Chapter 3 – Misunderstandings
Arrogance – Contemptuous pride: a strong feeling of proud self-importance that is expressed by treating other people with contempt or disregard.
Ignorance – Lack of knowledge: lack of knowledge or education. Unawareness: unawareness of something, often of something important.
Draco Malfoy had the worst sort of arrogance. He was proud, boastful, and full of contempt for those he felt were not his equals. However, he was also ignorant, but he was so arrogant that he was not aware of his own ignorance. He was ignorant because he was proud, boastful, and full of contempt for those he felt were not his equal, and he did not know why he felt that way. His feelings held no merit. He was not really better than anyone else was, he just did not know that, henceforth, his ignorance.
Hermione Granger was also ignorant, but not in the same sense that Draco Malfoy was. To say that she was ignorant was not to say that she was naïve, or uneducated, or unintelligent. She was ignorant to the social system that existed in the magical world. Never once in her life had she heard the word ‘Mudblood’. She knew that just as there was a class system in the Muggle world, one existed in the Magical world; she just never imagined that to people like Draco Malfoy she was on the bottom of that social ladder.
She was arrogant also, not in the same sense as Malfoy, but arrogant all the same. She felt she was smarter than most people were, and she felt she was superior in her progressive way of thinking and acting.
For two such people to meet was amazing. For two such people to find a mutual attraction, unheard of, but most importantly, for two such people to fall in love, would be the biggest folly in the world! However, folly often turns to truth, as these two would soon discover.
Once back in the little stone fortress, he pulled out his wand and asked, “I shall dry us, with your permission.”
She merely nodded, as water ran into her eyes. After they were both dry, he motioned to a pew in the very back. She sat down and he went around to the other side and sat across from her. He handed her hat to her and she put it on the seat between them so it would act as a barrier. She was not sure why she felt the need for a barrier between them, real or imaginary, she just did.
Hermione said, “If you had your wand, why did you not offer to Apparate me to my cousin’s?”
Draco thought it was a fair question and it deserved a fair answer. “I was where I wanted to be, as I wasn’t the one lost, so why should I have left my little haven here? There is also the matter of wards, Miss Granger. I would not have been permitted in his home I am sure, not that I would ever want to set foot there.”
“You do not like my cousin I take it?” she asked. She stared at him so thoroughly, he felt like she was looking in his brain for the answers she sought.
“You are correct, Madam, I do not like your cousin,” he answered. “He has a tendency for lack of decorum that does not denote his status in the community. Even if he is only a half blood, he is still a viscount, his father’s family was one of the oldest pureblood families in England, and he seems to forget that. He befriends people like the Weasleys for instance.”
“Harry said they are purebloods. Surely you cannot have anything against them, being a pureblood yourself,” she reasoned.
He openly laughed and she took offense. “You really know nothing of our world, do you? The Weasleys, while purebloods, are not the type respectable people associate with, because of their station.”
“Because they are poor,” she stated, as it was not a question.
“Precisely,” he returned.
“Harry means to marry Miss Weasley. Will not an advantageous marriage promote her whole family’s station? Will it not make them more acceptable?” she asked.
“Never,” he claimed. “Everyone knows of his inclination toward the girl in question; however, if his godfather, my cousin, Sirius Black, was still alive he would never even entertain such an unfortunate match.”
“Unfortunate how, sir? If they love each other, they are most fortunate. In fact, they would be more fortunate than most,” she countered.
“You must have seen her family and their home, need I explain more? You are intelligent, you understand. Yes, a most unfortunate match in deed,” he declared.
“But love -” she started.
He openly laughed at her and said, “Love is best kept in fairy tales, Miss Granger, for it is rarely seen in the real world and it cannot change one simple fact, that they are different.”
She understood now. That also meant that no matter what, even if she were a pureblood, she would never be accepted by this world because she had no money, was not of circumstance, and according to Mr. Malfoy, one could not even marry to rise above their station.
She was quiet for such a long time, looking at her hands in her lap, that he finally asked, “Miss Granger, are you quite alright?”
“Fine, sir, I really think I should try to get back.” She rose to leave. “My cousin shall worry, and I know I have been an unwelcome visitor here long enough. I should never have come here in the first place, and rest assured, I shall never return. Accept my humble apologies. I shall trespass no longer.” She walked toward the door.
Draco wondered what he had said to cause her to want to leave so suddenly. He was only trying to educate the young woman. Someone needed to tell her these things and Potter was apt to tell her they were all equal. One would not want to give another person a false impression. He rose from the pew as well, but blocked the entrance.
“If you mean to leave, I shall walk with you to the edge of my property,” he offered.
“I would not want to cause you any distress,” she said softly.
He looked at her suspiciously and finally said, “Walking is of no distress to me and the rain is mostly gone. I swear, you are a tiresome little witch, aren’t you?”
“I think you know what I mean, so do not play the innocent. Potter should be drawn and quartered for allowing you to walk alone anyway. I have had a proper upbringing and I will do what is right, and it is not right that a single woman should traipse about by herself!” He offered his arm again.
Feeling somewhat vexed by his words, she placed her hand lightly on his forearm, instead of linking her arm with his. She held her hat in her other hand and they started to walk out of the church. He stopped right outside the door.
