Title: Angel Wing
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco; mentions of Lucius/Narcissa, Ron/Hermione and random others
Summary: Draco really did pick the wrong time to enter the kitchen. It lost him seven precious months, his looks, and his mind. Still, it could've been worse - in the end, it probably saved both he and Harry's lives.
Rating: NC17 to be safe
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): frottage; wanking; much consumption of alcohol; het, cross-dressing (not H/D) mentioned also
Epilogue compliant? Not at all.
Word Count: 8,000 +/-
Author's Notes: Happy holidays dirty_darella! I tried to fit in most of your requests, so I hope this is your cup of tea. This was probably the most fun I've had writing anything, ever. :] Many thanks to my lovely beta, J, too. x
Angel Wing is a condition of ducks and geese where the last joint of the wing is twisted and the wing feathers point out, and do not lay smooth against the body. The birds that develop the problem are perfectly healthy; they are just not as beautiful.
The goose is still a goose. Harry wants to explain why this is probably a bad thing but, as usual, words fail him completely.
"He's - er - still a goose."
"Well, that's good, isn't it? Imagine if he just… wasn't a goose any more," says Ron.
"What would you, you know, do?"
"Dunno," Harry says, setting his pint down on the bar. "Guess I'd stop feeding him corn."
"Is that all you feed him? He must be really lacking in Vitamin A."
"Who cares?" says Ron, glaring at Hermione. The little pink umbrella in her drink seems to quiver a little, but his wife doesn't as much as blink.
"It's supposed to end today," Harry says.
"Midnight," says Ron immediately. "Makes sense. All spells end at bloody midnight. 'S like… magic hour, or something."
"Witching hour," Hermione says.
"I'm a wizard."
"It's known as witching hour, because some Muggles believe that midnight is when magic is at its most potent!"
"It isn't really, though."
"You just said-"
"The goose," Harry says loudly. "What am I supposed to do about the goose?"
"I dunno, mate." Ron shrugs. "Don't they make good liver pâtés?"
It's quarter to twelve, then ten to, then five to. And now; now it's about two minutes to, unless his watch is slow and it's already past midnight. That would mean he's stuck, Harry presumes, and that's bad. Really bad.
How is he supposed to explain to the Ministry that Draco Malfoy, Undesirable Number Two, is now his pet goose?
He can't tell them the bloody truth, anyway: he'd be sectioned.
It was shaping up to be quite a pleasant day, really, when he got the Owl. Birds singing, click-clack, click-clack of new heels on the pavement, Ernie MacMillan waving at him from behind a stack of papers. He fell over a plant pot in shock, but that's inevitable, so it didn't detract from his morning at all.
Lunch was with Ron at 'Blonds With Wands' - DIAGON ALLEY'S MOST PRESTIGIOUS CLUB - LAP DANCES 24/7 - GENTS FOR GENTS ONLY - where they served little dishes of nuts on the tables, which was both a morbid pun and just substantial enough to last until clocking off time at five. It was a funny old life, then. Rowdier, anyway.
"Enjoy your lunch at The Leaky Cauldron?"
"Oh yes," said Ron, kissing his wife on the cheek as they breezed into the office. Those lips were on something not-so-feminine a few minutes before. His name was Julian.
"Delightful," Harry muttered, sitting himself down behind an immense stack of paperwork. A smudge of lipstick ran from the buttonhole on his sleeve to the cuff, which he tried to scrub off discreetly beneath his desk. He was sure he wouldn't have to explain transvestites to Hermione (and, honestly, nothing about his private life surprised her by that point - you just have to take his word on that one), but he didn't want to entertain the discussion anyway. That's one conversation you Just Don't Want with your best mate's wife.
"But why do you take my husband to a notorious gay club every Friday, Harry?"
"Merlin, I don't know, Hermione. To be honest, he takes me…"
"Nonsense. You're the one who's as queer as a bent wand!"
No. He found a mountain of tedious paperwork on an old warlock in Kent who may or may not have Transfigured a Muggle teenager into a dildo far more appealing, thank you very much.
If he'd have known then that the next seven months of his life could have been drastically easier had he not actually fallen asleep on said report, he might have, you know… bothered to read it. As it were…
"Harry, wake up! It's ten past five!"
"Come on, mate. Our vibrant social life started ten minutes ago - you're bloody missing it."
"'m awake," he groaned, rubbing his eyes. A slightly moist piece of parchment stuck to his cheek as he sat up - the fifteen-year-old resembled a phallic implement, which the mother assumed to be of her own collection - and he threw it in the bin next to him. He groaned again for good measure and hung his head in his hands.
Click. That was definitely the sound of Hermione's suitcase snapping closed.
Clunk. That was Ron's.
Harry doesn't have a suitcase. He has his wand, his head and his health, and figures that's all he needs in life, and Auroring. Hermione disapproves, of course.
"Where to, then?" said Hermione.
"Dunno," he heard Ron murmur - probably still thinking about 'Blonds With Wands'; he certainly was. "The Leaky?"
"Surely you don't want to go twice in one day? Tom'll think you fancy him." A giggle.
A choke. "Yeah, no. Probably best not. Er - Harry?"
Harry looked up. Ron was a spectacular shade of puce.
He shrugged. "We could try The Hog's Head. That's never exactly busy."
