My computer apparently thought my writing wasn't worth saving. Thank you so much fspsarcastic, tneha (you two are my first ever reviewers! xx) meowmers and Conan the Barbarians Girl for reviewing! Happy dance! Also, thank you all that has favourited and alerted this story:)


Chapter 3: Ship to Wreck


Aboard the ship

Hermione couldn't recall a time she had been as humiliated as now before in her life.

Her father might've been one of the best fishermen in Hogsmeade, but that didn't mean he was reliable in his income; after all, you couldn't really expect a fisherman to have a steady, or large income. The sea was a moody thing, and she'd seen her father return soaked but empty handed more than she would've liked. She'd been reproachful of her mother during her younger years as she watched the upperclass children played in the courtyard while she did their laundry. But at least, they had a comfortable and clean home with fire crackling in the fireplace. It was dry, warm, and cosy. This hell ship was moist, cold and uncomfortable. It didn't even have a chair to sit on! If only her mother had left them some of her heritage...

Several hours had passed since Hermione was thrown into the cell by that man she kneed in the groin –such a grudge holder, that man – with much more force than needed. Water was leaking in some places, mould spreading across the corner of the ceiling like vermin. It reminded her terribly of a story her aunt once told of Azkaban: mould and dead rats feasting on corpses, a place where even the brightest sun would lose its light.

Grunting, Hermione began banging against the door with her full might.

"Oi! Keep it down, you bitch!" The guard smacked his fist against the wooden door angrily.

Someone, to Hermione's ears, sounded really upright and posh. Someone that was having a hard time using languages such as 'oi' and 'bitch' in a casual conversation without sounding stiff.

With one last bitter bang on the door, Hermione sat down, pressing her thighs against her chest. Come to think about it, all those men outside weren't as barbaric as she thought pirates should be. That blond also spoke in a posh accent, and carried himself in an air of superiority. Except in front of Voldemort, of course. And about Voldemort; what was with that mask? Did he think it would make him look intimidating? And what about that drunkard that she most unfortunately had to meet at the harbour? Hermione vaguely recalled him being a Yaxley. Hermione sighed, fatigue creeping into her young face for the first time in the day.

The ship rocked back and forth. Fortunately Hermione wasn't one to get seasick, or else her stay would've been a very unpleasant one. She sighed again, leaning her head against the wall before closing her eyes and drifted asleep.

...probably victims of torture, I tell you...depression seeping out of their very presence!...

There was a small, circular window in the cell, though it was covered in some cloth so it was useless when it came to telling time. Hermione felt as if she had slept for over a week but there was no telling. What would my father say, if he ever was to land his eyes on me? Hermione thought, a frown marring her face. She nibbled on her thumbnail, before pulling away harshly and tucking it between her thighs. She may not know the time, but she knew she badly needed to empty her bladder.

"Hey!" Hermione screeched at the top of her lungs.

"And I said keep. It. Down!" came the angry holler.

"I need to use the bathroom you son of a pest!"

There was a brief silence beyond the door. Hermione scowled. This was not funny at all. Her bladder threatened to burst, and she was rather sure the men would not give her any spare clothing.

"I... I beg you please, I might get cystitis! I, I'll sue you! I'm a, an acquaintance of Head Auror Potter!" Hermione screeched. It was a lie obviously, but no one needed to know that. Auror Potter would probably be glad his name saved a woman from getting cystitis!

There was a brief silence. Then with a click, the door opened. Hermione sniggered when she saw the man standing outside. Well, if it wasn't Mr. Grudge-Holder himself.

"Hurry up please!" Hermione cried, digging her nails deep into the man's arm. Deep enough to draw blood. Hope he gets infected somehow. Hope someone rubs mice shit into his arms.

The blond twitched his thin lips, gripped Hermione's arm and dragged her down the corridor.


