Love Lies Bleating
Word Count: ~6k
Summary: It took a very special goat to scale Draco's lonely heart. Narcissa POV.
Warnings: Not recommended for those with refined senses of humour. May contain fluff and lulz. No beetles were harmed in the making of this fic.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's note: This fic is dedicated to my incomparable beta, ArcadianMaggie, and her personal herd of goats—excepting, of course, Tommy the Asshole. Because I had to and because I love her.
Thanks to the lovely gals who stepped up to help whip this story into shape. Many, many thanks to eidheann_writes, capitu, and sapphirescribe for prereading, to twilightmundi for betaing, and to omi_ohmy for the Brit-pick. My words and I adore you for sharing your time and talents.
"Mah!" said Harry.
"Oh dear," said Narcissa.
Harry bleated again before climbing on top of his old desk.
"Maaah!" he said once more when he got there.
All Narcissa had meant to do was visit Harry at the Ministry to ask if he would look into shortening Lucius' sentence after a year of good behaviour. In fact, that was all she had done. But then this had happened.
Harry blinked at her, his eyes as green as ever. Narcissa had never seen a goat with eyes that colour before, but then, she hadn't really seen many goats before in general. The Malfoys preferred peacocks, of course, and the occasional owl. But there was no doubt in her mind that Harry was now a goat. How permanent the condition was, she couldn't have said—just as she couldn't have explained what had caused it. She had merely joined a perfectly normal looking Harry in his office and taken the proffered seat when Harry had begun coughing. She was reaching for her wand so as to fill the glass on his desk with some water when Harry gave a final, extremely violent cough and promptly spun up into the air.
Shredded clothing flew everywhere. When he landed again, he did so on four legs and was decidedly goat-like in appearance.
It was more than a little unexpected and she thought to ask him what exactly he'd eaten for breakfast, but then he turned to her and bleated helplessly.
She had stared wide-eyed at him until he'd begun to bleat more loudly, at which point she promptly shut the office door as Harry took his current position atop his office desk.
What am I going to do? Narcissa wondered. Everyone was going to assume she had done this to Harry because they'd been alone in his office. She cast a quick locking charm on the door so she could take a moment to assess the situation. She'd been through worse and knew how to think on her feet. She simply had to start at the beginning.
"Were you poisoned, do you think?" she asked Harry.
"Nah," he replied.
She nodded thoughtfully. "Hexed?"
"Naaah," he said again, more forcefully this time, stamping his hoof on the top of the desk. She cringed when it left a mark before realizing the rest of the surface was already scratched and dented and stained with tea.
She furrowed her brow. "Well, I'm just going to have to take you home. I can't leave you here. They'll think I did this and throw me in with my husband."
Shaking his head, Harry dug in his hooves; the desk would never be the same. She cleared her throat and spoke calmly. "Mr Potter, please. I'll figure out what happened and we'll get you back to normal. We have an extensive library at the Manor and one of the books will surely hold the answer."
Harry glared at her through long, thick goat lashes. The top of his head was very dark and straggly, a little too long with tufts sticking up in odd directions. Just below it was a white lightning bolt shaped spot and he had a small scruffy little brown beard. There were even markings around his eyes that looked a little like spectacles.
Frowning, she attempted to figure out a way to get him out of the Ministry unnoticed. Not only was he a goat, but only someone exceedingly unobservant wouldn't know instantly that this was Harry Potter in goat form. She'd just have to cover him with a blanket or—"Oh, Harry, no!"
Chewing thoughtfully on the remains of a cold wet teabag that had been sitting in his teacup, string still hanging out the side of his mouth, Harry glanced at Narcissa only briefly before turning to nose open his desk drawer and eat the owl treats he'd previously stashed there.
"Mr Pott—Harry, it's time to get down from the desk."
Harry ignored her completely and reached for the remains of his shirt, presumably to eat that, too, still hungry after the owl treats and tea leaves. And a case file. She sighed.
Obstinate, goats were. Well then. She'd just have to—
"I said 'Get down from that desk.' " She said it in the firm voice she'd perfected throughout Draco's childhood—he'd been rather prone to tantrums for the better part of his youth.
