at her was—
Her eyes were bigger, her nose smaller, her cheekbones higher, her lips fuller and her hair fell down her shoulders in perfect, shiny locks. She pulled off her blouse to find full, perfectly rounded breasts that no longer fit into her small bra. Her waist was tinier, her legs longer and thinner, perfectly shaped.
Hermione's suddenly chocolate brown eyes, rather than the old dull colour, filled with tears. This wasn't her! She couldn't look like this!
She started scrubbing herself, trying to get the horrible potion off her body. Perhaps if she scrubbed it off, the hideous perfection would go away! But when her light, unblemished skin started to bleed from the heavy scrubbing, she realised that the effects of the potion wouldn't wear off just because she scrubbed herself clean.
Still crying, Hermione returned to her room. There, she turned off all the lights and changed into her pyjamas. They didn't fit her anymore; the legs were to short and the top felt uncomfortably tight over her large chest. In the end, Hermione took the top off and shut her eyes, trying to fall asleep. Maybe when she woke up tomorrow, the effects would have worn off.
- - -
The effect didn't wear off.
Hermione's parents stared wide-eyed at the perfect being that walked down the stairs for breakfast, her eyes red from crying. It took a bit of convincing before her parents understood what had happened – even her voice had been changed to a more beautiful, melodic one. She didn't quite tell them that it had been an accident; she made it sound as though it was supposed to be like this, as though it was homework – she was too ashamed to admit that she had really made a mistake.
"So how long are you supposed to look like this?" her father asked her.
"It— I'm not sure," Hermione said. "It might last until I go back to school."
"Oh," her father said. "Well, that's just another few days and you're leaving for Ron's tomorrow."
Hermione's eyes widened. "No!"
Her father raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean, 'no'?"
"I— I can't go. I'm not finished with my homework and I— uh, I never get anything done while I'm there so I can't go," she lied quickly. Her heart beat wildly in her chest – Harry and Ron couldn't find out! What would they say, when they saw her looking like this? She looked ridiculous! Or perhaps they'd think she looked nice and they'd think she did it on purpose. As though she'd ever want to look like this!
She sent an owl to Ron, telling him she'd gotten sick and wouldn't be able to come over for the week but that she would see him and Harry and the rest on Platform 9 ¾ on September 1st.
Hopefully, by then, the effects of the potion would have worn off – or maybe she'd be able to find an antidote.
- - -
Three days later – only four days before she was supposed to return to Hogwarts – Hermione still hadn't gotten anywhere on finding an antidote. She looked every bit as hideously perfect as she had when it had first started affecting her.
She was starting to accept the fact that the potion wouldn't wear off for a while – and she needed new clothes for this new body. None of her bras fit, nor did any of her shirts or trousers – the trousers were all too large in the waist, too tight over her curvy hips and too short in the legs. She'd taken to wearing only skirts – but they didn't fit well either.
Thus today, she was going shopping. She hadn't been outside since the accident had happened and was dreading it.
She dressed as heavily as she could. Of course the heat wave currently over London made it impossible for her to wear all that much clothes – though she would have liked to wear a heavy coat that hid her body from top to toe, she couldn't.
In the end, she dressed in the longest skirt she could find. It didn't reach more than to just above the knees, considering her suddenly longer legs, but it would have to do. She took her largest bra and the largest shirt she could find.
She took the bus to town. She'd never gone through anything worse – she'd take facing off with Voldemort over this any day. Everyone stared; the bus driver seemed to want to give her a free ride and the other people on the bus turned their heads to gawk at her.
She felt sick. This wasn't her. She wasn't supposed to be visible; no one ever noticed her at all. She was the invisible sidekick, the one who lived in the library and the one who boys didn't even consider a girl.
Now even the girls and women on the bus seemed to stare.
She sat down in an empty seat and tried to make herself invisible. The bus ride felt like the longest she'd ever been on but in the end, it reached the shopping district where Hermione was going to get new clothes.
She got off the bus and started walking down the street. People stopped and looked at her; a few whispered. Hermione was close to tears by the time she reached the first shop; what were they saying about her? She didn't want to be seen, didn't want to be stared at.
The male assistant in the store immediately hurried to her side. "Can I help you with anything?"
