Chapter 18 : The Slytherin Effect
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Chapter 18: The Slytherin Effect
“Where did you put it Thaddius?” Susan asked accusingly, the dark alleyway light shrouding her face in darkness. The little bit of light in the alleyway glinted off the knife that she was pointing at him.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” he whispered fiercely, hands clenched by his sides.
“You were the only other person who knew where it was!” Susan exclaimed. “Why am I supposed to believe you?”
He looked into her brown eyes. “Because we’re a team. You’re supposed to trust me.”
“I don’t trust anyone.”
“What happened to the Hufflepuff side of you?” he shot back, anger slowly building up in his veins.
“People change in this game,” Susan answered carefully. She could feel the tension rising in the air.
“Stop quoting McGonagall like Granger and say something you for once!” He said, throwing his hands up into the air. “What happened to you?”
“I wasn’t supposed to be a bloody Hufflepuff!” Susan shouted into the night air. As soon as the words flew out of her mouth, she felt relief flood through her body. It was done.
“What?” Thaddius whispered into the air.
Susan looked over his shoulder. “I was supposed to be a Slytherin.”
The air suddenly turned colder. Thaddius refused to cross his arms and kept an open stance. He didn’t want to give her the impression that he didn’t want to listen… He really didn’t.
“The sorting hat knew. It told me that it knew, and yet it told me that it wanted to keep me ’safe’.” Susan spat the last word as if it was a curse. “It said that I didn’t have the strength to stand up to my dark side. Well look at me now stupid hat!” She yelled, laughing manically.
Thaddius felt the urge to walk backwards, but stood firmly in his spot. He didn’t move. He watched her laugh, seeing the insanity in her eyes.
“And then, after it called out ’Hufflepuff’ I was the school dunce. Isn’t that just peachy?” Her brown eyes were glittering, mouth curled into a sneer.
Thaddius shook his head slowly, sadly. “This isn’t you, Sooz.”
“Yes, it is me!” She hissed, taking a step closer. “I’m a Slytherin, not a pathetic--”
“Hufflepuffs are not pathetic,” Thaddius said quietly, looking her dead on.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Susan flashed.
“You’re a Hufflepuff, aren’t you?” Thaddius asked, voice calm.
“Then why were you sorted one?” He asked, almost rhetorically.
“I already told you--”
“Then why aren’t you prideful and haughty like the rest of them? Why did you give Blaise a chance? Why haven’t you killed me yet?” He asked suddenly, the rage burning in his veins. He stepped closer to her, towering over her. He might have been one year younger her, but that didn’t mean that he wasn’t just as mature. “Why is your name Susan Bones, and not some snooty name?”
Oh, and that‘s a brilliant reason! Susan narrowed her eyes up at him, “Because I--”
Suddenly, before she could utter a single word, his lips caught her soft ones roughly as he backed her up against the wall, cutting off her speech. His hands were lightly grabbing her shoulders, but his lips were anything but gentle.
Merlin, but she was on fire. She reached her arms up to tangle in his hair, forgetting what they had been fighting about, forgetting who she was, forgetting where they were, forgetting how she was dressed….
But as soon as it had started, it ended. He lifted his lips from hers and stepped away, eyes alive and shining in the pale lighting. “If you were Slytherin, you couldn’t kiss with passion.” He reached out and tucked a piece of hair behind her ear and gave her one last look, lingering on her face. Then he and turned on his heel.
Susan’s knees were weak against the wall. She slid down to the ground. She hadn’t been expecting this. She didn’t know that he.. That Thaddius of all people… no, it couldn’t be… Why had they gotten there in the first…
Reality suddenly hit her like a merciless bucket of ice-cold water. Her lips were still bruised as the anger crept into her veins again. He had been distracting her from the fact that he had stolen the ship! He made her betray herself…
You were willing. A small, snide voice said in her ear. She refused to listen to it.
He took my by surprise, she reasoned. Blaise would have never…
Blaise. Susan groaned as she waited for the guilt to wrack her body….
