DISCLAIMER: Everything belongs to the brilliant J.K. Rowling. I own nothing. Except for my clothes. Those are mine.
There were random days when Hermione woke up and wanted to be more than the frizzy haired know-it-all that all of her classmates knew her as. She'd just open her eyes and know that it was a day where she wanted to be noticed. She'd straighten her hair (thankfully, she could use magic, which was much less tedious than doing it the Muggle way), put on a bit more makeup than usual, particularly around her eyes. There was nothing she could do about her Hogwarts uniform, but when she didn't have to wear her school clothes, she'd wear a sexy outfit.
All the girls with whom she had classes noticed the days when she took more care in her appearance, and they often discussed the reasoning behind it. Of course, the most popular answer was that she wanted to impress a certain ginger boy they all knew, and they were partially correct.
But Hermione didn't just do it for Ron. She did it for herself. She was never the prettiest girl in the world, and she knew it. But if just once in awhile she could look nice enough to get some double takes in the hallway, she'd feel beautiful enough to remind her that she still exists to some people.
And if Ron noticed? Well, that was just a bonus.
When Hermione came downstairs that Tuesday with her straight brown hair and her made-up face, Ron knew it was going to be a tough day for him. As if he didn't already have difficulty keeping her out of his head, she was going to taunt him with one of her sexy days. She couldn't see what these days did to him. He shook himself back to reality and straightened out his pants before she walked over to him.
"Hey. Harry had a meeting with Dumbledore this morning, so he'll just meet us in class. Ready for some breakfast?" he asked, smiling at her. When she grinned back, his mind went nearly blank. Oh god, she's wearing lip gloss, Ron thought. Not fair.
"Ready when you are," she replied, linking her arm around his. He adjusted his jacket subtly so it hung a bit in front of his pants, hiding his excitement. They walked together to breakfast, both on Cloud 9.
Hermione had already noted several guys stare at her as she passed. She definitely looked good today.
Ron was walking with the hottest girl in the school. He was the envy of every guy he knew.
As much as Ron liked these days of hers, he also wished that they didn't happen. She was instantly noticed by every guy and Ron was a faint afterthought. He cared for her no matter what she looked like. He had a better chance with her when she didn't get all dressed up, because then he was good enough for her.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione sat down at their favorite table in the library and began studying. Ron knew he wouldn't get much done, but with the other two so deep in thought, he knew he was free to glance at Hermione as often as he wanted without getting caught.
About thirty minutes after sitting down, Hermione got up to fetch a book. Harry smiled at her as she left, then looked at Ron, who was ogling Hermione as if he had never seen a girl before.
"Ron!" Harry whispered harshly. His best friend snapped out of his trance and looked at Harry, confused.
"Ron, do you know how you're looking at Hermione?" Ron, still looking confused, glanced around awkwardly, hoping nobody could hear. Thankfully, the library was relatively empty that day. "You're doing what the Muggles refer to as 'undressing with the eyes.'"
"What? No, I'm not!" Ron denied quickly and looked at the girl in question. She stretched up onto her tiptoes trying to reach a book and his eyes glazed over once again.
"Ron!" Harry snapped at him and brought him back to reality. "What on earth is wrong with you today?"
The redhead looked embarrassed. "You'll think I'm crazy."
"I already think that, so don't worry about that."
Ron glanced around again, then leaned forward. "Don't you see how Hermione's dressed today?"
Harry looked at their female best friend, still reaching for the book. He shook his head. She was the brightest witch of their age, yet she often forgot that she could use magic when the Muggle way proved to be too difficult. "What do you mean?"
Ron's jaw dropped. "She's dressed up like eye candy for the whole male population and you don't notice?"
"She's just Hermione to me. I don't notice these things."
"Well, I do." Ron leaned forward even more so only Harry could hear. "It's one of her sexy days."
"Her WHAT?" Harry said a bit too loudly. Luckily nobody was around, but they would have had quite a bit of explaining to do if anybody had overheard. "One of her sexy days?" he repeated, in a hushed tone.
"Yes. Some days, she dresses up, wanting to look beautiful or something, and it drives me insane. I mean, not because I think she's hot or anything, but because I don't like her exposing herself to the world like this." Ron had always been quick to try to hide his crush on Hermione, although it was rather pointless. The entire school knew… besides Hermione, apparently. "She acts differently too, like she's flirting with everyone, even the girls. Well, she doesn't flirt with you and me, but it's ridiculous. She just goes around, winking at guys who gawk at her and—" His rambling was cut off when he looked over to see that Cormac McLaggen had helped Hermione get the book down. He stretched his arm to lean against the bookshelf, flexing his muscles while he did so, clearly trying to impress her. She giggled and said something that put a stupid little grin on his face. "Look at that pighead. He doesn't even like her. He just wants her body. She needs to go for guys who appreciate her for her."
"Oh, like you, Ron?" Harry teased.
"Pssht, no, of course not. She just needs to choose better guys."
"Ron, she doesn't date that much. How can you say she needs to pick better guys if she barely picks any at all?"
"Because… she just does, that's all I'm saying." Ron glared at Hermione and Cormac. She said one last flirty comment before pushing back his hair and winking at him. Then she turned around and flounced back to the table, with Cormac nearly drooling over every step she took. She sat down at the desk and went right to work. Clearly Cormac hadn't made a great impression, since she didn't look back over at him at all.
A few minutes passed and it was all Ron's temper could take. He stood up and put his stuff away. "I'll see you guys later," he mumbled and left as quickly as he could.