Harry didn't listen, but perhaps this was unsurprising as he couldn't have had any sort of proper upbringing living with Muggles. Well, there was no time to teach him. She approached Harry, her wand drawn.
When she was nearly close enough to touch him, Harry began screaming horrid goat screams. Narcissa had no choice but to cast a Silencing Spell and a Body Bind in quick succession.
Immobilized in a somewhat awkward stance, Harry teetered back and forth on his skinny, knobby goat legs before tipping off the desk. Another charm made certain that he didn't actually hit the floor, but if Harry looked more than a little angry (and he did, nostrils flaring) as he hovered sideways six inches from the ground, there was nothing to be done for it.
"So, Mr Potter. Where's your famous Invisibility Cloak? You must have it here," she demanded.
Otherwise frozen, Harry let out a small huff but finally stared at his upper right desk drawer.
She retrieved it quickly, tossed it over Harry, and then adopted her customary cool demeanour as she left the office. No one noticed the concealed goat she Levitated a few feet behind her through the Ministry lobby and out the front door.
"Welcome home, Mistress Narcissa. Should Cerise be bringing tea?"
Narcissa shook her head at her house elf. "Not just now. But please retrieve a long stretch of strong rope as soon as possible." Narcissa shrugged out of her cloak and handed it to Cerise. "Where is Draco?"
"Young Master Draco is still sleeping. Cerise has not seen him yet and he always appears straightaway for coffee." Cerise looked nervous, as though she was to blame for Draco's near-constant napping.
Narcissa glanced at the ornate grandfather clock to find it was half ten. She sighed but supposed her concern regarding her son sleeping away the entirety of his nineteenth year could wait. There was, after all, a goat attempting to root through her handbag at that very moment.
She yanked it high and out of Harry's reach. "All right, Cerise. Meet me in the gardens with the rope in a few minutes."
As the elf disappeared from view, Narcissa summoned a slip of parchment and a quill. She quickly jotted a note to Draco explaining who the goat was and why he was there, cautioning him to leave Harry alone for all of their sakes. She placed it atop Draco's place setting so that he'd see it when he finally came down for coffee.
Afterward, she handed off her hat and handbag to another elf and changed into shoes more suited for traipsing through the gardens. Harry tagged along a few seconds behind her eating Merlin knew what along the way.
Her last stop before going outdoors was the potions cabinet for a spot of Pepper Up. It had been a long morning.
Narcissa headed along the winding paths through the Manor gardens until she reached a small section in the rear where the grass was far longer than she usually preferred. Frogs croaked along a small pond in the corner and an ancient willow reached back to the ground providing shade for whenever the sun managed to peek between the clouds. A simple swing, creaky from disuse, hung from an elm and a moss-covered bench sat nearby. Overgrown bushes and shrubbery lined the edges of the little patch of land. It was not her normal style—the rest of her garden was carefully planned, precisely trimmed, and properly weeded. But this had been Draco's favourite place growing up—boys did love their frogs—and she'd left the spot alone in the years since due to the nostalgia that tugged at her heart whenever she contemplated changing it. Instead, she simply cast a notice-me-not charm over the area when guests visited the Manor.
As she had made her way home from the Ministry with Harry at her side, she realized she couldn't take him into their library; he'd be more likely to eat the books than be useful in any way. But the library overlooked this section of the garden, so she could tie Harry to the tree there and he could eat as much of bark and greenery as he saw fit.
She led Harry to the space. "See? Isn't this lovely? It's just for short time while I identify a spell to change you back, of course. But in the meantime, make yourself at home." Harry headbutted her slightly, causing her to lose her balance and step backwards a few paces, even though she could tell he was trying to be gentle. She hoped that meant he approved.
Cerise was waiting for them in the garden with the length of rope. "Now. Stay still or I'll have to body bind you again," she told Harry as she attempted to loop the rope around his neck.
Unsurprisingly, Harry bleated in displeasure and attempted to back away, forcing Narcissa to immobilize him again until she fastened makeshift lead. Cerise, meanwhile, tied the other end around the elm tree.
