AN: In which Draco shows his insecurities and Poseidon is discovered. This is the penultimate chapter before Christmas, you all! Enjoy and sky speed. ;)
Chapter Fifteen: Gummy Snakes
"Anything from the trolley, dears?"
Ron looked up from his position floating by the window, as he was sitting; the door was vertically above his head. "I'm fine thanks, mum made sandwiches." Harry thought that the boy looked spectacularly unimpressed with his plastic-wrapped lunch, as did Draco. The blonde was already on his way to the door, pulling himself along with his hands and retrieving a pouch of credit chips from his uniform pocket.
Crabbe and Goyle, having settled with what looked like a pack of hexagonal cards, perked up and pushed themselves through the air after Draco to place their order. Harry couldn't possibly miss the grouchy, unhappy look on Ron's face and his longing glances at the sweets in the trolley's racks. He wiped the last of the mango juice off his hands and retrieved his own money. Hedwig, having never seen the shiny little rectangles before, investigated his handful and bit on one inquisitively. Discovering that they were neither chewable nor tasty, she scuttled back to his shoulder.
Glancing between the money in his hand and the prices on the trolley, Harry grinned and stated boldly;
"I'll have a bit of everything, please!" Draco looked rather approving at that as he shuffled his floating sweets into a bag, while the two gorillas paid him no attention at all. Ron's back was to him, so he couldn't see his reaction but he kept his fingers mentally crossed that his desire to join in the sweet-eating would override any issue of pride. The trolley lady was smiling at him broadly and he turned his full attention back to her, grabbing boxes and packets and even a drinks bottle as they floated his way. After he'd paid up, he needed both hands to get the bags back to his seat, where he could wedge himself in and investigate his haul.
Draco floated nearby, nibbling on a white mouse shaped lump of, presumably, sugar that turned blue the moment it got even slightly wet. Harry was faintly fascinated by the fact that he managed to maintain his decorum, even floating in mid air and biting off bits of mouse. He ducked his head and rummaged in one of the bags, his fingers closing over something soft and squishy that wriggled against his fingers. The surprised yelp that followed grabbed Ron's attention and Harry soon found himself observed by two amused firsties. As he withdrew his hand the thing wrapped around his fingers almost wriggled off again but he tightened his grip and pulled it free.
Ron laughed out right as the long green jelly snake came into view, while Draco's reaction was more subdued:
"Oh, bite its head off already, Potter, before it gets away." He said, licking the blue off his lips.
Harry held the sweet up to his face and used his free hand to get a grip on its 'neck'. After sharing an amused grin with Ron, he bit the head off and chewed happily on the apple flavoured jelly.
"Only got one or two good squirms in em anyway, Gummy snakes, can't get that far." Ron said, accepting the bag from Harry and rummaging inside, "Cheers, Harry."
"I far prefer my food to stay where it is put, thank you very much." Draco said, turning his nose up and polishing off the last of the mouse. "Try one of the Ice Mice next, Potter."
He did, and it turned blue and filled his mouth with searing cold that travelled all the way to his stomach. He grinned blue teeth and Draco, who cringed, before sucking the coloured sugar off again.
"Excuse me, have any of you seen a toad?"
The three boys looked towards the door, where a girl approximately their size was floating, holding onto the door with a magnetic glove. Harry had a sudden thought that he really hoped that the school uniform wasn't a skirt. Thankfully, this girl wasn't wearing one. In fact, her uniform was pretty much identical to his; jacket, snug trousers tucked into magnetic boots and so on. Her hair was... impressive. Whether it was that voluminous normally or whether it was the gravity, he couldn't tell; either way, it was frizzy and extensive.
"Uh, no... sorry." Ron mumbled, paying very little attention.
"Crabbe? Goyle?" Draco called, but the boys just looked at him blankly. "My apologies, but it would seem you must look elsewhere."
Harry couldn't suppress a little snigger at the sheer haughtiness the boy was capable of, and shook his head when the girl looked at him.
"Oh, well... it's just that Neville's escaped and I'm helping him look... oh!" He went wide eyed, staring at Harry's forehead and he realised with a jolt of unease that he had just scratched his forehead; she had seen his scar. "Where are my manners... I'm Hermione Granger; it's nice to meet you, not that you need an introduction!"
"Hey, yeah... I've been told that my reputation precedes me. Not that I see why," He said with a self depreciating smile, "This is Ron, and he's Draco." He continued, pointing them out. Ron's mouth was full but Draco drew himself up to greet the girl properly,
"Draco Malfoy, a pleasure, I'm sure." He said, laying one hand over his left breast, just below where his insignia would go in a few hours. Harry didn't understand the gesture, but he could guess. Hermione looked confused too, was she planet-born, perhaps?
