The Brew

Author's Note: This is a short crossover between Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter. And as usual, the characters are not mine.

Blackbeard was troubled by his loyal zombie's words, words that had informed him that a one-legged man would kill him soon, in a fortnight. Who was this man and what did he look like, where would his death take place? And while he had asked his zombie for more details, the undead servant was mum with the answers. He just stood there with that odd half-smile on his face and said nothing. But he was a wizard, was he not? He would seek out his own answers to those pressing questions, for knowledge was power. If he knew where the deed would take place, he could avoid that location and if he knew what the one-legged man looked like, he could keep an eye out for him.

It all sounded very good, except he had flunked Divination years ago in school. He tried scrying tea leaves at the bottom of his cup but only saw shapeless blobs that looked like none of the shapes in his old text book. So he had more and more tea brewed but all it did was cause him to run to the bathroom every five minutes. The teacup was soon shattered against the wall and it was back to the rum bottle.

Depressed, Blackbeard sat at his desk and stared glumly at the many voodoo dolls he had fashioned of various people. Voodoo he excelled at, but it wasn't very useful for looking into the future. "Ah, but what about Potions? Surely there was a potion to see the future, was there not?"

Of course, he had flunked that class as well….

The pirate Captain frowned as he recalled the horrible Potions teacher he had all of those years ago, the one with the abnormally large nose, black beady eyes and greasy black hair. His long cloak had fluttered behind him like the wings of a vampire and his very gaze had sent him shivering, even though he had been the Headmaster of his own house. None of the potions he had tried to brew had turned out right, for reasons he just couldn't fathom. They had often exploded in fiery messes that had set his robes aflame and burned off his hair. And that dreadful teacher, instead of being concerned over his injuries, had simply shaken his head sadly and stated "How disappointing."

He had ended up being a great role model, so cold and unfeeling without the slightest hint of compassion.

But how he had hated the hours of detention cleaning cauldrons!

Blackbeard dug through his old school books until he found the battered Potions text. Flipping through the faded and badly stained pages, he dully searched for the half remembered potion. Was it even a real potion or was it something his brain had made up over the years? He was unsure, but his life was on the line now so he would burn the midnight wax and look on every page until he found it. No, no, no, was that it? Prophetic dreaming? YES! That was it surely!

The pirate narrowed his eyes and tried to make out the words on the page. Unfortunately some unknown red gunk marred lots of the text but if he held the page just so he could sort of see it…

"Sea cucumbers…? What in the world is a sea cucumber? Cucumbers that go out to sea, on a ship maybe? Do they mean pickles in brine?" Blackbeard scratched his chin, confused as he tried to figure out exactly what spell ingredients he would need to make the potion. The teacher had always provided the weird ingredients and since he didn't normally brew potions, he never kept any ingredients on hand; just the stuff he needed for his voodoo rituals and zombie-making. "And what's this about a rawen's wing? What the heck is a rawen? Do they mean a raven? Hmmmm…."

After going over the other needed ingredients, Blackbeard called his loyal zombie to his quarters. The man stared at him silently, that half-smile still plastered to his face. "Go get me these items: a pickle in brine, a wing of a raven, a cup of duck fat, some purified water, a stick of cinnamon, and the herb thyme."

The zombie bowed and exited the room to do as he was bid.

A moment later there was the sound of a gunshot and the loud squawk from a seabird, then a loud thud on the roof of his cabin.

Blackbeard frowned. He had never seen any ravens out at sea…

A short time later the zombie entered his cabin again carrying a fine silver tray, the desired items upon it. It was carefully placed on his desk, the still bloody wing of a seagull leaking blood over the silver tray. The pirate stared down at the white-feathered wing and sighed heavily, knowing it was the best he could hope for under such short notice. Did it really matter that it was a raven and not some other bird? A bird was a bird, wasn't it? His voodoo didn't care what sort of fabric he used when he made dolls, just as they resembled the people to a degree.