"I don't know," said Hermione, frowning. "I really don't think it would be a good idea for you two to drink and Apparate again. Remember that time you left your eyes behind in Dover, Ron."
"Okay, okay," Ron muttered. "Let's just try a Muggle pub. They can't be that bad. Surely."
"There's a good one just round the corner from my flat," Harry volunteered. "There'd be no Vultures in a Muggle pub either."
Ron nodded. "I'm bloody sick of those clots. You're Harry Potter's friend. S'not like you have a name or anything like that. Think you can get him to go out with me? Well sorry, you're barking up the wrong tree there, princess."
"You don't say that to them?"
"'Course not," Ron murmured. "Sorry, but your War Hero is actually a fudge-packer. Can't imagine it would go over that well, myself."
"Ron!" Hermione shrieked.
"Can it, both of you," Harry snapped. He swung his legs over the arm of his chair and vaulted over. Dusted the knees of his jeans; smoothed his hair; wiped his lips. "We going or what?"
"Please," Hermione said, her voice slightly high.
And so they left; Harry dragging quietly behind as Hermione eyed the faint red marks on Ron's neck. They were made by Harry. Don't ask.
"Mate, you're only twenty; go on, have another one!"
Ron pushed another double towards him, which was a deep, forest green and slopped at the edges of the glass. He told himself it would taste just like Lime Cordial and threw it back in one gulp. Then he couldn't feel his tongue. Or his throat. Or see.
"'m gonna be sick," he slurred immediately and ran to the toilets.
He wasn't actually sick or anything; just splashed some cold water on his face, debated why exactly he still bothered living, and vowed never to drink anything that wasn't strictly see-through again.
Commotion met him as he walked back to the bar. Harry was always good at commotion, of course, but what Muggles considered turmoil, and what he considered turmoil, were two very different things. And he just couldn't see why they were so aghast to see an elegant Eagle Owl swooping around the pub with a small, scarlet letter clutched in its beak. It did look somewhat distressed, he thought, but he wasn't really in a position to care. Even drunk, he knew instantly who that bloody owl belonged to.
Then, just as it hooted loudly and swooped towards him, there was a loud bang and it went limp. Landed on the ground with a soft flump.
"Oh my, I should've cushioned its landing. Why didn't I think?" Hermione squealed, darting over to the immobile bird. She pressed two fingers to where he assumed an owl's heart would be. "I think it's just concussed," she said, sounding relieved.
Harry was a little bit stunned, to be honest. The landlord stared at him - this ain't the first fuckin' time you been followed in 'ere by an owl, you annoyin' shite - but Harry simply swayed on the spot. The jukebox switched onto Oasis. Nobody talked; although one woman did sniff like the owl had personally offended her. Everyone looked towards Ron; which was quite nice of them.
"Er - mate, you might want this."
Ron passed him the scarlet envelope, which smoked and hissed unpleasantly at the corners. He gulped. This time, he was pretty sure he was going to be sick.
"It'll be better if you open it," said Ron, shaking his head. "That's one of the Malfoy's owls. Dad got a Howler like that off them a few weeks ago and it bloody blew up the owl and set fire to a filing cabinet before he even noticed it was in his office."
"His eyebrows still haven't grown back," Hermione volunteered.
"Right," Harry said. The enveloped started to froth at the seal. "Er - bathroom."
He saw Ron's fingers twitch slightly in his trousers' pocket and, with a loud crash, the leg vanished from a table on the other side of the room, distracting the attention of the Muggles, who all ran to see if the young couple sitting there were okay.
"They'll be fine." Ron smirked.
Harry mouthed I owe you one and ran into the toilets, where he tore open the seal at once. It lay still for approximately a second before the panicky, deafening voice of Narcissa Malfoy filled the room like an unpleasant potions explosion.
"HARRY POTTER, YOU WILL COME TO THE MALFOY MANOR IMMEDIATELY! DON'T YOU DARE DISOBEY THIS ORDER! IT IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE! THINK OF THIS AS IMBURSEMENT FOR THAT NIGHT IN FOREST ALL THOSE YEARS AGO, WHICH YOU HAVE PROBABLY ALREADY FORGOTTEN ABOUT, YOU HORRIBLE MAN! WARDS ARE DOWN FOR YOU! NOW, COME IMMEDIATELY! NO WEASLEYS WELCOME!"
The envelope caught fire in his hand and disintegrated. Harry suddenly felt quite sober.
He hadn't noticed Ron at the door.
"That was - er - yeah…" He paused. "Sounds important."
"What's it got to do with me, though?"
Ron shrugged. "Best Apparate before Hermione gets here, though. Oh, Harry, you simply can't Apparate after a tipple. What if you left your left buttock in the pub?" He grinned rather drunkenly. "Imagine, though, if you Splinched off your co-"
Harry clutched his wand tight and turned on the spot before Ron could finish the end of his sentence. At the time, it was a pretty stupid idea, really. But, looking back, that was probably the best idea he'd had all night. All year, maybe.
Malfoy Manor overlooks a steep cliff, which Harry managed to Apparate approximately three inches from the edge of, and nearly shat himself. He remembers thinking that, really, he's a pretty pathetic example of an Auror. That thought hasn't changed much over time.