"Chocolate?" Harry asked, holding out a box of milk chocolate squares that crackled when you sucked on them, but she shook her head.
"I should really be going; I promised Neville I would help." She said, backing her way towards the door again. "Can I... May I come back later?"
"Yeah! Sure, no spare seats, but who needs seats up here?" Harry said with a bright grin as he let himself float. She gave him an equally broad smile,
"I know, isn't it wonderful? I'd heard that the lack of gravity made you inner ear malfunction, but I've not had a problem, this is simply fantastic!" She was excited, it was clear, as she manoeuvred with both hands and feet. Watching, it was clear that she was having trouble using her Interface to turn the magnets in her boots on and off, like Snape had showed him; it was awkward and slow. Definitely Planet-born; Ron and Draco were both moving around effortlessly in comparison.
With that, though, she was gone. Harry was still smiling at her enthusiasm, but Draco's face was dark, brooding.
"Something wrong, mate?" Harry asked, but got no reply beyond a 'hmm' and a nod. Draco retreated to his seat and sucked contemplatively on a toad that, had it not been bright red, Harry would have called Hermione back for. He shrugged and turned back to Ron; "Right, what should I try next? Those bean things were awful."
"Wouldn't say awful... bit of a gamble though. How about this, make up for the cold of that mouse..."
Draco stayed quiet for almost an hour, while Ron 'helped' Harry with his sweets, and only spoke up when they were all strapped back in for what the pilot had called 'jump'.
"Potter, I said I wouldn't let you embarrass me, and I won't. That means keeping your head when we jump, understand?" His voice was harsh but there was a little touch of uncertainty in it too, Harry frowned slightly and leaned towards him.
"Not really, Draco. Explain 'jump' to me." Harry said, wondering what it could be, considering Snape hadn't mentioned it.
"FTL, faster than light travel, it's disorienting as... you've never been through manoeuvres, have you? Well, it's worse than that." Draco whispered for some unknown reason. Harry let himself relax again; it seemed true to his nature that Snape referred to FTL by its full name. "This is a short one, you should be quite alright. Not even eight Cints."
Cints? It took a moment, but he managed to retrieve the definition, as seen in his navigation text. No wonder he had barely remembered; that particular text was dull; he'd barely read any of it. Cint: the distance it takes light to travel in one standard minute. He debated whether it was alright to tell his classmates about living on the Thrace, but decided against it; "I've heard a bit about FTL, didn't know it was called jumping though."
"You shall see why, momentarily." Draco said with an aristocratic wave of the hand, he was looking slightly distant and Harry sat back a little to see if he would say what was on his mind... he was not unrewarded;
"That girl, Granger. She was a mud-foot, I'm sure of it..."
Harry frowned, not liking the tone of that comment very much, "You mean... what? Planet-born?"
"Yes... My father says they are not to be trusted; they corrupt our very lives. Let them return to their dirty little blind lives." That touch of uncertainty was back; it was the only thing stopping Harry from recoiling at the spite in the boys' voice.
"Do you believe him?" Harry asked cautiously, his face blank as he could get it. Draco answered immediately with a harsh 'yes', but was then quiet for a long time, and Harry waited.
"Should I?" it was so quiet, Harry almost missed it in the noise of Prefects confirming strap-in.
"I don't know. I grew up on-planet, I have no idea. But... somehow, I don't think she can do anyone any harm." He said with a touch of laughter in his voice, Draco didn't laugh himself, but he did relax just slightly. "Besides, the first VCer must have had Mudder parents, right?"
Draco looked shocked; honest to god, down to his boots, shocked. Harry stayed quiet and didn't let the blonde see his amusement at the look on his face. Had he never thought of that? Really? Everyone knew that the first people were born on-planet, probably Terra at that.
"Pst, Harry, what did you say?" Ron asked, looking very entertained at the look on Draco's face, who now retreated into the anonymity of his chair.
"Just something about planet-born." He said, trying for casual. Either it worked or Ron wasn't too bothered about Draco's upset since he went off on a rather enlightening tangent immediately;
"Oh, all right then. His family don't like em much. They don' say it, but everyone knows Lucius Malfoy doesn't want Planet-born on Poseidon." Ron was obviously getting full; his sweet eating had slowed from always having something in his mouth to merely always having something in his hand. "I don't see the problem myself, planet-born aren't any different. At least not that I can tell."
