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Draco Malfoy and the dawn chorus, Part II. - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
Draco Malfoy and the dawn chorus, Part II.
DMDC Part Deux



The fluting redbreast, the gardener’s friend, the undaunted bird of Christmas cheer; Thor’s thunderbird, Christ’s comforter, the mourner of the Babes in Wayland Wood.


The holly and the ivy, the elder and the yew, the spindle and the dogwood, these were the home of the robin now pouring forth his piccolo’s song; a song, like his heart and his fighting spirit, far larger than his body.


Rather like Harry.  Rather like Al, as well, and James and Lily for that matter; yet especially Al, and Scorpius a kindred spirit to Al, as he had learnt to his cost.


‘I’m glad that you married Mum, of course.  I’d not be here had you not done.  But, Father.  I am my own man, and Al’s, and he nor I are you and Harry.  You took the long way ’round to get where you are; I follow my own path, and I follow it with Al as my goal and at my side, hand in hand.  That is simply not negotiable.  Now, Father, you can snarl and snark all you like.  You can conceal your jealousy, that I attained early what you achieved late, with sarcasm and temper.  What you cannot do is change the facts, and the fact is, I love him, and he, me, and that is all there is to it – however young we are to “know our own minds”, thank you.’


He’d been all sorts of fool, Draco confessed – to himself only, of course: never apologise, never explain – and his son, then still absurdly young, had put him very much in his place.


And that place, even in the dark, in a wood, before dawn, was here, with Harry, where he had ever truly belonged, a harbour attained after long voyaging.



The loud and clockwork-calling troglodyte, the singer of complex song, its whole body thrumming to wild music, the symbol of joy, bird-king, St Stephen’s bird.


And then there had been Albus.  To those who knew his father but in part, knowing the legend and not the man, knowing only what the world saw, Al had been a second edition of Harry.  The Wren, the Wren, the king of all birds, St Stephen’s day was caught in the furze. Although he is little, his family’s great, I pray you, good landlady, give us a treat.’  And to those who knew Harry truly, Al was indeed Harry all over again, as stubborn, as single-minded, as fierce in his devotions; as fidgety, also, incessantly in motion.


The wren, the unwearied, the fountain of sweet melody, with the greatest voice for its size of any bird: yes, that was Al, shy yet unexpectedly magniloquent, far greater than he at first might seem: although he is little, his family’s great….  The wild Service-tree, the sessile oak, the canopy of pedunculate oak, the small-leaved lime: this was ancient woodland, and the wren its king, as tough as the oak itself.  And Harry was as stalwart as the oak, heart of oak, and Al as well, and as great a store of riches in a small room as was the wren. 


‘And what d’you think you’re doing to my son, eh?’


‘Just now?  I do nothing to Scorpius, Draco.  He and I do things together.  And just as yet, they’re not terribly rampageous things.  But in a year or so, I’ve no doubt we’ll be doing together all the things that you and Dad wish to do to one another.  And not only in bed, in case you’re waxing even more gutter-minded in your middle-age than commonly – sir.  We, Scorpius and I, will be together all our lives, and you may as well make yourself used to it.  Better yet, accept it, stop snarking about, and stop pretending you’re not madly in love with Dad.’


‘Now, see here, boy –’


‘Don’t tell me.  You’re Vernon Dursley, Polyjuiced.’


Draco had said not another word on the subject.  And had taken Al’s really rather good advice as far as making a dead set at Harry.  Clever bugger, that Al; perfect for Scorpius, really.


And devoted with it.  One didn’t catch Al dragging Scorpius out to a wood in the small hours to listen to wrens and become ridiculously sentimental.



The balladeer on white-flashed wings, the wide-varied songster of the assarts, the bard whose immemorial song passes from father to son.


It all came down, did it not, to fathers and sons.  James the elder and Lucius, Harry with his three children, Draco with Scorpius, and all the rest.  Not bloodlines or the now-exploded myth of blood status, blood purity, but the way in which fathers passed on the traditions, or failed to do, or twisted them out of all recognition.  Here, where common whitebeam and crab apple had their holt, the chaffinch, gregarious and colourful, splashed with Gryffindor scarlet, discoursed and sang, the songs of its fathers immemorial ringing from each silver throat.  Odd that the Latin name was Fringilla coelebs; the chaffinch was a paterfamilias, the most un-bachelorly of birds.


