Chapter 35 : Come Sail Away
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Harry looked up from his History of Magic assignment and thought it a relief to finally be finished with his summer homework. After a day or two of allowing his sons to relax, their perfectionist professor father had decided that they needed to start on their summer homework.
Ignoring their groans of protest, Severus stated, "No arguments, no whining, just do as you're told, boys. The sooner you get those assignments out of the way, the more time you'll have to do what you really want. I won't have you struggling to complete your homework a mere week before the new term begins. Now get out your books, quills, and parchment. You have two hours of study time a day. Complain and I'll double it and make you do the laundry by hand."
They subsided after that dire threat. Doing the laundry by hand was one of the worst punishments ever invented, since Prince Manor did not have a modern washer and dryer, only a very old hand wringing washing machine and a clothesline. They had done the laundry by hand for weeks last summer and neither Draco nor Harry ever wished to repeat the experience.
"Why do we have to get stuck with an educational drill sergeant for a father?" grumbled Draco once Severus was safely out of earshot. "We just got home and he's already making us do assignments! Merlin's bloody quill!"
"Did you really expect he wouldn't?" Harry asked, sharpening a quill. "You've known him longer than I have, Dragon. Now hush, and just read or whatever. I don't want him to come in here and give us double study time and laundry, do you?" He knew that his brother just liked to blow off steam complaining, but he didn't want to suffer for Draco's mouth.
Draco shuddered. "Hell, no! One summer was enough! I thought I'd be crippled for life." He picked up his Charms book and started reading the chapter.
By the time the week ended, Harry was rather glad Severus had insisted upon them doing the assignments right away. Not only were they done and over with, but he found he actually recalled the class lessons so it didn't take him ages to remember something, as it would have at the end of the summer.
Sunday night, he was walking over near the pond, where Draco was happily fishing, and he saw Frost winging her way towards him. His mouth split in a grin like an alligator's. "It's Katie! She's finally written to me!" he told his brother excitedly.
"Pipe down, Harry!" said Draco irritably. "You're scaring the fish with your loud mouth."
"Oh. Sorry. Guess I got carried away," Harry said in a quieter tone. Frost landed neatly on his shoulder, Harry fed her a treat and stroked her. "Hey, girl. How do you like your new mistress? Bet she pays you lots of attention, huh?" He gently took the envelope from her left talon." Thank you. Will you wait for a reply?"
Frost trilled an affirmative.
Harry tore open the envelope. It was from Katie.
Hope your summer is going well. I just finished all my summer work, wanted to get it out of the way. Now it's done and I can fix up my little clipper ship, that's a small sailboat, and take her out to go crabbing and fishing. Remember I promised I'd invite you over for the weekend? Well, how does Saturday, Sunday, and Monday morning sound? My dad and mum aren't doing anything and look forward to meeting you and Draco and Professor Snape. Please do say you'll come! My address is Sandpiper Lane, Devon. It's right by the sea. You can Floo there. Smidgen is welcome too!
How is your Runespoor doing?
I really love Frost, she's so cool!
"So . . .what'd she say?" drawled his brother, sticking his pole in the ground and leaning back upon his elbows lazily. "Did she find another boy that was better looking than you?"
Harry pretended to look offended. "Of course not! I'm a Snape, and we're all chick magnets."
Draco laughed softly. "I really can't argue with that. You going to tell me what she said, or do I have to play twenty questions?"
"She said she wants us to come for the weekend and meet her parents and go out on her boat. We're all invited, even Smidgen." Harry was beaming. "Think Dad will say yes?"
"Why wouldn't he? We're not grounded and we finished all our homework."
"I know, but I was thinking that maybe he needed to teach me more about the manor or something."
"Why don't you go and ask him and let me fish in peace. I can't concentrate when you're talking."
"Oh, like you're concentrating now," Harry mocked. "You look so busy, brother."
"I am. Busy calling the fish."
"Right. Tell me another one."
Suddenly a fish leaped up and down and tugged on Draco's line.
"Told you so," his brother said smugly, and began to reel it in.
