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O, for the wings of a dove - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
O, for the wings of a dove

O, for the wings of a dove



GMW Wemyss

For the H/D Birthday Bash





‘What’s that, I wasn’t attending –’

‘Dovedale, Harry!’

‘Derbs and a bit of Staffs?  What of it?’

‘We could slip away to Dovedale for a week.  Or three.’


‘Well, really, Harry.  June and July ought to be wholly devoted to our birthdays, oughtn’t they.’

‘If you’re eager to take an angling holiday, chasing up the ghosts of Walton and Cotton, say so, but –’

‘Now, Harry, do be reasonable, it’s not all angling there.  Charming countryside, lots of scenic, um, walks, gastropubs….  And, after all.  Scorpius nor Albus particularly care for rambles when away from our own country where people have become inured to them, possibly because the randy little fauns cannot stop groping one another sufficiently not to scandalise passing vicars and elderly gentlewomen, of whom Mother has firmly established she’s not one, given her encouragement of them, nor yet do they care for angling, and James and whichever doe-eyed chit he’s pursuing on any given day likely shan’t either, why Jamie won’t simply twig to the fact that he and Rose are perfectly suited I don’t at all know, and it’s blessedly impossible that your evil daughter whom I suspect is somehow secretly Pansy’s would go along even at wand-point and –’

‘Breathe, love.’

‘Well, but, damn it, Harry.’


‘I mean, we’ve done any number of things that you laid on for my birthday this year, and I wanted to give you a treat for yours, and I feel as if the whole season has been rather devoted to me, as is meet and right, of course, although I must say you might as well have Stunned me as to have pinned my best split-cane Barder rods to the wall with a garden tool two days before my birthday and the tines skewering a note reading “Not a chance, sunshine, and I’ll see you in the garden” –’

‘Given that we were expecting half the Wizarding world for a garden party for your birthday in two days, I really thought it reasonable enough.’

‘Well, but, Harry, I was terrified you’d damaged them, although of course you’d not done and I’m very sorry indeed that I wanted faith in you, but you really mustn’t handle my rod too roughly – oh, do leave off sniggering, Potter, you know what I mean – and that’s the thing, you did put on that do –’

‘And it rained like buggery.’

‘– And you let me drag you to Glyndebourne, although admittedly you spent the afternoon kipping on the lawns next the hamper and the champers –’

‘I was awake, I simply put my hat over my face and tried to ignore your arguing the score, bar for bar, or rather measure for measure, as it were, with the soprano, loudly.’

‘– The woman had no sense of how to sing Lady Macbeth, Harry, or indeed Verdi, or indeed, come to that, opera, but you meant well, which is more than I can say for your utterly appalling Shakespeare pun just now, by the way –’

‘Draco, she stormed off an hour before the bloody thing was to start and they had to bring out the understudy.’

‘– And quite right, too, the silly cow had no business performing.  And you meant well when we went to Lord’s, although it was agonising to watch at the last with the England run rate dropping and the required run rate rising, and you were as heart-in-mouth nervous as I, you must admit, which is more than I can say for the old men in the eggs-and-bacon ties snoring behind us –’

‘I remember it vividly, love.  You were watching that last over through your fingers like an eight-year-old watching Daleks from behind a sturdy bit of furniture, Jagger to your left was tearing a hankie to shreds without realising it, and on my right all I could hear was John Major swearing prayerfully under his breath – whilst I was making origami of my tie, as you rightly noted.’





‘– Yes, and there was the Royal Bath and West, which was a lovely thought on your part, truly –’

‘Bar the monsoon rains and that unfortunate incident.’





‘– I quite know now how Aberforth must have felt, but your intentions were good, Harry, and the Chelsea Flower Show was very sweet of you, really –’

‘In the interim periods when it wasn’t pissing down rain, yes, and I must apologise again, I’d not realised your allergies were so extensive.’

‘– And we really must do the Cowes Round the Island Race again next year –’

‘With rather better weather, yes, possibly so.’

‘– And you must admit Henley Regatta went well, well, well enough, really –’

‘I had quite forgotten that Cho’s Animagus form was that of a swan.’

‘– And Hurlingham –’

‘I really ought to have cast an Unforgiveable on that Argentine bugger, to larn him to keep his hands to himself.’

‘– And it was a lovely thought to suggest the Royal Highland Games –’

‘That is Show-not-Games, love, och-aye-mphm.  Leaving aside midges, rain, and the regrettable incident with your kilts, yes, I suppose.  You’re wittering, love, in a disturbingly uncharacteristic fashion.  Out with it.’

‘Well.  That’s to say.  You’ve moved heaven and earth – well, you’ve fought the stars in their courses, actually, and they’ve fought back – to give me a perfect birthday month, well, two, really; it simply hasn’t, er, gone terribly well, in the event.’