No, he had not been made for the bachelor’s state, any more than had been his Harry.  The first true similarity he had ever recognised in the both of them was their deep – some said, fanatical – sense of family, and family loyalty.  And when the two of them had found themselves widowers, and the dust had settled from their legendary vengeance on those responsible – Harry, characteristically, had considered it the meting out of justice; Draco had been nakedly in pursuit of vengeance, wergild, and had never pretended otherwise – when the two of them had found themselves widowers, it had been in retrospect the most natural thing in the world, however odd it had seemed in its unfolding, that they should find one another at last, dark and light, night and day, yin and yang.


Fathers.  Sons.  Tradition, and the songs of an elder time passed on for generations yet to rise.



The ornate emperors of Roman pomp, the bird of Colchis, the Legionary, the Norman cock; the aristocrat of the table, the preserved monarch, the sacrificial king.


Fathers, and sons.  What Lucius would have made of it all….  But then, he’d never grasped the full magic of it, the true and uncorrupted magic.  Mummy had done, thank God, but never Lucius.  In his feathered pomp, more proud than any white peacock, Lucius had thought himself the king and master of all that he surveyed.  An exotic of rare plumage, bred to the highest standard, of high blood and high history (even if the history were not altogether true), he had thought himself a cut above all others, and deemed himself specially protected. 


‘Father, can you not even now see all that you have managed to bugger up?  You told me we bowed the knee to no-one, yet you made yourself the slave of a half-blood!  And lost!  And I was fool enough to follow your example; we’re damned lucky to be out of Azkaban as they round up all your old friends, you backed the wrong horse and the damned gee wasn’t even a thoroughbred!  You weren’t protected, you were preserved like a pheasant – to be potted later!  Father, I love you as my father, but you’ve made a complete pig’s breakfast of managing the affairs of the family.  I think it perhaps best … in the current political climate, shall we say … that Mother and I manage things.  Don’t you?


And that, in those first knife-edge days after the War, had been, as was now evident, the first step on the road that had led him at the last to Harry’s side.  In a bed of purple orchids and goldilocks buttercups, anemone, wood sorrel, sanicle, violet, primrose, and betony, in a wood at break of dawn: o daft, speccy, loveable madcap of a Potter….



Argent, a chevron sable: the voice of the turtle, love’s martyr, the partner of the phoenix, the mourner of love’s pains.


It was yet, if barely, spring, and the voice of the turtle was heard in the land.


‘Love?  Oh, really, Potter.  I’m quite certain that your marriage was one long, fine, careless rapture, and I’ve heard, as have we all, until we’re thoroughly sick of it, how love was “the power the Dark Lord knew not”, but, really, let’s be sensible.  Life is not a fairy-tale, some comforting, Good-Conquers-Evil fantasy penned by Beedle the Bard –’


‘Oh?  Like the tale of the cloak, and the ring, and the Elder Wand?’


‘Ah.  Well.  You see.  That is to say –’


‘Draco, if you won’t leave off ranting, I will shut your mouth for you.’


And Harry had done, with a kiss that had left Draco’s head spinning and his knees loose for quite several hours.


The wisdom of snakes was overrated; doves, thought Draco, give him doves every time.


It wasn’t easy, being the mate of the ultimate phoenix; but it was so very right.  Even in a dampish wood, at this ungodly hour.


Collared dove

The buff and gregarious intimate of man, the coloniser with the murmurous call, the weaver of dreams of ease.


An ungodly hour.  There was hazel coppice in the wood, Draco knew, and dormice in it.  Sensible creatures, dreaming of ease, sleeping peaceably through this racket.  It was light enough now, if only just, to make out some of the nearer flora, pallid and grey in the first adumbrations of the coming dawn.  Solomon’s seal, alchemical symbol of transmutation; orchid; herb paris, the true-lover’s knot.  There was no bond like that of true lovers, and the doves called that ancient wisdom softly forth, assuasive and dreaming, summoning him to a sleep that his true-love’s bond denied him.


