Look

Rating: K

Pairings: HermionexRon, slight HermionexKrum

Warnings: None

Genre: General

Word Count: 524

Disclaimer: Please see my profile for details.

A/N: Written in response to a challenge at the livejournal community hp(insert underscore)ficchallenge. I was so inspired!

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Lavender Brown was not exactly the smartest witch of the year. She was shallow and vain and read "Witch Weekly" like it was the bible. Her best friend was Parvati Patil, and giggling and gossiping was about as natural as breathing to them.

What had possessed Hermine to ask for their advice? Oh, yes, it was the desire to NOT look like a bushy-haired freak in front of famous (though, at times, surly) Krum. Her date to the Yule Ball.

Oh bugger.

She took deep breaths and attempted to ignore Lavender and Parvati's excited giggling as they fussed with her hair and her make-up, pulling on her hair and sticking things in her eye and informing her that "beauty was pain."

Was she really going through this ... this torture for Krum?

Truthfully, no. It wasn't all about Krum. It was about a certain red-haired, ignorant Weasley who had been shocked that she was a girl. The prat! She fought of a wave of anger as the specifics of their argument rolled through her mind.

Parvati stepped back, distracting her. "There! All done!"

"Girl, they won't even recognize you." Lavender added.

Hermione's anger was washed away in a rising feel of panic. What if she looked hideous? What if, for all their vanity and expertise, they just couldn't make her beautiful? She was lost in crippling insecurities, in fear and doubt. She was so out of her element, it wasn't even funny. How she longed to just forget the whole thing and hide in the library, or bury herself in a book.

She liked books. Books wouldn't make fun of her, or laugh at her, or hurt her.

Her hands trembled, and her breath was too fast, too nervous, too shaky.

But she gathered her resolve and turned towards the mirror slowly, fearing it's reflection more than anything she had ever faced. She opened her eyes and gasped.

How did they do it? The two most vapid girls she had ever met had worked magic that Hermione could never learn. Her hair sleek and shiny, her face softer and somehow prettier. Heck, they even made her teeth look smaller!

They were congratulating each other cheerfully, watching with smug grins at her reaction.

Hermione swallowed back tears and thanked them profusely, glancing back at the mirror every once and awhile in wonderment.

But the shock wore off and she was swamped with terror once more.

What if she did something foolish?

What if it was all in her head, and she DIDN'T look half as pretty?

What if the entire affair was just another horrible experience?

What if ...

What if ...

Later she would reflect on her insecurities and laugh. She would bask in the reactions of those around her, she would curse her stupid male friends for their idiocy, she would make peace with the arguments that came before and after the ball, she would think of Krum and sigh a touch wistfully, but mostly in relief that they never got serious.

She would, however, always remember how that lost feeling vanished at the look (admirement, jealousy, shock, anger, puzzlement) in Ron's eyes.

END

And yes, I am aware that admirement is not a word. Sod off.

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