A/N: Here's Part 2, finally! Sorry for the long wait, but this chapter was kind of hard to write.
EDIT (4/26/08): Spacing. Sadly, I haven't even started chapter 4 yet (too busy with others). Please review, though. Suggestions and criticism are very welcome!!
Draco awoke the same morning to find that someone had turned up the heat in the dormitory. It was blazing hot. He could’ve simply sat up, reached for his wand, and uttered a brief spell to make the air around his bed cooler. But Draco Malfoy was too lazy, not to mention above behavior such as that. So instead, without opening his eyes, he wished for someone else to turn the heat down for him.
Almost immediately, Draco felt a welcome coolness sweeping over him. Wish…granted?
That’s nice, Draco thought. He was so used to having everything and everyone at his beck and call, he didn’t really notice or care about the curiosity of the situation. Besides, it struck him that there was something else a little more curious about this morning anyway. Draco’s mind, slow with sleep, struggled to identify it.
It wasn’t bad, per se. Only a little strange, that the room around him was so serene. Usually it was the idiotic squabbling of the mindless goons that awoke him at ungodly hours of the morning. More likely than Nott, it was Blaise who had provoked them into aggravation.
But today, Draco heard nothing. There was only blissful silence.
This was too rare not to be taken advantage of. He would finally have one morning where he could sleep as late as he wanted to, and not have to wake to the disconcerting sight of Crabbe and Goyle stumbling and tripping over one another.
Draco rolled over to a different spot on his pillow with the sole intent of going back to sleep, and instead got a face-full of coarse sand.
“Bloody hell!” Draco roared, not caring who he woke up, in the dorm or outside. Sputtering indignantly and trying to scrub his eyes clean, he spat sand out of his mouth frantically. What was this, some completely unfunny attempt at a practical joke? Hadn’t the dimwitted imbeciles learned by now that one does not prank a Malfoy?
It was no matter. He could—and would—get them all back accordingly. Compiling a mental list of revenge strategies, as well as materials he would need to write home to request for, Draco finally got the last of the sand from his eyes and opened them, intent on physically harming any suspects within reach. “Whoever did this is gonna—”
The rest of his sentence trailed off into nothing. Looking around, Draco gulped. Not only was there sand on his pillow, but there was sand everywhere.
An island. He was on an actual island. Blue sky, sparkling sea, long stretch of beach, palm trees, coconuts. Yep, it was all there.
As mad as he was, Draco had to give the goons some credit. If Draco didn’t know any better, it almost looked believably real. Although Blaise had to have helped them with some of the trickier spells, because everyone had found out exactly how skilled Crabbe and Goyle were at Charms after the time they tried to perform an Aguamenti and ended up flooding the entire Great Hall. Though, Draco supposed, the skill could come in handy when conjuring up an ocean.
And any second now, after they waited just long enough to make Draco panic a little, the goons and Blaise would leap out from their hiding spots, cackling like hyenas at their own cleverness, and wave their wands to make it all disappear. He could be back in his dorm any second, and if it was still early enough, hopefully get some more sleep. Honestly, it felt as if he had not slept at all.
Draco crawled over to the base of the huge palm tree that had been shading him from the sun (which had appeared only for that purpose, though he didn’t know it) and leaned his back against the trunk to wait. He was going to be calm and collected, when his mates wanted most to see him terrified, and maintain his composure even if it killed him.
But by the time the sun had crossed over half of the sky, Draco was beginning to become impatient of waiting. Where the hell were they? They didn’t actually think they would get the satisfaction of watching him panic over nothing, did they?
Draco sighed. The island might not have been real, but he felt as if it was. He was hot, hungry, and really thirsty. If he didn’t get back to the dorm soon, breakfast would probably be over.
Plus, if he stayed here much longer, he’d faint from overheating and dehydration. Now, that’d be a sight for the goons to behold: Draco Malfoy, pale and shriveled, sprawled unconscious underneath a palm tree.
Draco’s chuckle turned into a dry cough. He needed water, now. And if there was really no other choice put to swallow his pride…staying alive was more important. He sighed, heaved himself to his feet, and began to pace around frantically, muttering to himself in the semblance of worry. Every few seconds, he’d glance around to make sure they were watching. But when that yielded no results, he began to run in circles, yelling hoarsely for help at the top of his lungs. Still nothing. Was this not good enough?
This is ridiculous, Draco thought disgustedly. I want out, now! Waving his arms above his head, he raced over to the nearest clump of bushes and began to trample them with a singular concentration. Why don’t you ignore me now, you prats?!
Sweating and out of breath, after he had flattened the entire row of bushes, Draco had to admit that there was no Crabbe and no Goyle and no Blaise hiding behind them.
Glancing around again, he spotted a line of scruffy palm trees not too far away. Maybe they had climbed up and were watching him from above, creepy as it was. Maybe they hadn’t heard him shouting, and were wondering why he had just crushed an entire clump of bushes. Maybe they were trying to come and rescue him, but Crabbe and Goyle couldn’t climb back down and were now stuck in the tree.
