Author's Note; So... here it is. My first attempt at a Ron/Hermione fic. Hope you guys enjoy it.
The great hall was dimly lit by hundreds of candles. The four house tables were gone; creating what seemed like endless space for the dancing couples. The ceiling was starlit, and the stars seemed to be shining brighter than ever before this Christmas Eve. Whether it was mere coincidence, or if someone had bewitched them to be so especially for the Winter Masquerade, no one really knew. Of course, maybe it was just her mind playing tricks on her again.
Hermione Granger peeked out from behind a large pillar. She wasn't exactly surprised that she looked terribly underdressed compared to the rest of the girls, who were sporting their large, sparkling, elegant gowns. The only one who looked decent, in her opinion, was Ginny, who was dressed in a light champagne colored dress that hugged her slim body perfectly. She stood with her hand entwined with Harry's, and only looked up from his green eyes when she caught sight of Hermione from the corner of her eye. Ginny smiled and waved, then resumed her conversation.
Deciding she could put off going down there no longer, Hermione donned her beautiful silver mask so that half her face was concealed, smoothed her hair, and descended down the stairs, her eyes peering out of the two holes.
Now, Hermione didn't usually turn heads as she did that night, and she didn't ever do so without looking a bit smug. She couldn't help but flaunt her good looks around the guys who'd tease her about her large mane of hair that night.
No one had asked her to the ball, but she'd refused to be left out. So she contented herself with dancing with any boy who threw themselves at her feet. All night, though, she couldn't help but think of someone else, someone who she hadn't seen since that morning. All she could do was hope that, sometime during the night, he'd turn up and sweep her off her feet…
Of course, Hermione was too logical to believe that fairytales really did come true, but she wasn't going to let logic spoil her fun that night…
He'd had his eyes on her since she'd allowed one of her eyes to be visible from behind the large pillar at the top of the stairs. And when she'd shown herself to all during her slow descent down the stairs, he'd been forced to pretend to listen to the tale Ginny was telling, when in reality he'd been imagining her voice asking him for a dance.
She looked beautiful, he couldn't deny. Her midnight blue gown looked lovely against her pale skin, and the modest diamonds that decorated the bottom shone almost as brightly as the stars above their heads; almost as brightly as her eyes.
He'd preformed a spell on himself, much to Harry's disapproval, which changed his entire outlook. His once fiery red hair was now black, his pale freckles gone. The one thing he'd failed to change was his eye color, which still remained a brilliant blue.
Many would ask why he'd gone through the trouble of stealing the necessary ingredients from the Potions dungeon, but he knew it was worth it. He worried Hermione would never talk to him if she knew it was him. Not only had they had a row the day before, but she was far too good for him.
She was beautiful, intelligent, caring, charming, kind, beautiful… Oh, wait, he'd already thought that.
And he was barely passing any class, insensitive to most, silly, a brainless git, born into a family of blood-traitors… Not that she cared about his blood, of course, but the fact still loomed over his head.
He was Ronald Weasley, and she was Hermione Granger. Though good friends they'd been throughout all their time at Hogwarts, she wouldn't want him the way he wanted her.
Half the night he saw her waste away her time with boys no where near worthy of her. It sickened him, it truly did.
At half past midnight, he decided he'd wait no longer. He spotted her easily, dancing with Cormac McLaggen in the middle of the room. He tapped on her shoulder.
"Mind if I cut in?" he said politely, thanking Merlin the voice changer hadn't worn off yet.
"Of course," McLaggen muttered, bowing to her and taking a few steps back before turning and stalking away. Ron couldn't help but smirk.
As the next song started, he put his hand on her waist as she put her hand on his shoulder, and he swept her across the floor.
"Do I… know you?" she asked hesitantly. She was staring into his eyes, and Ron had a nagging suspicion he knew why.
What he didn't know was that his suspicion was as off target as it was on it. Yes, she recognized his eyes, but it wasn't the color that set her off. It was the warm kindness she'd seen burning in them since her first day at Hogwarts that really sparked her curiosity.
"In theory," he answered mysteriously.
