I own nothing. Least of all this.
17) DAVY JONES
Fic Title: "Friends On The Other Side"
Accompanying Song: "Friends On The Other Side" by Keith David
Breathing, on the whole, was vastly underrated.
Then again, what breathing inevitably brought (i.e. continued life), could conversely be argued to be equally over-rated. Very interesting conundrum.
Harry wondered why this train of thought happened to be the one crossing his mind at the moment, instead of one filled with quite a bit more panicking and screaming. Oh, right. The breathing. Or lack thereof, he supposed. Slowly slipping into unconsciousness due to a lack of air while swimming in a seemingly bottomless lake would do that for you.
Funny old world wasn’t it.
Just a few hours before his biggest worries had been about how to safely rescue…whatever it was…from the bottom of said lake. The reason he had said “whatever it was” instead of the actual name was, at the time, he was still unclear exactly what it…well, was. All he knew for sure was that it was something he held dear. Not willing to risk what little he had in the way of possessions, he had convinced his friend Hermione to help him ward his school trunk with every single Jinx, Hex, and Curse they could think of. Then, just to make double sure, they had ordered Dobby to take the trunk and hide it, and not to let anyone know where it was until after the Second Task was over. Not even Dumbledore; Harry wouldn’t put it past the old man to dare take what little he had left of his parents and stick it hundreds of feet underwater.
Imagine his shock and rage to discover that his beloved Headmaster had gone and done something infinitely worse.
He had taken Hermione herself.
He supposed he should have seen it coming; one could hardly have noticed how he had stared at the Yule Ball. That, on top of the amount of time they’d spent together warding his stuff…well, it was pretty easy to see that she was the most important thing in the world to him. Especially after Ron’s betrayal on the latest in a long line of cursed Halloweens. He’d done pretty well for himself date-wise; Luna Lovegood had certainly been entertaining, if nothing else. And Harry could say that she was certainly more than that. But in the end, it always came back to Hermione. Even Luna had seen it, and let him know in her perfect, dreamy way that she wasn’t upset with him about where his gaze had been most of that evening. Still, he had felt a bit bad about it, and had tried to include her in more things he and Hermione did together. Whether that was replacing Ron or not, he wasn’t brave enough to say. Well, at least not yet.
But there was quite a lot he had been brave enough to say once he had seen Hermione…his Hermione…tied up to that pillar. And most of it he wouldn’t have dared repeat on dry land. Rage, it turned out, was an excellent motivator for spells. Especially of the destructive sort. The pillar had been utterly demolished (Well after Hermione was cut away, of course). It was only once the rubble and dust had begun to settle that he had realized exactly who the other hostages were.
And he proceeded to get even madder.
How dare they use a bloody kid as a hostage?! A chess piece on their bloody board?! Whoever her parents were (he suspected Fleur’s, if his memory served), he intended to give them a sound verbal walloping once he reached the surface. And, really, trying to force him to rescue the ginger ponce? Just what the hell did they think would happen? That the red-headed git would give some half-hearted apology, Harry would roll-over, and everything would go back to the way it had before? Bollocks to that. Dumbledore and his manipulations could go hang. Let the weasel stew; if worst came to worst, he could always pretend that he thought Ron was Krum’s hostage. After all, everyone knew how big a fan Ron was, and surely Krum would have seen that too.
It would serve the sot if he stayed down there.
But the girl? Harry knew quite well that Fleur had been in trouble earlier; and as much as he would have liked to let things stay as they should have been, he would not force anyone to suffer for the failures of their family. Much less a child. Harry proceeded to cut the girl loose, and after a great deal of awkward maneuvering, he had both witches strapped to himself, one per arm. With a silent thank you to Hermione for giving him the idea, he then pointed his wand directly backwards, and shouted (as well as he could underwater) “Auguamenti!”