There were an entire host of possibilities.
Plodding over to the row of trees, his head hung dejectedly, Draco slammed both fists into the first trunk he reached. Making sure anyone who was near could hear, he buried his face into his hands and began to force dry sobs from his throat. Pathetic, he knew. But he supposed he could always repair his dignity later, after they took him out of this nightmare and back to Hogwarts.
He slid to a seat on the sand again, his back against the trunk. Still, there was no movement, from above or anywhere else. His sobs increased with volume and got wetter as his aggravation grew. Where the hell were they? Were they seriously going to wait for him to faint and then have to drag his unconscious body to the Hospital Wing for fun?
As real tears began to run between his pale fingers, Draco marveled at how great he was at acting. He could become a first-rate thespian like this.
Too bad the tears just kept coming, and he could do nothing to stop them.
“Sir, I am concerned,” Severus Snape, Head of Slytherin House, pressed. He had requested a meeting alone with the Headmaster, but Dumbledore was being less than helpful.
“And what in the world might concern you, Severus?”
The twinkle in Dumbledore’s eye annoyed Snape. It was like the man could never take anything seriously. Either that, or he already knew what Snape’s problem was, and he was just humoring him. But that was pretty much impossible.
“Draco Malfoy has not been attending classes or seen around the school for the last 24 hours,” Snape proclaimed slowly, savoring the idea of alleviating this burden from himself onto the Headmaster. It went without saying that if Draco, the Slytherin Prince and heir to the House of Malfoy, suddenly turned up missing, then Lucius Malfoy would be out for blood at Hogwarts. And Snape preferred not to have to deal with such consequences.
To his great annoyance, Dumbledore didn’t appear to share his concern at all. “So you think he has vanished?” the Headmaster clarified.
“It would appear so,” Snape growled.
“Have you checked his dorm?” Dumbledore asked, like he thought Snape was not as brilliant as he thought himself.
There was nothing Snape hated more than being patronized. “I doubt Mr. Malfoy would do such a thing. He would grow too hungry too soon,” he replied dryly. “Besides, who or what could he be avoiding by hiding?”
Dumbledore chuckled. “I’m sure, Severus, that I have no idea.”
Snape sighed. He knew a dismissal when he heard one. And now that Draco wasn’t his problem anymore, he could go back to teaching those other miserable hopeless worms that called themselves witches and wizards.
The door to the Headmaster’s office slammed shut behind him as he made his way back down the spiraling stairs.
After a while, Draco felt a pounding headache coming on. Looking up and squinting at the relentless sun that he was starting to despise, he guessed that it was about midday, or later.
His brain worked furiously. It was pretty obvious that Blaise and them weren’t playing the game he had thought. Even they weren’t stupid enough to play a prank on Draco and then forget to come back and collect the reward, the satisfaction of having succeeded in scaring Draco out of his mind.
But then what was really going on? he wondered, his head swimming. Maybe being the loyal minions they were, they had noticed how stressed Draco had been lately, and sent him here for a mini-vacation from classes.
Draco snorted. Loyal minions sending him on vacations? Well, wasn’t that just wishful thinking? He was obviously becoming delirious from dehydration. He really needed to find water.
Standing up, he was startled to hear the soft trickle of moving water within the woods. It was probably just the ocean, and his mind deceiving him. But as the rush of water grew louder, calling to him with the promise of a refreshing drink, he decided to investigate it further anyway.
After a few minutes of fighting through thick jungle-like underbrush, Draco found himself about twenty meters into the forest, at the base of a huge rock formation. It wasn’t a mountain or a cliff, exactly. It just looked like a piece of the ground on which no plants could grow, washed clean of soil naturally by rain…if any rain ever fell in this climate.
The bottom of the rock on this side was about as wide as Draco’s arm-span. He couldn’t see through to the other side because of two particularly large palm trees that the rock was wedged between, but decided it wasn’t worth caring about. Most likely, there was only more jungle, steaming as the greedy sun drew moisture away from the ground.
Besides, what was important was the small trickle of water flowing down from the top of the rock to make the soil at its base moist. Draco supposed there was a spring or fresh-water source above the rock formation, and cupping his hand against the side of the rocks, drank gratefully. The water was cold, surprisingly.
After drinking his fill, Draco felt a lot better. His mind began to think clearly again.
Curse Hogwarts for teaching us Divination instead of something useful, he thought. How about a class on Essential Skills for Survival on a Deserted Island? I could die here, for all they know.
But maybe there are other people here. How else would I have gotten here? he thought.
Draco chuckled a little. How obvious. If he found the inhabitants of this place, maybe they could help him get back to Hogwarts. That would be just as good, if not better, than being rescued by Dumbledore or his father or something. He’d show Dumbledore he was not to be coddled or pitied; he’d show his father he could accomplish something on his own. This was Draco Malfoy’s time to prove himself to the world!