"Shhh. There you are, Harry," she soothed him as she lifted the spell. "See? It's rather peaceful here in the gardens, isn't it? I always found it to be." She looked around for a moment before clearing her throat. "You have plenty of length in that rope to explore a bit or you could rest in the sun, if you like. And there's lots of frogs in the pond. Draco always liked those."
Harry looked at her balefully.
"Yes, I've told him to leave you alone. I know you never got along very well."
Snorting, Harry wandered around the space, testing the length of his rope and examining his surroundings. Narcissa watched, quite pleased with herself—until Harry walked directly into a tree.
"Mah!" Harry exclaimed, jumping back. "Mah!" He blinked at Narcissa.
"Did you expect the tree to move out of your way? Oh, don't look at me like that. You're the one who ran into—oh. You can't see much without your glasses, can you?" She thought for a few seconds. "Accio Lucius's bifocals!"
The spectacles flew into her hand and she gently placed them on Harry's nose, using a sticking charm to hold them in place. He blinked at her through the lenses.
"I'm afraid that's all I have. They'll have to do for the time being. Now, will you be all right here? Do you need anything else?" she asked after giving Harry a moment to adjust.
Harry looked at her and nodded distinctly, but seemed at a loss for how to communicate further. "Are you hungry?" Narcissa tried. "Cerise could bring you some oats and vegetables."
"Nah," Harry said.
"Perhaps some music? Do you like the Wizarding Wireless Network? I believe Draco must have a radio around somewhere…"
"Naah," Harry said again. He looked around. Eventually he focused in on a small rock, which he nosed in Narcissa's direction.
"Rock music? I don't know. I've heard of it, of course, but I'm not sure—"
"Naaah!" Harry interrupted. Huffing, he went and found another stone and pushed it next to the first. A third rock followed in the little pile. Then a fourth.
"Oh! A rock pile! You'd like a rock pile!"
Harry bleated, grinning happily as he wiggled his hindquarters, wagging his little tail as a result.
"I'm not sure it would go with the current landscaping…" She paused when she saw Harry's head droop. "Well, I suppose it won't hurt." She found another pretty little stone and added it to the pile and pointed for Cerise to toss in yet another. If the Manor was to have a rock pile, it would be a pile worth having. And with that, she pointed her wand at the stones. "Engorgio!"
Harry leaped around uncontrollably before he began trotting in circles through the tall grass, a giant goat smile across his face. Eventually he made his way to the pile and began his ascent.
She couldn't help but appreciate the relative simplicity of Harry's needs; it reminded her of days long ago, when Draco was young and their lives were a good deal less complicated. Nonetheless, it was hardly the time for reminiscing. She had a job to do—finding a way to make Harry human again.
"Cerise, I'll have that tea in the library now. Harry, do be careful. I'll be back in a few hours—perhaps less—when I have some answers. Cerise will be out to check on you periodically as well. I trust that will be sufficient?"
Harry merely bleated and jumped from rock to rock.
"Cerise is bringing your tea, Mistress Narcissa," the house elf said, placing the teapot before Narcissa in the library. "Is Mistress needing anything else?"
"No…That will be all," she replied, distracted by the contents of her book.
Cerise nodded and Apparated away with a small pop.
Soon after, Narcissa glanced out at the gardens while sipping her drink. A little brown goat stood proudly atop the rock pile.
Satisfied he was fine, she returned to her research at hand.
Narcissa sighed and set down her copy of A Compendium of Common Curses and Their Counter-Actions. It was the fourth book she'd looked in but to no avail. She had a number of texts to go—the Manor library was thorough—but her hope for an easy cure was dwindling.
She looked at the stack of books to her right and scanned the titles. Perhaps she ought to search the Updated Counter-curse Handbook next. Flipping it open to the Index, she began to scan the entries when movement outside caught the corner of her eye.
The sight made Narcissa tense; Draco was approaching Harry, who stood frozen in the long grass. Draco's hands were on his hips but then, his posture wasn't as angry as she might have expected. Still, hadn't she told Draco to leave Harry alone? If Harry was mistreated, he'd be sure to tell the Ministry.