A Poppy Pomfrey Remembrance Day Ball

Madam Hooch was often the source of gossip between the court women, when any new or interesting gossip was scarce. Single at the age of 53, Madam Hooch was considered the best example of a failure by those short-sighted women whom thought that having no children or husband was worse than having no life at all. The men also liked to bully her for her appearance. "Look at her hair, Narcissa!" Cygnus Black III, an old classmate of Madam Hooch who had three girls would often tell his youngest child every time she passed them in the corridor. "Do you see her hair? That's what happens when you don't listen to your parents; make mistakes like cutting your hair." The last bit was snarled at her.

This was her reputation between those conceited men and women of the court; however, her image was much better between the commoners and Aurors alike. Her father was one of the most treasured Aurors in his era —the man who solved the McKenna murders and unveiled the existence of Lord Voldemort— and for that, she was greatly respected in the office. Between the commoners, she was hailed as a hero for sending a helping hand wherever needed, and also as one of the women who knew more than the name of dresses and hairstyles.

"Madam Hooch, I cannot express my thanks to you," Harry clutched his former horse riding instructor's hand, sighing deeply as he chugged down his Butterbeer. "Fire away if you want anything. Actually, I think Ginny baked you an apple pie..."

"Potter, no need to thank me. Rather I should thank you for getting my goddaughter off my shoulders; bugged me to hold a ball for twenty years!"

"Rolanda, I never knew you had a goddaughter," Slughorn tutted, sipping his Firewhiskey. "I thought we were friends! How come there is so much I don't know these days? Are you people ditching me?" Feigning a worried expression, Slughorn waved hello at a couple passing by. "Should I be worried?"

"Do not fret, Horace. You were there, merely drunk to a state of unconsciousness."

It was almost noon. Fat men and corset-bound ladies filtered in, one by one, filling the air with giggles and laughter. The hall was now almost full, when a ripple of gasps spread from the entrance.

"What's happening?" Harry whispered to Madam Hooch, going on his tiptoes to catch a glimpse of the reason of the commotion. "Did you invite any celebrities to this...uh...Poppy Pomfrey Remembrance Day Ball?"

"Not that I know of," the hostess tutted, excusing herself and weaved herself through the crowd to the front.

"...yes yes, thank you. Why, don't you look ravishing yourself, Madam Rosmelda..."

"Tom?" Only when the men and women whipped to turn around did Madam Hooch notice that she had spoken aloud.

The couple that caught the attention of the entire ball turned. The man —Tom— held a cold look of disdain for a moment, before his face broke into a boyish grin.

"Rolanda! How have you been? Ever since my father died, I bet!"

Embracing her friend's son, Madam Hooch couldn't help but feel a little odd by this show of affection. Young Tom never liked her, not once, because he'd always had this suspicion that his father was cheating on his mother with her. That was nonsense of course; Thomas had been a bit weak in guts (basically a coward), and his snarky comments towards her appearance didn't help improve her affection towards him. However the fact that they were childhood friends could not be changed, so that was that. Nothing more.

"I've been fine, Tom. Congratulations on your engagement," Madam Hooch held the young man by the arms and gave him small pecks on the cheek. "Please, do enjoy the feast."

"Who was that? Wasn't the Grand Duke Riddle?" Harry munched on the tart, eyeing his instructor under a new light. Who knew this silent woman had so many connections with people high above?

"Yes, Grand Duke indeed," Rolanda replied, unease creeping into her voice. Her instincts never failed her once. And now, her instincts were telling her something was off about that young man. "Grand Duke indeed."


Aboard the Ship

Hermione was just back from her little trip to the bathroom when she was throttled to the side.

The blow clouded her vision, knocking the breath out of her lungs, but she somehow managed to stand up – only to be thrown back into the wall again. Her back was ablaze with pain. She noticed that she was now lying on the wall when she should've slid off from it. It was as if the centre of gravity itself had moved. Shivering, Hermione stood, her arms held out carefully in case she was to balance herself again.

With a loud creak, Hermione was swept off her feet...yet again. Thankful that she was prepared for the jostling, Hermione crawled towards the door, fighting against gravity that oh-so terribly wanted to pull her down.

