Ok originally I wanted to include the arrival at Durmstrang in this segment, but it didn't really happen. But, other cool things happen, don't worry! Thank you again for all of your amazing reviews. I really appreciate it. Next chapter will definitely have the arrival at Durmstrang. Enjoy the chapter!
Chapter 5: The Voyage, Part 2
Gabriel (Harry) followed Severus until the boy got to their cots. Severus crouched down on his and started rummaging around in his pack, not once saying anything to Gabriel, though the former had no idea why. So, instead of taking up space with clumsy comforting words of wisdom, Gabriel wisely stayed quiet, and wrinkled his nose as one of the crew members came over and handed them a barrel.
What in Merlin's name were they going to do with a barrel? Though sulky, Severus took pity on Gabriel and told him what it was for. "If you tap the middle of the barrel a plate of food will come out. It took us quite a while trying to figure that one out last night for supper." He gave the crew member a bit of a withering glare as it passed on to the next set of cots. "See, the crew didn't tell us about it at all. I am not sure why."
Draco came over to join them, ignoring Sev's well aimed glower. He tapped on the side with his wand and after a small popping noise, out came a bowl of some hot fish type of stew. Draco grimaced at it, but started chowing away, his hunger overriding his disgust. He then shrugged, saying, "It's not bad, and it's warm, so I guess we can treat it like a delicacy."
Gabriel snorted and shared an amused look with Severus. Only Draco would think of foreign food as delicacies, even if it was the only slop the ship's kitchen had to offer. Lucius joined them and warily gave Severus an apologetic glance. Severus, like Gabriel, had been taught at an early age to understand body language, for if one didn't learn it, one could not defend oneself very well against physical abuse. Severus took Lucius' apologetic look for what it was and nodded slowly before helping himself and a relieved Gabriel to their breakfast.
Gabriel smirked slightly, noting that Severus hadn't even let him get his own food. Not that Gabriel minded much, but it still was a bit different and amusing. Oh, he knew that Severus perfectly well knew he could serve himself, but apparently the boy felt the need to give him a bowl. Deciding not to dwell on Sev's odd behavior, Gabriel accepted the bowl and lifted a wooden spoon to his lips.
Surprisingly, it was palatable. The fish tasted a bit odd, but everything else was good. "I wonder what kind of fish this is." He murmured in between bites.
Severus wrinkled his nose at the fishy smell before shrugging, "It's salmon. When my mother was alive we had fish every Friday due to some sort of muggle religious rule."
Gabriel arched a brow, "Your parents were Catholics?"
Severus and the others gaped at him before Lucius coughed and stated, "It seems our little Gabriel knows more about the customs of muggles, no doubt because he was raised by them."
Draco blankly stared at Gabriel, "What in Merlin's name is a Catholic?"
Severus nearly snorted up his soup in mirth before he explained, "A Catholic refers to the muggle religion Catholicism. If you really want to know the basics of the religion, I would recommend reading about it once we get to school. Unless you want me to go into drastic boring detail, or "bookwormish detail" as you normally call it?"
Draco paled at the suggestion, reminding Gabriel of Ron when it came to sitting through one of Hermione's lectures. The blond shook his head no, saying, "I think I'll pass on the lecture. Reading's easier to deal with."
Severus nodded before turning to answer Gabriel's earlier question, "My father was a devout Catholic until my mother passed away. When he found out about her being a witch, he was so in love with her by that time that he really didn't mind the thought of magic. He believed it to be a gift. But, when he met some religious radicals at their local church, he started to believe that he could change my mother. It didn't really work, naturally."
Gabriel and the others nodded, understanding that some people, no matter what type, had prejudices or strange ideas. Gabriel however felt that this was a glossing over of all the facts. Still, he knew that if he was patient, Severus would tell him the whole story when he was ready, if he ever was. Gabriel could be content with bits and pieces of information about Severus' life at home for now.
Merlin knew he sure as hell had his own deep emotional baggage from his past life. He just hoped that Severus at least would not hate him once Gabriel told him the whole story.
Pulling his thoughts out of that darkening path, Gabriel asked, "So, what do you guys want to do after eating? Does anyone have a game or something to play?"
"Oh, I think I have brought a wizard chess set, if anyone would like to test my skills." Draco puffed out his chest before his twin brother pointedly poked him in the stomach. He rubbed his deflated chest and mumbled, "Prat."
Gabriel arched a brow and asked Severus, "Wizard's chess?" Bullocks, he really was getting tired of sounding like an oblivious idiot.
Severus put up his hands in an elaborate shrug, as if to say, 'don't ask me what it is, I have no bloody clue.' Lucius rolled his eyes and waited until one of the crew came and collected their plates and barrel and left before starting to explain the differences between muggle and wizard's chess.
