The Yule Ball was going along nicely for the majority of Hogwarts, Durmstrang and Beauxbatons. The hall looked simply splendid, the food was delicious, and everyone looked beautiful. The hall was rather serene as everyone danced with their dates. Everyone except a small group sitting at the back of the hall. They were arguing.

"You're fraternizing with the enemy!" Ron Weasley bellowed in Hermione Granger's face. His face was bright red.

"How dare you!" Hermione yelled back, her face equally angry. "This tournament is about international magical cooperation! Making friends!"

With a flourish, determined to finally have the last word in one of their arguments, she turned on her heel and stormed across the dance floor. Making her way to the door, she turned around quickly and shot one last look at where she had just left Ron. The sorry ginger was now staring wistfully at the dancing form of Fleur Delacour at short distance away. Rage temporarily blocked her vision. How dare he say such hurtful things, then not care twenty seconds later.

She burst out into the entrance hall, searching for an escape. Taking several calming breaths didn't seem to suffice. She wasn't free. Suddenly, the entire castle felt claustrophobic. She rushed to the front doors, trying not to trip in her heels, and out into the evening air.

The Christmas night was calm and cool, chilling her slightly in her silk dress. She walked out to the center of the courtyard, treading softly on the snow covered cobblestones. Several snowflakes fell slowly through the air, landing on her nose. She took a glance back at the castle doors. She could hear the music ringing softly from the hall.

A tear slid down her cheek, freezing in the winter air. Hermione choked back a sob, determined to not let it go. She rubbed her arms, attempting to warm herself up from the cold air. It felt like knives on her skin. She let her arms fall, giving up. It took all of her effort not to fall to the ground.

This was her night, her moment. This was her chance to finally not care about classes, or SPEW, or evil plots or even her two best-friends. This was her chance to just be a normal teenage girl, at a dance with the boy she liked. She had dressed up, used make-up, and even styled her hair for the occasion. She had walked into the hall feeling like a princess, and walked out feeling like a peasant, worthless of any attention, which she knew she had been acquiring.

How dare Ronald yell at her for being at the ball with Victor Krum. How was it any of his business who she went on a date with? How was he allowed to scream at her for "fraternizing with the enemy", when he himself asked Fleur Delacour, another champion in the tournament. He had ruined her night, just through his words. How could someone claiming to be her best friend tear her down and accuse her of such hurtful things? And how could Harry not stick up for her? She had stood by his side while everyone, including Ron, had left him in the dust. She couldn't believe these two were her best friends.

Hermione wiped another tear from her face. Taking a few deep breaths, she tried to calm herself down. She wasn't able to. She couldn't go back in there and face everyone like this, least of whom Krum, who she really liked. Damn Ron! He was always like this, tearing her down when she felt like soaring. How was he her best friend?

"Granger?" called a voice from the darkness. Hermione turned around and let out a groan.

Walking down the steps, having just exited the entrance hall, was Draco Malfoy. His white-blond hair gleamed in the darkness. He was wearing dark dress robes, which billowed around him as he made his way to where she was standing. Hermione groaned once more. She felt vulnerable right now, and Malfoy was always the one to kick her while she's down.

"What Malfoy?" she snapped, crossing her arms over her chest. Her voice cracked slightly.

The Slytherin prince looked her over, his eyes crossing over every inch of her body. Usually, Hermione would've been slapping him across the face by now. However, something stopped her.

Malfoy eyes were different. The deep silver orbs, usually so hard and cold, were different. Hermione couldn't understand the emotion brewing within them. All she knew was this emotion wasn't hate.

"Granger…" he said, his voice soft. "Are you alright?"

"I'm fantastic, Malfoy," she said, hoping to pour a bucket of sarcasm over his head.

"No you're not," he said, frowning. "I saw you run out of the hall. What happened?"

Hermione smirked. "Because I'm sure you care Malfoy." With this a few more sobs got caught in her throat.

"Hermione…" he said. A burst of shock went through her. Malfoy never called her by name. It was always Granger, of mud-blood or some other demeaning name. Hearing her real name, Hermione, on his lips felt different.

"What Malfoy?" Hermione asked, exasperated. Whether or not he used her name, she still didn't want to deal with him right now.

The pure-blooded prince took several steps forward, until he was standing right in front of her. Hermione felt more tears fall and freeze on her face. She blinked them back and stared at the ground. She couldn't look him in the face right now. Draco reached over and put his hand under her chin. He lifted her head up, making her meet his eyes.

"What happened?" he asked softly. His eyes were so deep. She felt as though she could fall into them. Those deep silver orbs seemed to pull the answer right from her lips.

"Ron and I had a fight," she said effortlessly. His eyes held so much emotion.

"What about?"

"Krum," she replied, her voice low.

Draco looked thoughtful for a moment, gazing over her shoulder. When his eyes met hers once more, he was smirking.

"Weaselbee wasn't too fond of you going with the Bulgarian, huh?"

Hermione shook her head. A few loose curls fell from her bun.

"You do know the Weasel is just jealous right?" Malfoy asked, still smirking.

Hermione started. The words bounced around her cranium several times before she understood them. What? Ron? Ron was….jealous?

