“There was a ship—”
One of the smaller hunters began to wail. The dismal truth was beginning to filter through to everybody.’ (--pg. 71)
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: The Berkley Publishing Group, 1954.
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By Queen of Serpents
Disclaimer:The story is loosely based on the theme of Lord of the Flies by William Golding. I am fortunate to be able to use the characters of Harry Potter but alas I do not own them.
Author's Note: Once again I apologize for the delay! I’ve been moving to a new house and things were getting a bit crazy back home so there was no time for fanfiction. Plus I had no internet connection for a month!! Could you believe that? I was dying!
Important Note: With HBP out and about, the 6th year of Harry Potter's life told and offical, this story has now become a complete AU (Alternate Universe). For a while, I was thinking about rewriting this to make sure it adhered to HBP and the new canon developments but then I thought to myself and realized it wouldn't be fair to anyone, and it wouldn't follow canon regardless of any of my changes so there's no real point.
So, since I wrote this story before HBP, it will remain to “function” as though HBP never happened.
That doesn’t mean it will be completely out of character and I will chuck canon out the window, of course I won’t. It simply means that as you read, you’ll have to forget a number of things: you’ll have to pretend the man who died didn’t die, there is no such thing of a Half-Blood Prince, a certain favorite character of mine did not have to do what he/she did, and certain pairings will either be ignored or altered slightly to fit my needs.
So it’s a straight up AU fic, with plausible reasoning. Of course I’m not going to have the character stuck on an island just because I want them to, there’s a hidden reason… a plot with a mixture about the Ministry, Hogwarts, and of course about Voldemort. So it’s not one of those, ‘Oh, I want to change canon because I’m a loser who doesn’t care about the books but my own imagination’. Sure it’s going to be an AU but the reasons behind everything will have a plausible reason and there will be Magic, there will be Voldemort and his threats. You’ll just have to forget you read HBP whenever you read Stranded though. :)
So with that said, I present to you the next chapter which has been fixed and perfected by my lovely beta, Pakrika!
Chapter Five: Of Doom and Desolation
With heavy hearts and disappointment written across their faces, the stranded students from Hogwarts hurried toward their brave classmates, whose attempt at rescue had failed.
Hermione ran to Harry once she caught sight of his pale and shaken form. He had not been as injured as the others, and escaped the crazy broomstick ride with only a few minor scrapes and burns on the palm of his hand from the broom.
She flung her arms around him with tears spilling from her eyes. She actually had hoped that Harry would save the day once again like always, but it didn’t happen this time.
“Oh, Harry!” she sobbed. “I honestly thought—” she broke off, unable to continue. “Damn this!” she said suddenly pounding her fist on Harry’s shoulder. “Why are we stuck here? Who kept us here?” Her tears were blurring her vision and Harry tried to soothe her by rubbing her back, but he was just as distressed as she was and he couldn’t quite soothe himself, let alone his friend.
“That’s a good question, Granger,” Hermione hastily broke away from Harry and wiped her tears when she heard Draco’s voice behind her. A blush crept up to her cheeks and she tried to distance herself from Harry as much as possible when she realized she was in his arms far too long than necessary. She didn’t want Draco to think…something that really wasn’t the case. Although why she cared what Draco assumed, she didn’t know. Well, she had a slight idea but she didn’t want to go there. At least…not now.
“Perhaps if we knew the motive and the nature of this island, we could find a way to disable the force-field and leave.” Draco told her while walking towards the two of them.
Hermione nodded her head in agreement. It was a good theory on how to approach the matter of the force field. It was the only thing that was in the way of them getting rescued and finding out what the force field really was would give a clue to how to find a loophole and get off of the island.
“Perhaps your intellectual mind could figure it out,” Draco added. “For now, let us go and see how the Weasleys fare. I hear much commotion from there, and they had dropped down pretty harshly.” Draco added with a frown, although Hermione could sense amusement dancing in his eyes.
Suddenly, his words registered in her mind. “Oh God, Ron! I forgot about him!” She took Harry’s hand and tugged on it. “C’mon Harry, let’s go see if he’s alright.”
“Before you go!” Draco called out, making them halt in their tracks. The Slytherin’s voice suddenly became grave and serious. “I just wanted to say that the idea of flying out to get help was a good one and it’s a shame that it didn’t work but—”
“Don’t say a thing, Malfoy,” Harry interrupted. His voice was strained with frustration and worry and he had interpreted Draco’s serious voice to be mocking, not sympathetic. “I don’t need to you say ‘I told you so.’ I know you were right, okay?” He grasped Hermione’s hand tightly and pulled her away. “C’mon Hermione. Let’s go.”
