Warnings: Characters can be OOC, non-Canon, A/U, violence, sexual scenes
Rating: M for adult themes and probably future sexual scenes
Disclaimer: I own nothing HP recognizable, just the plot!
Summary: Prompt suggested by Riddlesgurlforever. A/U 18th Century Dramione (Magical). Draco is the captain of a successful trading ship tasked with transporting indentured Muggles across the oceans to Pureblood families. The seas have become dangerous thanks to the rebel Harry Potter who lays wastes to King Riddle's fleets. After one such encounter with the renegade Order of the Phoenix, Draco finds himself shipwrecked on a deserted island with no one but a muggle girl to thank for saving him. Never one to engage with Muggles, Draco must adapt to the situation. But Hermione is not all that he first assumes and Draco soon becomes impressed with his Mudblood savior as she proves more than competent at surviving.
A/N: This is a WIP I'm hoping to update twice monthly. Art for this fic can be seen on my tumblr (ariel-riddle), facebook (Ariel Riddle), or photobucket (ariel_riddle). Please leave a review! Thanks and happy reading C:
Draco Malfoy stood aboard his ship, the Emerald Serpent, surveying the open sea that stretched out before him in a never-ending expanse of blue. Many in his line of work despised this form of travel, preferring Apparition or Portkey, but as intercontinental travel by magical means was not yet a possibility, even wizards had to resort to the ancient Muggle way. Draco did not mind in the slightest; he found he was well suited for the ocean and enjoyed that it took him away from the politics of Court. He was sure one day the Ministry would discover a way to accomplish intercontinental travel by magical means, but until that day he relished his freedom on the high seas.
He knew his grandfather Abraxas would have preferred Draco take after him and become Chancellor under King Riddle, but Draco had no interest in such things and made that clear very early on, much to Abraxas' and even his father Lucius' disapproval. Yet still, the business of carting Muggles across the oceans where they would serve their wealthy Pureblood masters was highly profitable and Draco found himself becoming a very wealthy man. His mother, Narcissa, was pushing for him to settle down, constantly throwing names of highborn ladies that would jump at the opportunity to marry into the Malfoy family, but Draco had no intention of becoming linked to a witch yet.
Settling down meant many things for Draco, but chief among them meant he would be obligated to return to Malfoy Manor, likely take up a position at the Ministry since the Malfoys were known for their loyalty to the Riddle royals, and become suffocated with the duties required of him. He probably shouldn't be complaining-being a favorite at the Ministerial Court did have its benefits-only, the court intrigue could be rather stifling. Draco had no delusions of how successful he would be once he took up the post expected of him, but at this point it was the pursuit of wealth he was after.
The Malfoy name was associated with power and royal favor back in Britain, but years of Ministerial servitude and measly income from political subjection left the family coffers dwindling. They were even forced to give up holdings in the Americas and Spain, retaining only the Manor and their villa in France. Of course they were still arguably well-endowed, but when Draco returned, he would see to it that the vaults at Gringotts were overflowing like the days of old.
It was one thing to hold favor with the King, but King Riddle was also known for his paranoia and he was content to see wealthy houses relying on his good graces. Most houses were happy to own a Manor well stocked with slaves but Draco meant to restore the house of Malfoy to its former glory. His father and grandfather may not understand and it may be a dangerous path to navigate, but it was his chosen task nonetheless even if it was the King's view that a house too powerful could fund uprisings such as the Potter rebellion.
The Potter rebellion, Draco scoffed inwardly. What rubbish. The filthy Half-blood was causing all sorts of trouble on his once peaceful seas. Truthfully, no one could have conceived of how one Half-blood could acquire such a force at his beckoning, but then no respectable Pureblood would lower themselves to recruit Muggle-borns in their service. Muggle-borns, or rather Mudbloods. It was despicable what the Potter bloke was up to. Word had it, Potter was recruiting Mudbloods from all over the world, especially in the Americas and Africa. What was worse, he was teaching them magic. It was a disgrace as well as highly illegal. King Riddle was in a frenzy over it. The last time Draco ventured to court, the King mandated all seabound vessels be fitted with strong defensive magic, capable of apprehending the rebels and bringing them back to the King's justice. Even swift merchant ships such as Draco's were not immune to this law.
What was even more alarming: No one knew quite how many ships Potter had at his command. The Order of the Phoenix, as they liked to go by, attacked strategically and stealthily. What was more, they were hitting the wizarding world where it hurt, for transporting indentured slaves was a highly lucrative business for all parties involved. Especially carting Muggles from afar and bringing them to underserved areas. The Pureblood families in Oceania—the Kings, the Mortons, the Kumars, the Singhs, the Kelleys...they had much need of Muggle aid.