But it never came.
She scowled a moment later, disgusted with herself. She didn‘t even know who she was anymore. She bit her lip, debating what she was going to do. It wasn‘t right, by any means… But she was supposed to have been in Slytherin.
That fact helped her pick in the end. She calmed her breathing, and pulled out a wand and the map in her pocket. She looked down at it and added a charm. A dot was added to the map of Fliadopia. Thaddius was headed to the castle.
She bit her lip, and then decided to follow. After all, she didn’t trust anyone. And the people she was loyal to in this game would count on her not to.
So, she didn’t. Her eyes followed his dot. It was time to see what darling Thaddius was up to. Now.
Ron was pretty sure that he was dead. Well, as sure as anyone could be sure that they were dead. There was no other explanation to the throbbing in his skull, threatening to break his head apart. A groan escaped his lips. Suddenly, this game wasn’t fun anymore. Someone was out to kill him.
I’m not dead. He groaned again. It’d be so much better for him to just die here and end up somewhere else. He tried to move, but then suddenly found that he couldn’t. Panic suddenly flood through his numb veins. He moved his hands around to find that they were tied together with a coarse rope. He tried to open his eyes, but his eyelids met cloth.
This was not good.
He tried to stand, but he couldn’t. He His waist had been tied to some post, hands wrapped around hit. His back was scratching against the rough, splintery wood of the pole. “Hmmmph---”
He had been gagged. Well, I guess I’m not going anywhere, Ron thought sardonically. He was screwed at every angle. A mouse could probably come in there and de-man him and he couldn’t do a single sodding thing about it. A bloody mouse.
Ron stopped trying to open his eyes and leaned against the pole. His wrists were sore, the skin was most likely a pinkish color from the chaffing. He wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so why not just sit there?
There’s nothing else to do…
He strained to listen for any signs of movement, but couldn’t hear a single thing except for his own breathing. He tried to think of where he could be, but he wasn’t Hermione, so he quit. His brain could only stretch so far… But it was getting better.
He must have been sitting there for over an hour, when he heard it. It was far away… the sound of footsteps were nearing, nearing.
Suddenly, the door burst open, the crack of wood against stone wall shocked his ears, nearly deafening him. “Well, well, look what we have here.”
Gee, I’d look, but I can’t bloody SEE! He heard the footsteps circle him. “Not so fierce now, are we?”
The female voice crept into his ears sensually. He might have said hello, if he wasn’t gagged. Something nagged him though: He knew that voice. He knew it.. He remained silent, heart thundering in his chest. He was afraid that she could hear it, that it would give him away.
He felt cold fingers touch his neck. He jerked forward-
“Shh. Calm down, Weaselebee, I’m not going to hurt you….”
Ron felt whatever color he had in his face, whatever anger he had at being tied up on a post, disappear. Now he was frightened. Of a girl no less- but this was no ordinary girl.
The gag was taken off, leaving his mouth dry. “Parkinson,” he croaked, still blindfolded.
“Good guess. You must be psychic,” he could hear the sneer in her voice. “But you’re right… surprisingly.”
“What do you want?” He asked, voice raspy and hoarse.
“Your head on a silver platter.”
“Well,” Ron said, tilting his head, “I’d give it to you, but my hands are tied behind my back.”
He felt a very cold, very sharp something touch his throat. “Or I could just take it myself,” Pansy said sharply into his ear.
“Well, that wouldn’t be neat at all, would it?” Ron answered, trying to remain calm. “Wouldn’t you rather have someone give it to you, like a present? Rather than to just take it?”
“Damn you, Ronald Weasley,” She cursed as she ripped her dagger through his blindfold.
At first, he felt blinded, but it was something akin to just waking up; his eyes adjusted to the dark quickly. He took in his surroundings with a sharp glance. He was in an abandoned warehouse of some sort. There were scraps of lumber lying about, some cloth… He was in a ship barn. It wasn’t likely that there would have been anything that could have helped him from his predicament.
