Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter series or the characters there-in. The first scene, denoted by italics, is taken almost directly from Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Price, and therefore does not belong to me. I would appreciate it greatly if no legal action were taken against me. Thank you.
Chapter 1 (Beesting and Conk)
Hermione squeezed through the milling crowd to get to a large display near the store's counter. She picked up and began to read the back of a box bearing a highly colored picture of a handsome youth and a swooning girl, who were standing on the deck of a pirate ship."'Patented Daydream Charms… One simple incantation and you will enter a top-quality, highly realistic, thirty-minute daydream, easy to fit into the average school lesson and virtually undetectable (side effects include vacant expression and minor drooling). Not for sale to under-sixteens.'" She looked up at Harry, standing not far away. "You know, that really is extraordinary magic!"
"For that, Hermione, you can have one for free," said a beaming Fred Weasley.
She had tried to refuse it, but Fred refused it hear it; thus, she now had an unused Daydream Charm in her pocket. It would be unthinkable to use it during a lesson, and even worse to not use it at all.
Currently, she was sitting in the Quidditch stands, bored and slightly sick as the players brutalized each other in midair. Ron was doing an excellent job as Keeper, and neither team had scored yet. There was no sign of the Golden Snitch, either.
With a sigh, she felt the corner of the box through her robe, debating with herself. If the boys found out she had, in effect, skipped the game…. In point of fact, they were the reason she was even there. She had wanted to go to the library, but nooo. They had stared at her as if she'd grown a second head out of her ear (a singing head, at that), then practically dragged her to the pitch.
She had told them – several times over, in fact – that Quidditch made her sick, with its unwarranted violence and tendency to cause severe injury.
Physical illness or sulking teenage boys?
With no further thought, she invoked the charm.
She found herself in the crow's nest of a ship.
Well. That's really rather uninspired, considering what's on the box, she thought.
However, she did have to admit that it was very realistic.
Gulls shrieked and cackled, dark shapes gliding against the horizon. The sky was a clear, tropical blue so vibrant as to make her eyes tear. A warm, salty breeze ruffled her curls, probably snarling them into knots worse than usual.
She stumbled forward as the ship shifted under her feet, nearly tripping on the hem of her dress.
Wait a second. She looked down at herself. In the place of her usual school robes, she wore a light, filmy, summer dress, hanging loosely around her ankles and revealing her surprising lack of shoes. Shrugging to herself, she leaned over the rail of the nest, gasping as she saw the clear, sparkling water, at least a hundred feet below. Colorful shapes she assumed to be fish darted about playfully beneath the waves.
A crack of thunder snapped her head around to see looming thunderclouds, not far away. The ship gave another lurch and she lost her balance. She shrieked as she went over the side and started to fall to the deck, an unforgiving distance below.
The jar of impact, much quicker and softer than she expected, knocked the wind out of her. She looked up, shocked to see the tanned and unsmiling face of one Draco Malfoy, who had, apparently, caught her and was, even now, swinging them down to safety. Behind him, she caught a brief glimpse of a black flag, waving in the wind of the oncoming storm.
Heh. A pirate ship. Figures.
They landed on the deck, and the rope that Malfoy had used to do his jungle-man-type rescue seemed to disappear.
"What the hell are you doing here?" she demanded.
He grinned cheekily, "Why wouldn't I be?"
Deciding this comment wasn't worth answering, she turned her attention to the rest of the ship. Marcus Flint seemed to be in charge, barking orders to other, half-recognized Slytherins who were scuttling around, preparing for the coming storm. The costumes they were wearing had a definite Hollywood feel to them, which was unsurprising, since Hermione knew nothing about real pirates.
"CAPTAIN ON DECK!" Flint yelled.
"Uh oh," Malfoy muttered.
Snape's the captain? Why do I find that less-than-surprising?
The man's dark eyes glittered malevolently as he caught sight of her. However, he addressed Malfoy first. "May I ask why there is a woman on my ship, crewman?"
"I was about to come find you, sir. She's a stowaway."
"I see," he said silkily, looking at her. "Do you know what happens to stowaways on my ship, wench?"
Bristling at the insult, she drew herself up and looked him in the eye. "No, sir, I do not."
He smirked, "We make them walk the plank. Isn't that right, lads!" he exclaimed, receiving a hearty roar in response. "However…" he continued, "I do believe you're too pretty for such a fate. Perhaps we'll keep you around, as a toy for the crew, hmm?" This was met by an even louder approval.
Abruptly remembering that this was a daydream, and she had some control over it, she willed a sword into her hand. Grinning as she felt its weight in her grip, she brought it up, point pressing lightly into the soft skin underneath Snape's jaw. "I don't think I'd agree to that, sir." Several members of the crew started to draw their own weapons, but at a hand motion from Snape they backed off.
