“Land ‘hoy! Land ‘hoy!”
As the clear, jubilant voice rang out over the ship deck, eyes turned to look at the grinning figure in the crow’s nest, black hair bleached deep brown by sun to match olive skin. Deep blue eyes were alight with the excitement of finally finding land, and the young man waved wildly at the others on deck as he shouted again, “We have land, people!”
“Blaise, you do know that if you’re kidding again Cap’n will give you more’n a tongue lashing,” a younger voice called out. Blaise looked down at the twin faces beneath him, not fooled by the innocent look on freckled faces under blond hair. He made a face at them.
“If I weren’t such a nice person I’d come down there and kick you,” he informed them loftily, but his good mood made him break out into a grin again. “It’s really land, I tell you! Land!”
“There is no land near here marked on any map I have seen.”
The quietly authoritative voice cut through the growing chatter easily, and those standing near the steps leading below deck jumped in surprise. They quickly backed away to let their Captain pass. The sun sank into and softened his silver-blond hair, warming coldly sharp features and pale skin, but nothing could gentle icy blue-grey eyes that only smiled on rare occasions.
Blaise snapped to attention, completely serious now. “I know that, Captain, but this time I’m really serious. I wouldn’t dare joke again after last time,” he added, breaking into a grin.
The silver-haired man nodded. “Very well.” He raised his voice to address the crowd. “Hopefully the land Blaise has spotted will have enough food and water to replenish our supply. Which, as you all should know, is running low since we had to leave in a hurry at the last port and did not get a chance to replenish our stock.”
A grumble of discontent went around the listeners, and he held up a hand for silence. He got it immediately.
“Yes, that was unfortunate, but not as bad as it could have been. I believe we have been through this before, but I shall repeat it once more – anyone still harbouring resentful feelings that might interfere with following my orders will hold themselves in check. I will not see one setback lead to more. Now. I want to see Blaise and Zach. Dennis will take over in the crow’s nest for the time being.”
“Aye Captain!” The two men were before him in no time, Blaise shimmying down the rope nets like a demented monkey, and he gave them a quick smile of approval. “I want the both of you to take four men each. Find water enough to last us a week or more each, and if you find any food on the way bring the water back first and then go back for the food. I myself will be leading seven men to find food. Understood? Good. Go get your men now, and ready the rowboats to go ashore. I need to see the men you’ve picked after you’re done.”
He watched them bound off, yelling names and orders. He could tell his entire crew was excited, but somehow… he bad a bad feeling about this. He had learned to trust his instincts, but the food situation was dire. Millie, who’d already done her best to ration the food when she cooked, had showed him the pantry just the other day. He had no choice but to ignore his gut feeling in the off-chance that they might find food and water before trouble managed to snare them.
The thing was, he was sure he had the worst luck ever. His name might as well have been Draco Malchance, not Malfoy – bad luck instead of bad faith.
The latter works just as well, though, he thought bitterly.
“Captain? We’ve chosen our men.”
Roused from his thoughts, Draco pushed all other matters from his mind and, with his characteristic single-mindedness, began the preparations to go on shore.
“And I say –”
“Hey, ay, ay, eeay-ay –”
“Hey, ay, ay. I say hey –”
“What’s going on!”
“And I say –”
Blaise groaned, sat up, and blindly grabbed a pebble from the ground, throwing it in the direction of the singing. The singers stopped, much to his relief.
“Blaise Zabini! What was the meaning of that? You could have taken someone’s eye out!”
“Better your eye than my eardrums, mate. You sing like stuck pigs. And pigstresses,” he added as an afterthought. “You know they say women are bad luck on ships? Probably the guy who started it met a Parkinson in the throes of musicality. He probably ran them into a reef to shut her up.”
“I’d like to see you try to sing,” the black-haired girl retorted, unfazed. “Besides, we’re not exactly on a ship now, so there’s no problem is, there? Come on, Pucey, once more! And I say –”
“Hey, ay, ay, eeay-ay…”
We’re not exactly on a ship now. Blaise snorted to himself and lay back down on the hard dirt floor, closing his eyes and tuning out the caterwauling in the background. Truer words have been said, probably, but nothing so wonderfully understated. A prison cell’s a far cry from a ship indeed.