He looked her over. She was a little different from the last time that he had seen her; from the last time that he had killed her. It was only a slight difference, but it was there all the same. One earring hung from her ear; it was a large silver hoop. How piratey.
Her black hair was cut pixie-style. The edges cutting into her eyebrows. Her face was paler, edgier, sallow, more aristocratic. And then there was the crazy gleam in her bright green eyes….
She had lost her mind. He could see it.
“Parkinson, are you alright?”
She leaned down and laughed softly. “You’re the one about to die, and you’re asking me if I’m alright? You’re a charm, Weasley, you really are.”
Ron forced his heart to slow down. She was bloody serious about killing him. “So, you’re doing this for revenge, huh?” he asked, voice void of curiosity.
“No, Ronald,” She said with sarcasm, “I’m doing it for the tooth-fairy.” She rolled her eyes, “Of course I’m doing it for revenge, why else?”
A Slytherin to the core, Ron thought in an amusedly scared way. “You see I would have thought that you were smarter than tha--”
Swift and deadly as a viper, her dagger was at his throat again. “Smarter than what?” she hissed, green eyes blazing.
Ron gulped, and bit back a hiss as he felt the blade pierce into his skin. He could feel a trickle of blood run down his neck. He had to step carefully, he had to be… Like Harry.
The thought popped unbidden in his mind. It was almost like a torrent of emotions. Ron did everything that he could to keep the flood gates from opening. He couldn’t break down in front of her, he couldn’t cry, because she would think that he was crying because he was about to die. What would Hermione think?
And that was what stopped the emotions. He would be strong for Hermione. He could do this. Think like Hermione. “Well,” he answered, taking a deep breath and shifting about to what felt like a more casual, indifferent position, “You can never be happy if you take revenge on someone. Neither can you set them free from what they did, in this case, I did to you. What you can do, however, is use them, or save them, for a favor. When the time comes, they have to pay up. If not, only then can you justly kill them. You’re a Slytherin,” he said, as if it explained everything, “You’re supposed to use every situation to your best advantage. Unless you’re blinded by revenge--”
“Be quiet,” Pansy said, with a calm, yet still angry voice. She was the biggest oxymoron that he had ever met. Not that he would tell her so. He watched as a pondering look came over her eyes; he instantly became more relaxed. A small thrill of happiness flooded his veins. He had done it!
She turned away from him, tapping the dagger hilt against her lips, eyes expression wandering off into space. He took a deep breath. He had another chance to live. And he was pretty sure that he would do--
“Alright. But only because you’ve convinced me,” She said, whirling around, the crazy look back in her eye.
“Well, how can I help you?” Ron asked, voice calm. He was jaded, he was angst, and this seemed to be an outlet for his aggression.
“I want you to help me kill Malfoy out of the game,” She answered with such vengeance that it made his toes curl. Her teeth were bared into a slashing grin.
His brows raised. “I have no problem helping you do that, but can I ask why?”
Pansy slashed his bonds and raised one brow at him, making her face impossible to read. She was trouble. Then, with a smile in her voice, she answered, “Well, you could say I have a little wager.”
And then she filled him in on the plan. But never again, did she mention the wager.
Too bad poor little Ron didn’t know that by doing what this new bombshell asked him too, he would hurt his poor Hermione. It was a shame that the fates of Fliadopia didn’t care a bit about his feelings.
She had never been so unbelieving in her life. Her eyes went as big as saucers as she saw a ship blow through the two water spouts. It was a sodding miracle that she even saw it anyway. She had been angry, ticked even, at Theo’s arrival, and decided that having a staring competition with the horizon was the best way to go.
And this is what it got her. “Hand me the spyglass,” Hermione said, voice lethal, to Theo, who was standing beside her. He was on ‘parole’, or so she called it. She wanted to make sure he knew how everything on a ship worked.
With his aristocratically disheveled black hair, and cool amber eyes, he was certainly a delicious confection. He leaned behind her lazily, taking in her every move. He pulled a golden spyglass out of his belt and handed it over to her. She gave him a tight smile of thanks and looked into the spyglass, aiming it at the ship which was now heading towards them with purpose. This was not good, not good at all.