As much as Draco himself was benefiting, the King was benefiting far more off of the tedious endeavor. Muggles were under population control and kept just rare enough that they called for a high price. It seemed nearly every type of wizard could benefit from these workers. Magic could provide much, but it could not conjure food or money—they still needed field hands to work and toil the land. With the dwindling population of house elves, the wizarding world relied on their inferiors for tasks they could not accomplish magically. Potter dealt them a damaging blow; every ship he overtook, subsequently freeing the slaves; hidden bases he was setting up to train Muggle-borns; and house elves he tricked masters into freeing…they were mostly small victories for the enemy but detrimental just the same.
"Captain," Blaise Zabini, his first mate called. "We've set a course for Southport and the winds are favorable."
"We should reach Oceania in two fortnights if the winds stay like this," agreed Theodore Nott. Draco appraised his former school chums and now, most trusted friends. The trio had been inseparable in their school days and when Draco decided to skirt his political duties in favor of the open waters, they were quick to join him on what they hoped to be many adventures.
"If they don't, we'll simply have to cast a weather-modification charm," Draco said.
Theodore and Blaise exchanged looks. "It's very draining on the men to keep up a charm like that for a given period, Captain," Theodore volunteered tentatively.
"Even so, we cannot keep a leisurely pace for long." Draco's tone brooked no argument. "Just hope the winds stay in our favor."
"If we employed more men it would be easier to keep up the charms," Blaise said.
"Yes." Draco paused in his pacing, drumming his fingers over the wooden edge of the ship. "But that means we would have to share our cut with more. No, ten is enough. We may be outnumbered in a skirmish but we have wands as well as the swiftest vessel on these waters."
"But what if we run into Order members, is ten really enough?" said Theodore.
"We have ten trained wizards," Blaise reminded him.
"That coupled with the King's new trigger wards and curse-repelling charms and we should be impervious to an attack," Draco said.
Theodore nodded stiffly as the wizards continued circling the deck.
"The cargo?" said Draco. "How do they fare?"
"We have the thirteen we picked up in Charleston and the seven that have been with us since Britain," said Blaise.
"Seven." Draco's brows furrowed in displeasure. "I thought we had nine when we left."
"We lost two during the voyage, Captain," Theodore said.
"How did that happen?" Draco said. "Jones specializes in healing, does he not?"
"Yes, but he would never lower himself to treat Muggles." Blaise scowled his revulsion. "Besides, the Muggles were already weak when they arrived."
"He'd better start lest our cut gets smaller and smaller." A muscle twitched by Draco's jaw. "I'm going down there myself. I would like to ensure their conditions are decent for the rest of the journey."
Blaise and Theodore followed Draco below deck where they met Crabbe and Goyle looking quite comfortable as they guarded the prisoners' chambers.
"Step lively," Theodore called. "We bring the Captain with us." The two lumbering fools clambered up to their feet to greet their Captain.
Draco surveyed the state of the prisoners. They were forced in close confines with each other, most of them staring with unseeing eyes off into space. They looked skinny and malnourished and most looked seasick. He sneered in distaste. "Crabbe, Goyle," he snapped. "What is this I hear about losing two of our Muggles?"
"The one was sick I believe, sir," Crabbe replied. "Got the other one sick, too, I'd wager."
"Don't you know you're to quarantine the sick ones lest they infect the others." Draco spoke as if addressing a child. Crabbe and Goyle exchanged looks with each other. "Muggle diseases are a nasty business. Be sure they do not all succumb to the same fate!"
"Yes, Captain," both men said.
Draco surveyed the group of pathetic creatures. They reeked of filth, which proclaimed loudly what they were. Most averted their gazes, but there was one girl dressed in a dirty white frock that caught his attention. She was mostly hidden under a thick array of wild, brown curls, but Draco caught a flash of intelligence gracing her features before she quickly ducked her head.
"It looks like you've been forgetting to feed them." Draco winced in irritation. "Do I need to elect someone else to watch our cargo? Perhaps they are too valuable to entrust to the two of you."
"No, Captain," Crabbe said quickly as Goyle shook his head vigorously. Theodore and Blaise continued to look on the scene in distaste. "You can count on us."
"Very well," Draco said. "And for Salazar's sake throw some water on the lot of them. The stench is appalling. They are worth an obscene amount of galleons, so you'd better take this task seriously."