"Damn! How'd you do that?"
"Natural talent." Draco gently eased the fish through the water.
"You going to fish on Katie's boat too?"
"Do wizards use wands?" Draco snorted. "I can't believe you asked me that."
Harry shook his head, only then realizing how stupid that question was. "Never mind, I'm going to ask Dad." He took off running towards the house, leaving his brother to land the struggling trout.
Severus read Katie's letter and then said, "I would like to speak with her parents first before I agree to this. I don't want us arriving unannounced and unexpected."
"Okay. I guess you can Floo them or something."
"I'll go and do that." Severus said.
Edward and Marissa Bell assured Severus that it was perfectly all right to come for a visit for the weekend. They looked forward to it. "We have heard nothing but good things about you and your boys since Katie's been home," Marissa said. "We would be honored to have you stay at Misty Mount."
"Then I shall accept, and thank you." Severus said. "What time shall we come?"
"Oh, why not come around eleven? We'll have lunch on the veranda." Marissa said.
"Eleven it is."
Harry went to pack as soon as Severus told him the good news. He found Smidgen snoozing on the window ledge in a patch of sunshine. "Smidgen, we're going to visit Katie, would you like to come?"
Smidgen yawned. :I see in your thoughts that her home is by the sea. I have never been overfond of salt water, Harry. Besides, with my wing injured, I dare not travel far from the manor. Here I am safe from predators, but out there . . .Forgive me, Harry, but I must decline. I simply need a rest. The battle took more out of me than I thought.:
"Oh . . .okay. Have a nice rest then." Harry said, tossing some of his clothes into a duffel. He was so excited he was practically walking on air. He couldn't wait to see his Katie again.
Saturday June 30th:
The Snapes stepped from the Floo into a large wood-paneled room that reminded Harry of a captain's cabin, since the walls were decorated with various seaman's gear, plus a gigantic mounted sailfish. A coil of rope was mounted on an opposite wall and also a plaque citing an award for Best Sea Wizard of 1993. There was a large seascape across from the fireplace where the ocean really moved and roared and the wind blew and a boat rocked upon the waves. The furniture was made of wood and a thick blue and white striped canvas with huge fluffy throw pillows. A low rattan table was in front of the large sofa and it had a tray with a pitcher of lemonade and a pot of tea plus cups and saucers and sugar and cream. A stair wound its way upwards off to the left and to the right was a large sliding glass door that led out to a lovely cedar veranda.
Hurricane sconce lamps lit the room and a fan spun about in the ceiling, cooling the air in broad sweeps.
A tall woman with blond hair hanging in a long braid down her back entered the room. She wore casual white capris and a long green tunic. Green enamel starfish hung from her ears and she smiled welcomingly at Severus, Harry, and Draco. Her deep blue eyes twinkled merrily. "Hello, I'm Marissa. Welcome to Misty Mount."
She came over and shook all of their hands and Severus introduced her to his sons.
"Ed is out on the Sea Lady, fishing for our lunch," Marissa said. Then she looked up the stairs and called, "Katie, the Snapes are here!"
A few moments later, Katie descended the stairs, she was dressed in a sweet ocean blue swimsuit with matching sandals and a white terrycloth robe.
Harry's eyes nearly fell out of his head. He had never seen Katie in anything except her school or Quidditch uniform and the swimsuit really revealed her fine looking body, fit and trim and her long legs. Merlin! She's so hot!
"Harry! Professor! Draco! You're here!" Katie cried, and practically flew down the last few stairs.
She got to Harry first and threw her arms about him and hugged him. "I know it's only been a week, but I've missed you so much!" She gave him a kiss, a very small one, on the cheek.
"Missed you too," he whispered, then he hugged her back.
She withdrew a few minutes later and gave Draco a hug too and then she ven hugged Severus, saying, "Welcome to my home, I'm so happy you came! We're going to have such fun this weekend!"
"Katie, why don't you show the Snapes where they can put their things?" suggested Marissa.