Hermione gasped when her hands slipped against the moist floor, but soon regained equilibrium and used her legs to push herself against the door.

The little window at the top of the door slid open, grey eyes peaking in the seemingly vacant room.

"Where are you?" Abraxas inquired, a flash of unease running though his stomach.

A small squeak escaped her mouth, but it went unnoticed. Hermione pressed herself against the door. Her shoes caught a crack in he flooring. Trying hard not to let her foot slip against the moist floor, least she allow herself to be throttled against the wall again, and perhaps injure her back for real this time.

Those grey eyes flicked downwards, crinkling merrily when they landed on the girl pushing against the door, scrunching her face like a woman in labour.

"Malfoy, what's going on?"

"Oh that's just Lestrange trying to deport in he storm. Say, Carrow, think you can get a bottle of Old Ogden's from the kitchen? Think Dobby hid it under the sink."

"'Course. Right away."

Hermione sincerely wished for Lestrange to tip the boat over, so that the bastard will be throttled into the wall. Unfortunately for Hermione, because the boat was tilted towards her, all the bastard had to do was lean on the door.

Rubbing at her twitching eyebrow, Hermione reached for the tiny window, curling her fingers over the ridge. When she was sure she had a tight grip, she pulled herself up, pushed her other hand through the window and made a grab at the man's hair.

"Let me out," Hermione said gleefully, tugging at his hair harshly, making him cry out in pain. "Let me out, or be sure to be bald in the next few moments."

"I won't! I can't! Let go you bitch!" Abraxas wailed, scratching at the madwoman's small hands, although he felt guilty at the red nail marks. After all, 3 years of pirate life was nothing compared to 22 years of gentlemanly brainwash-education.

With a final yank, a patch of blond hair was ripped out from his scalp. The man let out a whimper, fumbling at the bald patch. Hermione watched the fine blond hair between her fingers with a sick sort of pleasure as she let them fall on the floor.

"That the best you got?" The man sobbed. Before he retreated, Hermione caught his hair yet again.

"Let me out."

"No."

With a loud bang, the door opened.

Hermione lunged towards the man, closing her fingers around his neck as she pushed him down on the floor.

"You son of a bitch," Hermione seethed, watching Abraxas splutter and gasp for air. She dug her knees into his stomach a little more. Now he was clawing at her hands. The two slid down the corridor while still clutching each other's hair, each doing their best to tug it out of its roots.

Oh god, Hermione widened her eyes, a gasp leaving her lips as they slid towards the dead end of the corridor. Clutching her head and pushing the body beneath her forward. With a sickening crunch, the Blonde went limp, his eyes rolling back in his head.

Oh god, oh god. She felt the boat tip backwards. Both of them were throttled against the wall. Hermione sat on top of her captor, dazed, until she finally snapped out of it and scrambled towards the door which she hoped would lead her outside.

Indeed it was storming outside.

Hermione was drenched in a matter of moment, her frizzy matter of a hair plastered onto her skin like a mop, the flimsy material of her dress making the cold unbearable. She revelled in the freedom, revelled at the feeling of large, thick raindrops splattering onto her face. The sky was dark, so she presumed it was early in the morning. Oh how she worried the state her father would be in!

Running across the deck —more like sliding— Hermione made quick work with the ropes that tied the emergency boats to the deck. She hopped in carefully, and was about to drop...but the hook had no opening. In frustration, Hermione shook the hook with a scream.

"Ah, you can't do that."

In the rain, clutching at his bleeding head and nursing a swollen eye was Malfoy. It was frightening in a way. He resembled a zombie by the way he hobbled and wobbled. Hermione caught sight of the bald patch on his scalp from earlier but the sight of it gave her no more pleasure than the sight of spiders giving birth.

"You need to press a little lever" —here he made a small motion with his index finger— "in our Lord's room." A horrifying grin split his face

Hermione stared at the man. He might've smacked his head a bit too hard. Without breaking eye contact, Hermione reached down, her hand in search for anything, anything that might distract him while she escaped. There. She threw the hook, not waiting to see if it had hit its mark. The shriek of the man was enough.

