'"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-sixteen's." You know,' said Hermione, looking up at Harry, 'that really is extraordinary magic!'
'For that, Hermione,' said a voice behind them, 'you can have one for free.'
Hermione sat in the Charms lecture, drumming her nails on the table. She had already covered this material in her extra-curricular studies, and Flitwick was practically reading his lecture from the text book.
She glanced almost guiltily down at her pocket, feeling the Patented Daydream charm box against her hip. She was sitting at a table on her own – Harry and Ron were sharing a desk and her usual Charms partner, Hannah, was off sick – so no one would notice if she used the charm now.
Her decision made, she pulled it and opened it on her lap. The box depicted a girl in a rich dress swooning in the arms of a dashing pirate. Inside there was a tiny rolled up scroll giving the incantation and the correct wand movement.
Surreptitiously drawing her wand she waved it in the shape of a heart and muttered "Suscitatio Somnuim!"
The room around her was dark and Hermione instinctively reached for her wand to light her way before she remembered she was in a daydream. There was loud banging coming from outside, so she crossed to a window to investigate.
The view looked over an ornate harbour that seemed to be from the regency era. Looking down at herself, she realised that she too was in period clothing. She was wearing a dark red dress that hugged her waist – she could suddenly see the benefits of corsets – and flared out into a poofy skirt. The dress laced up at the front with a deep gold ribbon, ending in a neat bow at her waist.
The noise was coming from a ship docked in the harbour. Its guns were firing at the town, leaving houses and buildings destroyed in its wake. She gapped for a moment, appreciating the realism that Fred and George had put into these Charms – she could even smell the salt of the sea air – though she couldn't help but wonder why she was watching a battle when she had expected some sort of silly romance.
Heavy footsteps suddenly thudded towards her room and the door was thrown open, dazzling Hermione with the sudden light. Three figures loomed in the doorway and once her eyes had adjusted she recognised Crabbe, Goyle and Zabini all dressed as pirates.
"Milady," Zabini said, bowing sardonically. "We have been ordered to escort you back to the ship."
Hermione wondered whether or not she was supposed to agree, after all how much control did she have over this magic? Deciding that she wouldn't trust the Slytherin boys in reality, she wouldn't trust them in a daydream either.
"Well I refuse to accept," she said primly, folding her arms over her chest.
Zabini grinned at her. "Ah, we were hoping you would say that, Milady– boys, take her!"
Hermione backed away as Crabbe and Goyle advanced on her. Looking wildly around she noticed the sword of Godric Gryffindor conveniently lying on the table beside her, which certainly hadn't been there before.
Ducking under Crabbe's lunging grab, she grabbed the sword and spun around to face them. Both boys blinked gormlessly at her for a moment before drawing their own crude swords.
She parried their blows with much greater ease than she would have done were she back in reality, quickly gaining the upper hand against opponents who had to be twice, if not three times her weight. She pivoted on one slippered foot and kicked Goyle hard in the stomach, at the same time punching a stunned Crabbe in the nose before knocking him to the ground with the flat of her sword.
She was so absorbed with the fight that she hadn't heard Zabini draw his own weapon. She spun around, intending to kick Goyle back to the ground since he had foolishly tried to get up, and came face-to-face with Zabini's sword.
The cold metal tip was just resting against her collar-bone, so she lowered her sword. He plucked it out of her hand and passed it to Crabbe and Goyle, who had both struggled to their feet, cursing under their breath.
"Now now, Milady, lets not fight," he said in a voice he probably supposed was soothing, but the effect was ruined by the wicked glint in his eye. "All we want to do is take you to the Captain."
"That, Milady, is for the Captain to explain. Now will you come willingly or do I have to tie you up and drag you?" he asked pleasantly, his voice belying the threat there. "If you do then we promise that none of the crew will hurt you …"
Crabbe and Goyle grinned at each other at that remark, though she didn't understand why.
Hermione hesitated a moment before replying. "I want you to swear it."
"I swear on the honour of our ship and my honour as a pirate."
"Very well," she said with dignity, knowing it was only a daydream.
Zabini grinned and pulled a set of manacles from his belt.
"What are those for?" she demanded, backing away again only to be restrained by Crabbe and Goyle.
"A precaution, Milady," he said as he chained her hands behind her back. "You're a vicious fighter."
"I'll take that as a compliment."
"It was intended that way," Blaise replied, leading her from the room.
