Chapter 3 : Meeting the Enemy
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Meeting The Enemy
So here we were. Hermione, Ron, Harry and Ginny took me to Hogsmeade. It turned out to be a really beautiful village that for me literally was out of this world. It was like time had stopped there and I would have happily spent the whole day watching all the witches and wizards. Hermione and Harry thought it wise to wait for a while so chances Draco Malfoy would actually walk me back to Hogwarts were better. They took me to a really nice pub where I had the nicest drink called Butterbeer and smiling watched Hermione smiling watching Ron who was trying not to watch the barmaid. It turned out Ginny was Harry’s girlfriend. Though Hemione explained they had broken up and then got back together again they seemed to be really close and I couldn’t see how those two could not be together.
“Oh brilliant”, said Hermione suddenly and we all turned our heads to see what she was looking at. A tall boy with what looked like a white golden helmet on his head had just entered the pub, acompanied by two mean looking boys and a girl.
“So that’s him”, said Hermione, “all we have to do is wait until they leave and then you can just follow him and ask him to help you back to the school.”
So that was my prey.
I couldn’t see him properly, because there were just so many people in the pub. They got a table and sat down and all I could see of him was his hair. Well that was enough, I would recognise him by that. Very unusual colour that was, the closest I came to see anything like it before was the hair of some very young children in Sweden.
After an hour or so they left and Hermione nudged me in the rips.
“It’s okay, Hermione” I hissed, “relax! I’m off! I’ll see you later.”
“Good luck”, said the others and I made my way through the people and out onto the street.
It was another warm day and very bright outside. I was wearing a very plain summer dress with a bit of beady flowery embroydery at the hem, but everybody looked at me. Apparantly I was the weirdo here. Well fair enough, I was ready to start my muggle attack.
I spotted Draco Malfoy looking into a window just a few shops down the road and walked up to him.
“Hello.” I said brightly. He turned and looked at me and I was surprised to see he was rather good looking. He had the most intriguing eyes, of a very pale grey. Like smoke. He was a bit taller than me. Not much, just a few inches.
“I’m sorry”, I said faking a note of helplessness in my voice, “I’m lost, could you help me maybe?”
I noticed the girl look up and down my dress and thought she might be his girlfriend. She gave me that kind of look when you want to check out you’re better looking than the intruder, in this case me. Maybe it wasn’t that warm anymore that I needed to wear a summer dress, but hey, I had my eighteen year old body back, I was going to show it as long as I had it! Because when I was eighteen I was very insecure and thought my legs were horrible. I kind of hid in my clothes then. Now with the security and self confidence of a twenty-three year old I would enjoy my eighteen year old body and this girl could frown at me as long as she wanted to.
“You’re not from here, are you?” he asked.
“No”, I said, “I’m not from here at all. I am visiting my sister up in the school and she took me here but somehow we got seperated. Can you tell me how to get back to Hogwarts?”
He gave me a very interesting look, not really rude but clearly trying to make up his mind what to think of me. Maybe he did remember my face vaguely and didn’t know where to put me.
“Are you a witch?”
“No”, I said still smiling.
“Who’s your sister?”
“Gosh, that’s a lot of questions!” I laughed. “Hermione Granger, do you know her?”
“Hermione Granger”, he repeated and I saw the same look on the boys’ faces that I had seen on the girls face. Maybe it wasn’t about competition at all.
“That mudblood!” exclaimed the girl and I understood. They looked at me like that because I was a muggle. I should have expected that after all.
“Pansy!” said Draco Malfoy sharply. “Yes I know her”, he said then. “She’s in my year.”
“Oh”, I said, faking to be absolutely unaware of the enmity around me and in his voice and pretending there was nothing more delightful than meeting a classmate of my little sister, “nice to meet you then! I’m Helena!”
I held out my hand and after the shortest hesitation he shook it.
“My name is Draco Malfoy.”
He looked at me as if expecting a reaction and I smiled.
“Oh I remember you! Hermione took me along to Diagon Alley once and I saw you there. I can’t remember if we were introduced though...”
“That’s how I know your face!” said he nodding. “No, we wouldn’t have been, Hermione and I don’t hang out much.”
His two sidekicks looked very confused and the girl outraged. He ignored them and said:
“Well, Helena, to get back to the school you need to follow down this street until you come to Zonko’s and then take a left. Then there’s a little alleyway on the left, right behind Honeyduke’s...”