It was so dark he could barely see his way up the rough track, even using Lumos. There were deep grooves in the gravel, like it had once been used by Victorians travelling by horse and carriage; a tall, strong Clydesdale pulling along a twee little man in a bowler and his prim, elegant wife. Or the Malfoys; Lucius barking orders at a frail Unicorn whilst Narcissa smiled prettily in the carriage that was breaking the creature's back. The g - Draco wasn't in that vision, for some reason. He can't remember why.
Their Manor was the only light in the vicinity and shone like a bright star. The last time he was there, he was trapped in a cellar with Ollivander and Luna, and that was still quite prominent in his mind. Absently, he debated informing the Ministry of his whereabouts, but must've forgotten that half-way up the shiny, white, peacock-infested entrance to Manor. It smelled of Geraniums and something sweet, like cherries, and then he was knocking politely on the massive door, like it wasn't a bizarre situation for him to be in at all.
Narcissa nearly bowled him over, she threw the door open so quickly. Scanning the path quickly (can't trust those Aurors, can you? Especially when they're Harry Bloody Potter), she nodded and stood aside for him to enter.
First to hit him was the heat, which was pretty bloody hot. He expected the Manor to be somewhat museum-like; very neat and organised and cold. Instead, he entered a homely, if lavishly decorated, hallway. An electrifying poster of The Weird Sisters was framed near the door, signed by the band, who all whistled at him, perfectly in tune, as he passed.
"They're a nuisance," Narcissa snapped, jabbing her wand at the portrait. Curtains fell from either side, covering the band from view. They all groaned like that had happened one too many times before.
Harry loitered awkwardly. He swayed a little, too.
Narcissa eyed him sceptically, then shook her head. "Follow me."
He followed her through the long, vast hallway, and surely no hall could be that fucking long, and then she stopped outside a door. She swished her wand and the door flew open.
Their kitchen was… impressive. Massive, really. Like Hogwarts' kitchens, only far, far more stunning. Everything was sparkly and made of gold or diamond; the sink looked more expensive than his whole flat, he noted. There was even a whole ornate glass dish piled high with pineapples and grapes, like the Egyptian Pharaohs must've had.
He bloody killed Voldemort. How exactly did this happen to the Malfoys? He cursed the world.
"Ahem," said a cold voice. Lucius.
He advanced on Harry as if from nowhere, hand outstretched, like he actually expected him to shake it. Harry merely stared. Lucius frowned. Then he dropped his hand. Harry smirked.
"Well," said Narcissa, in a business-like tone. "Riveting as I'm sure this reunion is for both of you, my son is a fucking goose!" She flushed deeply, but with embarrassment or anger, Harry couldn't tell. He didn't think she swore.
Then it hit him.
"Wait, what? A goose?"
She sniffed, and Lucius abruptly strode over to comfort her by wrapping an arm around her shoulder. He squeezed quite tight for such a delicate woman, but hey, maybe they were into that. Harry didn't really want to dwell on that thought.
"Er - how can he be a goose?"
Lucius sent him a sharp look. "Ever heard of magic, Potter?"
"Right," Harry said. He was feeling awkward again.
"Where is he?" He heard Lucius ask quietly; probably so Harry couldn't hear.
"Out back. He - he spotted a Garden Gnome and started waddling after it."
"We have Gnomes on our property?"
"That's not the point," she hissed through sobs. "What if one of the peacocks assail him, or - oh, Merlin!"
She wrangled herself from Lucius' embrace and disappeared past Harry and through a colossal glass door. He saw a beautiful stone porch beyond, but a sharp cough caught his attention before he could look any further. He imagined some sort of marble everglade with Nymphs and Dementors living harmoniously.
"So," said Lucius, taking a seat. "You can see we have somewhat of a problem."
He gestured to the opposite chair, but Harry began to pace the room instead. A million thoughts flew through his head, from the obvious, to the downright bizarre. Mostly, he was kicking himself for being his usual ham-fisted self in front of Lucius, and stood a little straighter. Prepared his words very carefully. Auror-like.
"He's - er - how did he become a goose?"
Funny, how you tend to kick yourself in the face like that.
Lucius raised a sculpted eyebrow. That fucker was not allowed to be amused by Harry's incompetence.
"Perhaps my wife would care to explain that particular story when she reappears. I don't feel I would do it justice. Tea?"
Harry shook his head.
"I do apologise," he said with a smirk, eyeing Harry closely. "We also have Firewhisky, Sugarsherry, maybe even an old bottle of vintage Ogden's somewhere…"
"You Owled me at midnight on a Friday," Harry ground out. "Where did you expect me to be? Working?"
"Dark Wizards all go to bed at a reasonable hour and take weekends off, do they, Potter?"
Harry ignored him. Truthfully, he'd never even bothered to meet the Aurors who did nightshift and weekends; if they even existed at all. He wasn't sure. He made a mental note to ask Hermione.
Lucius took a long sip of his tea; pinkie finger sticking out. Smacked his lips together. Took to smiling at Harry like McGonagall used to do sometimes when he wound her up. Like if he just had a tiny bit more going for him, he might've turned out an actual civilized person.
Instead he said, "They let anyone become Aurors these days, don't they?"
Pretty much, Harry thought. But he said, "Piss off."