"I— I need to get some new underwear," Hermione said, her face heating.
The assistant eyes widened and his eyes flitted over her body. "Of course. This way."
She'd never gotten help so fast – and now she just wanted him to leave. He looked at her as though she was an animal and he was a predator.
"Here we are," the assistant said. "What size are you?"
"I— I don't know," Hermione said.
"Well, you should try this," the clerk said holding out a set of very hot black lingerie in a size Hermione would never have thought she'd use.
"Thank you but no," Hermione said. "I want something plain. I think I can find my way from here."
She turned away from him, wanting to get as far away as possible. She chose three sets of underwear to try on and went to the changing rooms. The new underwear felt much more pleasant; her breasts actually fit into this and the underpants were a good size for her. Still, she couldn't really look at herself in the mirror without feeling ill – she looked like something out of a girlie magazine.
She changed back into her original clothes and paid for the new sets of underwear.
The day continued in much the same way. The assistants, male and female, went out of their way to help her, and everyone else turned and stared at her. She received two slips of paper with phone numbers on from two different boys at separate times during the day.
"It's love at the first sight," one of them sighed, while the other said that she should call him for some really steamy sex. Hermione threw both pieces of paper away in the next rubbish bin she could find.
- - -
She ordered her books by owl so that she wouldn't have to go to Diagon Alley and she received them the day before she left for Hogwarts.
On September 1st, Hermione woke up hours before she was supposed to get up and couldn't fall asleep again. She lay in the darkness, imagining all the responses Harry and Ron might give to her new looks. There wasn't one response that didn't make her sick one way or another.
Her parents drove her to the station and she arrived on the platform fifteen minutes before the train was supposed to leave. The platform was already filled with students and their parents. Hermione's parents hadn't come with her to the train this time; she'd said good bye to them at the parking lot.
Around her, people stared and pointed and whispered. She heard someone wonder who she was. When she saw even Draco Malfoy staring wide-eyed at her and his two goons, Crabbe and Goyle were drooling, she hid her face.
Harry and Ron arrived together with Ginny. Hermione stood some way off, wishing she could sink into the ground, so that people would stop staring at her.
Harry and the Weasleys stood huddled together.
"Where's Hermione?" Hermione heard Ron ask.
Swallowing, her mouth dry, Hermione walked over to them. Her heart was trying to beat its way out of her chest. She took a deep breath.
"I— I'm here," she said.
Everyone turned to look at her. Not just the Weasley clan and Harry, but the rest of the station as well. It seemed like everyone had heard her new, ridiculously soft and beautiful voice.
"Hermione?" Harry said, staring like everyone else did.
Ron's chin was on the ground.
"Yeah. Uh, hi," she said.
"What happened to you?" Ginny asked. "You look absolutely gorgeous."
"Yes, I do, don't I?" Hermione said, giggling nervously. She wondered if the unhappiness and sarcasm could be heard in her voice.
"Yes," Harry said. "You look bloody fabulous!"
Obviously he hadn't noticed the sarcasm. Ron didn't seem to have noticed her speaking at all – he couldn't stop staring. His mouth hung half open.
Harry slapped him lightly upside the head. "Earth to Ron," he said.
Still, Ron's eyes didn't leave Hermione. He mumbled, "Holy fuck you look good…"
Hermione wanted to cry. It was one of the many reactions she'd imagined they'd give. She felt utterly stupid looking like this – and now Ron was staring at her breasts.
"We'll miss the train if we don't get on now," Ginny said.
Obviously, the four weren't the only ones who'd miss the train – several dozen students were standing rather still, just looking at Hermione. It was far worse than when she'd been in London shopping because these were people she knew.
Ginny took her arm. "You and I are getting a compartment."
When she pulled Hermione with her, the rest of the people on the station seemed to wake up from their spell and everyone hurried onto the train.
- - -
"What in Merlin's beard did you do?" Ginny asked, sounding exasperated.
"I— I did a potion," Hermione said.
"Why? You've never shown any interest in being pretty – why would you want to look like that?" She motioned at Hermione's body and stopped to stare. Obviously, even Ginny wasn't immune to her – and Ginny was her best friend. And a girl.