The pirates escorted her though the house, which reminded her of a smaller version of Hogwarts. Again, she was impressed by the detail the Weasley twins had put into everything, down to the little smells and sights of a docking town – even including a drunk throwing up, oblivious of the pillaging pirates.
The pirate ship was made of dark wood and its railing was silver. The flag was a jolly-roger with two crossed snakes below it as opposed to crossbones.
"What is this ship called?" she asked Zabini.
"The Serpents Fortune," he replied, watching the other two Slytherin boys row the little boat.
Once they reached the deck Hermione recognised the other crew members as students from Hogwarts, most of them Slytherin. They all stared at her, so she pointed her nose in the air and followed Zabini towards the cabin, trying to ignore their stares and her manacles.
"Captains through that door, he's expecting you," he told her, and walked off.
Taking a deep breath, she pushed the door open with her foot. The room within was spacious, lit by candlelight and the dim light of on-coming dawn through the portholes. There was a large table spread with nautical maps and a few empty bottles.
A man with platinum blond hair and stormy grey eyes was sitting in the only chair, his booted feet resting on top of the table.
"Lady Hermione, I presume?" a familiar drawing voice said.
Draco Malfoy was bored. Flitwick had been ploughing on with his lecture for over twenty minutes, apparently oblivious to the student's lack of attention. Everyone was whispering to each other, and even the Mudblood Granger was staring dreamily into space.
He sighed to himself. He could be doing something worthwhile with his time, if only he had bought his homework with him. There was a mountain of things he had to do tonight - two essays, a Quidditch practice, not to mention practicing Legilimency for Snape.
He straightened suddenly in his seat. There was no reason why he couldn't practice now. Looking around the classroom, he wondered who he should pick. Potter instantly came to mind, just to see what hare-brained scheme he and Weasel were planning next, but Potter was doodling ideally on the corner of his parchment, so he doubted his head would be particularly interesting at the moment.
Draco's eyes settled on Granger. She was still gazing at the wall with a vacant expression, though there was a small smile on her face. Wondering what she was thinking about to cause such as smile, he pulled out his wand and begun to focus his mind in order to read her thoughts.
"Welcome to the Serpents Fortune, Lady Hermione," the Captain said, his grey eyes roving over her body.
"Malfoy," she said acidly, not liking the direction her daydream had taken – if she had wanted to deal with Slytherins she could have done it without the aid of some stupid charm.
"That's Captain Malfoy to you," he said, folding his arms behind his head.
"Well, frankly I don't give a damn about how you want me to address you. You will always be 'Ferret Boy' to me."
Malfoy frowned confusedly. "Why a ferret, My Lady?" he asked, and she remembered this was a daydream and pirate-Malfoy would have no recollection of Hogwarts.
She smiled at him and said with false sweetness, "No reason, Captain."
He smirked at her obvious sarcasm and removed his feet from the table, leaning forward on his elbows. "You must be wondering why we have bought you here, Lady Hermione."
She gave an unladylike shrug. "Even if I'm not wondering you will probably tell me anyway."
"True," he said, standing from his seat. "You see, we are searching for Phoenix Island, a supposedly mythical place where the pirates of the old Order supposedly buried their treasure." Malfoy walked slowly around the table towards her as he spoke.
"And you expect me to know where it is?" she asked, not liking how close he was getting, especially with her hands chained behind her.
"No, but we know that Captain Potter does," Malfoy said, now standing right in front of her. "And if the rumour is to be believed, then you and he are very close …"
"He'll never tell you anything," Hermione said with bravado.
"Oh, but he will, my dear, especially if we hold his dear Lady Hermione as a guarantee of his cooperation."
"That's an empty threat, Malfoy," she said. "Your crew have sworn not to hurt me."
"Ah, the crew have sworn, but I am the Captain – I am not part of their vows," he told her, and she suddenly understood the look Crabbe and Goyle had exchanged as Zabini had made the vow.
She exhaled gustily, sending the curls around her face fluttering. "Okay, so I am just to be your hostage? And here I thought you just wanted the pleasure of my company."
Malfoy's hands snaked around her waist, pulling her against his lean body. "I'm certain that I will find your company very pleasurable, Lady Hermione," he drawled.
Remembering that she had a limited form of power over her own daydream, she willed her manacles to vanish. She pulled a hand free slapped him hard around the face.
His grey eyes darkened with sudden anger and he pushed her up against the table. She struggled, but couldn't break loose.