"Will there be anything else?"

"No, you may go now." Blackbeard waved him off as he set about readying the cauldron for his brew making. Luckily, he still had it after all of these years, as it had made a perfect container to store his buttons and other small bits of fabric scraps in. Said material was carefully dumped out and the purified water was poured within. As he poured it, a foul odor came fourth and the pirate captain was forced to hold his breath. After sailing from London and being out at sea, the water in the barrels was starting to go foul…

Would it matter?

Nay.

A careful fire was lit under the pot and the water started to warm, spreading the foul stench over his cabin. Next went in the seagull's wing, feathers and all. Then the pickle from the barrel, the cup of grease with all sorts of weird bits in it (highly unlikely to be duck fat) and a scant teaspoon of what looked like dried parsley leaves. "Was it supposed to be parsley? I thought it said thyme? Oh well, I don't have any cinnamon anyway so…."

Blackbeard let the potion cook and he forgot to set the hourglass to properly time the delicate brew, as he got involved in making a new voodoo doll to look like Jack Sparrow. His room grew more and more smoke filled as the water dried up and the slop in the black pot thickened. Suddenly he snapped out of his hobby, nose to the fabric, when he recalled he was busy brewing a potion.

"My potion!" He leaped up and dashed over to take the pot off of the fire, almost burning his hands in the process. In truth, it didn't look all that bad really, sort of like some strange stew than the truly bizarre stuff he used to brew in Potions. "Is this a real potion or is this a recipe from some cookbook? I seem to recall potions containing a lot more bizarre ingredients…"

As it cooled, Blackbeard stared at it suspiciously. Why, it hadn't even exploded or anything. Potions always exploded, didn't they? Or they were supposed to change colors or do some other magical thing?

"Oh, wasn't I supposed to chop that sea cucumber?" Blackbeard grabbed the book off of his desk and slowly ran his finger down the text, mumbling as he tried to read the words through the red stains. "Mince, mince the sea cucumber and add exactly five minutes after the raven's wing… oh, I didn't do that at all. Mince, chop, what the difference? I'm sure a whole pickle is just as good, isn't it?"

Of course, maybe it was that way of thinking that made him fail potions…

Gripping his mug off of his desk, he peered within and thought it clean enough, only a thin brown film of some previous drink on the bottom. He poured the still hot brew from the cauldron into his cup, getting nearly a cupful. The stuff was thick and very nasty looking, coming out in a thick giant glob of greasy disgust. The nearly burnt bird wing fell out of the pot then, mostly all bones as any meat had long fallen off, and it landed on his desk with a loud thud. The greasy bones went nicely with the various skulls he kept around as paper weights.

Blackbeard frowned at the drink, especially at the wet feathers poking out of the slop. "Dare I drink this devil brew? Am I that desperate and in need?"

Unfortunately, the answer was yes.

He slowly lifted the cup to his lips and sniffed at it suspiciously. "Hmmm…it smells better than the stuff Cook makes."

He took a very small sip, just enough to wet his lips.

"Not half bad really…"

He took a bigger sip and almost choked on a feather. He almost spat it out but recalled it was obviously one of the spell components, so he set about trying to chew it. As his rear teeth worked at the feather, he settled down behind his desk and dragged the Potions Book in front of himself. Getting out his quill and ink, he set about making a note in the margin next to the spell: Pluck raven wing and use scissors to cut feathers into small bits so can eat more easily, prevent choking".

However, the feather did not chew well at all…it was worst than gristle on meat. The sharp end kept stabbing him in the soft parts of his mouth painfully and the soft bits tickled and made him want to cough. A part did come free then and it went down the gullet, causing an awful coughing fit. His face turned red, then scarlet and finally an odd shade of blue before he managed to hack all of the feathers bits up out of his throat and mouth. They were promptly spat out onto the floor.

Angry, he grabbed his quill again and scribbled in bold letters: DO NOT EAT FEATHERS!