How had things come to this? He damned himself for ever spotting this godforsaken little shit of an island, for not demanding Draco tell him why he looked so troubled before they had even gone ashore, for listening to his noble streak and running off without a second thought like an utter moron when he’d heard Pansy’s scream. Draco inevitably pulled out that little bit of nobility remaining in the black souls of those who followed him, but he also hammered, kicked, and glared one thing into every person’s head first thing – you could never be cautious enough. And because he’d ignored that one basic rule, he and his team were now locked in some dingy prison hut with half of Draco’s team, who’d heard them fighting and came to help, while the natives prepared a big stewpot for their dinner.
Not the captives’ dinner, but the natives’. Whose dinner would be, incidentally, the captives themselves.
I wonder if I’d make a better appetizer, main course or dessert? he wondered a little hysterically.
It was only when he realized that the hut was silent that he looked up. Everyone was staring at him; even Pansy Parkinson, bane of his life (and his eardrums), had stopped singing.
Oh, he realized. “Did I say that out loud?”
Pansy gave him a Look, but then she smiled slightly and looked out of the window, at the growing starlight. “Be glad Draco isn’t here, he’d smack you for inciting panic.”
He could help but smile. “He would, wouldn’t he,” he agreed. “It’s a good thing he isn’t here.”
And when he looked around, he could see the same thought echoed on all the faces around him: it’s a good thing Draco isn’t here, because if he’s out there, we’re as good as saved. It was a stupid thing to have that much trust in someone else – they were Slytherins, for god’s sake – but they did. Despite all that they’d learned and been taught. Draco had taken them all in, unwanted, unseen, unfit to live in some eyes, and taught them in his own haughty, careless way that they were people. They would trust in him and follow him to the end of the world, even if he could and would kill any one of them on the spot without hesitation if they displeased him.
That served to jerk Blaise out of his thoughts, and he nodded at Vince, who returned to watching discreetly from his window lookout spot. Time for dinner, but he’d be damned if this meal would go without a fight. He knew better than to expect rescue before nightfall – Draco would have had to go back to the ship for reinforcements, and he wouldn’t have been able to return so soon. They would just have to hold out until help came.
The natives had stripped them of weapons, but they all had been trained in hand-to-hand combat, to varying levels of success. When they had been tossed in here, Blaise had immediately arranged them in a defensive position, the strongest close combat fighters nearest to the only door. He wasn’t going to ignore Draco’s lessons again. One nod from him and the captives got to their feet, readying themselves.
“How far?” he whispered to Vince.
“Twenty metres or so… wait. I think – yes, they are, they’re stopping.”
“Stopping?” That was something unforeseen, and he had no idea what was happening. “Why?”
“There’s another hut – it’s dark inside, maybe it’s their storage hut or something – no, they’re pointing their spears at the door. Two of them – the other three are opening the door, they’re holding rope in their hands…”
Blaise frowned, only one conclusion jumping to his mind. “They have another captive.” Fear ate through his bones, and leaked into his voice – Pansy, hearing it, took one look at him and understood what he was scared of. They looked fearfully at each other, and were aware of several sharply drawn breaths as the others realized the implications of that sentence.
If that was Draco in the other hut…
He had known Draco since they were children; everyone here, he included, owed him their lives. If they had to watch helplessly by while their Captain was dragged away to his death… he didn’t know what they would do. He really didn’t.
“They’ve unlocked the lock, and taken off the chains – now they’re going to open the door – shit!”
They didn’t need to ask what he was cursing about as pistol shots rang out in the clearing. Blaise pushed Vince aside and stared out the bars; three of the natives were down, the other two staggering around, trying to stay upright. One of them found the strength to throw a spear into the forest, and a sharp cry sounded; Blaise hissed a curse through his teeth. Another two consecutive shots felled the remaining natives.
I know that gun! Spinning around, his furious gaze clashed with Greg’s. “That idiot! He didn’t go back to the ship, did he!”
“This seems more his style, yes,” the larger man said resignedly.
“Has he gone Gryffindor? That ass should know better than to take on a whole village of savages with only three men!”