"I— it just happened like this," Hermione said. She still couldn't admit that she'd made a mistake and that this was just a result of an accident.
"It just happened?" Ginny asked. "Looking like that doesn't 'just happen'."
"Look Ginny, this is how I look right now – just let it go," Hermione said. She fought back the tears – she wouldn't start crying again. She'd done enough of that in the last week. She looked this way now, so she would have to deal with it. Of course she would continue looking for an antidote and continue to hope that it would wear off. But at the moment, she couldn't do much about it.
Ginny sat back, crossing her arms over her chest. "Fine."
This year was starting out just fabulously. Ron was unable to look her in the eyes, Ginny was angry with her and the rest of the school, including Harry, couldn't stop staring.
- - -
The Welcome Feast was just as horrible as being at the train station. The whole Hall seemed to be staring at her – including the teachers. The first- and second years seemed to be exempt; they were likely to be too young.
She couldn't converse with anyone. No one was able to keep their wits, or even part of their regular intelligence, with them when they looked at her. Ron's eyes were glued to her chest and Harry, though not as tongue-tied as the rest, still couldn't help his eyes flitting over her body at regular intervals. She knew why he wasn't as interested as everyone else – he'd shared the notion that he might be gay with her at the end of last year.
In the end, she fled to the girls' dormitory. As the Gryffindor prefect, she was supposed to lead the first-years up to the Gryffindor tower, but Ron would have to do that instead – he was the other prefect. He probably functioned far better when she wasn't around.
By the time the other girls arrived in the dormitory, Hermione had gone to bed and closed the curtains tightly.
The next morning, she was called to the Headmaster's office.
"Miss Granger, you seem to have grown over the summer," Dumbledore said. His eyes were twinkling.
"I— uh," Hermione said, her usual wits long forgotten. She couldn't lie to the Headmaster.
"It's all right, Miss Granger, you don't need to tell me how you did it. After all, people do what they feel they have to," Dumbledore said. "Just tell me if you have any problems this year, all right?"
Was Hermione imagining it or was there more to Dumbledore's twinkling eyes today than there usually was? Her stomach twisted into tight knots. It couldn't possibly be.
"Yes sir," she said, her voice small. Then she said quickly, "I have to get to my lesson."
"Of course, Miss Granger," Dumbledore said.
Hermione hurried out of there and ran to Transfigurations. It was almost odd to have such a normal lesson – she took perfectly organized notes as she always did. This was how she was supposed to be perfect; her meticulous notes and great studying – not her looks.
- - -
Hermione soon found that the lessons she had with female or non-human teachers were far easier than the others. Luckily, most of her lessons had such teachers. Hagrid was only partly affected by her sudden beauty and Flitwick seemed rather immune to it. Binns, as a ghost, didn't notice anything at all about her. She had never been more thankful for History of Magic.
Potions on the other hand, was another story. Not only was the lesson mostly boys now that they'd gotten to chose NEWT-classes, but it was also led by a very male, very human teacher.
Snape tried his best to be as nasty as he could to the Gryffindors, but Hermione found that a single look in his direction made him stop taking points from their House or harassing the Gryffindor students. She tried to avoid looking at him as much as possible, but being their teacher, she couldn't very well completely ignore him.
"Miss Granger, are you paying—" Snape had started once, when she'd tried to go through a lesson without looking at him.
She'd looked up half-way through his sentence and he'd trailed off. Her face heated when she saw how he was affected; there was obvious desire in his eyes. He hurried back to sit behind his desk and Hermione could only imagine what other parts of his body had been affected. Images of a naked Snape invaded her mind and she shut the door quickly - she did not want to imagine!
Her Arthimancy professor was similarly affected and Hermione went through those lessones as well with her head bent over her notes instead of looking at the professor. She took more notes now than she ever had before – and that was saying something.
- - -
She still hadn't been able to have a real conversation with Ron but Harry had started to see through the beauty to the old Hermione. It was nice to have her best friend back – though she got more attention now than she had ever gotten in her life, she felt horribly lonely.
She wasn't fighting with Ginny anymore but she still hadn't admitted to anyone that the reason for her new looks was an accident. It still burned in her that she'd made a mistake.