The remaining feathers were plucked from the drink and he quickly drained the cup. Burping, he hurried to his nearby bed where he lay down in preparation for his prophetic dream. "I wish to see the One-legged Man and the location where I will meet my end."

Time passed slowly as his mind wondered and stray thoughts flew through his brain as he waited for sleep to find him. He knew he needed to keep his thoughts focused on his desire, the One-Legged Man, but other things kept popping up, like where in the world had that sea cucumber gone? It certainly wasn't in his cup… Had it really gone into the brew or had it fallen onto the floor? He would have to look later or he may trip on it and fall, and then HE may be a one-legged man too…

His stomach was beginning to feel somewhat queasy, too. It was making odd sounds like rocks grinding against each other unpleasantly and there was some pain there, too. Had it been the water or maybe that bird wing? Blackbeard lay still, hoping the pain would fade and his stomach settle down. Finally after what seemed forever, he fell asleep.

He found himself in a foggy location with no real distinguising features. Slowly the fog started to fade, to be burned off by the sun overhead. He heard the tinkle of water over rocks, the sounds of a stream. Then there were some rocks here and there. Blackbeard looked about eagerly, hoping to see something more unique to know where he was, what place he should avoid. Rocks and water, well, that could be anywhere!

"The One-Legged Man, what about him? Reveal his face to me so I shall know him when I see him!"

Then a dim shadow appeared through the thin fog that still clung to the surrounding area, the figure becoming clearer as it moved closer. The fog parted then and Blackbeard gasped in utter fear. That face, he knew that face! No one else could have a giant nose like that and those dark eyes filled with disgust!

"I am severely disappointed in you, Mr. Teach. Once again you have turned a perfect potion into a horrid disaster. You bring shame onto your House! What do you have to say for yourself?"

"No, no, it wasn't my fault!" Blackbeard whined as he backed away from his Potions teacher in fear, forgetting completely that he was no longer in school or that he was now the most feared pirate to sail the seas. Just the sight of that evil man sent chills through his very bones and his heart started to hammer, his mouth suddenly dry.

"No excuses! Detention!" The Potions teacher snapped as his fist pounded onto a desk that appeared out of the very air. "DETENTION!"

"No, not that!" Blackbeard cried, horrified as he noted that the teacher had only one leg; the other leg was a wooden peg that ended in a shape that suspiciously looked very much like a cauldron.

The teacher leaned forward, his dark eyes glaring and his skin abnormally pale. "I have cauldrons with your name on them…cauldrons with years of crusted on crud that need cleaning…with a toothbrush!"

Blackbeard turned to flee, only to find another one-legged man behind him, this one another duplicate of his Potions teacher. "Twenty-five cauldrons, fifty cauldrons…"

The pirate darted to the left and saw more figures emerging from the mist that clung to the far edges of the area he was in. His heart pounded in his ribcage as sweat covered his brow and his breath came fast. He noted that all of the figures were about the same height and moved in perfect unison. As they emerged into the sunlight, he saw the greasy straight hair of his Potions Professor, all wearing the same black robes and the same dour expressions.

"Seventy-five cauldrons, one hundred cauldrons…."

He attempted to dart back the other way but he was now surrounded by the numerous copies of the Potions teacher, each one angrily waving a finger at his face.

"Your detention will last … FOREVER!"

"NOOoooooo!"

Blackbeard shot upward in bed, his dark eyes wide with fright. After a few moments, he realized it had just been a horrible nightmare and nothing more. Making the potion had only dragged up his bad past and had not taught him anything at all, except he should never eat seagull wings, especially when combined with rancid water and brined pickles. And he still was horrible at Divination, any form of it.

"There's only one thing left for me to do: sail to the Fountain of Youth and hope Sparrow actually knows the way. Without the Fountain, I'm doomed."

The End

Note: Yes, the potions teacher was an ancestor of Severus Snape!