Summary: Deception. Illusion. Redemption. Draco, Hermione, and three other Ambassadors embark on a high-strung journey through three countries, and on the way they fall farther and farther into a web of passion, lies, and betrayal. This story includes black pearls, spies, champagne, boat rides, murder mysteries, ballroom dancing, and thunderstorms. DM/HG, Pre-HBP.
((A.N. Welcome to Somewhere I Have Never Traveled, my shiny new story. To the old readers, welcome back, I'm glad you could make it. To the newcomers, I'm excited to have you. To everyone, I hope you enjoy the story. Two things.
1. This story is going to be may be screaming, hitting, arguing, and dunking from both parties before this actually becomes apparent, but I do have a plan. I swear.
2. There will be quotes, poems, and song lyrics at the beginning of each chapter from numerous sources. I don't claim to own any of them. And this story is pre-HBP.
3. Okay I lied. Three things. I want to take the time to thank my beta, Ali, who has polished this fic into way more than I ever thought it could be. She is an outstanding editor.
That's it. Enjoy.))
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, so don't sue me. Kay?
somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near.
– somewhere i have never travelled, by e. e. cummings
Chapter 1; Archinad's Ambassadors
The word rang through Draco Malfoy's head like a thousand reverberating gongs. His skull was pounding as he pulled back the sleeve of his left forearm.
Here was everything he had ever wished for being handed to him on a silver platter; fame, fortune, security and power beyond his wildest dreams.
Here was the life he had always wanted and he had always scorned, here was the life he had prayed for yet feared above all.
Ultimately, here was his destiny. Everything he was.
The skull burned into his flesh, and then…
"Look who's here," Hermione sniffed, turning to Harry and Ron. They followed her gaze across the train station to a group of students, or rather, a group of students surrounding Draco Malfoy. Suddenly he looked up and locked eyes with Harry, as if he had known they had been watching him. Harry bristled slightly, so slightly that his two best friends were the only ones to notice.
Something was different about his silver streaked gaze, though. Perhaps Harry was only imagining it, but Malfoy radiated far more superiority and power than he ever had.
"Let's get on the train," Harry said, pulling his gaze away from Malfoy's. "That git seems more certain of himself this year."
They clambered into a compartment, and Hermione looked back once more at Malfoy. A pin gleamed on his chest.
"It's because he's been made Head Boy, no doubt," Hermione said acidly. "But we all know who got him that position." She was referring to Lucius, who held the school directors in the palm of his hand.
Harry had seemed surprised, though not disappointed, when he had found that he had not been made Head Boy. When he had discovered, however, that Malfoy had earned Head Boy in his place, he had been furious.
Hermione looked closely at Ron. His gaze was downcast, and he seemed preoccupied with something on the floor. He was quieter than she had ever seen him, and the strangest thing of all was that Harry did not seem to notice Ron's odd behaviour.
Hermione wondered if something had happened to him over the summer, and decided to ask him later in private.
Hermione's thoughts were swiftly interrupted by Ginny banging into the compartment, Neville closely in tow. Ginny had always seemed more mature than a sixth year in her speech and actions.
"Hermione!" she said excitedly, "Congratulations on your position as Head Girl."
"Thanks," Hermione said with a tight smile. "It would feel more like an accomplishment if it didn't mean I'd have to spend the rest of the year with Malfoy."
Ginny frowned before understanding. "Malfoy's been made Head Boy? That git!"
"Malfoy's a git alright," Ron said half-heartedly from the corner seat.
"He's such a big bully, I'll bet you his father browbeat the school into it," Neville said with far more conviction, taking a seat next to Ron.
"I just can't believe Dumbledore gave him the position," Harry said angrily. His expression lightened as he looked at Hermione. "But that shouldn't make us any less proud of Hermione for getting Head Girl."
"You know what Head Girl means, don't you, Hermione?" Ginny asked, as if eager to divulge information. Her brown eyes were flashing with an ill-concealed excitement. "Five students are going to–"
"Ginny," Ron said sharply, briefly looking up from his reverie. Ginny's eyes went wide and she covered her mouth quickly.
"You'll find out soon enough anyway," Ginny said after a moment. "It's just that dad's known about it all summer, as usual, and he sort of let it slip to us. We really can't tell anyone. You'll love it though, I'm sure."
If it has anything to do with Head Boy and Head Girl, I highly doubt I will. Hermione thought drearily.
Ron's eyes seemed to blaze as he looked out the window.
Dumbledore watched calmly as the seventh and sixth year students filed into the Great Hall. He smiled sadly as he looked at the Gryffindors. Harry would soon be approaching the final battle, and Hermione had her own test to endure. As for the youngest Weasely boy, Dumbledore had suspicions that were soon to be confirmed. Besides that, Ginny would begin her training soon, if all went as planned.