The biggest problem with the accident itself was that she didn't have a clue of which potion she'd managed to create. In the library, she'd found all sorts of potions on beautification – from potions to beautify gardens to one's looks – but all of them had ingredients that Hermione had never heard of. As she couldn't find the potion, she couldn't find an antidote either.
One late afternoon, Hermione was walking back from the library to the Gryffindor tower when she literally ran into Draco Malfoy.
"Watch—" he began, then stopped as everyone else did, halfway into the sentence when he saw her.
"Malfoy," Hermione greeted him.
He was without his goons for once, she noted briefly, before she found herself pressed against the wall.
"Granger, did anyone tell you that you've turned completely and totally gorgeous over the summer?" Malfoy whispered to her. His voice was heavy with desire.
"Let me go!" Hermione said.
He pressed himself against her and she felt his hard-on pressing into her thigh. She sucked in her breath, trying to think of what to do. Malfoy was far stronger than her; she wouldn't be able to get out of the grip he was holding her in.
"You want it too, Granger? Right here, against the wall?" He ground his erection against her leg.
"No!" Hermione yelled. "Let me go!"
"Oh, you don't want me to do that," Malfoy said.
"Mr. Malfoy! What on earth do you think you're doing?"
Hermione had never been so happy to hear Snape's voice in her life. Malfoy immediately let go of her and she slumped, her heartbeat wild.
"Twenty points from Slytherin for harassing another student," Snape said. "Now go before I take far more!"
Malfoy glared at Snape. There was a predatory gleam in his eyes as he looked at Hermione one last time. Then he turned and hurried away, a bested animal.
"Miss Granger?" Snape said. "Are you all right?"
Hermione didn't look him in the eye. "I— I'll be fine, sir."
"Has anything like this ever happened before?" Snape asked.
Hermione made the mistake of looking up at the question. Immediately, she saw the effect in his face; all intelligent thoughts seemed to come to a complete stop in his mind. Desire lit in his eyes.
She ran away.
- - -
"It was a mistake!" Hermione sobbed.
"What was a mistake?" Harry asked, looking between her and Ginny.
"The potion! This! How I look!" Hermione said. "I was making a deflation potion and something went wrong. The whole thing exploded, soaked me and now I look like this!"
"So— you don't want to look like this?" Harry asked.
"No!" Hermione sobbed, fresh tears falling down her cheeks. "Why would I? I can't have a normal conversation with any boy or man because they either stare at my boobs or drown in my eyes, I haven't gotten a coherent word out of Ron since the start of term, I can't sleep 'cause these boobs are in the way and my hair looks perfect no matter what I do – I don't even have to brush it after getting out of the shower, it just falls like this!" She buried her head in a pillow.
Ginny exchanged a look with Harry. "Why didn't you tell us? We could have helped you."
Hermione's muffled voice through the pillow said, "I made a mistake. I didn't want you guys to know."
Harry and Ginny shared a look, then they both shook their heads, smiling slightly. They obviously thought the explanation was rather Hermione-like.
"Everyone makes mistakes," Harry said. "It's actually rather nice to know that you can do them too."
Hermione sat up and glared at Harry. She saw him move uncomfortably and immediately looked away. Harry wasn't immune after all – he just usually saw through her looks.
"I can't look like this," Hermione said, looking down at her hands. "I feel ridiculous – these boobs and the face and everyone stares at me and Malfoy and Snape—"
"What did Malfoy and Snape do?" Harry asked sharply.
Hermione's cheeks turned red. "It doesn't matter. I just can't look like this anymore!"
Harry looked as though he was going to ask again but decided against it.
Ginny rubbed her arm. "We'll find some way to make you look like you did before. Promise."
- - -
It was not, of course, as easy as to just promise that things would be solved; they didn't just suddenly find the solution in a forgotten book in the library. Instead, Harry went with Hermione to Snape to ask him for help. Hermione didn't exactly beg Harry to come with her, but he still heard her tone of voice when she asked him.
They knocked on the door to the Potions classroom after lessons were finished one evening, before dinner. Snape opened the door and glared at Harry. Then he caught sight of Hermione.
"Miss Granger," he said, his voice suddenly high-pitched and ridiculous-sounding.