“He must have had other concerns affecting his decision,” Vince said reasonably. “As stubborn as he is sometimes, he’s the most calculative bastard I’ve ever met.”
Blaise growled low in his throat as he turned to look back out at the window – Draco was just emerging from the forest. Alone. Promising himself to yell at the man later even if it earned him three nights in the stocks, he called over the distance, “Captain!”
Draco stopped, and turned unerringly to look right at Blaise. He blinked, looked at the hut the natives had just opened, and then took a couple of steps and opened the door all the way in a flourish. Blaise almost screamed in frustration, abandoning titles in favour of urgency. “Draco! Do you have a death wish?”
When nothing charged out of the hut and disemboweled Draco, Blaise allowed himself a small sigh of relief – which came too soon, as he watched in horror while Draco stepped forward beyond the doorway.
But the blond man didn’t come out until a few seconds later, whole and unhurt. Blaise willed the daggers he was shooting at Draco with his eyes to change that fact while the Captain rummaged through the clothes of one of the dead natives, and then strode across the short distance to their hut.
“Hello, Blaise. Lovely night.”
Draco continued talking as he tried on the lock one key after another from the rusty keyring. “I’d punish your lack of respect, but if you can get us all back to the ship without more of us getting hurt, I’ll let you off this time.”
Something in that sentence made him stop his rant before it could begin. “What…”
“Trey was caught in the arm with that spear, so now I’m the only one among the three who can shoot. Theo’s got a wounded side and can’t handle a weapon. The rest of my team’s with you?”
“Yeah, and all of mine. Zach’s?”
“Should be safe on the ship. Ah, got it.”
It was a matter of seconds before the chain was on the ground and the door opened; Blaise motioned for them to go out. Draco was already moving off back towards the trees, talking over his shoulder. “We need to hurry – Davey and Maddie can’t hold much longer before they slide into critical condition.”
Everyone in the hut was startled. How…?
Draco knew them too well, and spoke without looking at them. “We were coming back to find the rest of my team when we saw the fight, and decided that three wounded rescuers was better than nothing. I’ve retrieved your weapons, they’re with Theo and Trey; those still healthy can use the weapons of the wounded for now. Waste not.”
“Wait, what do you mean, three wounded?” Blaise demanded – but to empty air, because Draco had vanished into the trees. Cursing, he motioned to the others, and they sped up their pace.
They found the three men without problems, and while the two on the ground gave them pained smiles of welcome, Draco was already handing out weapons; the captives took them with relief. Without their pistols and swords and knives they felt vulnerable. Blaise received his last, but when Draco held them out he glared and made no move to take them.
“I want to know what you mean… by three wounded,” he said very slowly, and very clearly.
Draco ignored him. “You don’t want your weapons, fine by me.” He made to leave them on the ground, but Theo’s voice cut through the air, making them freeze.
“We ran into a small group of about seven, which was why we hurried back to find you. We got hurt in that fight, but managed to kill them all. His left arm’s useless, and he’s got a nasty wound on his hip.”
“He’s not limping,” someone protested.
“He acts well,” Pansy reminded them, glaring at Draco.
The young Captain sighed, and straightened. He offered the weapons silently to Blaise again, and this time the dark-haired boy took it. “I can’t afford to worry about myself now when we’re still in danger, and I can still fight,” Draco said quietly. “I consider that fine and well, compared to, say, Davey.”
“Later.” He turned away from Blaise, clearly cutting off the conversation, and began giving out quiet but firm orders. Blaise sighed, but followed without making fuss. Draco was right; they had to get out of there first before the bodies were found, and someone was bound to have heard the gunshots.
But when they got back to the ship, Draco was so going to get it.
I did say this was going to become a ficjournal, didn't I? (: That means that I'm going to post random bits of my work - unfinished stuff, unposted-on-FFnet-stuff, random stuff, might-never-be-continued stuff. Original or fanfic. For those who actually know me in real life - people like kagen and myst and the rest - you might want to delete this journal from your f-list in case you get flooded by random things.
That cut up there leads to a Drarry AU, which I haven't decided what to do with yet. ^^;
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