"Of course, Captain, we will not fail in our duties," Crabbe, arguably the brighter of the two, said.
"See that you don't," Draco said. "I'll trust you to know what will wait you should you fail."
The men steeled in their tracks as Draco's threats hit home, while Blaise and Theodore sniggered. Draco shot them both a look before turning to leave. As he was departing, he noticed once more the girl in white and covered in grime. She had looked up again to watch him as he left and this time he was sure he sensed awareness—too much awareness for a mere Muggle. The girl quickly ducked her head again after being caught staring and he shook off the odd curiosity that had sprung up unbidden regarding her. Draco did not know why he felt so bothered by the girl's presence and couldn't shake off the annoyance for the rest of the day. Little did he know his day was going to get much worse.
Grasping at the bars that held her confined, Hermione wondered idly if she could break them. They weren't even magically bound. She had to scoff at the fact that her Pureblood captors were so daft they did not even bother to ward their prisoners properly. Only, it was not like she'd have anywhere to go if she did escape the confines of her crowded prison, so perhaps they had the right idea. Not only that, but she suspected she was the only Muggle-born among the prisoners, a fact she wished to remain a secret.
How she was ever able to live this long and not be discovered was beyond her, but she still had escaped a life sentence in Azkaban for her Muggle-born heritage, and it felt surprisingly liberating to be off of the Ministry's radar. You weren't discreet enough to not be fired by the Hornbys, she reminded herself snidely. For it was true, though the Hornbys could not prove it, did not suspect her, they did think trouble followed her wherever she went. As a girl, it was hard to control her magic when being teased or picked on by the Hornbys, or even worse—their cousins. Iit was difficult not to let her magic slip accidentally. She grew accustomed to pining it off as something else and quickly learned to control it, but the stigma stayed with her just the same and ultimately Lady Hornby sold her off to the wild lands of Australia.
Perhaps life will be better out there, the optimistic side of her proposed, perhaps there will be more chances to read and learn. That was what Hermione hated most about serving the Hornbys; they did not have a well-stocked library by far. She risked her life reading the meager supply of books they did have and those weren't near enough. She was able to deduce that what it was she was teaching herself was wandless magic, something highly illegal for someone with her birth as well as very uncommon to conquer. She wished she was able to practice freely, learn freely. She envied Olive, who was permitted to go to school and learn magic at the age of eleven, even if she was awful at it. The only good thing about Olive's studies was that sometimes she would bring a book home with her, which gave Hermione a chance to practice more spells. Olive was more concerned with the wizards in her year than studying magic.
Speaking of wizards, Hermione had to kick herself at being caught staring, not once but twice, at her captor. She couldn't help it, really; there was something about the high-born blond that Hermione found…interesting. Unlike the oafs guarding her, she could tell Draco Malfoy was a powerful wizard. She sensed it rolling off of him in waves. He may lead a rag-tag group of miscreants, but he himself was quite accomplished, she was sure. She hadn't the opportunity before to evaluate him closely, but when he had come below deck she was able to obtain an up-close view of him, shrouded in the shadows though he was, and really see him for the first time. She felt embarrassed being huddled with the Muggles. She could tell they were weak and beaten down from a hard life of enslavement, but still she wished they had some fight left in them. She certainly did.
Even with being in the precarious state she was in, Hermione could not help but look closely at the wizard. He was tall and lithe and carried himself in a confident manner. His complexion was fair and he had hair the shade of the most platinum blond that she'd ever seen. Well, of course-he is a Malfoy, you ninny, Hermione chided herself. The Malfoy family were notorious throughout Britain and with that aristocratic nose and cold silver eyes, Hermione knew this was the infamous Draco Malfoy Olive and her friends were besotted with. It was difficult not to be curious; she was hardly ever in the presence of a wizard. She had this fantasy that one day she would run into a witch or wizard who would recognize her talent and skill, endeavoring to take her under their wing and teach her about magic. At twenty years old, that had never even come close to happening. It was a silly dream and Hermione knew it was best to shutter her hopes of that ever happening. Still, she hoped that when the ship made it to Southport, a new life would be awaiting her, maybe even a better one.
Taking comfort in this small hope for the future, it was at this point that Hermione felt herself jolted from her sitting position on the floor. The Muggles cried out in alarm as they felt a strong tremor pass through the ship.
"What was that?" said the one called Goyle.
"I'm not sure," Crabbe said. "But it feels like someone has attacked our wards."