"Right. This way, up the stairs to starboard. That's sailor talk for the right of a ship." Katie explained at Draco's frown. "Oh, and there's a surprise waiting for you inside." She indicated a large room to the left. "I hope you don't mind sharing. This room is big enough for four people, its where my cousins used to stay when they visited for awhile."
She threw open the door to the room.
Sitting on a chair next to a rolltop desk was Hermione.
She was also dressed in a swimsuit, only hers was pink with small flowers and she had pulled her bushy hair back into a tail. Her robe was pink and matched her suit and so were her flipflops.
She jumped up when she saw them. "Hi, Draco!"
"'Mione! You're the surprise?" he gasped, pulling her into his arms.
"Yes. Like it?"
"I love it!" he laughed, and bussed her lightly on the mouth.
Hermione colored a little, then she turned to greet Harry and Severus.
"Hello, Miss Granger. Enjoying your summer?" Severus asked, an amused gleam in his eye.
"Yes, sir! Err . . .Katie, why don't we go downstairs and see if your mum needs help."
"Okay. There's some refreshments in the den and Dad ought to be back with the catch of the day in an hour. I hope you all like seafood."
"We do," Draco said. "And I can't wait to see your boat, Katie."
"I'll show her to you after lunch." Katie promised, then the girls withdrew, leaving the men alone to unpack.
"Dad, did you know Hermione would be here?" asked Draco. "You didn't seem really surprised when you saw her."
Severus waved his wand at his bag and it started to unpack itself. "Hermione has a tendency to show up in unexpected places."
"You knew!" Draco accused.
"I suspected," Severus corrected, ignoring the indignant looks his son was shooting him behind his back.
Harry smothered a giggle and said, "What's the big deal? Aren't you glad Hermione's here?"
"Of course I am. It's just . . .oh, never mind!" Draco huffed and then he started to unpack too.
The room had two large fourposters, covered in a soft blue wave pattern, and the furnishings were sturdy maple, two armoires, two long dressers with a mirror between, plus the desk and two chairs and a chaise. There was even an attached bathroom.
"Nice," Harry murmured appreciatively. "Very nice."
After a delicious lunch of fresh caught sea bass and a cucumber salad, chips, lemonade and tea and crumpets, the four teenagers bid farewell to the adults and went down to the dock to see Katie's sailboat. Ed, Katie's father, a large man with a shock of dark hair and sunbrowned skin who was quite dashing, called after them, "If you decide to take her out, let me know, Katie girl. The weather's due to shift, I can sense it."
Edward was a Sea Wizard, meaning he specialized in magics dealing with the ocean, wind, weather, and sea creatures. He could calm a sudden squall and sail any sort of craft and he loved fishing. Draco was tempted to stay and talk with him some more, for it was rare he met another wizard who shared his passion for fishing, but he didn't want to be a bore and he dearly wished to spend time with Hermione.
"Will do, Captain," Katie called over her shoulder. "All us Bells call my dad 'captain', cause he's the best Sea Wizard among us. He won that award hanging in the den."
The boys were suitably impressed. "Why is your house called Misty Mount?" asked Harry curiously.
"Because we're on an overlook that gets tons of mist in the morning. You'll see what I mean tomorrow."
They picked their way down a long trail to a long weathered wood dock where a sleek white with red and blue striped sailboat was tied. She flew a Union Jack and blue flag with a golden bell surmounted by a leaping dolphin embroidered on it. "That's the Bell crest. And here's Sea Treasure, my pride and joy." Katie gestured at the sailboat.
Draco whistled at the trim craft, twenty-eight feet from stem to stern, with four sails, a small bridge, and a cabin and hold beneath. "She's wicked, Katie! How's she sail?" His voice, while admiring, was also tinged with envy.
"Like a dream." Katie chuckled, and then she hopped easily over the rail and onto the boat. "Come on over, guys!"
Once they were all on the boat, Katie said, "Welcome aboard! Over here's the wheel, and the cabin, and the hold's fully stocked with provisions and everything. Here's the life buoys and a rowboat, just in case we capsize . . ."