Draco’s face hardened and he scowled darkly. Hermione, who was being pulled away from Harry, turned her head and gave him an apologetic look. Draco saw the look and his face immediately softened, but it did nothing to rid him of his foul mood.
One should never try to act gentlemanly with one’s enemy, he concluded with a sneer.
Pansy Parkinson rubbed her belly. The hunger that was formulating there earlier that day had intensified a tenth-fold. She sighed and remembered the last thing she ate. It was a ripe banana which filled her considerably but now, hours later, as she wandered back along the beach, her hunger swelled. Try as she might, she could not find the location of the bananas again anywhere. She would have to go on another night hungry and alone.
Suddenly, she spun around with her eyes keen and ears alert. She heard a noise, one that was closer than any of the other ones she heard. The sound of the shell and other such noises were always far and distant, and never felt dangerous. However, the source of this noise, the sound of something falling harshly from the sky, had made her tremble.
Before this noise, she had a feeling that survival and freedom would eventually come. Hope was forever in her mind. However, suddenly; without reason, that hope vanished, and only a deep void and spreading loneliness remained.
It was too dark to see clearly, but Hermione was able to make out the form of Ron; he was lying on the ground a few feet away. There was a crowd of students surrounding him, but they made room for Hermione and Harry to rush to Ron’s side.
At once, Hermione noticed the acute look of pain in Ron’s eyes and lifted his head to rest it on her lap. She chewed the inside of her cheek in worry and nervousness.
“Ron,” she called out to him, slapping his cheeks lightly. His eyes were beginning to roll to the back of his head and he was beginning to lose consciousness.
Harry was checking his pulse, and then examined his body to check for injuries and broken bones. “Nothing’s broken and he has a faint pulse. Maybe the shock of his broom falling down without his control was too much for him.”
“Plus he’s weak,” Draco added. He was standing behind Harry, his wand lit so that he could see Ron’s pale complexion better. Hermione looked up and caught Draco’s eyes, which were dark and eerie due to the light coming from the top of his wand. His lips showed the signs of a faint smile. Pleased for some unknown reason, Hermione quickly looked back at Ron to stop the temptation of smiling back at him. “He ate a lot of those berries and threw up a lot too. It must have taken a load out of him.”
“Yeah, he’s right. What Ron needs is rest, food, and a few healing charms to mend those cuts and bruises,” Hermione said. She turned her head to inspect the other two Weasleys, who were presently getting up with twisted smiles on their faces.
“That was wicked--,” Fred said, his eyes twinkling, despite the obvious pain he was in.
“—Crazy. Thrilling,” George was continuing.
Hermione shook her head and smiled at their optimism. The twins had a knack for turning dangerous situations into something fun. They took out their wands and healed themselves. The crowd began to disperse after the Weasley twins were back on their feet, and headed back towards camp to get ready to sleep.
Ron, it seemed, was fast asleep with his head lying on Hermione’s lap. She looked up helplessly at Harry when it became apparent that Ron wouldn’t wake up and would remain resting his head on her lap the night through. Her legs were beginning to get numb and she would’ve pushed Ron’s head away but his head was too heavy.
“Harry, would you mind trying to get Ron off of me!” Hermione hissed in annoyance. Harry chuckled and then took out his wand, and wordlessly levitated Ron off of her. Hermione, with difficultly, tried to get the feeling back into her legs and watched as Harry took Ron away towards camp.
She followed Harry and the floating Ron soon afterward and immediately felt a wave of gloominess and dread engulf her. Everyone seemed to be tired and every once and a while a sigh would rise out of a frustrated and drained person and would fill the place with even more unhappiness. They all seemed to be without any hope, as though they finally accepted the fact they were never going to be saved.
“What’s wrong?” Harry asked Neville in a whisper after he set Ron down.
Neville frowned and was silent for a few seconds before replying, “Well, with you guys unable to get off and find out a way to get rescued, everyone basically thinks we won’t ever get off the island.”
“And let’s face it,” Seamus said as he approached Harry and sat on top of a log, “since when was Snape every that trusty, and who knows whether Malfoy’s telling the truth or just trying to keep our hopes up. Though why he would try to make us feel happy is beyond me."