After the tensest twenty minutes of his life, where his hand never left his wand and Lucius drank far too much tea, Narcissa returned. Behind her traipsed a tall, rather squat-looking goose. Its plumage was slightly off-colour and random feathers stuck out from beneath its wings, leaving it looking rather like it had gone a round with Grawp and suffered. Badly. Its piercing gray eyes, Harry thought, would have made it look quite intense, but someone (he assumed Narcissa) had tied a large cowbell around its neck which clunked loudly with every step it took. Nothing could look serious with that hanging from its neck.
Lucius shook his head sadly. "Not exactly the prettiest of geese, is he?"
Nevertheless, when the goose waddled over, he kindly stroked its head. Harry thought he saw a flicker of a smile on his cold, Death Eater face, but put it down to all the booze in his system.
It really wasn't a good-looking goose. Not that he'd seen many geese, but surely they looked better than this one.
Then he realised it was Malfoy. Draco Malfoy.
Then he laughed for quite a long time.
"I- I figured it was a tale, or something, to get me here to kill me… but he's genuinely a goose. I mean, that is him, isn't it?"
"No, we regularly keep ugly, stray geese on the land, Potter. Perhaps you're not aware of this particular aspect of upper-class society."
Harry just kept laughing rather hysterically. Already, he was considering how to tell this story to Ron. Should he dive straight into the juicy core, or build it up first? Why didn't he have a camera? Would Ron even believe him? Where was Ron? He still kept laughing.
"Enough," said Narcissa. She looked pretty pissed off and grabbed the goose by the neck, muttering at it - you bad boy! - before leading it outside again. There was a white mark on the granite floor, which set Harry off again. He heard Lucius mutter Scourgify and actually thought he was going to die of laughter.
It was quite possibly the best thing to happen in his life for many years, which was quite pathetic. But, looking back, it still makes him laugh manically today.
"Enough," Narcissa repeated, slamming the door closed behind her. The goose pressed its long beak up against the window, looking like a forgotten pet - which it sort of was, really. Its beak was very, very pale, he noticed.
Narcissa rounded on Harry. "Well," she said. "You're the Auror here. How do we turn him back?"
Harry suddenly felt rather sober. "I deal with Dark Arts," he began slowly. "This is really more of a St Mungo's job. Or some sort of animal shelter, maybe... depends on if you intend on keeping him and whatnot..."
Narcissa glared. "You, better than any of us, know that should Draco step into St Mungo's - goose or not - he'll be sent straight to Azkaban. You are in charge of the investigation, aren't you?"
"Er - yeah." Harry had 'lost' his papers after a few weeks of 'investigating'. Not even Ron knew that, and Harry didn't really know why he felt the urge to 'lose' them in the North Sea. That was a big can of worms he didn't want to open.
"The Ministry - er - aren't as interested in Mal - Draco's - case so much any more. They somehow got it into their heads that maybe he… got eaten by a Thestral." Harry may have spread that rumour.
"He what?" Lucius cut in. "Malfoys aren't eaten!"
"Sadly, Draco was," said Harry solemnly, hoping he would get the hint.
Maybe he did, because he squinted his eyes a bit and nodded his head. His expression was unreadable and he didn't have much more to say, it seemed, because he disappeared outside. The goose waddled after him, looking delighted at the company.
Harry thought he heard the sound of a horn outside and swore to lay off the drink.
"If he's smoking more cigars, I swear…" Narcissa said stiffly. Her fingers played at her wand.
Harry thought it best to talk; an unfortunate habit of his.
"So… what exactly happened to make him a goose?"
Narcissa sighed and took up the seat Lucius had just vacated. She waved for him to sit across from her, which he did.
"I was making a potion," she began, very slowly, gesturing to a heavy stone couldron near the door. It bubbled. "It was quite complicated and needed precise brewing. I was due to add powdered Lacewings at precisely one am, so obviously I needed to stay up…"
"What was the potion?"
She glared, like she wanted to avoid the question, and said gracelessly, "a beauty potion, Potter, if you must know."
Harry successfully kept back a smirk. "So, he spilled the half-brewed potion on himself?"
"Something like that, yes."
"But - how? Even I'm not that thick."
She sent him a look that said I highly doubt that. "He was… taken by surprise."
She closed her eyes tightly. "Lucius and I were… fornicating in the kitchen when he walked in."
"So… you two… coupling scared him so much that he ran into a bubbling cauldron?"
"Right," Harry said, looking around. "I'll - er - need a sample of the potion."
"On the counter by the sink," she said, pointing towards a little glass jar, which had a silvery liquid inside. At certain angles, it looked like gas. Even then, he knew it was going to be a tricky one to crack. Unfortunately, that was about all he could say about potions.
"Right," Harry said. "Hermione's a lot better at this kind of thing, so she can start testing it to find a reverse-potion."
"There isn't a spell you can use?"
"No," Harry replied. "Damage caused by potions are usually only curable by potions. Don't worry, we see things like this a lot." That was only a half-lie. Something about a Warlock and a dildo passed into his head, but he ignored it. Ron could have that case from then on.
She stiffened. "How long will this take?"
"I dunno, actually." Harry shrugged. "A few weeks? Maybe a month."
"A month? You do realise that the Ministry could raid this Manor any day and find that Undesirable Number Two is now poultry!"
"They'd also want that book," said Harry, pointing to the abandoned volume on the counter; a heavy, bound book with SPANISH CURSES: DON'T JUST MAIM, DESTROY! written on the front in what looked suspiciously like Unicorn blood.