"Uh, hi Professor," Hermione said. "We— I need some help."
Snape allowed them inside without another word. His eyes were burning into Hermione's back as he kept his gaze on her.
Snape coughed and obviously made an effort to keep his voice as it normally was. "Is this about Mr. Malfoy? Because the matter has been handled and I assure you, it will not happen again."
Harry shot Hermione another look and she knew he wondered what had happened.
"No, sir, it's not about that," Hermione said. "We need help with an antidote."
"An antidote? Have you been poisoned?"
Hermione couldn't help but notice how Snape seemed to have forgotten of Harry's existence. His attention was solely on her. It wasn't unusual; she'd noticed it with other boys in school. They seemed to forget everyone and everything but her. Still, it was freakier when it was a teacher. She averted her eyes.
"No sir, not really. It's just— there was a— a potions mishap this summer," she said softly, still horribly embarrassed by whatever mistake she'd made. "It's why I, uh, look like this."
As though it had been an invitation to do so, his eyes roamed over her body. "That is a—a result of a potion?"
She heard him stumble over the words; she'd never heard him do that before. Once again, she was gripped with just how awful this was – she didn't want to turn boys and men, and women for that matter because they weren't all immune, into bumbling, fumbling idiots. She was an intelligent being who thrived on interesting, deep and learning discussions and conversations – she couldn't go through life feeling like a stupid bimbo!
"Yes," she said, her voice clearer now. "It is. And I don't want to look like this."
Still very aware of how it would affect him, she raised her eyes. She needed to make him really understand that she didn't want this; that he needed to help her.
"No, I don't," Hermione said. "I can't go through the rest of my life with the ability to turn men on just by looking at them, or walking past them."
Snape was squirming under her gaze. She realised that it was the first time since turning into this thing that she looked into a male's eyes for longer than just a moment. The results were insane. Snape's hand went to his crotch for a moment, before he realised what he was doing. His cheeks were turning red, his eyes dark with passion and his suddenly breathing heavy. It was frightening.
"Will you help me?" Hermione asked.
"Anything, Miss Granger," Snape said weakly, looking as though he wanted to look away but couldn't.
Suddenly, Harry grabbed Hermione's arm and pulled her towards the door. The spell she'd held over Snape was lifted at least a bit and he looked away, grabbing hold of a desk to stay standing.
"I'll come back with all that we have on the potion she was trying to make," Harry said. "Sir."
Then he pulled Hermione out of the classroom.
"What was that?" he demanded as soon as the door had closed behind them.
"I needed to get him to understand," Hermione snapped. "I can't look like this and he didn't seem to be listening to me – he was just drowning in fantasies about bending me over his desk and taking me right there."
Harry shook his head. "Had you made the least bit of a move, he'd have come in his pants, Hermione – he wouldn't have had time to take off your clothes or his. You're a vixen – you're worse than the Veela."
"I suddenly have much more understanding for Fleur," Hermione muttered. "Harry, I don't want to look like this! Snape even gave me the highest grade for my last essay, he didn't leave a single mark – that's never happened before. I can't do this."
They started walking towards the Great Hall.
"I thought girls dreamed about being pretty," Harry said.
"Yeah, I've dreamed about my hair being a bit less messy and my looks to be a bit more on the pretty side," Hermione said, shrugging slightly. "But I've never spent much time on my looks. I could make my hair look like I did on the Dance in fourth year, but it takes too much time and I prefer to read instead. Besides, this isn't just 'pretty'."
Harry glanced sideways at her. Even he couldn't avoid looking at her chest. "Nope, definitely not."
Hermione slapped him lightly upside the head. "Stop that."
"What?" Harry asked mischievously. "Those are fine assets and they should be admired."
For what felt like the first time that term, Hermione laughed.
- - -
Snape soon gave Hermione the news that he was working on the antidote. He'd somehow been able to figure out what had gone wrong with the original potion and was working night and day on the antidote.
"Isn't it strange that he's so keen on making you ugl—uh, less pretty again when he obviously loves staring at you the way you look right now?" Ginny asked, sitting on Hermione's bed with a book on her lap. Hermione was helping her with her studies.