"Capsize?" Hermione said worriedly.
"Which has never happened. I'm a good sailor."
"How long have you had her?" asked Harry.
"Since I was fourteen. She was a birthday present. I've never loved anything like I love her . . .except you," she added impishly. "I've been on boats since I could walk, so the sea's no stranger to me, but its different when you have your own ship and are mistress of her."
"You fish on her?"
"Yup. And crab too. Would you like me to take her out?" Katie asked, her eyes glowing.
All of them nodded eagerly.
"Okay, let me tell the Captain." Katie said, and she pulled out a mirror made from a polished purple oyster shell. She laughed at their expressions. "This was Dad's idea. He's so old-fashioned." She breathed upon the mirror to activate it. "Captain, we'll be going out for a little while."
They could not hear Edward's reply, but Katie answered, "Aye, aye, sir. We won't be out for more than three hours." Then the mirror went dark and she stuffed it back in its pouch and stowed it in a small chest attached to the deck. "Okay, better take your seats," she waved to the upholstered benches built into the side of the boat. "We're heading out."
They all sat down, even Draco, though Harry could tell he was itching to stand up on the bridge and see how Katie maneuvered the clipper. She climbed about the boat with the ease of a monkey, casting off the lines, unfurling the sail with a quick gesture, and then hopping up to the bridge to take the wheel and set her course.
It was a beautiful sunny day, seagulls flew overhead, singing a raucous chorus, and the wind filled the sails and reminded Harry of plump pillows. Slowly, the ship started to move. Draco twisted about and peered over the side, looking for fish or something.
"Draco, be careful you don't fall over," cautioned Hermione.
"'Mione, I'm just looking, not leaning. Don't worry." He inhaled a deep gulp of the sea air. "Ahhh! I should have been born a Viking. Or a Sea Wizard. I love the ocean. How about you, Harry?"
"Uh . . .it's the first time I'm even seeing the ocean. I'll tell you how I feel later, when we're back on land." Actually, he was starting to feel a bit queasy from the rocking and swaying and from the look of things, so was Hermione.
Draco saw and dug in his pocket for a potion. "Here, you two. Drink a swallow or two of this." He passed Hermione the potion first.
"What is it?"
"Motion Sickness Draft. Try it. It'll keep your lunch where it belongs."
She uncorked the vial and drank. Immediately she felt better. "Thanks, Draco. That really helped. Although I don't know why I felt nauseous. I've been on boats before. My dad used to always take me on the dentist outings and we sometimes went fishing and I never felt this way."
"Were those fishing boats sailboats?" asked Draco.
"Uh, no. They had motors."
"That's why then."
She handed Harry the potion and he drank it. It tasted like chamomile tea and ginger. Once it began to work, he could sit back and relax. He kept an eye on Katie, who handled the boat like a pro, her movements swift and economical. Much like the way she played Quidditch. Only handling Sea Treasure was much harder than flying a broom. Her competence made him admire her even more. He discovered he liked her independence, the fact that she took charge and didn't look to him to make decisions, the way Ginny had.
That was one of the many reasons, besides the fact that he just wasn't attracted to the youngest Weasley , that a relationship between Ginny and him wouldn't have worked. Ginny looked up to him and admired him, like a hero. But that was not what he wanted or needed. He needed a girl capable of steering her own course, to use a sailing expression, and to tell him when he was wrong without compunction. He also needed a girl who could accept his odd little family, and he knew from overhearing Ron talking to the twins that Ginny distrusted Draco still and didn't really care for Severus either. And Harry refused to go out with a girl who had reservations about his family. He had waited too long to have one to allow a girl to disrupt their lives.
With Katie, that was not a problem. She had no prejudices with Slytherins or vampires, ghosts and all. Which was, after all, the most important thing.
The wind blew a small amount of sea spray into his face and it felt good. The ocean seemed to stretch on forever as they drew away from the inlet and headed into the blbreakers, but soon they were out far enough to not get jostled.