"Except being clumsy in zero-g," Harry quipped, waving his magnetic boot in the air; Draco and Ron certainly made him look clumsy, anyway.
"Don't worry, Potter, we'll teach you. Won't we, Weasley?" Draco added in as he was tucking his gecko away in his special pocket, his arrogant bluster back. At least... Harry thought it was a gecko, who knew what other genes it had.
"Uh, sure, I guess." Ron answered, prompted to check on his rat's holding cage.
"What's with the second names, anyway?" He paused as the pilot announced the two minute mark. "Should I be calling you Malfoy?"
"Propriety, Mr Potter!" Draco replied, over the noise of the Prefect's final check in, "Manners! I don't expect you to be as educated as I, however."
Harry blinked, trying to work out what the sneer on Draco's face combined with that little vulnerable glint in his eye meant. He huffed after a moment and shook his head, "Fine!" he too had to raise his voice, this time over the heavy thrumming of an engine he had never heard or felt the like of before, "Call me Harry. May I call you Draco?" He said formally, grinning to take the edge off his annoyed tone of voice.
"Finally! Yes, bloody hell, Harry. Take your time!" Draco's grin matched Harry's and he snatched his bag of sweets out of the air and tucked it in beside him.
"Hold on, Harry!" called Ron,
"And look out th-"
"-e window," Added Draco, the light of excitement in his eyes.
Harry obeyed, quirking a curious eyebrow at the blonde.
Harry pressed himself back in his seat as the ship twisted. Harry felt like he was spinning; the internal lights went out and the only light was from the stars out the window but soon those too vanished. Absolute darkness descended and Harry felt like he was being squeezed through something far too small for his body; he couldn't breathe and couldn't think until it was over. The pitch dark gave way abruptly to a nauseating swirl of colour and they lurched forwards; the stars reappeared and sunlight streamed in through the window. Harry took a deep shuddering breath, his eyes as open as it was possible for them to go.
"Wow." He said on the tails of a breathy laugh. Slowly, the lights blinked back on and Harry could see both Ron and Draco's faces beaming at him around the edges of their chairs.
The intercom crackled for a moment and the pilot's voice came out of the speakers once more;
"PPZZZ... This is Transport Hotel Echo five, niner, seven, two, requesting docking permission. It's good to be home."
"Roger that, Hotel Echo! This is Poseidon flight control; it's good to see you. You are clear for loading bay landing, authorization: Lemur, Foxtrot, Yankee. Repeat: Lemur, Foxtrot, Yankee."
"kkssst... Copy, Lemur Foxtrot Yankee. Coming in nice and slow for a fore-aft landing. ADS is online and bringing us in."
The reply was a young voice, female, but Harry wasn't paying that much attention; gravity was back. Or at least, some semblance of it; the force of it pulled him sideways, then down, then back into his chair and he realised the purpose of the deep sides of the seat. The sunlight swept across the compartment and the stars out the window, Solaris included, looked like they were pin wheeling around them. Harry's inner ear was telling him that they were turning and then there she was.
Already, she more than filled the window, blocking out the light of Solaris and the stars. Her gunmetal-gray hull soared in a great sweep up over their heads and Harry could just see the lines of lights on her skin that the Express was following in. The habitat ring swept back past them, a huge, fat ring, hugging the surface of the cruiser like a snake, dotted with tiny specks of light that resolved into windows in the moment before the ring was behind them.
"By the stars..." Ron whispered in awe, "She's enormous!"
They were slowing, Harry realised as he was pressed forwards into the barrier restraining him, and rotating around the cruiser, until he could see the sun glancing against the hull, casting long shadows off a colossal cannon emplacement and the communications rig it was protecting. The long, spidery shadows of radio masts and pickups reached across the surface eerily, and the masts themselves looked terribly vulnerable, out in the cold of space.
"What were you expecting, Weasley? She's a Battle Cruiser!" Draco and Ron's bickering went right over Harry's head as he sat with one hand over Hedwig's back and simply stared. The view outside the window was spinning again and Harry's stomach felt like it was doing a back flip. When the world was moving in one direction again, it was backwards! For a moment, it went dark outside again, and then the brilliant white of artificial light flooded the space and Harry realised they must have arrived in the 'loading bay'.