"I think he hates the fact that I turn him into a bumbling fool as much as I do," Hermione said. "He's a brilliant man, even though he has the worst mood and personality. When I'm around him, he acts like a silly teenager with a crush. Of course it's humiliating for him and of course he wants it to stop."
"So now he's working all hours to get you the antidote," Ginny said.
"Yes. All the time when he doesn't have lessons," Hermione said.
Snape had even stopped being present at meal time. Hermione wasn't quite sure if it was because he didn't want to risk seeing her or if it was because he was working. She didn't want to speculate.
"Now, how are those charms coming along?" Hermione asked, changing the subject.
It felt good to do tutoring. It felt normal, unlike everything else about the situation. Studying, teaching, helping - it was what she was good at – it was what she was supposed to get noticed for. Her brains, not her boobs.
- - -
It was in the middle of dinner one evening that an owl flew into the Great Hall and landed in front of Hermione. The whole hall followed her moves with great interest and her cheeks reddened as they always did under their gazes.
The note was short and simple.
'I believe I have the solution for your problem. Meet me in the dungeons after dinner. Bring Potter.'
Hermione's eyes widened. Had Snape found the antidote? Was it possible?
She gave the note to Harry, who read it and nodded. They'd already agreed that he'd come with her when she went to take the antidote. Neither wanted her to be alone with Snape – not even Snape himself. He'd told her, his voice high-pitched and forced, that he didn't trust himself around her.
Hermione and Harry finished their dinners quickly and excused themselves. Harry had problems keeping up with her as she hurried down the stairs towards the dungeons. At the Potions classroom, she knocked rapidly on the door.
The door opened and the two students went inside. Snape was behind his desk; he'd opened the door with a flick of his wand. It closed with another flick.
"Mr. Potter, Miss Granger," he greeted them without looking up. "I believe I have found the antidote."
He motioned towards a vial standing on his desk. Harry walked over and took it.
"Since the last potion was spilled all over you, you need to rub this onto your body as well," Snape said. "It doesn't need to cover you, but there is enough for all body parts."
"Will it hurt?" Hermione asked.
Snape still didn't look up. "Since you were knocked unconscious the last time, I can't answer with any certainty but considering that it is your body readjusting itself, I do believe it is likely to hurt, yes."
It didn't matter to Hermione. She didn't want pain, of course, but she'd rather take a few minutes of pain than look like this for the rest of her life.
"Thank you, Professor," Hermione said honestly.
He motioned for the two to go and with another word, they left. Harry held the vial carefully and tightly. The two didn't speak the whole way up to the Gryffindor tower; Hermione was deep in thought while Harry knew to leave her alone. They entered the Gryffindor common room and at the bottom of the stairs to the girls' dormitories, Harry handed Hermione the vial.
"Good luck," Harry said.
A small smile passed over Hermione's lips. "See you when I'm ugly again. Hopefully."
"Hermione," Harry said. "You weren't ugly before."
Hermione rolled her eyes. Of course Harry would tell her so – but she knew she hadn't been a beauty.
She turned and walked up the stairs.
- - -
In the girls' bathroom, Hermione undressed. There were two full-length mirrors in the bathroom and Hermione felt like they'd been mocking her all term. Her reflection preened and flirted with her; she imagined that was how it could have turned out had this happened to someone else. She could picture Lavender or Parvati being dosed with the same potion – they'd love it. They already loved the attention they were getting with the breast-enlargement spell they'd found in a dusty old library book. It made Hermione sick to watch.
Standing there, naked in front of the mirrors, she could admit to wanting to be a bit prettier than she had been before. There had been times when she'd been younger when she'd wished she was a bit more beautiful – she was a bookworm but it didn't mean she was completely immune towards the female ideals that were spread over the world through magazines, films and celebrities.
She looked at herself – large breasts, a tiny waist, well-formed hips and long legs, her dark golden tresses falling down almost to the small of her back. Her face; it was doll-like with large chocolate eyes framed by dark lashes, the full red lips and high cheekbones. She was a living female ideal.
Still, now that she'd had it, she would never wish for it again. She would never wish for the feeling of all the boys' eyes on her instead of on all the other, prettier girls, and she'd never wish she was skinnier or that her eyes were a more beautiful brown. She'd had it now and she hadn't liked it.