"In theory," she repeated. "Excuse me, but I know of many theories, and I have never once come across one that involved either the knowing or not-knowing of a person."
"Well, now you have," he chuckled, spinning her slowly.
They danced in silence. He half-expected her to walk away after the one song, but she didn't. They danced to two songs, then three, then four, and then on the eighth song she finally spoke again.
"I know you," she said suddenly. "How could I not know those eyes?"
For a moment, he thought she'd discovered him, but she merely scrunched up her eyebrows in thought.
"That's what frustrates me," she continued. "That I know I've seen those eyes, but where?" She traced her fingertip along the outer rim of the holes that allowed him to see. His eyes closed, and she touched his eyelid lightly.
"You're sure we haven't met?" she asked.
"I never said that," he said.
"So we have met, then?" she said, obviously trying to trick him into confessing. He smiled, but didn't budge.
"Why not take this conversation into somewhere more private?" he suggested, taking her by the hand and leading her out of the Great Hall.
They walked down the corridor she remembered led to the Room of Requirement. She wasn't surprised—it would obviously be a smart place to go.
They went inside, and saw the room had turned not to just another room, but to a garden. She was shocked. All the times she'd read Hogwarts, A History and the many other books available in the library, she didn't remember having ever read that the Room of Requirement could become more than a room.
The garden, supplied with stone benches, fountains, and all, was rather beautiful. The 'sky' sparkled with the diamond-like stars they'd seen in the Great Hall.
"Can I ask you something?" she said as they sat next to one of the fountains. Her mask was still on, and so was his. She hoped that if he would just take it off, she'd know who he was. But he showed no sign of doing so as he stared into her eyes.
"You just did, but you can ask another," he said with a smile. She knew that smile. But from where…?
"How could I have seen you before, and not know who you are now?" she asked.
His smile broadened. "Maybe I've changed since you last saw me."
"So I have seen you before, then?" she said, obviously happy that she'd finally gotten something out of him.
"Yes, you have," he said.
"And so you know who I am?"
"But I don't know you."
"Not from the looks of it, no."
She sighed and stared at him. This was making her head hurt. She knew him… she knew him, she knew she did.
"I love the color blue on you," he said suddenly, tracing an unknown pattern on the shoulder of her dress. "It looks lovely."
"Thank you," she said, unable to hide her grin. "Glad you do."
Before she could really react, he leaned forward and pressed his lips to hers. When he pulled black, she sat frozen, as if having been Petrified by the Basilisk all over again.
"I'm sorry," he said immediately. "I shouldn't have—"
But he never got to finish his sentence, for in the next second her hands were in his hair and her lips pressed to his with such a fiery passion he thought they'd both explode with it. His fingers knotted in her hair as they kissed, and he slowly realized that he always had loved her as more than a friend…
The hair clenched in her fingers started to change. Instead of feeling as if he'd just gotten off a broom after a windy flight, it was softer, less sharp, more warm and friendly. More… familiar.
Her eyes opened and she pulled away. The person in front of her changed. His black hair turned red, his skin became spotted with light freckles.
It was then that she saw that the young man who she'd been with all night was none other than Ronald Weasley.
She stood, dumbstruck, and stared at him. So those eyes, that smile… it had been him all along.
"Merlin's beard… Aw, Hermione, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done it; don't know what made me. I just—"
She pressed one finger to his lips and pulled his mask off with one hand. Gently, he raised his hand and did the same to her.
"Don't apologize," she said. "But please say you're done pretending. Right now, I wouldn't care if the Dark Lord's mark appeared on your arm. I love you, Ron, I truly do."
And with that he swept her into his arms and into another heart stopping kiss. It might've been seconds, minutes, days… Neither of the pair really cared. World War III could've broken out right next to them, Snape could've walked in and declared himself a woman, for Merlin's sake, Dumbledore himself could've announced his love for Professor McGonagall and they wouldn't have noticed.
After what seemed like forever three times over, the two pulled away, smiling and gasping for breath. Ron curled a lock of Hermione's hair around his middle finger.
"I love you too, Hermione. I really do."