His eyes wandered to the Slytherin table, where Draco took a seat, surrounded by the other Slytherin seventh years. How they adored him. He had no doubt taken the Dark Mark, and had gained power and assurance over the summer. He would endure the biggest trial of them all, and yet his ending would be the most tragic. Finally, Dumbledore's eyes flew to the seat at the Slytherin table that was empty, and the Headmaster nodded in confidence.
It was just that he was enjoying his last moments watching them now, as they were.
In a few seconds everything would change. Sighing wearily for what he knew was to come, he stood up and clapped his hands. The students fell silent immediately.
"Welcome, welcome, old hats and fresh faces alike. To the fresh faces, Iwelcome you grandly to our school. To the old hats, I have a special announcement before the feast begins. In light of recent events," Dumbledore started, looking across the audience sternly and hoping that they caught his drift, "the Archinad's Ambassadors program will be reinstated. This is a 360-year old program that was invented by the wizard Arambelee Archinad during the reign of the Dark Lord Morgan. Before I put you all to sleep with a history lesson, the gist of the thing is that five handpicked students from each school get chosen as Ambassadors. This group of fifteen students will travel to Beauxbatons, Durmstrang, and Hogwarts together to observe each way of life."
By now the excited murmuring in the hall had grown. It was so great that Dumbledore had to pause and settle the students down.
"Not only will these students unfortunately have to miss the first three weeks of term, but they will have first class accommodations at each school. Finally, there will be three balls, one at each school, held in their honour." Almost everyone looked excited now. The sky over the Great Hall had turned stormy, however, and thunder rumbled in the distance. Dumbledore smiled, though his voice took on a firm edge. "Not just any five students will secure a position in the program, however. Keep in mind that these five students represent the entirety of Hogwarts, so they will need to be diverse in house and background. We are also looking for 6th and 7th years only, since the journey will involve advanced study courses and some knowledge of the outside world. To sum it up, my friends, I seek five of Hogwarts brightest, strongest, and most sophisticated students. If you wish to participate in the program, Professors McGonagall, Sprout, Flitwick, Snape, and I will be conducting interviews in my office. Write your name on the sheet in your common room and a time will appear next to it for the interview."
Dumbledore beamed across the golden hall and checked his wristwatch. "My, I've babbled for too long. You must all be starving. Without any further ado, let us eat!"
As always, heaping plates of food appeared at the centre of each table, and the students heartily dug in.
"I always have wanted to see Bulgaria. I never went when Victor invited me in forth year," Hermione said breathlessly. "I think I'll sign up for an interview."
"Don't you know, Hermione?" Ginny asked, as she poured herself a cup of pumpkin juice. "Head Boy and Head Girl are practically guaranteed a place."
"Really? How exciting, but I would worry about missing three weeks of term, and . . ." she trailed off as she saw Harry's expression.
"Does that mean Malfoy's going?" Harry sputtered incredulously. Mashed potatoes fell out of his mouth.
"Harry!" Ginny said indignantly. "Chew with your mouth closed!"
"Well, I . . . I suppose I never considered that," Hermione said, looking a bit dazed. Her brow creased. "That just ruins it!Does this mean you aren't going to go for an interview, Harry?"
His green eyes flared for a moment, and he unconsciously straightened his glasses. "Let's just say I would hate going, but I would hate for you to have to endure Malfoy alone even more." He grinned, then added, "Honestly, knowing you, we would get twenty owls a day, filled with complaints, and that would be downright annoying."
"Do you lot even realize how much we talk about Malfoy?" Ron cut in suddenly. "He doesn't talk about you this much, I know so."
Ron's smile seemed a bit lopsided as he said this.
"You're right," Harry said, setting his fork down. "We have been talking about him too much. That slimy git doesn't deserve our attention."
And after that they did not talk about him, though Ron still found it odd. The truth was Malfoy probably talked about them just as much as they talked about him.
They blew each other way out of proportion, Slytherins and Gryffindors. It was true that the Gryffindors were sometimes arrogant and a tad self-righteous, but they were not the big headed heroes the Slytherins made them out to be. And the Slytherins themselves were conniving, shrewd and very cynical, but not all of them were the junior Death Eaters the Gryffindors imagined they were.
Ron smiled as he thought about this. It was a lopsided smile. He knew that if the two sides came together they would create a power greater than anything previosuly imagined.
That was, of course, the point of keeping them apart.
((A.N. Next chapter... Draco recieves a rather interesting mission from Lord Voldemort before the trip begins, and things get way more complicated. Review and stay tuned!))