“Right now all we know is that we’re stuck here, and we’re stuck here for good,” Neville added.
Hermione frowned and realized that now would be a good time for one of Draco’s fiery, motivating speeches to temporarily keep everyone hopeful, but the boy was nowhere to be seen. The place was pitch dark all around, and the lights from people’s wands were giving off an eerie blue glow that dampened the already gloomy mood. The trees surrounding them were giving off threatening shadows and the place looked foreboding, fitting perfectly with the feeling of utter doom.
Suddenly, with the weight of his responsibility, threats upon his life, and this new situation they were stuck in, Harry slowly slid down onto the ground and buried his head in his hands.
“Harry? Harry, what’s wrong?” Hermione asked gently. She crouched down on the ground beside him and put a hand on his shoulder for comfort.
He leaned into her touch and took a deep, shuddering breath. “I just—” He exhaled loudly and looked at Hermione in the eye. His glasses were askew and his green eyes were dull and sad. “I just can’t take it anymore. First Voldemort and now all this new drama. It’s too much for me.”
Hermione sat down and took both of his hands in hers. “I can only try to understand what you’re feeling,” she told him quietly. “I just wish we hadn’t listened to Dumbledore and stayed in Hogwarts instead. Everyone’s parents thinks we’re going to New York,” she whispered to him, “when we’re really going to Australia to flee from Voldemort. Now if anyone’s parents really want to look for us, they’ll have trouble since only Order members know where we really are.”
“Agreeing to come on this stupid trip was dumb,” Harry told her. “I can’t believe I agreed to run away instead of fighting off Voldemort then and there.”
Hermione patted Harry’s shoulder. “It’s not your fault. We all thought going to Australia would bide you time so you could be fully trained to take him on. Who would have thought we would be stuck here instead?”
“Yeah,” Harry said. He stared up at the sky and clenched his fists. “If only we found a way to get past that force field.”
“If only,” Hermione agreed. “‘Till then, we could only hope and be optimistic. Enjoy these few days without worrying that Voldemort is out to kill you.”
“Yeah, while he kills everyone else to find out where we are,” Harry replied grumpily.
Hermione shut her mouth and widened her eyes at the realization. So many people would be dying while they were stuck here, unable to help. “At least we might stand a chance to get off of this island if they come out looking for us.”
“Yeah, and be killed before we get out.”
Hermione opened her mouth to say something else optimistic, but she had nothing left to say that would lift Harry’s spirits and allow him to keep hope. He was too stubborn to think positively, and Hermione didn’t blame him. They were doomed and there was nothing they could do about it but accept it.
Hermione shut the enormous book she was browsing and stood up to put it back onto the shelf. As soon as she stood up, she felt an unusual rush of blood reach up to her head, making her dizzy. She clutched her head with one hand and wobbled away from the chair, the book falling off of the desk and on to the floor. The sound of it increased the pounding in her head and she tried to steady herself by holding on to a shelf of a nearby bookcase.
Suddenly, the bookcase toppled over, at first swaying towards her and then going the opposite direction as soon as her scream echoed through the empty library. One bookcase toppled over another in a domino effect until all around her, books were scattered on the floor and shelves lay broken and twisted.
The pounding in her head subsided and she panted heavily, her body shaking from fear of almost being squashed by a heavy bookcase. Soon afterward, she began to worry, wondering what to do and how to put the bookcases back up and the books in their proper shelf.
She picked up the book she was looking at earlier and when she looked around, she was no longer standing in a library with a dozen overturned bookshelves. She was on a dark, deserted island and she trembled in fear and surprise. When she looked back at her hands, the book was gone.
She brought her hands up to rub her eyes, thinking this might be some sort of a bizarre illusion when her hands felt soft and saggy. She frowned and looked at her hands, her eyes wide with fright.
Her hands were old and wrinkly.
She felt tears spring into her eyes and she cried long and hard. Her eyes were closed and she wept for her lost childhood. When finally no more tears were left to shed, she opened her eyes and again was shocked to see the change in scenery. She was no longer standing in the middle of a beach, but floating in the middle of an ocean.
She was drowning this time and she tried to swim her way back up to the surface but she couldn’t. Frantically, she flapped her hands to her sides to no avail until she finally stopped and allowed herself to sink deeper into the water.
Just when she was sure that she was going to die, she looked up and saw a pale light reach its way into the ocean and then two strong arms. They were the arms of her savior.
