Special thanks to Pistols-at-dawn for beta reading the story.
Hmm...I've used ''mudblood'' quite a lot now. I don't think it would affect her much anymore. How about ''ugly beaver?'' But I don't think it would do. Everybody already knows she's a complete lookalike of the animal. Let's see...Professor Snape already used ''Insufferable know-it-all'' so she might not give me any credit for it. And besides, we're not even in class, so I don't think many people would find it amusing. ''Human-rat'' has a ring to it, but it's too similar to ''ugly beaver.'' I'll consider it, nevertheless...
''Sweetums?'' Pansy Parkinson whispered in Draco's ear, disrupting his thoughts. ''They're coming, look!'' She pointed to the Delacour girl and her partner, the Ravenclaw Quidditch captain, entering the dance floor. ''What a pitiful partner! With her pretty little face, she could've gotten any boy she wants, yet she chose some ugly, completely unappealing Ravenclaw. But then again, perhaps only the most pitiful men are attracted to such pitiful curves!'' Pansy gave a sharp laugh. ''Don't you agree, Draco?'' She waited for him to respond, and when he didn't, she gripped his arm tightly. ''Don't tell me you actually think her body is perfect!''
''I think it's none of our business,'' he stated. Pansy gave a small ''hmph!'' before releasing Draco's arm and turning her head away dramatically.
Right, where was I? Blasted pug, what a distraction! Why did I even go with her? Anyway...making cruel remarks about her appearance should suffice. Yes, they would do. Perhaps a quick description of her wild hair?
''Draco! Draco, look!'' Pansy tugged on his arm.
''What?'' he hissed. Couldn't she see he was busy?
''I just wanted to tell you that the next pair has arrived, since you were so immersed in your thoughts that you didn't seem to notice. But if you don't give a damn, then fine by me! Don't let me bother you again!'' She tossed her hair over her shoulder and crossed her arms. Draco sighed.
''Look, Pansy, I'm sorry, all right?'' Although he didn't mean it. ''I was just thinking about something, and I got a bit annoyed that you interrupted me. So could you please forgive me?''
She seemed unmoved by his apology, though she did slightly lift her hand from her chest as though she was about to replace it on her dance partner's arm. But she seemed to think better of it. Draco rolled his eyes and focused his sight on Viktor Krum. The latter was now dancing, as happily as he could get, with a rather pretty girl.
Who is she, I wonder? She looks like she could be in my year, but I've never seen her before.
He was wrong.
He has seen that girl before, although she looks completely different from the last time he saw her. Her once bushy, tangled hair was now sleek and smooth, tied neatly into a knot behind her head. Her front fangs, as Draco liked to call them, were gone, making her smile all the way brighter. Not many have realized who Krum's partner was. After all, Draco reflected, she's probably the least popular girl in the entire school!
But now, for once, she wasn't.
Granger was met with stares and gasps by the crowd. ''Who is that?'' one would wonder. ''Hermione Granger!'' another would answer. There was also an occasional ''She's much prettier than she usually is!'' And Draco hated himself for agreeing.
''Is that...'' Pansy grabbed Draco's arm again. ''Hermione Granger?'' Draco's silence confirmed her suspicions.
Pansy opened her mouth, about to say something witty, only to find herself closing it again.
''G-God...Is that—Is that a forest on her head?'' Draco smirked, glancing at Crabbe and Goyle for assistance. But the two buffoons were not guffawing as usual at his joke. He tried again. ''Watch out; she might suck your blood with those blunt fangs of hers!'' He looked around at the small group of Slytherins surrounding him. None of them found his remark funny.
Draco gulped. It's useless insulting her hair and teeth, since both were now perfect.
Pansy cleared her throat. ''Look at those curves!'' she said loudly. ''If you could even call them curves; you could easily compare them to pebbles. And even that would be ten times larger.'' She made a small gesture with her hands, signaling the other Slytherin girls to join in. A few of them forced chuckles that didn't last very long. Nobody really cares about a fourteen-year-old's ''curves'' after all. Pansy pursed her lips and shot Draco a look, urging him to make a proper insult.
He racked his brains, forcing himself to come up with a funny joke about Granger.
Think! Think! Say something about her dress!
But what does he know about dresses?
Uh—her shoes! Make a joke about her shoes!
But there wasn't anything particularly funny about those.
Draco swallowed. He's sweating now. Pansy is still scoffing about Granger's curves. Several of her friends are laughing. Draco's head is throbbing. He has never felt so helpless in his life.
It seems like Pansy has run out of ideas, because she's shooting Draco the same look, urging him to make a proper insult for Granger. But he can't.
For the first time in his life, Draco Malfoy could not find a proper insult for Hermione Granger.
Draco lay awake in bed, thinking. He could not sleep at all. The memory of his helplessness a few hours ago remained fresh in his mind. Only a few moments ago did a great insult pop into his head...Now several other insults come to mind...He could now write a book entitled 100 Insults for Hermione Granger at the Yule Ball.
How does the brain work, exactly? It screws up when you're in desperate need of ideas, then it functions well right after. If the brain was something under the Ministry's control, then I'd definitely make sure father heard about this!
More insults flood Draco's mind. Now he has changed the title to 1000 Insults for Hermione Granger at the Yule Ball.
Draco smacked his forehead in frustration. ''Dammit!''