A jet of water shot out of his wand behind him, jolting all three of their bodies forward at a tremendous rate. Harry nearly lost his grip on the wand; the jerk had been quite a bit worse than he had ever experienced while practicing. He supposed that the extra weight was the reason; the significantly reduced speed seemed to indicate that as well. Harry suddenly had a very, very terrifying realization: at this rate, they wouldn’t reach the surface before his Gillyweed ran out. Could he…should he leave behind one of the girls, and send somebody back for them? But then which one should he leave? He refused to leave behind his Hermione again; but on the other hand, his other precious cargo was barely Hogwarts age. And he’d rather not have any more eleven year olds beyond himself and his friends put into any dangerous situations, thank you very much (He really did have to rip her parents a new one).
His decision was made for him when the young blonde on his left arm began waking up.
He would have liked to have said that he thought fast. He did not. He would have loved to have been able to say that he kept his cool. Once again, he did not. But the one thing he could safely state was that he didn’t freeze. Freezing was something Harry Potter simply didn’t do.
With barely a thought, the jet of water behind him stopped, leaving him free to concentrate on transferring the connecting ropes from his own body to between the two girls. The last of the Gillyweed in his pocket went into the little girl’s mouth, ensuring that she wouldn’t be drowning anytime soon. Then, once they were as secure as he could make them, he pointed his wand once more, and a second jet stream shot out of it.
Only this time it was aimed directly at the girls.
They began rising quite a bit faster than they had been; the missing weight certainly made a difference. Of course, that went both ways. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
And Harry shot downwards once more into the water, as if the hounds of Hell itself were after him.
He instantly cut the charm short, but halting his momentum was a significantly harder task. Especially when his attempt to bring himself to a halt using a third blast merely sent him into a rapid downward spiral, spinning wildly out of control. By the time he finally stopped, he could see the girls just breaking the surface, Hermione’s arms wrapped protectively around the little girl in a gesture that somehow looked natural to Harry.
Not that he had time to dwell much on that. He was definitely too deep now to make it to the surface on his own power alone. Hermione had tried to drill the Bubble-head Charm into his head several times already; served him right for never being able to cast it properly. Oh, well. At least he could be sure that now she would be the one that got his stuff when he was gone, and not the Dursleys. Dobby would take good care of her; he had made the little elf promise that out of Hermione’s earshot. He knew quite well what the odds of him surviving the entire Tournament were, and he had made all the necessary arrangements. All except a backup plan, it seemed.
And with that, the Gillyweed ran out.
Everything suddenly seemed to become that much heavier; the water was now a buffalo, sitting firmly on his chest. Breathing was impossible; there would be only drowning from here on out. Harry hoped he passed out from lack of oxygen before the water forced its way into his mouth and nose; the other way had been described in great detail by Hermione, and he had no desire to force anyone to see a corpse that looked like that.
As his vision grew dark, his feet came in contact with…hang on, what was that? Sand definitely wasn’t that hard; besides, he was nowhere near the bottom. Then, with an unexpected jolt forward, the ground began to move.
Harry was so distracted by said movement he failed to notice that he had been able to breathe for the past few seconds with absolutely no problems. It was only when he looked around, and saw the shadowy figures surrounding him, that he began to jump to certain conclusions.
One of the figures, the leader he supposed, stomped forward on a false leg. Harry looked up into the swirling form that could only be a face, and asked a single question. “…Am I dead?”
The figure laughed. “Why? Do you fear death, Harry Potter?”
“…No. Not particularly.”
“Really? Tell me then, son, what is it that you fear?”
…Really, there was only one answer Harry could give. “Failing. My friends, my family…everybody, I guess.”
The figure stroked his face with…was that a claw? “Hmm. A most intriguing answer, isn’t it boys? Still, the rules are clear: a deal to the man who finds the Dutchman. The terms as set by the finder, and the payment as set by the Captain.”
Harry was tempted to gulp. “And…who is the Captain, sir?”
One of the other figures lurched forward and clasped the first on the shoulder. “He wants to know who the Captain is!”
The claw of the first jabbed, and the second figure was sent spiraling back into the murky water.