Harry peeked at Hermione and Draco, who were snuggled together, and seemed oblivious to anything but each other. Which was rare for Draco, given his passion for fishing, and rarer still for Hermione, who usually had her nose buried in a book. His mouth twitched in a smile and then he stood up and made his way to the bridge.
"Are we going to some big fish haven soon?"
"Yes We're almost there and then I can break out my crab traps and fishing gear. How are you liking it so far?"
"It's great! How fast can she go?"
"Very fast," Katie said. "This sort of ship was a sailboat racer and later a cutter to bring home smuggled goods. She's fast, she's light, absolutely a joy to sail." She patted the bulkhead fondly. "Let me show you what she's got." She spun the wheel and whistled up a wind and in no time at all they were whipping through the waves.
Harry clung to the top rail of the bridge and shrieked in glee. His hair blew back from his head and he kept a hand on his glasses. He loved the feel of the wind in his face and the tang of salt laden air hitting his nostrils. "This is unbelievable!"
"Told you you'd love it! Katie laughed. Her hair was whipped about and a few drops of salt water fell on her head. Never had she look quite so appealing as she did then, with her hair all windblown and her cheeks reddened, wearing that swimsuit that revealed her well muscled legs and thighs and . . .he tore his gaze away, before he did something ungentlemanly that would result in her father hexing him to death.
He threw his arms about her and kissed her, a true kiss this time, with all the passion and fervor within him.
"Whoa! Easy there, loverling! I have to steer the boat, you know!" she giggled.
"Sorry." He made as if to leave.
She pulled him back. "You can stay, Harry. Just try not to . . .distract me like that again, okay?"
"Okay. Are we almost to the fishing spot?"
"Yes, Mr. Impatience. Here, watch me, and I'll try and teach you a little about how to sail . . ."
She began jabbering away about main masts and main sails and jibs and he tried to focus on her, but all he kept remembering was how good she had tasted and how he longed to put his arms about her and when she leaned over like that his mouth went dry with longing and he had to remind himself to keep his hands where they belonged . . .
Abruptly, she gestured, and a large anchor flew over the side. She spun the wheel sideways and Sea Treasure turned, Katie carefully brought the ship about broadside and then furled a few sails. "All right, we're here. Let's do some fishing and crabbing!"
"Uh, Katie? Where do we keep the fish and crabs we catch?" asked Hermione.
"In these big coolers spelled to be freezing," Katie replied, indicating two wide coolers stacked to one side of the cabin.
She opened the hatch to the hold and climbed down. She returned a few minutes later with several bulky wire cages and a bucket of bait, which was pieces of raw chicken, gotten from another cooler. "Here we go. Let me show you how to bait the crab traps and tie them up and toss them over."
Once she had shown all of them what to do, it wasn't hard, she Summoned the fishing poles and tackle box up to the top deck and started baiting hooks with practiced ease.
Draco, finished with his crab trap, came over and took a pole and asked, "What sort of fish swim in these waters?"
"Lots of different ones. Sea bass, chubs, flounder, blue fish."
"Sounds like a fish paradise." Draco licked his lips. One of his favorite meals was fried fish. He chose a position well away from Katie and cast his line with one lazy flick of his wrist.
"Nice cast!" Katie praised.
"Thanks!" Draco said, giving her a smile.
"Umm . . .can someone show me how to do that?" asked Hermione.
"Sure." Katie said, and began giving Hermione a lesson on how to cast a fishing pole and reel it in.
Harry took a pole and cast on the opposite side, not too near the crab traps cast off the stern of the boat.
In about five minutes, Katie had a bite, and reeled in a nice two pound chub. Harry cheered and hoped he would get a bite soon.
Twenty minutes later, all of them had caught fish of varying kinds and sizes, though there were a few that got away. So far Draco had the prize for the largest fish, a four pound sea bass. Harry and Hermione pulled up the crab traps, and found four large crabs within them.
Katie demonstrated how to open the traps and make the crabs fall into the deep cooler. They would be half frozen by the time they arrived back at Misty Mount.