“Hang on, that’s too quick”, I interrupted. “Down the street to Bonko’s and take a left into an alleyway on the right...”
“No, down to ZONKO’S and then to the left into an alleyway on the RIGHT... you know what, I’ll take you. If you’ve never been to Hogsmeade before it’s easy to get lost.”
“Draco!” the Pansy-girl nearly shrieked. He gave her a stern look and she fell silent.
“I’ll see you later in the common room.” he said to the two boys and without sparing them a second glance he gave me a smile and we set off down the street. I had him walk me back to the school. So far so good.
“So, Helena”, he said converstionally, “how d’you like Hogwarts?”
“Oh I haven’t seen much of it yet, I only arrived last night.”
“And how long will you be staying?”
“I don’t know, a couple of days?”
“Hermione must be happy to have you over. It’s very unsual to have your siblings visit you. Is there a special reason for your visit?”
Ah! I had been wondering. He had been very co-operative. Apparantly he thought he could make me tell him what Hermione’s side was doing if he was nice to me.
“No, none at all. God, I’m going blind!”
I had looked into the windows of the shops we were passing and there was now a sort of café where everything from the tables to the chairs to the wallpaper seemed to be pink.
Draco turned his head to see what I was referring to and gave a short laugh.
“I never liked pink, but I mean one should seriously leave that phase behind once you’ve reached the age of twelve, shouldn’t you?”
He smiled and we continued down the street to Zonko’s and then turned to the left.
“So how come you’re not in school?” he asked.
“I’ve finished school” I said.
“Oh have you. How old are you?”
“Eighteen.” I loved saying that. “And you?”
“Oh really? I thought you were older than me.” I thought he was still young enough to be flatterned by that and he did indeed smile rather smugly.
“So what do you do now?”
“Well”, I said. I didn’t have a clue what to tell him.”I am... kind of in between... I am hoping to get a job in the ministery. In OUR ministery that is. I have been to an interview, but I haven’t heard from them yet.” I really hoped he could not do Leggymens because I was just making this up as I went along. I decided to retunr onto safer ground.
“I have been travelling since I left school.”
“Oh yeah? Where have you been?”
“I’ve been jobbing in Germany.”
“Is it nice there?”
“Yeah it’s ok.”
We were now leaving the last houses of Hogwarts behind us and walked down a country lane between hedgerows and meadows and trees that were now turning golden.
“Oh wow” I said stopping. “Look at this!”
Draco looked around.
I could see the castle towering over a huge lake and I thought it was absolutely beautiful.
“I lived in a grey concrete city in Gemany. Very depressing. I haven’t seen anything like this in ages.” I looked around. “Autumn’s coming.” I gave him a smile. “It’s so peaceful.”
We walked on. There were still many blackberries in the hedge and I started picking them to walk slower and have more time with him.
“So what’s it like to live in a castle then?”
“It’s good. If Hermione’s not back I can show you around when we get back.”
“That would be great! I wouldn’t be surprised if she was though. She is probably going mad with worries about me. She’s so sweet.”
Malfoy didn’t say anything.
“It’s really nice of you to offer, though. I wouldn’t get anywhere on my own. The castle is huge.”
Gosh, what the heck was I supposed to talk to him about? How was I ever going to get him interested in me? Talking about the countryside and how sweet my sister is, whom he hates... look at me, I’m boring!
“What’s the food like?”
“Very good usually. The house-elfs are putting every efford into it.”
“Yeah. They cook the food. And the do the washing up and the cleaning...”
“That’s handy!” I said thinking of the my flat in Gemany. Neither me nor my flatmates felt much like doing the washing up often. “Can I get one too? And take him home with me? Gosh, my parents, they’d love one!”
Draco gave me a smirk.
“You’re very different from your sister”, he said.
“Am I? Why?”
“She would never have said she wanted a house elf. A couple of years ago she was constantly going on about freeing them and trying to sell us all badges to promote that society to support the house-elfs that she had set up...”
“Did she???” I had never heard anything about that.
“Yes. It was... well... to be honest with you, we all had a good laugh about her.”
“Well... that’s something Hermione would do. She hates injustice.”
Again Malfoy looked as if he was not saying something that he was thinking. I decided to speed things up a little.
“You two don’t get on, do you? I remember her telling me you hate her. Because our parents aren’t wizards.”