"You don't seem too interested."
Harry shrugged. He didn't know how to reply to that one. He wasn't even sure if he cared; he just knew that he definitely should have.
"Can't you just… ship him off to a farm somewhere for a while?"
Slowly, a smile crept onto Narcissa's face, and she shouted, "Lucius, dear…"
…And that's how Harry Potter ended up with Draco Malfoy as his pet goose.
Narcissa left three Very Important Rules Which Would Incur Death Should They Be Broken:
1. The Ministry must never know anything about anything. Or the Weasleys, if you can keep your mouth shut that long. (He couldn't).
2. Myself and Lucius may visit whenever we wish and you are not to always have that OUT ON BUSINESS sign hanging over your doorknob.
3. No drinking around the goose.
The first night, he Apparated straight home, goose under his arm, and drank a very old bottle of Brandy. He spent a while wondering if there were laws against Apparating with a live bird, then figured that that was the least of his problems, seeing as he was a Ministry Official harbouring a Transfigured fugitive, and then passed out.
For five glorious seconds, after waking, he forgot about the goose.
Then it honked at him for the first time.
"Annoying thing, isn't it?" said Ron, tapping the goose with his foot. He'd laughed for about an hour, decided it was even funnier than when he became a ferret, and wasted the film on his camera taking photographs from all angles. Four days later, and he was finally becoming used to it being around all the time, like Harry.
"Touch o' Angel Wing," said Hagrid, shrugging. "No' much yeh can do about tha', ter be honest. He's a healthy 'un, though."
"Angel Wing?" said Ron, snorting.
"Yeah, s'nothin ter worry 'bout. Sure he's a proper angel, really." Hagrid patted the goose's head merrily.
Ron snorted again.
"Thanks for taking a look at him, though, Hagrid." Harry smiled. "I just thought that maybe - well, he's not the prettiest bird…"
"Looks aren' everything, Harry," said Hagrid, patting his stomach. "He's got a good tempermen' and he's no' bad house trained. Count yerself lucky. Yeh get some really angry geese abroad. In-breeding, yeh know."
"Yeah," Harry muttered, gazing at the floor. Hagrid had no idea about the real identity of the goose. Obviously.
"Say, Harry, wha' made yeh go for a goose, of all animals?"
"I dunno," Harry murmured, now staring at the floor. "Just… thought it'd be nice, I guess."
Ron stifled a snigger, but Hagrid beamed.
"One o' the oldes' words in the English language, yeh know: goose."
"I don't think he's that distinguished."
"He didn't seem to like that, Harry. Seems to think he's noble-like."
"He's a bloody goose." Harry glowered at Ron. "He doesn't know what he thinks. He just shits and honks, apparently."
Hagrid frowned. "Yeh don't - er - seem too thrilled with yer pet, Harry."
Harry ignored him; must've bore two little holes in the floor, he stared at it so hard.
"Most people who keep 'em as pets tend ter keep their geese organic. Healthier, see."
"Right," Harry said.
"Think of it this way," said Ron, with a smile, "by Christmas, you probably won't even have a goose!"
"It'd better not still be here by Christmas. Merlin forbid."
Hagrid looked appalled, but Harry couldn't be bothered explaining that they weren't intending on actually eating the goose. Instead, he dug out three ice-cold beers and they watched the football. Hagrid never did get it, though.
Naturally, Hermione didn't find it as funny as Ron. She found it irresponsible, illegal and completely unethical. How could he keep any person - even Malfoy - in a pen in his garden, eating corn and honking at the neighbours' dog?
"It's ridiculous," she concluded, shaking a vial of beauty potion. "You'll just have to give him back. Tell them you're allergic to poultry."
"He's not eating him," Ron reasoned. "Or are you? 'Cause that'd be payback for all-"
"I'm not eating him." Harry peered over Hermione's shoulder at the vial, where a silver mist licked at the edges. Through it, Hermione's hand looked wrought from porcelain. "You been able to recreate the potion yet?"
"No," Hermione sighed, rubbing her eyes. "I've tried every combination I can think of, but it's just a bog-standard beauty potion. There's no reason whatsoever for this -" she waved her arm at the goose "- to happen."
Ron rubbed his eyes sleepily. They'd been up all night trying to recreate exactly how Narcissa had made the potion and came up at a complete loss. Hermione absolutely refused to accept that maybe, just maybe, she was a better potion brewer than she and refused to let them go home until they cracked it. The stress was showing on Ron.
"Maybe he cast a spell," he said suddenly, his head snapping up.
"It'd make sense," Harry agreed. "I know he had his wand on him. Maybe he muttered something and, I dunno, produced some spontaneous magic."
"Maybe," Hermione said, frowning. She turned her attention, once again, to the goose. "You're sure there's no recognition at all, Harry? No sign that he's still in his right mind?"
"It's like talking to a wall. A stupid wall," Harry said, smiling.
"Are you okay, Harry?" said Ron. "You're acting really weird today."
"Honk," went the goose.
A week of sleepless nights later, Hermione gave up. That was about a week after Harry and Ron.
"To be honest," she said, over the rim of a blood red cocktail, "I think you're just going to have to wait it out. The potion lasts exactly seven months, right? We'll just have to assume that it's going to run its course as normal."
"And if it doesn't?"
She took another long drink.