Liturgical damned things, doves.  Their ghastly vicar, ‘Call-Me-Bill’, was ever prating of them, and preaching peace.  Draco knew better: love was a power that the evil knew not, and peace was secured by wielding it as a weapon.



The warbling, drawling nightingale of the north, the Muse of Italy, sober-clad and subfusc, gravely capped.


Chattering away merrily, trailing off in trills, the Franciscans of the avian world gave note.  White bryony and bramble, wild privet and bittersweet, elder and ivy and spindle drew them here.  And bittersweet and privet went together for his Harry.


Draco had not known – had not realised, had not admitted, had not allowed himself to realise – how much he had come to care for Harry until he had met and confronted Vernon Dursely.  Dudley had improved out of all recognition since his vicious youth, and even Petunia had been shaken into self-awareness by the War; Vernon, however….


‘You Muggle tub of larded bile!  You owe your nephew your life, and that of your family and all your world!  You’re the only creature I’ve ever met that might survive a Dementor’s Kiss, you haven’t a soul to be going on with!’


Draco stared unseeing at a wild daffodil, as pale-gilt in the gathering light as his mother’s fair, cold beauty: Narcissus pseudonarcissus.


Vernon sodding Dursley.  What a tit that man had been.


Blue tit

The azure-capped, the gleaner, the foe of garden pests, the friend of farmstead and farmer, bold and acrobatic, bright as clear skies.


Here where the ivy twined and the rowan lifted its head, amidst the yew and the dog-rose, the blue tit cheeked the coming dawn.  Irrepressible little buggers.  And protective of their nests and dignity, ‘Little Billy Biter’: young James had a similar temperament, and Draco had had his fingers bitten a time or two as he and Harry had made their way to where they now flourished.


And good for young James, then.  He’d gone through a phase, being for a time as great a shit as his grandfather and namesake, but it had passed; and the worst of his temper had ever been reserved for any threats to his family.  Good for young James: after Vernon Dursely, Harry deserved a family that so cared for him as to be fiercely protective of him.  And nowadays, he and young James stood together to do just that.  Even a right tit could learn something new: even as blue tits had learnt to open milk-bottles before the householders were roused, as Den Creevey’s milkman father could ruefully attest.



The flittering coin-changer, the jingler, the jongleur, the cheery singer of the incoming Springtide, the olive merrymaker.


Rue, though, and saxifrage, were for more open ground. 


He too had once believed – he thought, ruefully – that display, singing loudly from the barest bough and flitting about with his tail flicking; making the noise of a full pocket of jingling coins – was the way to attract a mate.  After Asteria had been killed and her killers brought to book, he’d felt freed, in a mournful sort of way; and freed at least to plunge wholesale into exploring the other side of his long-repressed bisexuality.  He’d refused to recognise, for far too long, that the real object of his display had been the man least likely to respond to it, his fellow widower.


One lives, and loves, and learns: learns, even, to accept the comparative quiet of a dawn woods, so long as one’s own true love’s beside one.


And now there was hardly time to think, to do anything save be swept up in the merriment and the song, mounting, mounting –


Willow warbler

The modest warbler of the simple song, the attendant in the train of Flora; the familiar of the willow in its poetic sadness and its cricketing joys;


– as the limb of light grasped the world’s rim –


Green woodpecker

The yaffle, the rainbird, the laughing verdant spirit of the woodlands, green of body and crowned in red;


– as all the voices sounded together, in red-and-green unity and the flash of liturgical colours, voices joyous, voices at once spiritual and salty, voices celestial and of the earth, earthy –


Song thrush

Philomel, the master of canon and fugue, mavis, the throstle, the harmonious blacksmith, the wise thrush, he of the ‘full-hearted song evensong / Of joy illimited’: the blithe preacher;


– all together, linked by silver chains of sound, linked in the great chain of being, lyric and continuo, counterpoint, dux et comes, in a variation infinite yet strict –


Mistle thrush

The stormcock, bold, undaunted, who perches upon the highest twig and fronts the elements with melody;


­­– mounting, ever mounting, undaunted and free, unstoppable, in calm as in storm the same, even as dawn mounted the horizon, confident of things unseen as was young Lily, and Luna her godmother, aptly enough –  



The social finch of wheeze and twitter, a butterfly in flight, cool green and bright yellow in one brash bundle, bold as brass, as brash as bold;


– And now the chorus swelled to greet the jocund sun, the rubescent day: warblers and thrushes, the laughing yaffle who screamed delight, the charm of finches. 