The internal surface was ribbed with thick girders, all a muddy gray but Harry was soon distracted by the heavy sensation of the transport slowing down, quickly. He was pressed back harder in his seat than he had ever felt before and for a moment he couldn't breathe. His head thumped back helplessly against the seat and his eyes closed as he heaved hard against the pressure and managed to draw air in. Then, less abruptly than it had begun, the feeling faded away and he was able to breathe normally again, with Hedwig chattering excitedly on his chest and bouncing.
As he drew long steady breaths to combat the brief surge of dizziness the extra g's had caused he cracked an eye open to look out the window, only to find a pale, freckly face in the way.
"Harry, are you quite alright?" A glance to his right showed an equally, though naturally pale face looking at him in concern.
"I'm fine, I'm just a little anaemic." He answered, feeling slightly warm, embarrassingly. Draco snorted and disappeared around the edge of his chair again, reappearing moments later, floating, with his sweets tucked into a satchel. Harry realised that he must have missed the announcement that it was safe to unbuckle and ducked his head so he could see the emitter holding Hedwig secure. She was all excited now, having slept for much of the journey, and bounced off across the compartment. He watched in slightly dazed amusement as she executed an impressive mid-air turn, used her wing membranes like a parachute to break and landed primly on the far wall.
"Good girl, Hedwig, very impressive." He said with a small smile and she fluffed up in pleasure and soared back to his outstretched arm.
"Come along, Harry, my Godfather is on the Transport, I want him to have a look at you." Draco was saying, going so far as the hit the release for Harry's restrainer. He blinked up at the blonde, but Draco simple raised an eyebrow expectantly.
"I'm fine, I was warned about manoeuvres and the extra g's." Harry said; pushing what was left of his sweets and pastries into his pack as he floated out of his chair.
"Well, I don't trust mudder doctors, so come along. He's up with the Pilot." Harry sighed and settled the bag over his back, pulling one strap over his shoulder and clipping the other over his hips.
"Neither do I, but I'm fairly sure Professor Snape isn't a mudder." Draco's reaction was... complicated. He looked briefly insulted, pleased and intrigued, all at once.
"Well then, he won't mind having another look then, will he?"
"He's your Godfather?" Draco definitely looked smug now, Harry thought as he pushed off his chair lightly and drifted towards the now open door. Crabbe and Goyle were stood on either side of it, stuck to what was nominally the floor by their boots. The corridor outside was a mess of floating bags, students and pets, with Prefects yelling out orders and instructions and generally trying to keep the chaos to a minimum.
"Indeed. I haven't seen him in some time," Harry flinched slightly when Draco's hand touched his back, and he hoped the boy wouldn't notice; he hadn't been expecting it. It wasn't as reassuring as Snape's hand, guiding him through the corridors of the Thrace had been, but after that initial jolt, Harry found the contact settling, at least. The maelstrom in the corridor (so many people!) looked easy to get separated in.
"Stay close, Hedwig. Understand?" The little ball of fur and feathers rubbed up against the underside of his chin and Harry knew she wouldn't move until he let her. Ron came up on his other side as they waited for a chance to get out into the corridor and looked at him speculatively.
Little did Harry know but he had managed to make him and Draco truce against so much contention that their fathers were more likely to fight than talk. Understandably, Ron was confused about that, but not so much that he was willing to risk Harry's friendship. And now... Draco Malfoy was obviously looking after the smaller boy, with a faint frown on his forehead much like Ron's mothers.
It was difficult to relate this kid to his father after that.
Eventually, Crabbe and Goyle managed to forge a gap in the stream of big upper years using their bulk and they all slipped into the corridor together, Draco and Ron on either side of Harry. If he had known that they were being defensive of him, he might have blushed, or laughed at them, but he was rather looking forwards to seeing Snape and didn't notice.
They were swept along somewhat faster than Harry could keep up with his clumsy use of his magnetics so he ended up literally swept along by the hand on his back and Ron close beside him. Up ahead, Harry spotted the Twins and another boy, all clustered around a box, who's lid lifted on its own accord to reveal a hairy orange and black leg. Harry craned his head to look as Draco pulled him past and spotted a pair of hairy palps and a glint that might have come from eyes.
"Oh, cool..." he mumbled, putting one foot to the floor and pushing himself forwards in a rather desultory manner; Draco was doing all the work.
"Not you too... the twins have been going on about that thing all break." Ron muttered, looking white and uncomfortable.
"One foot on the deck at all times! Keep contact, please!" A prefect was yelling at the hatch as they passed, coming into the empty corridor beyond. All the students were heading out of the transport so Harry was in the clear and he tentatively attached his boots to the deck.
"Try not to think about what you're doing too much, you'll be alright." Ron said, patting him on the shoulder.