Hermione uncorked the vial. The liquid inside was clear blue; it was beautiful as a contrast to its function. It was ironic, really – the fouled up potion she'd managed to do had been a gross puke-colour, but it had made her beautiful.
She poured some into her hand and started rubbing it onto her body, her face, her hair. Snape had said she didn't need to cover every inch of her body, but she was meticulous in her work; she didn't want to leave something to chance.
When she was finished, she still hadn't felt anything. She looked in the mirror, wondering if the potion had worked without her noticing. Yet the girl staring back at her was just as beautiful as before, her hair as perfect and her legs just as long. It hadn't worked yet.
Hermione sat back against the wall, waiting.
She felt a small burning sensation at her toe and scratched it. The burning didn't stop though; it started spreading up through her foot to her ankle and her other foot felt the same way. Somewhere along the way it started hurting; it felt like fire spreading through her body, faster and hotter for every second that passed.
When the burning reached her heart, Hermione passed out. The darkness was welcome.
- - -
She woke up because she was cold. The tile beneath her was like ice and she shuddered. For a moment, she didn't realise where she was but then she remembered – the antidote!
She sat up quickly. Her head swam as she pulled herself towards the full-length mirror—
—and she nearly started crying when she saw her old self looking back at her. Her own brown eyes; intelligent but not especially beautiful, in an ordinary face with bushy hair and a regular teenage body below. Her breasts were small, her legs shorter and stubbier.
She broke out into a huge smile.
- - -
Once she'd gotten dressed, she ran down to the common room where Harry was sitting, studying.
"It worked!" she cried to him and thrown herself around his neck. He laughed and swung her around, sharing her happiness.
Ron stared at her wide-eyed, disbelieving. "What did you do?"
"I never wanted to look that way," Hermione said. "Did you really think I did?"
Ron didn't answer. The rest of the common room stared at her but instead of staring at her with moon-eyes they were looking just as disbelieving as Ron. No one could understand why she'd want to return to her old looks.
The school buzzed with the news of her return to her old looks. Soon though, the news became old and Hermione was left alone. She couldn't have been happier. She dove into schoolwork again, tutoring students and getting the highest grades of the whole class.
Ron finally expressed happiness in that she was back looking as she once had. "I didn't like being all tongue-tied around you. But you just looked so— so— good."
"I was perfect," Hermione said, rolling her eyes. "Beauty is all good, but perfect is boring. I don't see how anyone could have found me interesting at all."
- - -
After dinner just days after her transformation back to her old looks, when Hermione felt especially brave, she walked down to the dungeons. She knocked on the door, her heartbeat quick from nervousness.
"Miss Granger." Snape was in the doorway looking down his hooked nose at her.
"Professor Snape," Hermione said. "Do you mind if I—"
He held up the door for her and she walked inside. She was glad to find that he no longer fidgeted when he looked at her.
"I just wanted to say thank you," Hermione said. "Without your help, I never would have gotten—well, myself back. So thank you."
"You're welcome, Miss Granger." His voice held no emotion whatsoever.
"People have wondered why I wanted to be— uh, ugly again and I just can't come up with any explanation but that this is me. There might be others who want to look like that, but I don't. I felt ridiculous." Hermione wasn't quite sure why she felt she had to explain this to Snape, but she couldn't help herself.
"As I said before, Miss Granger, you're welcome," Snape said. His stance suggested that she should go now.
She bowed her head. "Yes, well, good," she said. "Bye, sir."
"Good night, Miss Granger," Snape said. He was just about to close the door after her when she heard him say, "And might I add that you are not at all ugly."
She wasn't sure she was supposed to have heard his words or not, but it didn't matter. She'd needed to hear just those words. She turned around and gave the brilliant man a wide smile.
"Good night, sir."
- - -
Author's Notes: This story was written in two days. I just found the challenge very interesting and as I said at the start of the fic, I cannot read 'Hermione turned beautiful over the summer'-stories without being sick. So it was fun to write something different. It was also nice to write something that didn't center on Harry or Draco for a change. And yes, for those of you who'd like it, you can imagine this as a bit of an HG/SS. I do sail that ship occasionally, though I don't write it.
Please review… was this just stupid or did you enjoy?