Two months in, Harry was getting far too used to the goose being around. He never quite got used to the random stopovers from various Malfoys and relatives, though, and hexed Lucius at least every second visit. Seeing as he was an Auror and Lucius a former- Death Eater, he got away with it, too, which was a nice change.
Feeling slightly bad for it, being trapped inside a pen all day whilst he was at work, Harry began to take the goose for walks. First, around the block. Then, a little further. On Narcissa's birthday, the three of them even took a quiet stroll through Finland. The goose looked quite at home on the old cobbled streets of Porvoo, waddling along, its cowbell clunking in the wind.
It was unexplainable, but Harry became quite smitten with the goose. Not in a sexual way, or even a friendly way, per se, but the company was nice in a flat that usually only held he and - sometimes - Kreacher. Even if all the bloody thing did was honk and stare at him rather vacantly.
And it wasn't Draco Malfoy. Not really. It was just The Goose. Harry's goose.
Then, about a week later, he was accosted by the Minister. Something about him not doing any work; which was annoyingly true.
"You have any new leads?" Was his gruff opener.
"Er - on which case?" Harry asked sheepishly.
"Any of them? The Malfoy one?"
"Um, no," Harry muttered, toeing the goose away from the Minister's shoes. "The Warlock we were tracking down, though. The one in Kent."
"I remember that... incident."
"Well, yeah. We're pretty sure we've got enough evidence to press charges." He kicked the goose hard. "Er - illegal transfiguration, Muggle baiting, maybe some sort of psychological damage, and trial costs."
"Very good, Potter," the Minister said, eyeing the bird, which was pecking incessantly at Harry's leg.
"That bird of yours..."
"Gone by Christmas," Harry assured him. "I'm just helping out an... acquaintance."
"There's an egg in the corridor, Mr. Potter."
Harry looked up, flabbergasted. "You're fucking kidding me."
The Minister just winked.
One day, three months in, Harry came home to find out that his neighbours' dog (who also shared the joined garden) had tried to eat his goose. The man was at a loss as to how the skinny, battered goose had managed to knock his Rottweiler unconscious and leave him spread-eagle near the pond.
"He's a - er - special goose," Harry tried to explain.
The man grunted; shivering dog clinging to his leg. "Special but mean."
Harry silently agreed.
That night, before bed, he let the goose inside the flat to sleep in the kitchen for the first time. It curled up in his robes and fell asleep. He smiled and went to bed. He always hated that bloody dog.
"It's getting a bit fatter," Hermione pointed out one afternoon, five months in, over a bag of chips. The vinegar stung Harry's thumb where the goose had bitten him the night before. Apparently he wasn't allowed to stop stroking it, ever.
"Yeah," he muttered.
"At least you only have two months of him left!"
"Yeah. If it even is going to end after seven months."
"It will," Hermione said, then produced a massive ring binder and began to explain exactly why such ingredients of the potion and exactly how long it had been brewing and due to the complex nature of everything, it Would End In Exactly Seven Months.
He nodded when she sounded about finished; threw the chips to the seagulls.
"You're okay, aren't you?"
Harry's head snapped up. She looked rather concerned and played with the hem of her jacket.
"I'm fine," he said clearly.
"It's just… we haven't seen much of you lately."
"I've been busy," he pointed out. "And there's no booze allowed near the goose."
"Draco," Hermione said, frowning.
"Whatever," Harry dismissed her. He licked his fingers clean. "You're actually concerned that I drink less?"
She didn't reply, for which Harry was glad. He felt pretty crap about the fact that, in only a couple of months, his flat was going to be a solitary abode once again.
"It's not healthy," she said finally as they walked back to the office. "Becoming so attached to an animal… it just isn't healthy."
Harry shrugged. "He isn't really an animal, though, is he?"
Harry scowled to himself. Honestly, he had no idea what that things was, really. He just knew that it was his and he wasn't losing it to anyone. He couldn't. The responsibility of it kept him sane.
Time passed far too quickly, despite how slow his life had become, and suddenly the seven month mark was approaching, nearer, nearer, nearer.
By some bizarre and horrible stroke of fate, Harry realised, the potion ended on midnight, Christmas Eve.
"We should be here," said Narcissa immediately. "He needs someone who he trusts when he comes around."
Harry shook his head. "I don't want you and him in my house at fucking Christmas!"
"Then we'll take him home," said Lucius. "The raid's gone and past. They really do seem to believe he was… eaten. By a… Thestral." Harry saw his fingers clench.
Harry wasn't giving up that easily, though. "He's staying here, at least until he comes round. I've looked after him all this time - we even watch Corrie together! He's my pet."
"He's my son," said Narcissa.
"He's my heir," said Lucius.
"He's a git," said Ron.
"He's just shat on the rug," said Harry.
Funny, but no one wanted to own him so much, then.
And so, Harry won that bloody argument.
That's why he's watching the final few seconds tick away on his watch, waiting for midnight. Three, two, one…
He has to hand it to Narcissa; she knows how to brew a potion precisely. Maybe they timed their orgasms for midnight; but that's irrelevant and kind of disgusting. Definitely a Malfoy thing to do, though.
It starts as a shaking of the head; then a high-pitched wail; then feathers turn to skin and shiny hair; then its got a body; and it's not so bloody ugly anymore.