Hermione gazed after Ron, even after he had left the library. Finally she turned to Harry. "Is Ron mad at me or something?"
Harry shook his head. "Please don't get me involved. I have to finish this essay or Professor Snape will kill me."
"He just seems annoyed about something. He was in a good mood earlier, but just now he seemed upset about something."
Harry sighed and put his quill down. "Are you aware that you look different today?"
"Yeah, I just wanted to look good. It's healthy for my self-esteem." She tugged on her straight hair, then pushed it behind her ear.
"Ron seems to think you dress up so you can flirt with a ton of people." Before Hermione could fire back, he added, "His words, not mine."
"Well, I don't flirt with him, so he should be happy." She crossed her arms and glared off into space. "He's so odd sometimes."
Harry sighed again and went back to his essay. Those two just need to get together.
Ron sat under the tree by the Black Lake. He had always loved that spot, especially when he needed some seclusion. Stupid McLaggen, swooping in on his Hermione. Ron liked Hermione every day, even when she looked like her normal self. Who did this guy think he was? Cormac just liked her looks on those days; he barely acknowledged her otherwise. His little crush couldn't hold a candle to Ron's…
The word "crush" seemed so ridiculous now. Ron didn't have a mere crush, and he knew it. He knew that everybody (besides Hermione herself) knew it. He loved Hermione. Whether she was having a sexy day or just wearing pajamas in the Gryffindor common room as she read, he loved everything about her. He smiled and leaned back to lie on the ground. He had been very happy that Hermione didn't note Cormac at all for the rest of the time that Ron had been in there. Clearly Hermione wasn't very interested in Cormac and that definitely brightened Ron's mood right away.
As Hermione bathed in the prefects' bathroom, she thought about what Harry said. Ron had some nerve, thinking he had any right to comment on how she dressed. She liked getting some male attention every once in awhile, and just because he was protective of her didn't mean he could swoop in and try to cover her up.
She took off her makeup and as she watched the mascara and eye-shadow swirl down the drain, she said goodbye to her sexy day. It was time to go back to being plain-Jane Hermione. She brushed her hair when she got out and it immediately curled back into its normal frizz. She shook her head and pulled her unruly hair back into a ponytail.
"Hey, are you done in the prefects' bathroom?" Ron asked as Hermione entered the common room. They were alone in the large room and Hermione could barely stand to even glance at him. She looked at the ground as she nodded and grunted in response. Ron was instantly wary. "Is something wrong?"
Hermione immediately took the opportunity and snapped to glare at him. "You know, I can dress however the bloody hell I want to. You aren't my father, you can't tell me what I can and can't do!"
"I- I wasn't tr-trying to-" Ron stammered, but Hermione pushed him back onto the couch and leaned over him.
"If I want to dress attractively every once in awhile, I will do so. You have absolutely no say! So don't go running off to Harry if you have a problem with what I'm wearing, because it doesn't matter! And by the way, I'm a strong young woman and I don't need any man's approval to feel good about myself, especially yours! I don't dress that way to get attention; I do it so I can feel better about myself. So if you ever want to stick input into other people's business, I can think of a better place you can shove it!"
Hermione gasped for air after her rant and suddenly realized that in the process of yelling at Ron, she had leaned forward so much that she was practically on top of him. She poked Ron in the chest. "Do I make myself clear?"
"Yes, ma'am," Ron said quietly and obediently. He too had realized the now close proximity and let out the breath he'd been holding.
Hermione put down her finger and went to straighten up, but Ron put his hand on her arm and kept her in place. He stared straight into her eyes and was again amazed at how naturally beautiful she was. Before he knew what he was doing, he pulled Hermione's arm to bring her closer to him and kissed her. Just a small, simple, perfect kiss, exactly as he had dreamed it would be.
Hermione was shocked at the kiss at first, but quickly realized that her dream had come true. She grabbed Ron's face and held it to her as she sat straddling his lap. They both pulled back for air at the same time and leaned their foreheads against the other's.
"I always wanted this," Hermione whispered to him before she even knew what she was doing.
"Me too," Ron murmured back. They looked up at one another, and he brought her face in for another kiss. He licked her lips with his tongue, waiting for permission. Her mouth opened and he deepened the kiss.
He leaned her down onto the couch and rolled on top of her as her arms wrapped around his neck and one of her legs curled around his waist. She smiled against his mouth and he pulled back to look at her. "What are you smiling about?"
She put her hand against her forehead, covering her eyes. She felt a blush run over her cheeks and she finally looked at him. "Oh, I'm just a little embarrassed."
"Oh darn, and I thought you were smiling at my amazing snogging." He winked at her and kissed her neck.
"Well, yes, that too. But I just feel… rather foolish." She looked at the fireplace to avoid his gaze, but he gently touched her chin to turn her face back to him. He looked concerned.
"Why on earth do you feel that way?"
She reached her hand up and touched his cheek. His deep blue eyes bore into her and she couldn't lie to him. "Because one of the reasons that I dress up like I did today is in hopes that you'll notice, but now it appears that I didn't need to go through the whole charade. You… like me for me."
Ron smiled and shook his head. "No."
Hermione's face fell. "Oh." She tried to push herself up from the couch. "My mistake."
He grinned and smiled as he kissed her, pushing her back down. "No, I don't like you the way you are. I love you the way you are." He kissed her deeply, and pulled off her lips briefly to whisper, "Because I love you."