Severus, really interested now in learning a new game, was soon propped up on his elbows as he watched in fascination as Lucius and Draco demoed a game. Gabriel sat down on his ass and leaned back against his trunk, watching with amusement, though making sure to gasp and gape at appropriate places.
At one time, he got distracted by Severus' chewing on his lower lip in concentration, and Gabriel couldn't help but watch him, entranced. Severus was oblivious to the stare until the big snake that had kept them company the night before joined them again, pausing to coil around Severus' cot. Both Draco and Lucius were so hooked on their game that they didn't even notice the snake.
Severus and Gabriel did though. Acting out on impulse, and totally forgetting that the twins didn't know about him being a Parselmouth, Gabriel hissed out softly, "Greetings great snake. Tell me, was your morning pleasing?"
The snake turned and gave him it's undivided attention before answering, "Your manners in our speech are impeccable. It is refreshing to be treated with such respect, even when the masters of this boat only speak in our tongue. They believe to be higher on the food chain than us, but they are wrong. But, I regress. In answer to your question, yes, my morning was quite pleasing. I feasted on a large rat that was unfortunately a pet of one of the wizardling's here. Though the rat might be missed, the above stairs wizardling was foolish to let such a tasty morsel out of it's cage this morning."
Gabriel's eyes widened comically, memories surging through him. Could that rat have been….? No, it couldn't. He was just overreacting. For all he knew, Peter Pettigrew was at Hogwarts, and not on this very boat. Still, he'd have to keep an eye out for Ron… if Ron had been in fact the owner of the now ingested rat.
"What? Gabriel, what did the snake say?" Severus asked, jarring Gabriel from his thoughts.
Suddenly he noted that not only were the twins and Severus looking at him in morbid fascination, but also a few of the nearby kids were gaping at him too. Gabriel blushed and said, he hoped in English, "I asked him if he had a good morning, and he said yes, that he ate a large rat, that could have been one of the second year's familiars."
Draco and Lucius were still stunned and watching him incredulously, but Severus shrugged, "Rotten luck for the other student, but really, can you blame a snake?" He then asked him hurriedly, "Can you ask him if I can pet him?"
Gabriel grinned, feeling relief wash all over him. He kept on having to remember that the Severus in this world didn't think he was terrible for being a Parselmouth. The wizard looked over at the snake, who was watching them both with a sense of amusement in his eyes. "Great snake, my companion asks me if it would please you to be touched by him."
For a moment the snake just tested the air with his tongue before nodding slowly, turning to give Severus an unwavering gaze. Severus took that as an ok and carefully, but fearlessly reached out and touched the snake's cool dark scaly back. The snake sighed in contentment and turned back to Gabriel, "I like your companion. He knows not to be afraid. Fear excites my kind. May I know the name of you and your companions?"
Seeing no harm in obliging the snake, Gabriel introduced all of them to him, though he stumbled over his "new" name. The snake caught it but didn't comment. Instead, he introduced himself, saying that his name was Sarasha, and that he always sailed on the boat every year to help keep the children occupied and safe away from the ship's crew, just in case. Sarasha then said that he normally lived in Durmstrang as one of it's mascots. The older years were already used and comforted by his presence, but no matter how nice he was to the first years, they always tended to shy away from him at first.
This would be the first year in quite some time that the snake had someone he could actually talk to besides the crew on the boat. Knowing that he was drawing a bit of a crowd, and not liking it much, Gabriel forced himself to be cheery and relayed his conversation with the snake before Sarasha dismissed himself to go check on the older years on the other side of the boat.
After it left, Gabriel gulped as he found himself in the middle of a staring contest. Getting a bit irritated, he said, "What? I can't help it if I can talk to snakes. I just can, so whatever." Then he uttered under his breathe, "I wish peeps would bloody get used to it sooner rather than later."
His snappy attitude dispersed the other kids quickly except for the twins and Severus. He caught the twins trying very hard not to stare at him and felt his mood soften. "I'm sorry, I just, don't want to be looked on as a freak of nature just because I can talk to snakes."
Draco and Lucius nodded, though Draco brought up brightly, "Well, it is an unusual gift Gabriel, but not near as awesome as what us Malfoys can do."
"What? Preen like Veelas?" Severus teased, though he came over and hunkered down next to Gabriel, noting that the boy was still tense.
Lucius answered, "You wish, Severus. Us Malfoys are so pure that we can call a Unicorn to our sides no matter where we are."
"Exactly." Draco grinned with pride.
Severus and Gabriel shared a look of exasperation before both simultaneously told their companions, "Bullshit!"
There was no way in Hell's outhouse that these perverted twins could call a butterfly to them, much less a Unicorn.