"I'll make you pay for that, My Lady," he hissed in her ear, and then his mouth came down over hers.
He kissed her harshly, his hands in her hair to hold her too him. She felt his breath hot in her mouth as he parted her lips easily with his own. To her surprise, Hermione found herself kissing him back, her own hands entwined around his neck – after all, it was only a daydream.
Malfoy's hands moved from her hair and down her back, his long fingers trailing lightly over her waist. He gently pressed her back against the table, lowering himself down on top of her.
His mouth travelled hungrily down her neck, tasting and teasing at her skin with his teeth – and then he started to fade.
Hermione looked around wildly, wondering what was happening. The cabin of the ship was sliding out of focus, only to be replaced by her Charms classroom. She blinked as the last vestiges of the daydream vanished and realised that Flitwick was still standing at the front talking.
She let out an unsteady breath. That had been … quite some daydream!
Glancing around the classroom, it appeared that no one had noticed that she hadn't been present mentally for the past half hour. She couldn't help a blush when she saw Malfoy's silver blond head a few rows to her side – especially when he caught her stare and smirked at her.
The bell for next lesson rang and Hermione quickly gathered her things. Malfoy walked passed her desk and, on purpose, swept all her books and ink bottle onto to floor.
"Opps," he said. "How very clumsy of me."
She sighed as he swept from the classroom, leaving her to clean up the mess. Harry and Ron hurried over and bent down to help her.
"No, its fine, I'll do it," she told them as she picked up a book with was sodden with ink. "McGonagall said she would give you too detention if you were ever late to her lesson again."
"You sure Hermione?" Ron asked.
"Yeah, it's fine," she said. "I'll see you in Transfiguration."
The boys left her and she gathered her ruined books into her arms, cursing a certain Slytherin under her breath.
"Now now, Granger is such language really necessary?" a drawling voice asked. Hermione looked up and saw Draco Malfoy leaning against the doorframe, his grey eyes watching her intently.
"Malfoy," she spat. "You knocked my stuff over on purpose!"
"Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn what you think I did," he said, nonchalantly examining his flawless nails.
Hermione paused – hadn't she said something like that in her daydream …?
Malfoy looked up at her and grinned. "After all, you wouldn't want me to tell the teachers that you were using Weasley Wizard Wheezes products now, would you?"
She gapped at him. "You … you …"
"You …you," he imitated her. "You what, Granger?"
"You slimy ferret!" she shouted, dropping her books back to the floor.
"Why a ferret, My Lady?" he asked lightly, slowly walking towards where she stood rooted to the spot.
"You … how …?"
Her smirked, now standing right in front of her. "I happen to be an accomplished Legilimens, Granger."
"You read my mind?" she demanded, aghast.
"Yep," he said unashamedly, before lowering his voice to husk, "And I must say, I found it very entertaining."
Beyond fury, Hermione balled her hand into a fist and threw a punch at his perfect, sneering face. His seeker reflexes were too fast however, and he easily caught her fist in one hand. His other hand wrapped around her waist and pushed her against the desk behind her.
"Now this is interesting," he drawled, his face inches from hers. "I can't help but wonder what Captain Malfoy of the Serpents Fortune would do in this situation."
"Don't you dare …"
"Or rather," he continued, ignoring her. "What would our lovely heroine, Lady Hermione Granger want me to do in this situation."
"I'm warning you Malfoy, don't go there …"
He chuckled into her hair and then suddenly bit her earlobe, making her jump as he dragged it though his teeth.
"But you want this, Granger," he murmured in her ear. "You know you do."
"I don't," she insisted. "It was just some stupid charm."
"Didn't you read the fine print, Granger? The Patented Daydream shows you what you desire most – though your brand had a pirate twist."
"That's not true …" she breathed. "It can't be true …"
"It is," he whispered into the hollow base beneath her ear. "And I've known that you are what I desire most since the Yule Ball."
"That long?" she asked, amazed that she hadn't noticed.
"Uh huh," he said, his lips moving along her jaw. "So tell me Lady Hermione, will you try to punch me again if I try to kiss you?"
She couldn't help a small smile as he brushed her lips with his thumb. "Maybe – I guess you will just have to take your chances."
"If you do hit me I will make you pay for it, My Lady."
She grinned at him and pulled him closer to her. "Looks like I win either way then."
He smirked, before cupping her face in both hands and pressing his mouth to hers. She had thought that nothing could match the fiery, passionate kiss of her daydream, but she was wrong – the real thing was much better.