Draco eventually came to a stop and watched the goat. They didn't seem to be fighting, or, at least, she couldn't hear any arguing. Wondering whether to go outside to break up their interaction, she watched closely as Draco took a few more steps towards Harry. But just when Draco was a step or two away, Harry jumped out of reach and darted over to his rock pile once again. Narcissa heard him bleat a few times in the distance as he scampered to the top.
Meanwhile Draco simply cocked his head before shrugging his shoulders and wandered over to the broken swing. With a swish of his wand, the swing was repaired. He tugged experimentally on the rope before gingerly sitting on the hanging wooden plank. When the ropes held, he lifted his feet a few inches from the ground and let his weight and the breeze push him ever so slightly back and forth through the air. Never one for whimsy, Draco soon placed his foot back on the ground to steady himself.
Perhaps Draco simply wanted to keep an eye on Harry, and Narcissa supposed that was reasonable enough. Provided they weren't arguing, she had no problem with it. She finally looked away from the window, deciding she'd simply monitor the situation for the time being.
Narcissa checked on Harry often—every few pages or so she looked out the window—but the goat seemed to be fine. He wandered over to rest in the shade at the far side of the elm from Draco, but that was about all she noticed. Later he took a few cautious bites of tree bark as Draco looked on, thankfully holding his sharp tongue for once in his young life. Perhaps he had finally grown some sense of late.
Believing the situation outside to be well enough under control, Narcissa soon allowed herself to become further engrossed in her research. The sooner she could find a cure for Harry, the better.
The next time Narcissa looked outside, Draco was still on the swing, but instead of standing on his rock pile, Harry was standing atop the old mossy bench that sat a half dozen feet from Draco. They appeared to be talking. Or, at least, Draco did. Narcissa could hear the soft sounds of words carrying through the air. Harry looked as though he was listening intently, and Narcissa saw him nod in response at one point. She shook her head and went back to her annotated copy of Secrets of the Darkest Art.
By the time she closed that book to open the next, Narcissa saw that it was Draco on the bench, slicing up an apple as he sat there, one leg crossed over the other. Narcissa smiled as she watch Draco hand every other sliver to a delighted Harry, if his excited bleats were anything to go by. He'd dash away nervously between slices, but always return to feed from Draco's hand when the next chunk of apple was offered.
The situation amused her greatly; joyful goat sounds punctuated the air and Draco may not have been quite as vocal about it, but it looked like he, too, was enjoying himself. Salazar but life was strange at times.
No, nothing in that book either. Narcissa shelved the useless text and returned to her desk, peering outside along the way. So they were still sitting together in the grass then? They'd been that way for nearly an hour now, though Narcissa swore they were a bit closer together every time she looked.
She sneezed abruptly—probably due to the dust that covered many of the older texts. When she finished putting away her kerchief, she flipped open the front cover of one of the older volumes and began to make her way through yet another table of contents, ignoring the fact that Draco was now scratching Harry's head between his little goat ears.
That can't be right, Narcissa thought, doing a double take. She blinked her eyes a few times and refocused on the figures out in the back gardens.
I couldn't be, yet there they were. Somehow it was Harry who now sat on the swing while Draco pushed him from behind. The goat looked equal parts terrified and excited, his rump balanced on the seat while a jumble of legs stuck out at odd angles.
Narcissa sighed. She was definitely going to have to have a few words with Draco when this was all sorted.
Extreme Incantations fell from Narcissa's normally sure fingers.
"Salazar help me, he better have used a Feather-light charm on himself!" she said aloud as, below her window, Harry Potter trotted through the manor gardens with Draco riding on his back.
Harry chose that moment to find his way over to her rose bushes and started chomping away on her prize-worthy blooms. Cringing, she was about to call down to them when Draco had the good sense to urge Harry in another direction. She sighed; the damage was done. Surely the blooms would grow back at some point.