Hermione felt her heart rate quicken at her temples with this bit of news. Who would attack a Pureblood vessel commissioned by the King himself? She felt another tremor take the ship and she ricocheted perilously. She put her ear up to the bars attempting to hear the voices above.
"They've breached our shield," someone called.
"But how can that be?" another said.
"They used light magic," one yelled. "The shield only repels dark curses."
Hermione took a deep breath, steadying herself as she tried to divulge this news. She heard the unmistakable sound of a cannon go off and in no time, rip through the ship. She was on high alert now, her body going into survivor mode as she realized she needed to escape and do so quickly.
Crabbe and Goyle heard the voices above deck as well, and they too were thrown off by the cannon blasts. "Blimey, Crabbe," Goyle said. "Someone's gone and bloody attacked us."
"I wager it's that Potter fellow," Crabbe said. Potter, Hermione thought, that name sounds familiar. "Come on, we'd better get up there and help."
"B-but we are tasked with watching the prisoners," Goyle said, pointing a finger at the Muggles who were gathered in a panic around her.
Crabbe shot them a scathing look. "They aren't going anywhere. Come on, sounds like they're overwhelmed up there. Captain will have our necks if we don't come to their aid."
Goyle followed resolutely behind Crabbe, gripping his wand tightly. She fixed her gaze on the wand, enviously wondering what it'd be like to hold one—to yield one's power through it. At that moment, another cannon blast jostled the ship, propelling Hermione hard into the bars in front of her. Her ribcage throbbed with pain as she tried to get out from underneath the Muggle man pushing her against the bars.
"Let us out," a woman wailed, as blasts and curses riddled the ship.
Hermione snapped at the people behind her. "Quiet!" Then, to herself: "Now, let me think."
"The ship's been hit badly," a Muggle man pointed out. "It's sinking."
"We are all going to drown!" a teenage girl cried.
Hermione tried to ignore the frenzied people. Gripping the bars in front of her, she focused her magic, letting her power run through her hands as she tried to remember everything she could on Transfiguation. Willing the two bars to turn into ropes in front of her, she felt them grow hot and glow red underneath her fingers as the power coursed through. She gave a triumphant sigh of relief as the bars turned to ropes and coiled quickly down by her feet. With more than enough room to slip out now, Hermione quickly clamored out of the space. She was suddenly halted as an arm reached out to grab her.
"You can do magic like them," a man said fearfully. "That isn't allowed." She made to wrench her arm free but he did not allow her to do so.
"Look," she said, growing exasperated now, "we are going to be stuck down here; I did us all a favor, now let's get out."
"I'll have to tell them," the man said, shaking his head, and she grew fearful at his implication as the others watched.
Enraged, Hermione tried another tactic. "Look, you're right, I can do magic, and I'll do some on you if you do not let go this instant!" The man let go immediately as if he'd been burned.
Hermione wasted no time climbing up the wooden stairs, not bothering to look back. There was no way she could save everyone, but perhaps she could save herself. Once she got aboard deck, she quickly saw the ship had been nearly ripped in two. She saw the Captain blocking curses from all different directions while dodging out of the way of what she now saw was magically-aided cannon blasts. Parts of the ship were splintered and flying to the water below. She pressed herself closely against the wall of the cabin as she stealthily attempted to sneak around the other side of the ship. She hoped there was a boat or something she could use.
"Who let the prisoners out?" said one of her captors, but no one deigned answer him, so caught up was everyone in the fight. In fact, she sensed it was almost ended and this ship was most definitely on the losing side. She inwardly lamented when she discovered the lifeboats were shrunken. Gods, but I don't have the time for this, she thought, while already climbing onto the ledge of the ship to focus on what the spell would be to unshrink them. Perhaps she could simply will it? Hermione did not get the chance to do either as another blast shot through the vessel and sent her tumbling over the ledge into the crisp, cool waters below.
She sunk deep in the ocean and sensed a turmoil within the watery depths as the ship above was cracking dangerously. She pushed herself upwards, seeking air, wishing she knew how to cast a bubble charm. She gasped for much-needed breaths as she reached the surface and then looked around for something she could hold onto. She saw a broken piece of the ship's bow floating a ways away and hurriedly swam over to the slip of wood. She grasped on to it gratefully and then looked up to survey the scene above her. She heard other splashes around her from what could only be other bodies falling into the water and then recognized that the fighting had stopped.