“I don’t HATE her”, said Draco trying to cover his surprise at me addressing this openly, “I used to be really arrogant and I used to think I was better than muggleborns, but I was wrong. I see that now.”
Even I who had never met him before wasn’t buying it.
“Good”, I said. “She also said you were supporting that Voldemort man.”
He flinched at the name.
“I used to”, he said then, “but I don’t anymore.”
He gave me a long look. He was probably wondering why I was speaking so openly. I decided to try and make him believe I was just very naive and trusting.
“I’m glad you don’t anymore”, I said, “because you’re really nice. It would be sad to have to think of you as an enemy.”
I smiled at him and I knew that the sun which was setting now made my hair glow. He smiled back at me.
“That girl back in Hogsmeade”, I said, “is she your girlfriend?”
“But you have a girlfriend, don’t you?”
“No. What about you?”
“I’m not seeing anybody.”
I stretched out my hand to him, offering him some blackberries. He looked at them for a moment, clearly not wanting to accept them from me and I wondered if this was because I was a muggle again.
“What?” I said laughing. “Have a berry! Where do you think I’ve been?”
He took a few berries and I was nearly convinced he wouldn’t have them first because I was a muggle. How did he think to convince anyone he had really abandoned Voldemort if he was being so obvious?
I pretended to have noticed nothing.
We walked on and reached the lake. When I saw the biggest man emerge from the forest I couldn’t stop myself from blurting out, “Who the fuck is that?” and Draco burst out laughing.
“Another line one would never hear your sister say!”
I was actually embarrassed. I usually don’t worry much about my language, but I do try not to swear to easily because I think it’s not ladylike.
It was nice to hear him laughing like that, but right after that I saw him give that huge man a look that I didn’t like at all. Very condescending.
“That’s Hagrid”, he said. “Gamekeeper. And a teacher.” The way he said “teacher” made it obvious he didn’t think much of him.
“I think Hermione mentioned him.”
“She’s friends with him.”
I realised I tended to forget who I was dealing with. Hemione had told me he was evil and I could tell he was lying to me, but still because he was so handsome it surprised me everytime he did or said something which wasn’t nice.
When we reached the castle I pretended to check if Hermione was back in the Gryffindor Common Room because I knew perfectly well she was still in Hogsmeade. And then Draco gave me a tour of the castle. It was crazy. It seemed to possess a million corridors with paintings that just never seemed to shut up. I got a shock when a ghost came gliding through a wall next to me and Draco found it very amusing when I told him that up to now I had never believed ghosts existed. I told him a few stories from my world to make him laugh and make him see what a wonderful person I was and that he absolutely wanted to get to know me better and spend more time with me. It was funny, after everything Hermione had told me I had expected some sort of blond Darth Vador without the mask and the wheezing. I was surprised at how normal he seemed, enjoying himself walking around with me. But when he led me into yet another corridor and I laughed and grabbed his hand, saying: “Just don’t leave me alone here, Draco, because I’d have died from starvation before I found my way back into the Great Hall”, I noticed him stiffening because of my touch. So I gambled on being straight forward again.
“Listen Draco”, I said letting go of his hand, “I’m really glad I asked you of all people how to get back to Hogwarts because I’m having a lot of fun with you, but this is really insulting. I’ve been noticing it all day. I heard your girl in Hogsmeade call Hermione a mudblood. You hesitated shaking my hand, you hesitated taking berries from my hand and you just flinched when I touched you. You actually think I’m filthy, don’t you?”
“No!” he said quickly, looking a bit surprised and shocked as well.
“You do”, I said and decided to get a bit angryer, “I really thought how nice this was, meeting you, walking around with you and laughing with you, but I’m not going to let you treat me like this! I’m not filthy! Excuse me? And don’t lie to me, Draco, you did flinch when I touched you!”
“I’m sorry”, he said, “I was brought up like that. It’s hard to just break a pattern at once, when I never even realised you have this pattern. I don’t think you’re filthy. Seriously.”
Now this sounded nearly convincing, I had to admit.
“Then you better make sure you make an efford, because if you keep making me feel there was something wrong with me then I’m off.”
He stretched out his hand and grabbed mine. He held tight to it and gave me a smile. His hand was rather warm. And before I knew it I returned the smile, for the first time acting spontaneously with him.
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