Right, so… I found this fic that I’d finished and had betaed… well, a while ago. Um, oops. And I sort of forgot to post it. At any rate, here you go. ::hugs:: to all.

Title: Body Image
Author: Sare Liz
Disclaimer: JKR
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 1300
Series: A Firebolt Ring – sometime in the rather distant future from the rest of what’s being written currently.

Claim: VK/HG
Prompt: #100, Writer’s Choice: Body Image [prompt table]
Author’s Note: This is for my Potterverse100 claim. In my head this takes place in my FR series, some amorphous time just before or just after the war when the two rediscover each other. This is the advent of a deeper physical intimacy between the couple. In other news, ::sigh:: I’ve been reading perhaps too much feminist theology. Perhaps not enough. This is for everyone, male or female, who ever thought they were something less than perfectly desirable. And thanks to LadyKesfor the excellent beta!

*

“Beautiful.”

She snorted in derision, and his hand slowed.

“You are disagreeing vit me?” He watched as emotions crossed her face, one after another; confusion, disbelief, contempt, and finally dismissal. She rolled her eyes and sighed, and Viktor wondered if this could possibly be what he thought it was.

“Do you not see that you are beautiful?” Again he asked a question of her, and again she rolled her eyes and sighed in response. Viktor shifted slightly, sliding off to the side and propping his elbow on the pillow, cradling his head in one hand, as the other lay on the curve of her pale stomach. Her casual, and somehow brutal dismissal of her own beauty bothered him in a way he wouldn’t have been able to anticipate. It was more than a little worrying. The current level of their physical intimacy didn’t mesh with this newly introduced understanding of her self, and Viktor found it deeply confusing. Also, it was slowly killing his arousal.

“I am seeing that you do not believe you are beautiful. Okay. But vy is this so?”

She sighed again, and finally spoke. “Viktor,” she started in a humorously long-suffering tone. “I don’t have to think myself beautiful to have sex with you.”

“But you believe you are not beautiful, even vit much evidence to contrary. As someone who loves you deeply, I vish to be knowing vhy this is. Vill you tell me?”

“Viktor, look, I’m just plain, okay? I’m not ugly, I’m not beautiful, in fact, I blend into the scenery. I’m too short, my hips are too wide, my breasts are too small, my stomach is too big, my arse is too lumpy, my hair is too thick, my posture is terrible, and I don’t smile nearly enough to be beautiful.”

Viktor was in a mild state of shock.

“Hermione, do you believe these things that you say?”

“I wouldn’t be saying them otherwise, Viktor,” she replied in the same long-suffering tone.

“Who told you these things that you believe?”

She sighed again. “No one told me, per se, but I’m not blind, you know. I have eyes, I have ears, I know what I’m supposed to look like and I know that I’ve yet to reach that ideal on many levels. Mostly I don’t care.”

“Mostly?”

“Mostly. But you just, I mean, a minute ago…” She trailed off, and for the first time Viktor saw her falter. “You called me beautiful, and you don’t need to. That’s all I’m saying,” Hermione stated plainly, and Viktor wondered if he imagined the quiver in her voice. “You don’t have to do that,” she said, once again all business, “and I’d prefer it if you didn’t stretch the truth, just to flatter me.”

Viktor’s eyes narrowed. “You think I am lying to you, to make you feel good?”

“Lying is such a strong word, but if you insist upon using it, then yes. I do think that.”

“I vos not lying. I vos describing truth, as I understand truth being.” Viktor looked at her for a long moment before continuing. “Maybe is cultural thing. Come,” he said, rolling off the bed and pulling her along after him. “Ve continue in front of mirror.”

One would think from Hermione’s general reluctance to go along with Viktor’s intended scheme that she did not trust him implicitly, or in fact that she in some way did not wish to be in her present situation, both of which could not be farther from the truth. Their choice to become thusly intimate, the sort of intimate that had them giggling and touching on his bed, clad only in their underwear and fully prepared to do more, had come only after much conversation on the topic. And in fact, Hermione did quite literally trust Viktor with her life, and the lives of her family and closest friends – his would be the trio’s safe-house over the summer, and it would be Viktor who would take care to secure her family’s home against the Death Eaters.

And yet, he was forced to physically pull her toward the full-length mirror that sat on the other side of the master suite in his home in the mountains.

“I accept,” he began, holding onto her shoulders as she stood in front of him facing the mirror, “that ve are talking on cross-purposes. I hear you say that there are… points of your body that you do not approve of. Do I hear you right?”

“Yes,” Hermione replied stoically, “You’ve got it right.”

“Now I vish you to hear me, and vot I think, vot I feel.”

“Viktor,” she piped up immediately. “It’s not your body, you don’t get a vote.”

“Ah, but you do not know vot I say yet. You might like to hear how I think of you. And is not my body, but I am your boyfriend and my thought is important, too. I do get vote.”

Hermione sighed and rolled her eyes in a manner that disturbed Viktor even further. Did she think so little of his feelings? “All right,” she said in the most resigned voice he’d ever heard. “Cast your ballot, then.”

Viktor took a moment to himself to recollect. The thought that she didn’t care how he felt really did hurt, and this was not the first time since their recent reunion that she had said something – maybe thoughtlessly – that had hurt him in this way. Was this going to become a festering thing? Was this a small thing, or was this a small sign that they were incompatible? He didn’t want that to be, but his judgment wasn’t sound, particularly not just now as they stood nearly naked in his bedroom. Judgment for that sort of thing was particularly unsound just now.

His hands moved down from her shoulders to hold her own. He looked at the mirror and into her eyes, trying to see past the armor that was suddenly present, and sighed. “For now,” he started, perhaps a bit more wearily than he’d meant, “ve can ignore the fact that you think my thoughts and my feelings are not important, or not important sometimes. But ve vill discuss that soon.”

He waited a moment for some sort of acknowledgment before he marched forward with his agenda, and in the moment of silence between them, Viktor watched as the armor faltered, then fell. Her brow furrowed and though his eyes didn’t leave hers he could tell that she swallowed hard before trying to speak.

“Viktor, I…” she trailed off before trying again. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean what I said. And what I said… I do care what you think, Viktor. And I do care how you feel. I suppose I’m just… I’m just annoyed. With myself. I mean, I know I’m supposed to love myself, and love my body, and think that I’m a beautiful, strong, powerful woman, and all of that – and that’s all well and good for when I’m getting out of the shower, but when I’ve got nothing but pants on, and I’m snogging my boyfriend who just happens to be a vision of athletic male beauty… I just… It’s a theory that has never had a chance to stand up to adversity.”

Viktor looked deeply into her eyes, simultaneously calmed and thrilled at her words. Calmly and slowly he intoned, “I am not your adversary.”

A smile slowly grew on her face, reaching up into her eyes. “I know.” She took a deep breath and straightened her shoulders. “Viktor,” she began in a querying tone, “Would you tell me how you see me? I’d like to know your thoughts on the matter.”

Viktor continued to stare deeply into her eyes, sharing a silent moment with her – this one full of comfort and love – and squeezed her hands in his before he trailed his fingers up her arms and back to her shoulders.