She started to go back to her book when she heard another whoop from outside. Looking out, her stomach tightened as Harry raced towards—and, yes, jumped into—one of the large fountains, but Draco held on despite Harry's manoeuvres and she heard a ripple of his laugher ring out through the air as Harry splashed through the water, spraying it everywhere. Draco was half soaked, but Narcissa couldn't remember the last time she'd heard him laugh so freely.
Many of Draco's friends had dispersed after the war, but now Narcissa had to wonder whether his constant napping and moping had been due to loneliness. Still, it seemed odd that Draco and Harry would be getting along after years of animosity, but their relationship had always been unique. Draco had always shown an indisputable preference for other males and she had intuited long ago that there was more between the two of them than met the casual eye.
"Cerise is bringing tea and sandwiches for Mistress Narcissa."
Narcissa startled. "What? Oh! I suppose I should have…yes, I should, shouldn't I?"
She had forgotten all about tea time, but only partly because of the chapter on animal hexes open before her.
After all, it wasn't every afternoon when a mother could watch her son zoom through the air on a broomstick chasing after a Snitch. Or, at least, not when there was a goat sitting on the broomstick with him.
She almost choked on her cucumber and pumpkin sandwich when Draco directed the broom into a daring loop-the-loop after a series of intricate climbs and dives. Salazar knew how Harry was staying on the broom at all!
The little golden Snitch flew near one of the rear Manor turrets, and Draco finally spotted it as well. He flew directly towards it, a most determined look on his face. As they approached on his broom, he reached out his long arm to catch it. Almost there, almost—
Narcissa's mouth dropped open. For the love of Merlin! Every bloody time.
She watched as Harry attempted to chew the Snitch once or twice before giving up and swallowing it whole. That Harry caught more Snitches in his mouth than some Seekers did in a lifetime. Luckily Draco was laughing too hard to care as he gently eased them in for a landing.
Once they dismounted, Draco took a drink from his bottle while Harry headed towards the fountains for some water of his own. Thirst sated, Draco proceeded to root through the pile of random Quidditch supplies he'd left on the ground. Evidently, he found what he was looking for.
He called over to Harry, who had finally pulled his head from the fountain. "Again?"
Harry could barely control his glee, his legs flying in every direction as he leapt in circles around Draco. "Mah! Maaaaaah!"
Laughing, Draco opened his fist and another golden Snitch took to the air.
Late that afternoon, Narcissa finally found her answer. Right there, in her worn copy of Moste Potente Potions, she found the brew that surely caused Harry's transformation: Just Kid-ding: Shirley Hammerhard's Goat-for-a-Day Potion.
Wears off at sunset, the book said and the sun was already getting lower in the sky. Harry had only an hour or so to go before he became human again, if the description in the book was anything to go by.
Harry and Draco were oblivious to the sun's location, however. They had both fallen asleep in the grass by Harry's elm tree and she was reluctant to disturb them. Draco's arm was draped over Harry's furry back and a soft rhythmic rumble reached all the way to her ears.
She really hadn't known before that goats snored.
Narcissa brought the book with her when she went outside a few minutes before sunset to inform Harry of what she had found.
She approached them quietly, her footsteps soft against the gravel path, as she was hesitant to disturb the tenuous friendship that Harry and Draco had somehow formed throughout the day. She finally located them back in the far corner of the garden. They stood together, leaning against each other with Draco's arm around Harry's neck as they watched the horizon turn a brilliant array of colours. The sun sank into the far hills, reddening the sky and pinking the clouds. Meanwhile Draco's fingers carded aimlessly through Harry's coarse brown fur.
"Draco?" she said when the angle of the sun would allow her to wait no longer.
Her son startled, quickly stepping back from Harry as he turned to her, the colour that flooded his cheeks mirroring that of the sunset. Harry also spun to face her, feet skidding on the rocks as he did so. A few small pebbles bounced off the side of the pile.
"I need to talk to Harry for a moment."
"Harry? That's a horrid name. I've decided to name him Guillaume. Guillaume, the goat. That's much better." He patted Harry's rump as Harry studied the ground, looking almost guilty. "Why'd you buy a goat anyway?" he continued.