“I believe I have something of yours, by the way. It fell out of your bag earlier,” he said. He retrieved the locket from his waistcoat pocket.
She held out her hand and smiled. He had to smile as well since she seemed so pleased. “I had yet to discover it was missing. Thank you, sir. These are the only portraits I have of my parents.”
“I take it they are deceased?” he assumed, handing her the locket, his fingertips brushing hers. She felt a constriction across her chest. She could not answer, for he was so close and so tall and she found herself without words, so she nodded her answer.
“Mine are as well,” he answered. She started to put the locket on and he suggested, “Shall I?” She handed the locket back to him and turned around. She lifted her mass of brown curls. He stood behind her and took in her scent. It was a strange combination. He thought it was honeysuckle mixed with morning dew. Her hands trembled as she held up her hair. He laughed and said, “I cannot get the locket through you arm, Miss Granger. You must release your hair.”
She looked over her shoulder at him and smiled. “I am sorry,” she said hesitantly.
She turned away from him once more, and stood compliant as he brought the locket around her body. He held both ends securely and said, “Now you may hold up your hair so I can clasp it.”
She reached back with both hands to hold up her hair and once again, her right hand touched his, and she shivered. He quickly clasped the locket, and before he knew what he was doing, his fingers spread out across the back of her neck for a brief moment, only to retreat just as quickly. She had the softest skin. She dropped her hair and he noticed goose bumps on her skin.
He took off his jacket and said, “You must be cold, you are shivering.”
She turned to face him.
At that moment, time stood still. She faced him, he her. He reached around her shoulders and placed his jacket across them. Then, in an act that would only be described as insanity, he reached across her shoulders and he removed her hair from the collar of the jacket. Her hair was as soft as her skin. His body decided that he liked being close to her, long before his brain agreed to the notion. He liked the way her eyes held questions in them. He loved the way her mouth opened, but no sound came out. He could imagine himself kissing those lips, those high cheekbones, her neck, and her arms. The scent from her hair was now invading his nostrils and he reached up to loosen his neckcloth, as he suddenly felt warm and flushed.
He knew it was improper to be this close and familiar with a woman he had just met. He knew she was below him socially. He knew she was undoubtedly a proper girl who had never even held hands with a man before, but blast it all, he wanted to touch her again. He wanted to, but he did not.
He stepped away instead, and she said, “Thank you.”
They started walking east and he inquired, “What do you plan on doing during your time here, Miss Granger?”
“Harry has arranged for me to fill in the holes in my education. I was only able to go to a magical school for two years. He has provided two tutors for me, Remus Lupin and a Mr. Snape.”
“Snape is my godfather,” he said. “He is a respected Potion Master. He hates Harry Potter, and Harry does not like him either, so it is curious that he would arrange this with him.”
“Perhaps I misunderstood what Harry said,” she answered.
“You do not look as if you are the type to misunderstand,” he offered. “So, you will be educated in Potions and I am sure Lupin will teach you all about Transfiguration, Charms, the Dark Arts, and such. These things are well and good, but what of history, and runes, and Arthimancy? Who will teach you these things?”
“I have taken upon myself, throughout the years, to learn the history of magic. Ancient Runes is a passion of mine and I admit it confuses me, as does Arthimancy. I am sure these are things I can learn at a later date,” she concluded, looking over at him. She tripped on a small rock and before she could fall to her knees, he reached over and grabbed her elbow. She took his jacket off her shoulders as he released her elbow. She said, “I am warm now, thank you.”
He draped his jacket across one arm, and held her elbow with his other hand, just in case she tripped again. When they reached the top of a hill, he pointed toward the large stone house and said, “Potter’s Hall, Miss.”
She turned back to him and said, “You’ve been kind to me, Lord Malfoy.”
“Best not tell your cousin, however,” he decided.
“As you wish,” she said, turning to go.
He called out to her and she turned back around. He took the three steps it would take to reach her and he said, “If you would like, I could let you borrow some of my books on Ancient Runes. I could even help you study, if you would find favour in that. We could meet back at the little church, tomorrow afternoon, say two o’clock.”
What was he proposing? She was quiet for so long that he wondered if she had forgotten how to speak. Finally, he said, “If you would like I will ask your cousin’s permission. If he grants it, is it something that would be favourable to you?”
“You know that I am a Muggle-born, do you not?” she said.
“Yes, I am so aware,” he answered, wondering why she would mention such a thing.
“You are aware I am without money or status,” she continued.
“What are you implying?” he asked, with ire.
“Just that I would think you would not want to even converse with me again, let alone consent to tutor me. Is that not a double standard? People like you do not associate with people like me, by your very admission, so tell me why would you consent to lower yourself to teach me?”
He took a deep breath. The blasted girl had a point, but by all that was holy, he wanted to see her again. He could see her in quiet. No one but Potter had to know. Nevertheless, she would know. She would not settle for that and he did not want to settle for that. He did not know what to say to her statement, for it was the truth.
She rescued him by saying, “Thank you for the kind offer, however, it was appreciated, even if it cannot be executed.” She wanted to let him rescind his offer if he wanted, so she did it for him.
She started running down the hill and she dropped her hat again. She bent down to pick it up, turned toward him, and waved. He smiled at her retreating figure. Gads, he was in a quandary. He did not care what she wanted; he wanted to see her again. He would talk to Potter tonight.