The others ship's crew were boarding the decimated craft and she wondered what could be on board that they would risk venturing onto the sinking vessel. Hermione knew they were being carted with magical creatures-she recognized some nifflers that would surely fetch a good price in Oceania-but could not fathom them coming aboard just for that. She quickly surveyed the area. Taking stock of things, she knew she was somewhere in the Caribbean. They had to be; the water was not near as cold as the Atlantic should be. She needed to get far away from the wreckage; it would not do to escape just to be captured by even more ruthless captors. She had no idea which way to float but hoped she was near some kind of land and the water would lead in that direction. In Merlin's name, please let that be the case, she thought warily.
She was paddling with the water when a flash of blond caught her eyes. The Captain, she thought as she recognized him immediately. Instinctively, she made to paddle towards his floating figure, which she saw was beginning to sink. Unsure what prompted her to do so, she abandoned her safety device and dove into the water following the wizard into the depths below. She knew the water here was cerulean blue and quite clear in the day, but in the darkness of night she couldn't see anything and swept her hands blindly in front of her. She felt her fingers brush against something incredibly soft and recognized it immediately as his hair. Getting a hold of it, she yanked with all her might until she brought them both back up to the surface.
Once she was above the water again and now holding his dead weight, she looked for her wood, which was already floating away. Exasperated, Hermione tried to pull him toward it. Faster, she thought and she felt herself gliding through the water easily at her internal demand. Upon reaching the wood, Hermione noticed it was far too small to carry the weight of both of them. Doing some quick thinking, she remembered a Transfiguration charm that expanded objects, and focused all her exhausted might on doing so. The wood creaked and groaned but did as she willed, and Hermione watched it transform to an even larger state that looked more like a raft than anything. She awkwardly pull herself up, while trying not to tip the thing as she attempted to keep hold of the Captain. Once she was safely aboard, she used all her existing strength to pull the wizard on with her. He landed roughly on top of her and she found herself now squished with the dead weight of him.
Annoyed and bordering on exhaustion, she was tempted to just stay underneath the Captain, before finally scrambling out from under him. She was about to lie beside him when she noticed several supply barrels bobbing by. Hermione groaned at the realization of what she needed to do, but, steeling herself, jumped back in the water and grabbed a hold of two of the barrels, towing them back to her raft. Once she reached the raft, she pulled herself on again, this time holding onto the ropes of the barrels. Looking over at Malfoy, she noticed he had been hit with a Stupefy. There must have been a lot flying at him for one to hit home, she mused. Odd that they would cast merely a Stupefy and not a darker curse.
Securing the ropes to the raft and vowing that the barrels better have something useful in them, Hermione could not even begin to cast an Innerviate on him, simply as she'd never tried and she was completely depleted. I'll just lie down for a bit, she thought, even as she plopped her head down with a bang. She did not even have the strength to wince at the impact. She allowed herself to close her eyes for only a moment.…
When she opened them again, the sky was much lighter. She estimated she had dozed off and it was very early morning. Still overcome with exhaustion, it was all Hermione could do to lift her head and take stock of her surroundings. There was ocean as far as the eye could see until she ripped her head around, spotting the tell-tell sign of land. Hermione felt a burst of energy at the prospect of safety, having had enough of the twenty-one days she'd spent at sea—the land was calling to her. Paddling with all her might, she made for the direction of land whilst willing any power she possessed to help her reach it quicker. It seemed like it took forever, but she started to make out things; lush greenery upon the shore, palm trees swaying in the breeze, birds flying through the air...she was almost there.
Determining she was close enough, Hermione abandoned the raft but held onto it as she led the wood easier through the small waves until she felt sand at her feet. She cherished the feeling and worked with a vigor to reach the beach. The raft quickly became stuck on the sand and she had to pull Malfoy off as she dragged him up the shore to where she deemed was safe before returning for the barrels. Once she deposited that a ways from the water, she plopped down hard next to him as she watched the sea lapping up the shore.
Her eyes feeling heavy, Hermione started when she heard a groan next to her. He is finally waking. What impeccable timing, she thought in irritation.
The Captain brought himself painfully up to a sitting position as he took stock of his surroundings, bleary-eyed and befuddled. The confusion did not stop when he turned to see Hermione sitting primly next to him, clutching her now soaked, thin dress that had seen much better days, as she tried to keep the shivers at bay.
Eyeing her intently, he finally asked, "Where are my men and where is my ship?"
"I imagine they are lying on the bottom of the Atlantic right about now," Hermione said in a helpful tone. The Captain was not amused. Hermione could not summon the energy to care as she welcomed the blackness and let it finally overcome her.