Harry's never fancied Draco Malfoy before, but now he's naked and looking vulnerable and curled up on his living room floor, he's rather tempting. A little too skinny (probably due to Harry's irregular feeding schedule) and a little too beaky (maybe Harry's just imagining that), but he's smooth and lithe, and stretches his arms out languidly, like they're wings or something.
Then he groans. Falls to the ground, eyes scrunched up. Clutches his shoulder with his hand.
"Er - you had, um, Angel Wing as a goose. S'not my fault... Hagrid says it's common. Maybe it's passed onto your - er - real form-" shut up, Harry "-You could try the cream Hagrid left - maybe it'll still work. And, um-"
"Potter?" Draco looks up, looking pained. "What the fuck."
"Oh," Harry says.
Say something else!
"Shut up," Draco says.
Harry's obscenely glad of the interruption.
"Where's my wand?"
"Your wand? Oh." Harry wants to say pointing North, currently. "I, um, suppose your mother has it... I didn't ask, actually. Maybe it was melted with the potion..."
"Oh," Harry says.
He doesn't know. That's bad. He figures he should at least find him some clothes and gets up to scavenge his room for something clean.
Looking over his shoulder, he kind of wishes he still had his goose. It didn't scowl.
The goose didn't swear at him either when he refused to let it leave the house. Draco does.
He reasons it to be in the interest of humanity to slip him a Calming Draught.
After an hour of ignoring Harry, he finally appears in the living room, demanding answers. So Harry explains. Well, sort of. He explains what he can remember, anyway.
"My mother uses beauty potions?"
Harry nods. He kind of can't believe that Draco looks so flabbergasted. It makes his face look marginally friendly, which Harry doesn't think suits him entirely. He can't believe he wants him to scowl.
"And this is your flat?"
"Yeah," Harry murmurs, studying the floor.
Just out of the shower - Harry's shower - Draco's face glistens slightly where the water drips from his hair. There's a little wet patch behind his neck, dampening his t-shirt. It was Dudley's once, Harry thinks, and is at least three times too big for him. It's a bit like a tent on Draco.
"Can't afford anything bigger."
That's my phrase!
"What about the Black House?"
"Grimmauld Place?" Harry sighs. "I never want to set foot in there again."
"Me neither, if I'm honest."
"You've been inside Grimmauld Place?"
"Once or twice, when I was really, really little. Mother hated it in there too, so luckily we didn't have to visit much."
Harry really can't remember why he thought this would be a good idea. Now that Draco isn't a goose... he's just not as special any more. Pretty, yes. Companionable, no.
The goose always struck him as a Hufflepuff, whereas Draco is still a fucking annoying Slytherin; even under the influence of Harry's strongest sedatives.
"You couldn't have mended my arm properly?" Draco frowns, looking at his shoulder, which is held in place by a rubbish, conjured sling.
"I'm shit at healing charms."
Draco smirks. "What kind of Auror are you, anyway?"
Harry shrugs. "I have no idea."
Draco moves across the room quickly, gracefully - not waddly. He picks up the bottle of lotion that Harry had been using to try and fix the Angel Wing - it had not been working - and reads the label. "Angel Wing?"
"Yeah. It made you ugly."
"What, and I'm so gorgeous now?"
"You know you are," Harry murmurs, before going beet red and dropping his head into his hands. At least the goose couldn't laugh at him, like Draco is now.
"Tell me the truth," Draco says. "How long ago did it happen?"
"Seven months," Harry says to the floor.
"And my parents?"
"They're fine," Harry says grudgingly, looking up. "The visit every day around four and bring fancy foreign berries that you don't eat."
Draco eyebrows knit together, but he looks almost amused. "You liked me, didn't you?"
"No!" He snaps, looking straight at the blonde man. Draco's spinning the small bottle between his long, pale fingers, watching it like it holds the answers to the universe.
"I- I liked the goose," he says very quietly, hoping Draco won't hear. The goose liked me too!
"The goose? How can you like a fucking goose? They only honk and shit and follow you around."
Abruptly, Harry stands up, not looking at Draco. "I'm going to bed. Apparate home if you want. I-" He shakes his head and disappears into his bedroom, slamming the door behind him.
The next morning, Draco's gone, and Harry's flat is empty again.
Christmas Day should be spent with family, but seeing as Harry doesn't have any of that, and as Ron and Hermione are spending it with the Grangers, he decides it's the perfect time to destroy everything goose-related. Corn is burned to amusing effect. Hairbrushes pull themselves apart and fly at his neighbours' door. And the pen is conveniently transfigured into a set of deckchairs, which he's rather proud of.
Maybe he's just drunk, though; seeing as he cracked open his first bottle of Ogden's at nine, and the second at noon.
He tells himself that it's a good thing; being alone.
He falls asleep on one his new wicker chairs; his feet getting wet in the just-fallen snow. He doesn't think.
He wakes up around four, desperately frozen and practically a snowman. The Ogden's bottle is stuck to his hand, which he finds ironic. He can't figure out what woke him until he feels warm breath ghosting over his face.
"Potter, are you alive?"
"What?" He says groggily.
"Potter, you imbecile," Draco snaps, pulling out his wand.
A curious sensation overcomes Harry, like he's weightless. Wordlessly, he's levitated back into his flat and lands on the couch with a soft flump.