She pulled out the glass a few notches, so she could see better. The ship before her was quiet ordinary; in fact, it looked like an extra ship off the harbor of Fliadopia. Maybe merchants? She could pillage it…
She assessed the ship as it got closer in the glass; it was well armed, in fact….
Oh no. Oh, no, no, no…. She snapped the spyglass shut, and whirled around to Theo. “Go tell Blaise that we’ve got company. Looks like the pirate catchers are after us.”
He leaned off the wall and gave her a smirk. “Go do it yourself,” he answered lazily, but pushed off the pole anyway. He tossed his jet hair in the wind that was picking up and lazed down the stairs, every movement at ease. But his pace was quick, she could see that.
“All men to the rigging!” Hermione shouted. “We’ve got company!”
The energy suddenly picked up like the wind, and her crew was moving about in haste, trying to get things ready. Blaise’s dark skin drew her eye as he came flashing into view. He was by her side instantly. “Course of action?”
Hermione looked him dead in the eye. “Would I be a pirate, to run away?”
He threw her a grin. “I guess not. You wouldn’t be Captain Hell either if you did that. So we eradicate them, yeah?” He asked, a twinkle in his eyes. This was going to be fun.
“That’s the plan,” Hermione answered, grabbing her own spyglass out of her pocket. “Take a look.”
He took the glass from her hands and tried to adjusted.
Hermione continued, “It has a side of canons, one that we’ll have to worry about, and then there’s the triads in the front, and then--”
“Hermione,” Blaise interrupted, voice deadly calm.
This time, she heard the fatality in his voice. Suddenly, an odd fear gripped her. She took in his clenched jaw, his ebony skin looked paler than normal, and then there were his hands…. They were threatening to crush her spyglass. “What is it?” Hermione asked, struggling to remain calm.
Blaise pulled the glass from his face, but he kept on looking at the ship, indecision mixed on his face. He held out the glass to her; his hand was trembling a little. She took it from him, hers trembling all the same. She didn’t like this. She didn’t like it one bit.
She put the spyglass to her eye and adjusted to focus. The first thing she saw was a bright head of pale blonde hair at the helm. And then she saw the pale, grey eyes….
The spyglass clattered to the ground, her hand frozen in the air. She lowered it slowly, and then turned to Blaise. “Whose side are you on?” She rasped.
“Yours, of course,” he answered quickly, but she knew. And he knew that she knew. She heard the indecision in his voice. Then the extremity of the situation hit her. She was on a ship, filled with Slytherins galore. If there was something that Slytherins didn’t know, it was honor or loyalty. But loyalty to a Malfoy was something completely different.
“You don’t have to be,” Hermione said, picking up the spyglass and putting it in her pocket. She looked Blaise in his dark eyes. “Fight the extra’s. Leave Malfoy to me. After all, it’s me he’s after.”
“No buts, Blaise,” She rebuked him harshly. “Even if I’m dying, stay away. I’ll deal with this on my own.” Hermione turned away from him, leaving him at the stern, and walked down the stairs. “ALL HANDS TO THE DECK!” She shouted. It took almost half a minute for the crew to assemble.
She looked at them: she could see the want to fight in their faces. Too bad it would be gone soon. “So, either you shoot me, or you fight against this ship.”
No one moved. She was going to have to try another avenue. “I suppose you all want to fight then?”
The crew cheered. Hermione stood, feet apart, arms crossed. “Then I’m going to have to warn you. Draco Malfoy is captain of that ship.”
The cheers died instantly. That’s what I thought. “So, here’s your options. I know you all want to fight, so by all means, fight. The extras will take you if you don’t. But leave Malfoy to me. He's here for me. To kill me. You can say hi and hug him for all you want, but the choice is yours. Kill me before he can, or let him do it. Imagine how angry he'd be if you didn't let him do it himself... " She raised a brow at them, " It’ll be nothing personal if you leave him be. Convene amongst yourselves. Just let me know in half a minute.”