She blinked at Draco. "Of course I didn't buy Harry," she corrected. "Why would you think—Wait. Didn't you see my note?"
"What note?" Draco asked.
"Oh for Salazar's…the parchment on your place setting in the dining room. For you to find when you came down for breakfast!"
"There was no note." Draco shrugged. "What'd it say?"
"No note! Where could it have gone? I left it there myself. Parchment doesn't just disappear into thin air!"
Harry chose that moment to slink away, head lowered.
Narcissa narrowed her eyes. "Harry, what did you…Did you eat my note?"
"Nah," Harry said meekly.
"Harry," she said, warning loud and clear in her voice.
Harry looked up pitifully and gave a slight nod.
"Oh dear," said Narcissa, not for the first time that day.
"Mah." Harry nodded.
"What the bloody hell is going on?" Draco demanded.
"Oh my…Draco, you're going to need to sit down. Harry, give us a few minutes please."
But the sun had other plans; Harry began coughing violently as the final curve of light dropped below the horizon. Draco Summoned and old bucket and knelt down at Harry's side, petting him as he cast an Aguamenti to fill the pail with water. Narcissa didn't have the time or heart to tell him not to bother.
With a final hacking cough, Harry's legs flailed out from under him. Draco reached out to catch the goat as it fell, but ended up with a hefty armful of naked human instead.
"What the fuck?" Draco promptly dropped Harry against the rocks and scrambled away. "What the bloody—Potter? Potter?! That's fucking Potter!" He looked at her in horror. "I can't believe you would do this to me! Embarrassing my like this! My own mother!" He glared at them as Narcissa handed Harry her cloak to cover himself.
"Now, Draco, please. Let me explain." Narcissa tried in vain to calm him.
"No. I don't believe I will," he said coldly. He turned abruptly and stormed off in the direction of the Manor.
Narcissa helped Harry to his feet. "Are you okay?" When Harry nodded, she let out a deep sigh. "Let's go inside. I'll show you what I've found and then I must deal with Draco."
Narcissa opened the book to the relevant page and passed it across the table to a now-dressed Harry. Draco's clothing wasn't a perfect fit but a few spelled alterations made them passible enough, even if the colour palette was entirely wrong.
Unaware of the way Draco's grey tones did nothing for his eyes, Harry looked over the page Narcissa handed to him. "Ah. Yeah, that'll be it. Must be more careful."
"Why did you drink the potion? Was it a mistake or did someone put it in your tea this morning?"
"Naah—er…no," said Harry. He shrugged and gave her back the book.
Harry looked sheepish. "Well, I had seven slices of burnt toast for breakfast."
Narcissa raised an eyebrow.
"I was hungry. And I'm not a very good cook. And then there was the chewing gum after; I didn't want to be wasteful."
Narcissa grabbed the book back and looked at the ingredient list for the potion.
Just Kid-ding: Shirley Hammerhard's Goat-for-a-Day Potion
7 slices of burnt toast
1 piece of previously chewed cinnamon bubble gum
1/8 tsp. powdered lacewing fly
19 strands of fresh grass
4 pints pumpkin juice
2 owl treats, mouse or cricket flavour
Stir (combine thoroughly) and heat to body temperature for 24 minutes. Consume immediately. Appropriate for beginner through advanced students.
Dumfounded, Narcissa looked back at Harry. "You…ate…powdered Lacewing?"
"Not on purpose! I didn't know that's what it was. Thought it might be sugar for my coffee. Should've taken it to the potions lab instead of tasting it to find out, I guess."
Narcissa paused. "That might have been a slightly safer option; yes. And the grass?"
"Fell on the way to work and swallowed a fair amount. I think my shoelace must've come undone."
Cringing, Narcissa looked back at the list. "The beetle?"
"It was in the grass."
"In the…grass…I see. Well, at least the pumpkin juice seems reasonable enough. You must've been rather thirsty."
"Definitely. Plus, I couldn't get the taste of the beetle out of my mouth."
"And I'll just ignore the bogey…"
Harry's face turned red. "Might as well."
"The owl treats. Do I even want to know?"