The whole day was inconsequential, and the boys got bored easily, though Severus took the time to either read his new school books or covertly stare at Gabriel. He couldn't seem to help himself. Gabriel was an enigma, a fascination that Severus couldn't resist. He didn't know why. He figured it might be because for once in his life, someone UNDERSTOOD him.
What he was going through… everything.
Because, Gabriel had gone through it, too, probably went through an abuse much worse than his own. But, though Severus knew he should be envious that Gabriel got to be with his Uncle Abraxus now instead of those horrible muggles, he couldn't feel anything but relief. Gabriel deserved some happiness. Somehow, Severus believed that.
No, he couldn't be envious of Gabriel, even with that gift of being a Parselmouth. He saw how Gabriel had reacted when he was the center of the horde of students. He wasn't exactly angry at being the center of attention; he was more along the lines of being annoyed, and uncomfortable. The other kids would get over it, or if they didn't, then who cared? Gabriel was much like him, for Severus hated crowds too. Crowds spelled more ways to be laughed at or bullied.
Crowds made it difficult to escape torture.
Shaking his thoughts out of bad memories, Severus noted that Draco had trounced Gabriel yet again at a game of Wizard's chess. Why couldn't Gabriel win for a change? It wasn't because he was daft, Severus suspected that something was going on that didn't seem correct. He couldn't put his finger on it though. And then, when they reset the board, he understood what Gabriel was doing.
He was letting Draco win, but made sure that he acted like he was at least putting up some sort of effort. How positively sneaky of him. But, why would Gabriel be doing that? Unless, there was the simple reason of Gabriel not wanting to bash Draco's pride? But why? He put his book down and huffed, "Oh Merlin, Gabriel, you are hopeless if you can't win at least one game!"
Startled at Sev's outburst, the others turned their attention to him, making him flush a bit. Draco smirked and said, "Well, if Gabriel is tired of LOSING, would you like to come and play a round with me?"
Severus rolled his eyes and nodded, "Fine, but let me warn you, I am no pushover." He tossed back his hair and moved over to them, waiting until Gabriel got out of the way, the other boy acting like he was glad to have been given an out. Chalking that clue up in the back of his mind to analyze later, Severus settled in for a game.
After a few hours of beating Draco in every single game he played with the other boy, Severus smirked triumphantly, saying, "Either it's beginner's luck, or you aren't as good as you claim you are, dear Draco."
"Oh sod off, Sev." Draco pouted goodnaturedly before they all scrambled to grab onto something to keep things falling all over the place as the boat rocked heavily.
"What the hell was that?" Severus shivered, holding onto his books like a lifeline.
The situation would have been funny if it weren't for the fact that they could hear yelling above deck. Gabriel wobbly got to his feet and managed to get to the ladders to go upstairs, ignoring the hollers from his friends to stay back. He knew he wasn't supposed to go above deck until they docked, but the age old war instincts were still imbedded in his veins and he couldn't just sit by and let things happen.
Gabriel looked up through the square holes in the trap door and gaped. He saw a flash of black and immediately thought dementor, but he couldn't be sure. Paling at the thought that there might even be one this close to them and everyone in the boat, He unsteadily climbed the ladder and tried to get a better look through the trap door.
Despite telling Gabriel to come back, the twins and Severus all had stumbled after him and were now standing below him near the ladder, wondering what the heck was going on. Gabriel paid them no head, being used to being followed by Ron and Hermione, even Neville and Ginny in the battle of Hogwarts. Looking around, not being able to see much of anything besides dusk falling, he nearly fell off the ladder when another surge went through the boat.
He hung on though, and tried to spy anything else. He then heard several of the crew yelling to each other, and it sounded almost like parseltongue, but with a heavy accent. His eyes then widened as he deciphered a few phrases.
"There, there over there! I told you there were two!"
"What should we do?! The wards won't hold the demons if we get any more!"
"Awake the master! He needs to know about this."
"And what of the brats?"
"Oh shut up, we need them alive. Just go do as I say before I rip out your intestines."
"Fine, don't get all pissed off!"
The hissing died down and suddenly Gabriel saw them. They were not dementors, but he could understand why he thought they looked similar. These creatures wore dark cowls, but instead of horrible dark faces, they had no faces besides red eyes and large red horns. One caught sight of him and rammed towards the boat, clashing against some sort of ward.
That sent him falling down on top of Severus and the twins.
Without thinking he hollered, "EXPECTO PATRONUM!"
A huge flash of light engulfed the entire boat and he heard screeching of something so foul that even dementors would have a gentler scream. Everyone covered their ears to the screeching besides Gabriel. Instead, he determinedly kept the flash of light going until the screams faded and the horrible demon creatures had dispersed.