Hermione turned away from them and went back up to the stern, hands behind her back, face impassive. “What did they decide?” Blaise asked.
Hermione kept her eyes on the ship ahead. “I don’t know yet.”
Silence stretched on for several moments. Theodore came up the stairs from the cluster of the crew and walked up to Hermione, and put a gun to your head. Hermione refused to close her eyes. She would be strong. “We’ve made our decision.” Theo’s voice was cold on her ear, almost as cold as the metal pressing into her temple. And then, it was gone. “We’ll fight, with you. Loyalty to the captian and all that. The extra's will be history, but we refuse to raise a sword Malfoy, unless he provokes any of us. Even me. But I don't excpect that will happen. He's here to eradicate you.”
Hermione turned to him, and give him a smile. A real genuine smile. Theodore put a hand in front of his face. “Yeesh, Granger. You’re blinding me!”
Hermione closed her lips in a grin. “Thank you,” she whispered. " I needed the crew's support." She took a deep breath, trying to steady her racing pulse. "You could have just killed me you know."
He rolled his amber eyes. “Well, we figured we’d have some pity on you.”
Hermione’s grin faded. “Oh trust me, I don’t need that. I’m not called 'Captain Hell' for nothing.”
He raised a brow at her chilly tone. “So I’ve heard, so I’ve heard. But I soon shall see if it’s true, I guess.”
Hermione raised a brow in return and crossed her arms. "I suppose you will.”
She turned away from him and shouted orders. She needed everything top notch to win this battle. She had to win. There was no other option. Ropes were tightened at neck-breaking speeds, masts were unfurled for maximum velocity. They were moving fast, and Draco’s ship was getting closer and closer….
Hermione narrowed her eyes as the ship was only 10 meters away from the front of her own. “Get Ready!” She yelled, as it neared the side, “AIM!”, she shouted twisting the wheel so that the Silent Shadow’s front plowed off some of the cannons of the other ship. She almost lost her footing with the ground. “FIRE!”
And then the whole world positively went boom. Hermione flew away from the mast, pulling out her sword, and grabbing a spare from the case by the mast. She stumbled to catch her footing, but once she got it, she didn't loose it. She was driven. It was his time to die.
Smoke filled the air, something had started burning… The sounds of courageous yells from around her filled the air. Swords were clashing in the afternoon light, the sun was a merry watcher. It would seem that they were it’s only entertainment for the day.
Hermione plowed through several extra’s on her way down the stairs to the deck. She decided that killing extra’s was alright. They weren’t really people she knew, they were just… there. But Merlin, there are so many! Hermione bit her lip as she sliced through another extra. She almost stumbled across Theodore’s slashing sword. He threw her a grin as he pierced a hole in an extra‘s chest. Hermione resisted the urge to puke and plowed on. She hadn’t stumbled on any of her own yet… So far, so good.
Her eyes flitted around for that familiar head of blonde hair that infuriated her so much. Where the hell is --
A loud thump met her ears as someone landed right in front of her with the grace of a cat. A rope flew away from where the two feet had landed. Hermione opened her mouth to say something, but was cut short.
Think of the devil, and he shall appear.
And did he make an appearance. He was even more beautiful today than he had ever been. His hair was slicked back and parted to the side, his grey uniform buttoned up to the top. The medals on the side gleamed in the air. His face was without the sheen of sweat; it must have been water defiant. His grey eyes were alive in the smoke and the action. And then, with a regal movement that only he could perform, Draco pulled out his cutlass with a metallic ring and held it out in front of him with a flourish. “Mudblood.”
Hermione held her own out, eyes narrowed. “Pureblood,” she spat back, adrenaline coursing through her veins. It was time for the festivities to begin.
He tapped her sword with his own, a smirk gracing his seductive lips. She hated him with a passion!
“I simply adore how you can make it sound like an insult, Granger. It’s a feat that I’m sure no one else can accomplish but you.” It was amusing, that was for sure.