Tears started slipping from her eyes as she ran through a door. What had she done exactly to earn such a horrible day? The books, was it? Or was it the apple? It was rotten, for gods sake! It hardly counted!

As she was busy wiping away her tears, she didn't realise the figure lingering in the hallway.

The two both gave a small gasp, going very still. The splatter of the rain faded out, now a mere hum in the air. Hermione's eyes widened further; the young man was almost a duplicate of Malfoy.

"Who...who are you?" Stupid question Hermione. Stupid question.

"I...I am D...Damon," The man replied in a trembling voice. "And who might you be?"

"Hermione. Damon," She replied a little breathlessly. She fiddled with the hem of the laces, suddenly conscious of her looks. "I need to get to the Captain's room. Do you know where it is?"

"Of course!" The man —Damon— cried. Hermione noticed tears swelling in his eyes.

"Excuse me, are you, are you crying?"

"Oh, am I?" Damon wiped the year with his sleeve. "I'm sorry, but it's been a while since someone's talked to me. Come along, it's this way."

Later, Hermione would wonder what on earth caused her to follow this man, this man who just happened to loiter in the hallway without any clear intention. He's exactly what a stranger should behave like, if not similar in looks. A cliché look for a stranger would be (she thought for a moment) —perfectly groomed hair, suspiciously straight and white teeth, tailored clothes, and always has a candy in handy. That was her image of a typical 'dangerous' stranger.

Hermione eyes his clothes. Good quality, if a bit battered. The hems were frayed, yellow tinted here and there. Perhaps he was another of Voldemort's lackeys. But then, what kind of lackey would betray it's master by helping a sort-of prisoner escape? Even if it was unintentional, why tell a random girl the whereabouts of the captain's cabin?

Damon lead her down a series of staircases (who knew the insides of a ship could be so spacious?) before stopping in front of a plain green door.

"Well this is it. It was wonderful, absolutely delightful to talk to you miss." He said, wiping away a tear. "Adieu!"

"Wait! I don't..." She cried out, following him around the corner only to find Damon had seemingly vanished into thin air. That's that then. This is it. The door opened surprisingly honestly. No booby traps, no locks, no guards. Hermione hurried into the room and was stunned by its atmosphere. This room should belong to Grindelwald, for crying out loud, not a petty wannabe Lord. Silver, silver everywhere, running along the ceiling and the roof of the bed like a thousand shooting stars falling on earth. She was drunk in the sea of deep green, a small forest in the midst of the sea. She wondered in, standing in the middle of the room, twirling around and around in hopes to capture every beauty of the room she stood in. For a moment, she forgot Voldemort. Grindelwald. The cast system which she was at the bottom of. The small problems she hadn't realised were eating away at her heart.

The lever Malfoy talked about was on the wall beside the door. With little effort, Hermione pushed it down before running outside. Accompanied by a loud groan, the ship rattled, making Hermione clutch onto the rail of the stairway until it stopped. The rain seemed to increase in its vigorousness, transparent bullets ruthlessly smashing into the wooden deck. Howling with joy inside, Hermione ran over to the emergency boats when she tripped over a loose piece of wood and smashed her head hard. Nursing her bleeding nose, Hermione resumed running towards the emergency boats when a loud bang ricocheted the air. A strangled gasp escaped Hermione as she fell. Her hand fumbled for her right shoulder, searching for the source of the blazing pain. Pulling it away, Hermione watched dark red blood mixed with her nose bleed slicked on her fingers.

A tall figure stood in the rain, a silver hand gun pointed firmly against her as Lord Voldemort advanced. Hermione crawled away before bursting into a run. The cold rain cause her head to throb in a starting headache, her numb limbs bruising as they smacked against the hard floor. Never before had she ran this much. She had stitches along side her abdomen, her lungs barely holding together as she gulped for air. She was no longer aiming for the boat; she was thinking of throwing herself into the ocean, not caring much for surviving anymore. The man had a gun, what more was she to expect other than holes through her heart?