“I…am the Captain, boy. Captain Davy Jones, of the Flying Dutchman. Now, what are your terms?”
Harry thought. Long and hard, he thought. “I…I guess…that I survive this Tournament? And…and that…maybe…Voldemort dies…for good? Is that okay…sir?”
Then, raucous laughter from every corner of the shadows. “Well chosen, Harry Potter! But you need not have worried about surviving…no one dies ‘til their payment to the Dutchman comes due. As for the other half of your request…why, it would be my pleasure.”
This time, Harry gulped for real. “So…what’s the payment?”
“Don’t you worry about that, boy. We’ll handle that in a few years…say, oh, thirteen or so. Well? Do we have a deal, Harry Potter?”
The Captain’s claw stuck forward in a gruesome parody of a handshake. Gingerly, harry shook it. Then, it was withdrawn as abruptly as it had been offered. “The deal has been struck, boys! Take us up; its time we return Master Potter to his friends!”
With a shout, the rest of the shadowy figures dispersed, presumably to do the Captain’s bidding.
“One more thing, boy. You might want to let your Headmaster know what happened here today. Do so. Leave not a single detail out; I want him to realize the truth.”
“…The truth, sir?”
“The living have no secrets from the dead, Harry Potter. And the dead have no secrets from me. Savvy?”
“Good lad. I look forward to our next meeting…in thirteen years.”
And then everything went black.
Harry groaned and tried to roll over, only to find himself unable to do so. Forcing one eye open, he realized the reason for his lack of mobility.
“Huh. Looks like Madame Pomfrey wasn’t exaggerating when she said she’d tie me down the next time.”
“I can assure you, Mister Potter, that I never exaggerate.” came the voice of the school nurse. “Now, seeing as how you’re awake, I have been…prevailed upon by the Headmaster to…allow certain individuals to express their concern for your well-being.” Her sniff indicated exactly what she thought of that. “Five minutes, Mister Potter, and no more.”
She had barely finished speaking before a multi-colored blur swept into the room, heading straight for Harry. His eyes widened, and then screwed shut, waiting for the inevitable impact. When the only sounds that reached his ears were of extremely loud sobs, and the only pressure he felt was three pairs of arms locked around his arms and legs respectively, he dared to open them again.
Hermione had latched onto his right arm, and was doing her best impression of a waterfall. Her performance was mirrored on the other arm by the little blonde he had rescued from the lake, the one that had almost woken up underwater. And judging by how the third pair of limbs, the one hanging on for dear life to his legs, belonged to a bawling Fleur, he was tempted to wager he had been correct in his earlier observation that she had been Fleur’s sister.
He looked up into the twinkling eyes of Albus Dumbledore in the universally recognized silent plea for help from a fellow man whenever a woman broke down for an unexplained reason. The Headmaster, however, merely smiled and leaned back. “Harry, my boy, someday I hope you realize exactly how lucky you are at this very moment. Now, if you would be so kind as to explain to me how you managed to get Hogwarts’ giant squid to transport you to shore, I would be most grateful.”
Harry opened his mouth to say he had absolutely no idea how he had managed it, much less if he had actually been the one responsible, but only one word managed to make its way past his lips.
Dumbledore started. “I beg your pardon?”
Harry swallowed. He didn’t know how he knew; he just knew that… “It’s a Kraken. Not a giant squid. There’s a difference.”
Dumbledore’s face went just a little paler. “…I see. Tell me, Harry, are there any other important events I should be informed about that occurred in that lake?”
Once more, Harry opened his mouth, and the wrong thing came out. “Captain Davy Jones told me to tell you something. He said…he said he wanted you to realize the truth. That the living have no secrets from the dead…and the dead have no secrets from him. Sir? What did he mean?”
Dumbledore’s head bowed, and small trails of light appeared in the corner of his eyes. “…Oh Harry. What have you done?”
Harry could only lie back in confusion as four people, all for very similar reasons, cried for him.