"You are such a fucking clot," he shouts, pacing back and forth. "You tell me to go, so I go, and I come back to thank you for having me eaten by a Thestral, and you're freezing to death with a bottle of whisky in your garden! What the fuck is wrong with you?"
"Nothing," Harry mumbles. Okay, slurs.
"What exactly did you want? Me to stay?"
Draco, Harry notices, looks immaculate. Dressed in slick black trousers and a tight shirt; every strand of hair in place; and scowling. Oddly perfect. His exact opposite. Just like always. Suddenly, his number one goose is at the back of his mind, along with his inhibitions, apparently.
"The Angel Wing," he says, cutting into Draco's rant. "It never cleared up properly."
"So I never finished applying the lotion."
"You want to rub me down with lotion?" He looks rather exasperated.
"Think of it as my Christmas present," Harry volunteers.
"I was never going to get you anything."
Harry shrugs. "Well, if you want to be regurgitated by that Thestral..."
"Fine," he snaps. "Fine!"
"Get the bottle," Harry says with a wink. He gets up and tries to saunter into the bathroom - it's probably more of a stumble; he wouldn't put it past himself to screw up sexy, too.
The sobering potion's kept in a bottle above the sink and he takes a few sips; enough to make him coherent, but not quite enough to make him comprehend the fact that he's attempting to woo his ex-goose into bed.
Quickly, he splashes his face with water and shakes his head. Oh God, he's a nutter.
He unlocks the door and heads back to the living room.
Draco's a God, maybe. He's spread out on the couch, back to Harry, fully clothed with his muscles flexing gently underneath his shirt as he breathes, in, out. In, out. Just waiting for Harry to own him again. In a different way from owning the goose, of course.
Shaking slightly with nerves, he kneels beside the couch, facing Draco's side. Warmth seems to radiate from his skin with each breath. Slowly, Harry reaches out and tucks a lock of blonde hair behind his ear, feeling the warm skin for himself, so soft and smooth.
"You, um, need to take off your shirt."
Languidly, Draco rolls over onto his front, not looking at Harry, and unbuttons his shirt fully, so it falls open to the sides, showing a hard pink nipple and planes of smooth, pale chest. Just perfect. He carefully folds his shirt and hangs it on the back of the couch, next to Harry's work cloak.
Then, he rolls back onto his front, away from Harry again.
The salve is cool on his fingers as Harry tips half the bottle over his hands. Better safe than sorry, seeing as Draco will hex him and not just honk if he fucks this up.
He is fully aware of every single movement as he brings his shaking hands to Draco's shoulder, and gently, gently, begins to rub the salve in. It melts like ice into Draco's skin.
He rubs slow circles, kneading the firm muscle, and swears he can hear Draco sighing.
"Harder," comes a very quiet voice.
Without thinking, Harry presses his fingertips harder into the skin, causing Draco to writhe underneath him. His skin burns like fire and the salve is doing nothing to abate that. Harry presses his lips to his shoulder.
"Potter," he moans - moans. Oh God.
Harry climbs onto the couch, and urges Draco onto his side. He chooses to look away from Harry and faces the back of the couch.
One of Harry's slippery hands trails down his bare chest as he places hot, wet kisses to the back of his neck, his shoulders, his sweet-smelling hair. He tastes of sweat and need and something sticky that's probably the salve.
"Potter," he breathes.
Harry nips at his ear, causing him to stifle a moan. Trust a Slytherin to get off on pain. "You want me?"
"Liar." Harry nips at his ear again and dips a hand under the waistband of his trousers, finding Draco to be achingly stiff. "This must hurt," he says quietly.
"Hmmm." He writhes against Harry's hand, trying to get more friction.
Harry pulls him hard against his own chest and they slide together hotly. He lets out a frustrated groan and shifts the agile body again so Draco's arse is rubbing exquisitely against his straining jeans.
"Fuck," Draco groans as Harry twists his palm. He grinds against Harry again, so he's aching with need.
He slides Draco's length through his palm and rubs at the leaking head. "Fuck, Potter, don't stop," he breathes, tipping his head back and exposing his neck for Harry to bite on. He pants desperately and nearly screams when Harry runs his thumb over the head of his prick. He comes with a wail; Harry just behind him. He thinks he's stopped breathing. Maybe Draco has too, because neither talk for some time.
Harry, naturally, breaks the silence.
"God," he breathes, pressing his lips to Draco's neck. "That was-"
"Yeah," Draco murmurs.
"Who knew Undesirable Number Two was so good in bed?"
"Let's not talk about that."
"Okay," Harry says quietly. "Or about the fact that I still miss my goose."
"Or that I just came all over my most expensive trousers."
"Or let your mother know I drank around the goose."
Harry smiles and pulls him closer. "Nothing. Look, just have a nap, or something. It's still Christmas, you know."
"When father turns up and hexes you for what you just did, I'm going to laugh and let him."
"I know," Harry says, smiling. "And I'm going to punish you for it later."
"Can't wait." He laughs breathily and touches his fingers to Harry's. Maybe the goose deep within him still likes Harry, or something, and he supposes that's enough for now. The goose always was smarter than Draco, after all. It was never eaten by a Thestral.
Yeah, they've both got their issues, Harry figures, but they'll be okay. They have to be, don't they?
Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It's too high!
Come to the edge!
And they came,
and he pushed,
and they flew.
-- Christopher Logue