It was as if someone lit a light bulb in Hermione's brain. Suddenly, everything made sense. It was as if she had suddenly understood a difficult concept in transfiguration. After endless studying and trying, and annoyance when she couldn't find the answer, everything, in just a second, became clear.

Ron liked her. That explained everything. Why he was so angry with her, why he had been bugging her about who she was going to the dance with, why he was so protective of her, it was his inability to express his feelings. Suddenly, Hermione felt white hot rage go through her.

"HOW DARE HE?" she screeched. "How dare he make my evening terrible because of his own pettiness and jealousy? He had the opportunity to ask me, and he didn't! Now, I was having a great time with my date, and he had to go and ruin it. That son of a banshee!" With this, she burst into tears once more.

Malfoy looked highly amused through her rant. However, once she started crying, he was immediately concerned.

"Granger?" he asked hesitantly. "I know Weaselbee is moronic, but why are you so upset? No one would waste that emotion on the ginger. If they did, my faith in humanity is gone."

Hermione sniffed and wiped tears from her face. "Why do you even care, Malfoy?"

Malfoy held her gaze steadily. He repeated, "why are you so upset?"

Throwing her head down in defeat, she answered. "Because tonight was my one chance." She barely whispered the words.

"Sorry?" He asked. It was so strange hearing no malice in his voice.

"It was my one chance," Hermione said clearly, lifting her head to look him in the eye.

"One chance for what?" he asked, confused.

"To be someone else. To be something other than Hermione Granger, nerdy little goody-two shoes, best friend to Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley. To not be the bookworm, or the one who's homework you steal. I wanted to be someone else tonight, no longer a last resort for everyone. Someone who you thought was beautiful; someone you wished you could be with. I wanted to dance with the boy I liked, and have his eyes just brighten when he looked at me. I wanted a night without any evil schemes, or fights, or homework, or even books. I just wanted to be someone else. Just for one night."

Throughout her monologue, tears flowed freely down her face. Damn Ronald for ruining this for her. It's all she wanted, and of course he had to make the entire night about him as per usual. She liked Krum and he liked her, why couldn't her best friend just let her be happy? Isn't that what you wanted for the girl you liked? Happiness?

Malfoy glanced her over, reaching her eyes once more. Hermione became wary. There was a new emotion in his grey orbs she had never seen before. It seemed almost…caring?

Malfoy cocked his ear towards the door. "Do you hear that, Granger?" The music from the Great Hall was drifting lazily out into the courtyard, twinkling in her ears. Hermione nodded.

Malfoy smiled, not his usual smirk, but a real smile. Hermione was taken aback. She was even more so when Draco put out his hand.

"Would you do me the honour of this dance?" he asked softly, looking at her through his locks, which had fallen over his face.

Hermione, too shocked and confused to do anything else, took his hand. Smirking slightly, Malfoy reached his other hand around to the back of her head. She felt him take the pin out of her bun. Her hair cascaded across her shoulders in curls.

"It's looks better like this," he murmured softly, taking Hermione into his arms.

Hermione felt very uncomfortable as Malfoy began to sway from side to side. However, after several moments, she relaxed and wrapped her arms around his neck. She saw him smirk as she did this. From there, the two enemies began to dance.

They danced in the courtyard, led by the music. It was lyrical and mystical, the way it twinkled out and barely reached their ears. The snow fell lightly onto their heads and arms, but melted quickly. Hermione felt very warm, there in Malfoy's arms. A snowflake landed on her nose. It was enchanting.

Hermione's face was flushed. She was getting goose-bumps, though not from the cold. Hermione looked up into Malfoy's eyes. They were gazing down at her intensely. She couldn't look away. They were enticing. Malfoy didn't break their eye contact either; in fact, he leaned in closer to her.

Malfoy leaned forward and moved his lips to her ear. She shivered as they brushed her skin.

"You are nobody's last resort," he whispered. With those words, Malfoy pulled away from her, stopping their dance. Hermione nearly fell over, she felt flustered. Her mind, so peaceful a second before, suddenly became chaotic.

Confused at what had just happened, Hermione tried to focus her thoughts. There were so many racing through her head. Why had she just danced with Malfoy? Why had she liked it? Focus, Hermione, she shouted mentally at herself. She needed to do something she understood, something that made sense. Krum, she needed to go find him. She understood him.

"Well, umm, Malfoy," she said, stumbling through the words. "I should go, Victor..ummm.. will be looking for me."

Malfoy nodded, looking her over one last time. He stood there solemnly. Hermione nearly tripped over her shoes as she turned and started back towards the castle. Just as she reached the doors, she heard a voice call out from behind her. Turning around, she made contact with those silver orbs one last time.

"Hermione?" he had called out. His name on her lips sent a shiver up her spine.

"Yes?" she asked, thankful she was no longer stumbling.

Looking her over once more, the famous Malfoy smirk appeared on his face. However this time, his eyes were full of emotion. Those eyes…she mused, losing focused, until Malfoy's words pulled her from her reverie.

"You look beautiful tonight."

Hermione's heart stuttered. Beautiful. She was beautiful tonight. Trying not to show how happy she was, she replied a hurried thank you, and finally turned away from the Slytherin Prince and his eyes. She quickly ran back into the castle, trying to forget what had just happened. But she couldn't, and she never would. And one thing in particular would always stay with her, though as she found Krum she pushed from her mind.

She was nobody's last resort.