"Uncle Severus? Yes." Draco had a hand to his ear, touching something black hooked on his ear and speaking quietly, "I met Harry Potter, but I believe you should take a look at him." There was a pause as they walked towards the Pilot's cabin, with Draco listening to whatever Snape was saying.
"No, nothing like that, just a bit... yes." Harry sighed and resigned himself to being... coddled. He silently vowed to himself that he wouldn't be like Dudley. Ever.
Snape came through the doors at the end of the corridor then, just as Harry was getting the hang of zero-g. His hair was tied, to Harry's disappointment; he'd hoped that he'd have the chance to see the usually immaculate Professor ruffled. In fact... the only indication that he wasn't feeling gravity was the eerie way his uniform billowed out behind him.
"Mr Potter, Draco." Snape said curtly, coming to a stop and giving his godson a nod, Harry an assessing glance, and Ron a judging look followed by a sigh and touching his fingers to his temple. "Weasley."
"Good morning, Godfather." Draco said with decorum,
"Sorry about this sir, I tried to say I was fine, but..." Harry said with a sheepish grin, scratching the back of his head. Ron stayed quiet, looking slightly suspicious of this tall, sinister looking man.
"Fine you may be, but Draco nonetheless did the right thing. If I may?" Snape touched Harry's shoulder lightly with a slight rise of one eyebrow. Harry nodded and briefly closed his eyes to concentrate on booting his Interface and letting Snape have access.
As Snape examined his vital signs, Harry couldn't help but fidget slightly; Ron and Draco were looking at each other speculatively, in a way Harry couldn't quite qualify. There was always the possibility that someone would haul off and clock someone in the face though...
"Thank you, Mr Potter. You are quite fine, though I recommend that you do not consume any more glucose for some time." He commented as he stepped back with a stern expression, glancing at Harry's pack, then back at his face.
"Yes, sir." He tried not to think about the absurd quantities he'd eaten; compared to what he was used too, it was far, far too much. Oddly, instead of the usual nausea and heaviness of having eaten too much, he felt 'buzzy' and his head ached faintly. He gave the Professor a thankful smile;
"We should probably head off... Oh! You haven't seen a toad have you?" Harry asked. He had looked over his shoulder at the ebbing crowd and spotted Hermione with a nervous looking boy that was probably Neville, the latter looking crushed and the former distinctly concerned. When he looked back, Snape was looking at him as if he had just pulled a rabbit out of a hat; he wordlessly reached into a pocket and pulled out a flabby, brown, warty object that could, on a good day, be described as a toad.
"I have. You know the owner?" there was a heavy sneer on the teachers face as he held the toad up for examination, but Harry knew that Snape had had a toad once, and Harry could see a touch of some other emotion in those fathomless black eyes. He suppressed any comment, remembering that Snape's toad was long dead and that Snape liked his privacy;
"Yes, sir; it's his, there," He pointed; the boy and Hermione were talking to the Prefect standing at the hatch with worried looks on their faces.
"Ah, the Longbottom heir," Draco interjected, "I met him at the Ministry in June. Hopeless... utterly hopeless..." The last was muttered under his breath, and Harry chose to ignore it.
"Very well, take the toad and find a sixth year escort, they will be at the bottom of the ramp. Dismissed." Snape ordered, handing the toad over to Harry; it sat in an unresponsive puddle in his hand. Hedwig was unable to resist and clambered down his arm to investigate.
The three boys replied to the order with a salute of varying clumsiness; Draco's was crisp and quick, with a smile for his godfather, Ron's was sloppy and he still looked intimidated, and Harry's was wrong-handed due to the toad. The professor nodded in reply and turned with an expert flick of the toe, his magnetic pads clicking as he stalked down the corridor.
Harry grinned at his two companions; "Shall we?" He asked, turning a little clumsily as one of his boots stuck to the deck for a fraction of a second too long, and heading towards the hatch.
"Blimey, Harry, how'd you know Snape? The twins say he's an utter git!" Ron exclaimed in a hiss, Draco looked affronted but was apparently interested enough in Harry's answer to wait.
"I lived with my mudder relatives until this summer, so Hagrid came to fetch me, he's the Keeper of the Codes, and I met Snape then. He gave me a check up and... yeah." He shrugged, as if to say that was it, and Ron and Draco didn't pry any further. Ron looked happy with the explanation, but Draco was definitely curious. Harry winced inwardly, wishing that he'd thought about what he was going to tell people. He hadn't known to expect people who asked questions about him though, that was new...
