~* Unfortunately I don't own any characters or places in the Harry Potter universe, that's all J.K. Rowling's. Hope you all like my story, I wrote it ages ago and only just found it again on an old memory card. It made me laugh anyway :D Reviews welcomed, but no flamers please, just constructive criticism. *~

"Why don't you do something about that rats nest on your head Granger?"

Cedric Diggory looked up from the book he was reading on Dragons, but couldn't see where the person with the snotty voice was coming from.

"Sod off Parkinson."

He rose from his seat and peered between the books on the nearest set of shelves, and saw three Slytherin fourth years surrounding a table, blocking the seated witch from view.

"Makes no difference really, there's no way anyone would even look twice at a Mudblood like you. All you have is your brain and your books. No looks, no decent bloodline, what man in their right mind would take you? I'd bet that in 20 years, Hermione Granger is a lonely virgin spinster with no prospects, with only her job to keep her going."

The three girls laughed nastily before leaving the library, no doubt on their way to bully someone else. Cedric could finally see the girl being bullied, and couldn't see what the fuss was about. She looked fine to him, no fine beauty like Fleur Delacour, nor an exotic Asian beauty like Cho Chang, but he thought that Hermione Granger had a charm all of her own.

The girl in question had her head lowered with her mane of bushy curls covering her face. Were it not for the telltale signs of her shuddering shoulders and hitching breaths, Cedric would have assumed she was reading again.

"I think you have great hair."

Hermione's head snapped up towards where the voice had come from. Cedric snatched up his book and made his way around the bookshelf to where the startled girl was sat.

"What?" she sniffed, hiding her tear-stained face again when she saw the tall Hufflepuff lope towards her.

"I said, I think you have great hair. 'It's got personality."

She huffed as he sat, not bothering to comment.

"Besides, they're just jealous."

Her head rose at that, though she looked slightly scathingly at him.

"'It's true. They know what the purebloods have suppressed."

"And what wonderful thing have the purebloods suppressed that they have to be jealous of me of?"

He settled into the hard library chair – Madam Pince really didn't like people in her library – and flashed a grin. "That magic influences how your hair grows."

Hermione stared at him for a beat before saying, "That's the biggest load of rot I've ever heard."

He just carried on smiling, expecting her response.

"It's not rot, look at all the powerful people you know, Dumbledore; he's had to grow his hair real long to control his mop, there are a couple of pictures of him when he was young, and it was a right mess. McGonagall; she scrapes her hair back because otherwise it's a right nest, I've seen it too when I've had to wake her up doing my Prefect's duties. Flitwick; though he's losing it now, that's an obvious one. Snape; though he's a bastard most of the time, He's lucky he has overactive glands otherwise his would be a right sight. Sprout; though she may seem a bit ditzy is very powerful, she wears that hat to cover her mop up. Potter might get in to trouble often, but his power always gets him out of it. His is the messiest hair I've ever seen. Yourself; brightest witch of her age, gets spells on the first try, and has a mane to rival the Gryffindor mascot."

She giggled.

"Now let's look at the flip side. The Pug Parkinson; inbred pureblood for the last 10 generations, and has 3 Squib siblings. Nice hair, but can barely turn a matchstick into a needle. Bulstrode the Boulder. Not much needs to be said there. The Bouncing Ferret Malfoy; can see his line back to the Merlin era, but his stunner feels like a tickle. Nice hair though, if lacking volume."

She was all out laughing now, and Cedric admired the way her amusement flashed through the chocolaty depths of her eyes.

"As for the rest, sure, you're no part Veela like Fleur, but would you want to be?" He asked with a touch of distaste. "To have every man hanging on your every word, but only thinking of how he can get in your knickers. To never have one thought taken seriously. You've got your own charms. So they're not like everyone else's; that makes the man who sees them extra special."

She smiled a watery smile, and he felt his heart flutter at the beautiful sight.

"Word on the grapevine says that there's going to be a Yule Ball after the first task over the Christmas Hols."

"Yes, there usually is one, to celebrate school unity."

"Wanna go with me?"

She gaped at him, and he started to feel nervous.

"Why would you want to go with me?"

He shrugged his shoulders, "Some decent conversation, a pretty girl to dance with, a way to get one over those bitchy Slytherins. Take your pick, but I'd suggest one and two."

"You think I'm pretty?" she asked.

He laughed; she was such a girl on the inside. "Of course."

"OK then, yeah, I'll go with you."

"Cool." He smiled, relieved.