Gulping down a last mouthful of water and noting the location of the rock in his head, Draco smashed his way back through the underbrush until he broke through again onto the beach. The waterfront was as quiet as ever, the sand undisturbed. There were no footprints.
The next obvious thing to look for would be a trail or a path. No sane human being would want to trample back and forth through the jungle like an elephant when they could just make a path.
Setting off along the edge of the beach, where it met the forest, Draco began to walk. He peered through the dense trees, hoping for a glimpse of a house, or a trail, or anything man-made. He walked for what seemed like ages, and his feet were killing him. But as he plopped down onto the sand to yank his loafers off his feet, something on the beach in the distance caught his eye.
He walked closer to it, eyeing it suspiciously. It was a stick of wood, firmly anchored into the sand at a 90-degree angle. But though the stick looked like a normal branch or a piece of driftwood, Draco could think of no possible way it would have naturally ended up in such a position. It had to have been placed there.
Even more curious was that at the top, about three inches had been snapped halfway off so that it hung precariously in danger of separating from the rest of the stick. Draco laughed. It almost reminded him of that ridiculous Gryffindor ghost, Nearly Headless Nick.
This was no coincidence, Draco realized. This was the work of intelligent life.
Although the term ‘intelligent’ should be used loosely, Draco thought dryly. Perhaps this is some sort of primitive art form. Either way, there are people on this island, which means there is a way off of it.
The thought spurred new energy into Draco as he set off down the beach again, in search of the people that he now knew had to exist. He abandoned his loafers to sit on the sand next to the stick.
As Minerva McGonagall climbed the spiral staircase that led to the Headmaster’s office, she felt the joints in her knees creak with protest. Maybe I’m getting too old for this job, she thought to herself. She was, after all, over the 70-year hill, and swiftly approaching 80.
Looking up from her defiant knees, she saw the shadow of a man block the way up the stairs above her. It only took one glance at the way the light reflected off his greasy head to figure out who he was.
McGonagall silently chastised herself for having such mean thoughts about a fellow teacher before nodding at the man, who moved aside to make room for her to ascend. “Severus,” she greeted him shortly.
“Charmed, as always, Minnie,” Snape replied just as curtly.
McGonagall almost turned back around. She really shouldn’t allow him to address her so casually and with so little respect. She had, after all, been his Transfiguration professor back in his day at Hogwarts. But Severus had grown up into a cynical, sour man, and had little respect for anyone, so why should she expect any?
Briefly, she wondered what had sent him up to see Dumbledore, but dismissed it just as quickly, because she was sure that whatever it was couldn’t possibly be as urgent as her problem.
Dumbledore turned around expectantly as McGonagall arrived at the top of the staircase, panting slightly. It seemed that he had somehow already anticipated her arrival.
“Yes, Minerva? Is something the matter?”
“Oh…” McGonagall coughed. In all her years as Head of Gryffindor House, she had not once encountered a problem she could not solve herself. Now faced with having to finally admit defeat to Dumbledore, she found that it did not come as easily as she imagined.
“Yes?” Dumbledore waited patiently for McGonagall to find her voice.
“Well, Headmaster, it seems that…Hermione Granger is missing,” she whispered ashamedly. “I’m not sure how it happened, or why. There were no abnormal changes in her behavior patterns, or emotional distress of any sort. I just simply can’t explain it, Albus.” She seemed near tears.
The corner of Dumbledore’s mouth quirked up. He had always known that Minerva McGonagall kept close tabs on her students, but this was the first time he had seen the woman in action. Monitoring changes in behavioral patterns and amounts of emotional distress was going a little too far, even for Minnie. Although he had to admit that it was nice to see a Head of House care for her students like she did.
“I’m sure she’s fine,” Dumbledore comforted her, patting her on the shoulder. “She can’t have gone far.”
“Wha—what?” McGonagall looked up at him, eyes narrowing in suspicion before the tears in them had completely dried. “You wouldn’t have anything to do with this, would you, Albus?”
Dumbledore summoned up his most innocent expression. “Of course not, Minerva. You must stop jumping so quickly to conclusions. Perhaps Hermione is just ill, or tired, or doesn’t wish to see anyone at the moment. Have you checked her dormitory?”
McGonagall sighed. She could see there was no getting through to the Headmaster. “No, sir, I have not,” she admitted. “But…”
“Well?” Dumbledore prodded. “But what?”
“It just doesn’t seem probable, that’s all. Hermione would never skip so many classes for no reason…” McGonagall paused. “And wouldn’t she get hungry?”
Dumbledore laughed out loud. “Is food everything these days?”
“What?” McGonagall looked confused.
“Never-mind. I will take care of Hermione, Minerva. Now, don’t you have a class to be teaching?”
McGonagall sighed as she bade the crazy Headmaster goodbye and headed back down the spiraling stairs.
A/N: So, is Draco's reaction to the island compared to Hermione's realistic enough? Please REVIEW and tell me if I achieved the characters I was aiming for (Hermione: practical and level-headed, Draco: spoiled and dependent on others), plus thoughts on what could be happening now. Has anyone figured it out yet?