"Longbottom!" Draco said, voice raised, since the boy was moving to disembark. He, and Hermione Granger, stopped and turned to the approaching boys. "I believe Harry has something of yours."
"M-m-malfoy!" Harry winced at the nervous stutter and stepped forwards as smoothly as he could,
"Nice to meet you, Neville, right?" He said, holding the toad out like a peace offering. The slightly pudgy boy's eyes melted with relief and he reached out for the amphibian.
"Trevor!" the toad seemed to come alive in his hand, turning and looking up at its owned, croaking sorrowfully. "T-t-thanks, Mr Potter," he stuttered again and Harry gawked at being called Mr Potter.
"Wow, um. Please call me Harry, alright, Neville?" He said with a halting start of his own. Neville went wide eyed and started fiddling with a small vivarium in an obvious attempt to hide his reaction.
"Right, yes, of course, Mr... ha ha, Harry. Thank you."
Hermione jumped in impatiently at that point; "We really must be going, or we'll be the last off." He voice was as pompous and grating as Draco's had been earlier, "Oh and you have dirt on your nose, did you know? Just there."
Harry blinked twice before hiding a laugh at Ron's obvious discomfort as he rubbed ineffectually at the smudge. He hadn't even noticed it until the girl had pointed it out, but now that she had it was glaringly obvious; Draco was even edging away.
Hermione managed to flounce off and Harry was immediately impressed with how well she had gotten used to her magnetic shoes. Perhaps it was all that wandering looking for a lost toad... in any case, it boded well for how easy it was to learn. The boys followed, Draco alongside Neville as they exchanged what Harry perceived to be inane comments about Draco's father and Neville's grandmother, and Ron beside Harry.
"Is it gone yet, mate?" the red-head asked, going cross-eyed to try and look at his own nose. Harry took pity;
"Yeah, you've got it. Besides, no one would notice anyway... Hagrid!" Harry exclaimed. As they came out of the hatch and started down to the loading back floor, being very careful to keep contact with the floor at all times, Harry could see the mass of beard and eyebrows that was Hagrid over the heads of the students. His rather large friend stuck out and Harry gave him a wave, which was returned, at great risk to the students gathered around him as they ducked to avoid a clobbering. As Harry was getting down into the crowd, he could hear Hagrid shouting;
"Fourth years, come on now! Yeh know what teh do."
"You know the oa- Keeper of Codes?" Draco asked, managing to keep the sneer low enough that Harry limited himself to a glare,
"Yeah, like I said, mudder-raised. He picked me up." He mumbled, looking out for a sixth year, like he'd been told. There was one in the yellow trimmed uniform of an engineer and he headed over, the other students trailing behind.
"... I memorised all the set texts of course, I just hope it's enough!" Hermione was saying to a white faced Ron, though she was looking stressed herself. Harry had done what he thought was a good amount of reading himself, but memorising stuff? That was a bit much... particularly the Compendium of Avionic Codes, he thought with a shudder.
The sixth year (male, tall, with mousy brown hair,) spotted them and called out; "First years? Right, come on! Let's get you in a carriage. Keep your feet down!" He said as Neville lost his footing for a moment and drifted up. Ron tugged him back down and Harry realised what all the fuss was about; the loading bay was huge and once you where away from a deck it would be rather hard to get back without help. Looking back as they trailed after their guide, the Express was sat hulking in the grip of a net of barriers and metal scaffolding that Harry would later learn were called docking clamps. Her red skin was iced in places, shiny and spreading where the cold of the metal caused the water to condense out of the air into a mist. He turned back to pay attention to where he was putting his feet, though with Draco beside him he doubted he would be allowed to 'embarrass' the boy by floating away.
Odd way of putting it, but from the sounds of things, Draco's dad had some issues.
They were soon dumped in a carriage, a sled shaped vehicle that stuck to the metal deck using a blue field that Harry was sure would be invisible if he wasn't wearing his Interface, and the sixth year sped off after someone he obviously knew. Draco and Hermione ended up sitting either side of him, with Ron and Neville opposite, as they stuck their boots and gloves to the carriage floor and walls respectively. They were sitting side on, so when the propulsion kicked in gently, Harry knocked into Hermione, though only gently, and Draco gave an overdramatic, longsuffering sigh. Crabbe and Goyle sat in the back, rocking into the bench and looking blank as they watched the crowd mill around them.
We're on Poseidon... Harry thought, looking up into the vast loading bay and smiling to himself, I wonder if Mum found it as awesome as I do...