He pulled her up towards him. His hands were soft and ethereal, and his touch made her feel as though all was safe and well in the world. At that brief moment, she had no thoughts about her wrinkled hands or her lost books. She just wanted to lose herself and have him holding her in his arms forever.
She didn't think to look at his face until moments later, but when she titled her head, all she was able to see was his blond hair obscuring her view and hiding the identity of her savior.
All these feelings and thoughts arose within her in the depths of the water. It was as though when he touched her, she didn't feel the water filling her, suffocating her. She felt as though she was floating in the air, in heaven and everything else was nonexistent, inconsequential. Even if it meant her breath, her very source of life, she didn't think to care.
Just moments after they reached the surface and her lungs thanked her, greedily gulping up the air, she looked at him, her eyes narrow and curious. She reached out to him, brushed his wet blond hair aside and was able to glance at him for a mere second.
Before she was given a chance to recognize who he was, he vanished.
And without his support, she was left to fall back down in the ocean, sinking, drowning, and utterly submerged in the depths of despair.
Hermione’s eyes shot open and she panted heavily, sitting up in her makeshift bed. She looked down at her hands straight away to find them perfectly smooth and young, and a wave of relief washed over her. It was just a dream.
But when she realized she wasn’t sleeping in her comfortable four-poster bed at Hogwarts, she sighed. Too bad this wasn’t part of the dream too.
She ran a hand through her messy hair and briefly looked up; unexpectedly her eyes locked with Draco’s gray eyes. His blond hair was shining prominently in the moonlight and Hermione’s mind briefly flashed back to the dream and her savior.
She shook her head, trying to clear it from her weird dream and then got up, deciding to see why Draco was up so late. It was better to forget the dream than dwell on it. After all, it was just a dream. It wasn’t like she was going to grow old and wrinkly on this forsaken island.
She rubbed her forehead and turned back to look at Draco, trying to rid the thoughts from her mind. He had a faraway look in his eyes and his face was glum. His chest heaved with a long, drawn out sigh and Hermione’s heart flew to him. Suddenly, she was sad too.
“Thinking about Pansy?” Hermione asked him in a whisper while looking out in the forest. Draco merely nodded his head “I’m sure she’s still out there. We’ll find her soon. Maybe we could even start a search party.” He still didn’t look at her, and shrugged his shoulders.
Hermione furrowed her brows, trying to figure out why he wouldn’t look at her. “We’ll find her and get rescued too,” Hermione added, assuming he was just gloomy because he too accepted the fact they won’t be saved. “You said so yourself.”
Draco shrugged his shoulders again and Hermione felt as though a bucket of ice was thrown over her head. She shivered at his cold behavior and felt herself shrink away from him. She’d rather have him call her a Mudblood and shoo her away than barely acknowledge her existence.
She hugged herself and suddenly found herself very alone. She glanced at the desolation around her and remembered her bizarre dream with a shudder.
Everyone nearly accepted the fact that they would be stuck on this island forever. She thought that at least Draco wouldn’t be one of them, but he was, and now Hermione had nothing else to hope for. She felt her world twist out from the depths of her stomach and strangle her. Her hands were shaking and her cheeks were wet with silent tears.
She was going to grow old in this island. She was never going to be able to read those books that lay waiting for her back home. She was going to die in this island and never experience life the way she should, the way she deserved.
Suddenly, she felt Draco’s warm hands wipe her tears away. He lifted her chin with his index finger so that his eyes were locked with hers and she could feel the warmth of his body thawing her frozen nerves. His hands cupped her cheek and gently rubbed her lower lip, and her heart was beating hard against her ribcage. His other hand brought her closer to him and she buried her head in his bare chest when his fingers left her lips to rest on her hips. Her hands ran along his abdomen and slowly wrapped themselves around his body, draining in all the comfort he could give her.
After he was sure that she wasn’t going to cry, his arms left her waist and Hermione stepped back away from the circle of his arms. She looked up into his eyes again and saw that they were no longer dull and sad. She smiled at him, suddenly pleased.
All around them, the island bred the horrid feeling of doom and gave off the damp odor of desolation, but as the two of them stood there less than a foot away from each other, staring at each other’s eyes, they knew they would be saved someday and a small flame of hope ignited between them. They just didn’t know when or where but it would happen. They would be saved.
And even if they didn’t, it was better to hope foolishly than to give up completely. For hope could bring a tiny bit of happiness and one smile could be enough to light up even the darkest of times.
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