Though the day was warm, none of them were sunburned because Katie had cast a Repel Sunlight charm on them.
They were so engrossed in fishing and discussing new ways to eat the food that they forgot to keep an eye upon the weather. One minute the sky was clear and full of sun, and the next large storm clouds were gathering on the horizon. Katie looked up from tugging another crab trap from the water and saw the looming thunderheads and swore. "Ah . . .bloody hell!"
"What? What is it?" Harry asked, alarmed.
"Reel everything in! Quick! We have to weigh anchor and get out of here. There's a storm off the port bow!" she cried. She began pulling up the traps and sending them below.
Her friends quickly pulled in their lines and she vanished the bait from the hooks and sent them below too and then she fastened the hatch. She directed Draco to haul up the anchor, while she unfurled the sails. "Sit down, quickly! We're going to come about and see if we can outrun this!"
Hermione, Harry, and Draco obeyed, and once her passengers were safe, Katie allowed the wind to billow the sails and they began racing the storm towards the shore with everything they had.
Come on, baby! Come on! Katie silently urged her clipper. She had once ridden out a storm at sea upon her father's bigger Sea Lady and she had been terrified and had no wish to repeat the experience or have her friends repeat it. Sea Treasure was flying before the angry clouds, but even under full sail, she knew it would be close. And she dared not tamper with the weather to try and turn the storm, lest she cause it to worsen. A novice weatherworker could do more harm than good.
Her friends were sitting below, white-faced and frightened, and the best she could do was smile encouragingly.
The sea roughened and the waves began to smack the side of the sailboat hard. Katie gritted her teeth and called, "Harry! Reach below you and find the life vests! Put them on! Just in case."
Harry scrambled to do so, handing a life vest to each, and then he made his way up to the bridge and handed her one as well. "Katie, how bad is it? Do you think we'll need these?" He indicated the orange vest.
"I don't know. But it's best to be prepared. Go below, Harry." She ordered, fighting the wheel to keep the ship on course.
Thank goodness he had the sense to listen to her, for she couldn't spare a moment to talk to him right then. The ship was demanding every ounce of her attention and all of her seamanship skills learned at her father's knee.
The wind whipped the waves to a froth and started tearing the sail. She heard an ominous ripping sound above her, and then heard Draco call, "Katie! The right front sail's torn!"
"Dammit!" she cried, and muttered a quick Repair Charm and then she furled it. She couldn't afford to lose a sail.
Of course, that slowed their progress homeward, and the storm chased them and caught them soon afterwards.
Sea Treasure was tossed about upon the suddenly gigantic waves, and Katie fought the screaming wind to furl the rest of the sails before the wind ripped them to shreds. Rain began to lash the deck, cold and hard, and all of them shivered. Katie opened her mouth to tell them to go below when Hermione screamed and pointed to her right.
Katie turned and saw a huge tidal wave sweeping towards them. Oh blessed Merlin! She tried to spin the wheel about to see if she could blunt the force of the gigantic wave, but the fifteen foot wave hit Sea Treasure hard, picking up the slender craft and twirling it about like a child's top before smashing it down.
Sea Treasure tilted and stood on end before flipping over and depositing her passengers and captain into the raging surf.
One of my famous cliffies!
What will they do now and when will the Captain and Severus discover that they're in danger?
I hope you liked Katie's home and their trip aboard the Sea Treasure so far! This chapter took me longer than expected to write because of work and my mother becoming sick, so please excuse the delay and any typos. Thanks everyone! Oh, and please leave a review! I really like getting them and read them all, even if I don't have time to respond to all of them. I hope nobody is growing bored with this story, or think it's too long. I recently had a review for Arms of a Dark Angel on P & S, where the reader complained that story was too long and dragged on and on. I would hope that's not the case here and asked the person why she continued reading if the story bored her.
There's lots more to come over the summer in this story and I wouldn't want anyone reading it to think it was boring, I felt that Katie, Draco, Harry, and Hermione needed to have a summer adventure together and test their mettle. Plus I enjoy stormy weather stories.
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