"I was curious, so I tried one," Harry explained.
"But it says the potion requires two."
"The first one was pretty good, so…" He shrugged again.
Narcissa attempted to smile at him. "Well, I suppose that settles that."
"Yup. Definitely. Glad that's sorted." Harry scratched the back of his neck. "Gotta say, I wondered why that kept happening."
"This…isn't the first time?" Narcissa asked faintly.
"Nope! Third this week, actually. Maybe I should switch chewing gum flavours."
"Merlin forbid you eat less toast or leave the owl treats for the owls."
Harry grinned. "It's the beetles that are the worst. The little legs get caught in my—"
Narcissa shuddered. "Perhaps a sticking spell for your shoelace knot might be wise."
"That's not a bad idea. Ron suggested Velcro. Muggles use it to hold things together but it's hard to find it on Wizard shoes." Harry smashed his hair down ineffectively; it seemed an unconscious habit. "Oh, and thanks for bringing me here, Mrs Malfoy. They're used to me being a goat at the Ministry by now, but it was loads more fun being outside all day."
"With my son; yes." Narcissa stood and pushed her chair in. "Now, if everything is in order here, I should go see to him. I'm sure he thinks…well, actually, I have no idea what he thinks at the moment, but I really should find out. I'll have Cerise show you out. Cerise, return this book to the library as well." She looked at Harry and shook her head. "Thank you for a most interesting day, Mr Potter. I trust there are no hard feelings."
Harry stood, too, as Cerise appeared in the doorway. "Wait, Mrs Malfoy. Do you mind if. Could I. Talk to him—Draco—could I talk to him first, I mean?" Harry asked.
"I really don't believe that would be best under the circumstances. Cerise, please see Mr Potter out. I'll be with Draco. Why don't you make his favourite dessert for later?"
Cerise bowed. "Cerise will be happy to make pumpkin soufflés. Young Master Draco is pouting out on the balcony now but he always enjoys his favourite puddings when he sneaks downstairs at midnight. Mr Potter, if you're ready? Cerise is a very busy elf!" The house elf gestured towards the door.
"Right. Well, could you—at least—could you thank him for me? I know he didn't know it was me, but…I had a good time."
Narcissa hesitated. "Why don't you write him a letter and Owl it to him?" She smiled slyly. "Oh, but, Harry, dear, try not to eat the parchment this time." And with that, she slipped from the room to see to her son.
Narcissa looked up from where she was placing gentle fertilization charms at the base of yet another rose bush.
Draco was yelling something indistinguishable as he soared through the air on his broom, executing a dangerous and complicated dive that she'd never be completely comfortable with as his mother. But he was hot on the tail of the Snitch, and it was not a dive that Harry could easily replicate, not standing four-legged on his newly modified broom. Harry was still fast, of course, even with hooves and a less than aerodynamic profile, but he couldn't cling to his broom handle in his goat form the way Draco could. Draco won most of the games, though Harry had swallowed more than a few Snitches along the way as well.
Swooping after him, Harry bleated happily back at Draco.
The first time Harry had appeared at their front door as a goat, Narcissa had rolled her eyes and admonished him for still not learning to tie his shoelaces properly.
The next time, she'd threatened to change all of his gum to peppermint flavour and vowed to purchase him a new toaster that wouldn't burn his breakfast every morning. Harry had winked at her in response.
The third time, she had just opened the door without a word. By then, Harry knew the way to Draco's rooms on his own. He particularly seemed to enjoy climbing the stairs in that section of the house.
The fourth time, she'd merely suggested that he at least bring undergarments with him for when he was still there at sundown. (She tried not to notice when they came inside in a long time after nightfall.)
After that she had lost count, only noticing that at some point Harry began stopping by even when he wasn't in goat form. And she never again interrupted them when they were watching the sun set in the evening.
Even now Harry still visited on four legs just as often as he did on two, but Narcissa didn't mind. The only time Draco napped these days was after a long day in the sun with Harry when they collapsed together in the thick grass. Her roses would never be the same, of course, but Draco's heart was completely worth it.