Another shot was fired, this time grazing her ear. She didn't bother to check if it was alright; her mind was utterly focused on the black, swarming mass of water below her.

The ocean was a grotesque creature. Not at all what she'd imagined as a child up in the towers of her grandparents residence, nor was it even close to the one she'd seen everyday, watching her father go and return. If the sea she'd known was an angel, the one she faced was a devil. You don't willingly jump into the arms of the devil. Then what is it that I am doing? The waves were like thick trunks of a serpent, all eagerly opening their bottomless mouths to swallow her whole.

"Go on," she heard Voldemort say through the wind, but it might've been her imagination. "Jump."

So she did.

Her body crashed through the layers of concrete, the blackness soon following to greet her in an unwelcome embrace. They were all too eager to get past her sealed lips, down past her nostrils and into her lungs. Hermione watched her pale hands clawing upwards, as if it knew that was where air existed. Although her soaked clothing a weighed her down, Hermione managed to break through the surface, desperately breathing in air before another wave smothered her.

She'd heard many stories about drowning; her father had told her many times. Every time she listened to it, she silently sorted at those who had drowned. They died because of panic. Why would they do that? You try to decrease the use of air, not increase it. How can you possibly die of panic, when it is in your control to feel these things. Hermione often reprimanded the dead (even though she didn't know them) in her bed, imagining what she would've done in that case. Now she knew how it felt first hand, she apologised of all those things she thought. If a tear was able to slip, it would have. It was not exactly the depriving of air that made them panic. It was how easily something they had could slip beyond their reach that made them panic (or at least, in her case). She relaxed a millisecond when she breathed in precious air, and was not prepared for the next wave that deprived her of it. It made her mind go blank. It screamed more, and yet she was not able to provide it. Thus the panic.

Her throat as a sliver of water managed to get through her guard. She saw bubbles escaping through her clouded vision, but she found herself she didn't care. Either way it was death. Perhaps death by bullet was an easier way. Who knew? No one.

Through the haze of her mind, Hermione felt a thick wire coil around her waist, tugging her up. A large bubble escaped her mouth, and with this Hermione went limp. The wire continued to pull her up, tossing her high up in the air before crashing into the deck.

"And I thought I said carefully, Nagini," Voldemort tutted, crouching in front of the broken girl. She was deathly pale (or rather death pale, Voldemort mused), one or two of her ribs broken. Snapping his fingers at a man lurking in the dark, he pointed at the girl before leisurely tugging of his soaked gloves. He watched from aside as Lestrange pumped the girl's chest, trickles of water escaping from the corner of her lips.

A loud splutter indicated Hermione regaining her consciousness. Voldemort turned towards her, waving Lestrange away. He crouched beneath her, opening her eyelids and checking her pupils.

"Ron?" The girl wheezed, attempting to clutch at Voldemort's hand. Scowling, he hid his hands behind his back. Ron? Who the hell is Ron? He is not Ron! But, Voldemort chided himself, it might've been something else. Won? Perhaps the girl is so delirious she thinks she won something? She would've died without him! Or perhaps it was 'on'. Con. Hon. Ton. Tom...he decided not to go there. However, he would definitely have his men look in for a man named 'Ron'. Ah, curiosity killed the cat, Voldemort chuckled, standing up. He waved his hand at the girl, and soon enough two men scurried along and carried the limp girl.

"To my room," Voldemort ordered, before he himself went over to the edge of the deck. He stood there proudly, his hands clasped behind his back. The rain was now a splatter of water, the fuming clouds above dispersed, showing a fleck of white beyond the grey. The sea was calm, it's gentle motion calming him greatly. Closing his eyes, Tom inhaled the rich scent of salt. Today was a new day. A new start. He was getting close to what he'd chased after all these years, he could feel it's steady hum in the air.

Then he'll truly be the master of death.

No one will be able to stop him.


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