Hermione narrowed her eyes. “And I suppose you think I should take that as a compliment and say 'thank you'.” Her muscles tensed. She was ready for what was coming. She could do this. She was Hermione Granger, Captain Hell… She could win. She had to win.
He raised a brow. “As it happens, I’m a fan of show, and not tell. I want to hear you scream my name, and beg me for mercy when I’m cutting you to ribbons.” His words moved around his trademark smirk. A mischevious gleam shone his eyes. “That would be enough 'thanks' for me.”
“Well, then it’s a shame to inform you that I’m not the screaming type.”
Draco sighed dramatically, but his eyes were brimming with vengeance. “Oh, I’m so terribly disappointed. Tell me, Granger, do you remember the last time we danced?”
Hermione hit her sword against his and slashed at him. He jumped back and twisted her sword with his own and pushed up against it, bringing them face to face, brow raised. He had almost taken him by surprise. Clever, clever girl.
Hermione smirked, honey eyes wintry. A stray curl fell into her face, her cheeks were flushed pink. “I’m afraid it wasn’t very memorable. So why don’t you remind me?” She asked, twisting away from him. Her sword met his mid air as their swords clashed. He went for her side- she went for his heart. He blocked her and shoved her sword away. Merlin, but he was strong.
'Remind me,' she had said... If that wasn't a challenge, he didn't know what was... But to take her up on it, or to not.. Hmmm...
Draco didn’t move for a moment, as his eyes bored into hers. “Actually, I think I’m going to teach you a new one,” he replied, and then pushed away, meeting her sword for another couple thrusts and parries. Sparks flew into the air as the swords strained to hack the other down…
“Oh, really?” Hermione shouted as her hair came loose and a cannon went off. She lunged and met his sword. “What was wrong with the tango from last time?”
He stopped for a moment, and the smirk fell off of his face. Suddenly, his whole expression became chilling. It sent shivers down her spine. “Because, Granger,” he answered stepping towards her with purpose. “I’m in a salsa mood today.”
Hermione refused to take a step back. She blew her hair out of her eyes and clenched her jaw. “Well, that's great, then. I’ll bring the chips.”
Suddenly, an amused quirk of his lips appeared as his gaze bored into hers. “That’s good, because I’m hungry.”
Hermione laughed suddenly, a sound that rippled across the ship. Suddenly, the air became much more optimistic. She looked him in the grey eyes with a quirky grin on her face and tapped her sword with his.
He looked at her face as a grin spread over it. And then, she did the last thing that he expected her to… She laughed. The sound bloomed in his chest, he felt his own lips quirking into a smile. Even with her overlarge eyes, shining with anticipation, her hair frizzed, and her being a Mudblood, she looked…. Striking. That was all. His eyes roved over her ecstatic face, her smile, her eyes, her lips… He felt… strange, somehow. And then those lips moved. Those soft, pink, lips....
“You do realize how absurd this conversation is, right?” She said with another rippling laugh, showing her near perfect teeth.
That sound again… It was infectious. Did she know what she was doing?!? It was enticing. He wanted to laugh too, he felt it, he wanted to smile too, wanted to kiss--
And then he flipped the switch. ‘
Hermione saw it happen right in front of her eyes. Just as the ice was beginning to thaw, it froze over in his eyes with such speed, that it was hard to tell if it had ever began thawing in the first place… But she had seen it, she was sure she had…
He narrowed his eyes at her. The fun and games were over. “Well then, I guess it’s time to start the meal. I hope you like being the appetizer.”
Hermione stepped back warily, muscles tense and reading to spring. “As long as you like being the dessert.”
He flashed her a slash of a smile, teeth stark even against his pale skin. “Always, Granger, with a cherry on top.”
Suddenly, the conversation was over. The air crackled with energy. Neither moved.
And then, without words, they lunged for each other.
The feast had begun, and it was anyone’s guess as to who would get to use the multi-colored toothpicks at the end of the day…
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