"Sir," a man she didn't recognize interrupted hesitantly, eyes flickering between her and his captain. "We've an approaching vessel, riding with the storm."
Snape jerked to look at him, forgetting the sword at his throat. Hermione removed it, figuring that the dream-captain had learned his lesson.
"Is it the Bloody Phoenix?" he demanded, snatching the man's telescope and looking through it. "Blast and damnation! Prepare the guns! The Silver Doe will see battle this day!" He turned back to her and Malfoy with a hard look on his face. "You're his spy, aren't you! Crewman, throw her in the brig! I will not tolerate spies on my ship!"
She didn't pause to consider the irony. "I am no one's spy! Let go of me!" she cried, jerking out of Malfoy grip and brandishing her sword as if she actually had a clue how to use it. This was her dream, maybe she did.
"I don't have time for this," Snape growled. "Stay on deck if you wish. Crewman, keep a weather eye." Then he galloped up to the upper deck to take the helm, practically throwing the bloke who had been there down the stairs.
"What the hell is going on?" she asked, bewildered.
"The Bloody Phoenix is captained by Albus Beesting, Cap'n Conk's rival," Malfoy answered.
"Captain Conk?" she repeated, laughing.
"Careful, miss. He doesn't like being laughed at."
"No, I imagine not," she said, attempting – and failing – to keep a straight face.
The ship began to lurch as it got closer to the choppy water in the storm. The sails cracked as the wind fought with them, almost as loud as the thunder itself. Abruptly they were in the storm, with rain pounding against the deck and making it slippery. Her grip on the railing tightened as her dress was flattened against her body, held there by the water.
Malfoy wolf-whistled at her. Considering the availability of his cheek, she reached out to slap him. Though, seeing as the deck was now slippery, she lost her footing and fell into him instead.
Thus, she found herself being held by Malfoy for the second time in twenty minutes. She pushed away from him, eyes widening as she looked over his shoulder. There, in the not-so-far distance, was another ship – with blood red sails.
"The, ah, Bloody Phoenix, I presume?"
Malfoy looked over his shoulder. "Aye."
Snape – or, Captain Conk, rather – was spinning the wheel hard, trying to get the ship aligned to fire. "Prepare to fire!" he yelled, which was echoed by others.
The ships pulled along side each other and the booming of cannons competed with the thunder to be heard. People from the other ship swung across on ropes, to be met by the hard steel of the crew of the Silver Doe.
She gasped as she saw several Weasleys among the invaders, and her gaze snapped up to the person at the helm of the opponent ship. There stood Dumbledore, long brown beard billowing out behind him and a crazed look in his eye.
Harry Potter swung across, landing almost on top of Hermione and Malfoy.
He and Harry immediately began to fight, metal flashing with shocking speed.
Hermione stared for a moment, shocked. "Stop! Stop it! Harry, what are you doing!?"
Malfoy blocked a vicious thrust, holding Harry's weapon at bay for a moment. "It's no use, miss. They've been brainwashed. Old Beesting has them thinking that whatever they do is right and just, even when it's not."
"I'm the brainwashed one? You consort with the likes of Conk and Snakeface! You deserve to die for your deeds!" Harry cried.
"Snakeface is our enemy, just as much as he's yours, you wretched fool!"
"Filthy Slytherin liar!" he yelled, renewing his attack. "Your father is the first mate of the Blind Basilisk, don't claim otherwise!"
"Harry! Harry, stop!" Hermione tried again, not sure what else to do.
"You're as bad as he is!" Harry proclaimed, knocking the sword out of Malfoy's grip with a savage jerk. "I'll take care of you in a minute, monkey," he murmured to Malfoy, then turned to Hermione, eyes glinting with insanity.
Hermione's eyes widened as she saw that look. This was not the Harry that she knew. She half-heartedly brought up her sword, prepared to defend her life. From the corner of her eye, she saw Malfoy retrieve his sword and raise it behind Harry's back –
"AND SLYTHERIN WINS THE MATCH!!"
She blinked and jerked upright as the Quidditch game returned to view.
"You alright, Hermione?" Neville asked. "You kind of spaced out for a while."
"Err, yes. I'm fine," she said. Not wanting him to ask any more questions, she changed the subject. "How are you doing on Professor Conk's essay?"
"Uhh, who?" he asked, bewildered.
Her eyes widened. "Snape! Professor Snape's!" she corrected.
Neville looked at her strangely.
A/N: So this strange little story just popped into my head one day, due to the scene that I quoted at the beginning. Hopefully you guys found it amusing? Anyway, if there's interest I might continue the story with her going back in another day.