Light broke increasingly upon the wood, revealing the crack-willow and the bat-willow with its reminder of white flannels upon the emerald pitch.  Light welled upon the horizon, ex Oriente lux, poised to overflow in great waves of lambent joy, picking out the common male fern and the wood melick, dog’s mercury and sweet woodruff.


Light gathered upon the topmost canopy, the stags-head oaks, where in storm the mistle thrush braved and carolled.  Birds of red, of green, of red and green together, Gryffindor and Slytherin mated together, birds of all the Hogwarts colours, gathered their throated notes in harmony and praised the skies, a choir of voices harmonious and pure, a Mattins choir in the lighting wood.


And then the final voice, the descant –


Dunnock (hedge sparrow)

The squeaking wheel that gets the grease, the quiet subtle bird that shuns attention, the unobtrusive paradox, the sparrow spy:


– Dawn broke, broke like the Host in the hands of the priest, and song greeted it full-throated. 


Even the dunnock, the hedge-sparrow, that sensible late-riser, the subtle sparrow that worked in secret to achieve its ends, had now joined the hymn, the latest and the last of singers in the dawn.  Harry turned to Draco, beaming like the newborn Sun.


‘I trust that was worth getting up a trifle early for?  I’m sure you’re hungry, now: let’s get you home and get some breakfast in you, love.’


And Draco smiled at his Harry, who was speccy, and heroic with it, but not at all daft, nor bloody, nor yet a git.


‘I think not.  My appetites cannot possibly wait that long.’  He dropped to his knees, fluidly, gracefully, sinuously.  ‘Now let me satisfy my hungers,’ said he, already undoing Harry’s flies, ‘and show these damned birds the right way of giving thanks for a new day.’




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5 comments or Leave a comment
(Deleted comment)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 20th, 2008 05:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you.

I'm not certain if the lack you find in the Potterverse is JKR's fault - the woman is not perhaps the average RSPB member or a natural member of the Countryside Alliance - or whether it derives from her writing's assuming that the usual British connotations of the most subtle references, will be picked up by and understood by overseas readers. I suspect it's both.

I take no credit for doing things rather differently; I naturally bang on abt this sort of thing, and I have the benefit of knowing, as JKR did not when she began, that the Potterverse supports a huge and international fandom.

Again, thank you for yr v kind rvw.

Edited at 2008-06-20 07:59 pm (UTC)
themolesmother From: themolesmother Date: June 21st, 2008 08:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much, Wemyss. This is lovely. I read it last night after we'd packed the guests off to bed and again this morning just after our own dawn chorus had sounded.

I thought the melancholy, yet satisfying, story of a Draco and Harry who found each other later in life was very real. This could easily be a continuation of their story post-Epilogue for, after all, when did a writer ever finish a chapter with the words "all was well" without meaning the exact opposite?

I much enjoyed your rendition of my Avatar, although she's far too flattering. In real life I'm a rather plump middle-aged lady with an iron-grey pelt like my namesake and I'm married to a Lincolnshire lad :-). The idea of Draco in a vegetarian establishment made me laugh out loud. I hope that if I ever get such a demanding customer I will rise to the occasion.

The ending was utterly satisfying. The whole thing was delivered in your characteristic evocative prose. You've put a smile on my face.

Thank you again. This is a wonderful present.

wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 21st, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Ah, my dear.

I'm so vy glad you liked it. And glad you'd no objection to the figure loosely based upon your good self.

You're awfully kind to praise this trifling effort so highly; I but hope that it brought you and will yet bring you cheer.
tekalynn From: tekalynn Date: July 7th, 2008 08:00 am (UTC) (Link)
This is lovely, so reflective and interconnected.

I learned a bit of British ornithology from it as well, which is always nice. Thank you.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 7th, 2008 01:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you.

I'm glad.

Indeed, I'm doubly glad: now I can get a special price on my RSPB membership, as having spread the gospel of British birds. (Joking.)
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