Gasping, he let the spell go, and faded into darkness.
Too late, he realized that he used up too much magic. He had to remember that he was only in his eleven year old body, one that hadn't been trained on a bunch of exhaustive spells and magic.
Passing out into the blissful darkness he briefly heard someone calling his name.
A bit later, he was shaken awake gently by Severus. He opened his eyes and winced as a huge headache started pounding his head in like a hammer to a nail. He felt someone pry his mouth open and pour some sort of potion in it. He nearly gagged at the taste, but then felt his headache go away.
Gabriel blinked a few more times before he noticed he was on his cot, with Severus and the twins looking down at him with worried expressions on their faces. Gabriel tried to vie for a small smile and found he didn't have it in him. Instead he rasped out, "Well that went well."
"Merlin, Gabriel, you scared us to death." Draco said softly, looking him over.
Seeing 'worry' on Draco's face was disconcerting to say the least, but it didn't prepare him for Lucius, who asked simply and flatly, "Something tells me that you know more about magic than you led us to believe, Gabriel."
His shrewd eyes pierced Gabriel's and something inside him stiffened in defense. "Fuck off, Lucius." Gabriel hissed before pointedly looking away, trying to think of a way out of this dissolving situation. His secret was not far from being discovered. Lucius was way too clever it seems.
"Lucius! We agreed that we wouldn't press him for answers!" Draco reached over and smacked his twin upside the head. "He will tell us when he is ready."
Lucius growled softly but gave up when Severus said softly, "Just leave him alone for now, Lucius. Please."
"Fine. Keep your secrets." Lucius fumed before he stormed off, reminding Gabriel of Ron.
But, Ron wasn't there. Lucius was. So was Draco. So was Severus.
Gabriel tried to get his emotions under control and was about to retort but was stopped when Sev's hand covered his mouth. He regarded the other boy warily, not knowing what he was playing at. Sev then said softly, "Don't open your mouth if you are going to lie. You owe us that at least. If… you can't tell us your story right now… it's ok. Lucius will get over it. He's just not a fan of puzzles."
Gabriel rolled his eyes. That was an understatement of the year. But, then he sighed and nodded. He blushed slightly when Severus then crawled into the cot with him and cuddled, murmuring, "I for one, love puzzles."
For a while Gabriel said nothing, even after Severus had offered him something to eat. Apparently he had missed dinner again. Finally, after Gabriel took some bread and cheese from Severus, he asked hoarsely, "what actually happened when I passed out?"
Severus sighed deeply and yawned before telling a rundown of the past few hours. "The captain came down to check on everyone, and spotted that you had passed out, but he never suspected. Alfarin Hagrid might be an awesome astute seaman but he's denser than a slug when it comes to magic. He just figured that you had passed out due to all the 'excitement.' No one knows where the white light came from, though the crew are looking at all of us like we might be culprits."
"And those things… out there…?" Gabriel asked between bites of cheese and a sip of water.
His soul mate screwed up his eyebrows in thought before he said, "The captain says that there weren't any creatures out there. He just said that the boat got into rough waters." He then regarded knowingly at Gabriel, "But there were creatures out there, weren't there? And you caused them to go away. That's why the crew is trying to figure out who did it." At Gabriel's calm nod, Severus breathed. "Merlin's beard." He then lay his head on Gabriel's chest, thoughts muddling through his head.
Gabriel was silent for a few moments before whispering, "I wish I could tell you everything , Sev. But, if I do… I'm afraid of what might happen."
Severus propped himself up on his elbows on Gabriel's chest and stared down at him with a wry impish smirk. "Stop worrying about it. Draco's right, we all agreed to not bug you about it until you want to tell us, if you do. And if you haven't told us by the time we graduate… well I figure that I would have figured it all out by then. I'm very much a puzzle solver, if I do say so myself."
Gabriel snorted and sighed deeply, feeling more lighthearted. "You're adorable, you know that right?"
Hi soul mate scowled slightly, even though he blushed, letting Gabriel know he was secretly pleased. Severus then reached over and ran his fingers over Gabriel's scar. Gabriel watched him warily for a few moments before Severus turned to look into his eyes again. "Flattery will get you nowhere."
Somehow Gabriel doubted Severus really meant that.
Tomorrow was another day. Tomorrow they would reach Durmstrang. Apparently they had been delayed by the freak demon attack, but they definitely were going to arrive at Durmstrang tomorrow. That was a good thing that Kakeroff was prepared for hold ups like this. The welcoming feast would also be tomorrow night.
As Gabriel drifted off to sleep, Severus snuggled more up against his chest and mumbled, "You scare us like that again, and I will filet you alive."
I hope to work on another chap sometime this weekend.