‘So you thought it might be better if you planned.’




‘Look, are you quite certain you’ve not been in contact with any Mackled Malaclaws, even as a Potions ingredient?’

‘Has it been that bad?’

‘Well … no.  Because – well, you know perfectly well why, Potter, don’t force me to say it.’

‘Because even though we’ve been governed by Sod’s Law in all our doings, from the village fête to Aldeburgh, we’ve been together.’

‘Oh, don’t be soppy, Harry, it’s rather middle-class.’

‘Look, m’love – d’you really wish to give me the perfect birthday holiday?’

‘Of course I do, you fond idiot.’

‘Right, then, I’ll tell everyone we’ve gone to America, and not to write.’

‘POTTER!  America?  In July?  When the Muggles celebrate their rebellion all through July by dumping perfectly good tea in harbours and shooting Squibs, by all accounts?’

‘Shooting off squibs.  Fireworks, as we do on Bonfire Night.  Besides, that was weeks ago, on the fourth of the month.  And I like Americans: I’ve seen them fight.’

‘As have I – all too often.  Hearty barbarians, and that’s not counting their Aurors, hardly a cultivated person on the continent.  Piratical hearties who believe God’s on their side –’

‘In short, displaced Elizabethan Englishmen.  Quite.’

‘Sometimes I miss the old Harry, when you were Wet, before you turned into Colonel Blimp.’

‘Really?  Because I’m still madly in love with the Draco Malfoy who left off being a blood-purist and became a positive fixture of the Damascus Rural District Council Roads and Transport Committee.  But it needn’t be America, love: I’ll tell everyone we’re off to Australia instead.’

‘But that’s even worse!  Bar a few chardonnay socialists, they’re the bloody Texans of the Pacific – and that’s the ALP!  Even their fauna include a red-necked pademelon!’

‘Love: it doesn’t matter.  I said I’d tell everyone we gone to the ends of the earth, not that we’d actually go.’

‘What’s that?’

‘You do really wish me to have what I want and wish for my birthday, don’t you.’

‘Er.  Yes.  But –’

‘Then I tell the world we’re away and travelling.  We boot the bloody children out of the place.  We positively hope for rain.  And we stay snug, here, and I promise you: there shall be exploration, and new delights, and not quite virgin territory seized and treasured, and I shall take you to new heights and new horizons and around the sodding world, to places we’ve never been.’

‘Mmmmm.  Harry….’

‘And I rather think I shall begin unwrapping my present now….’

‘HARRY!  Ahhhhhh….’



In another wing of the great house, Albus dropped his wand, feeling the minatory slap on his hand from Harry’s wards, and the image and the sound he had conjured faded away, even as his own Scorpius dragged him avidly down upon their bed.  Before he became quite incoherent, he said, as he had said on many occasions before, in respectful hope of emulation, ‘Go, Dad.’



Several days after.


‘Back from the river, then?’

‘Hullo.  Yes.  Nothing rising now of course, not until evening.  I’m quite glad you remembered we owned this bit of water.’

‘I’m very clever.  Ask our sons.’

‘No, thank you.  I am beginning to believe those lads have significant boundary issues.’

‘Don’t be silly, Draco.  They both want parental examples of a sound relationship, and you know damned well my wards don’t allow them any spying that goes too far.  It amuses them to think they’ve bested us – and it amuses me to know they’ve not done, and are being surreptitiously educated.  And, besides – it worked, didn’t it?’

‘Greatly as it pains me to admit it, Potter, it did, at that.  Those who think we’ve buggered off to the ends of the earth leave us alone, and those who suspect we’d simply say that are now convinced we’ve stayed home for a dirty weekend and don’t come looking for us.  We really were brilliant.’

‘Yes, we were.  You wittered and wibbled almost convincingly, for a role so wholly unsuited to your character.’

‘And you were almost capable of Slytherin guile, with a little assistance.’

‘Hmm.  Yes.  Remind someday to tell you a tale of a – hat.’

‘What?  Oh, no, Harry, you’re not going to distract me just now with some rubbish about your being considered for Slytherin – nonsense on the face of it.  It’s time for another birthday present for you, all nicely wrapped and ready for you play with, as long and hard as you like.  Shall I unwrap it, hmm?’

Harry grinned, almost as wolfishly as a Lupin, and grinned the wider in the knowledge that Draco would never quite fathom the whole of what he was grinning about.  Draco was sometimes so sharp he cut himself rather than others, but he really was, after all, worth loving, very generous with his undeniable gifts, and a truly brilliant shag.







My thanks are due of course to my Tenth Legion of keen-eyed editors: in Britain and the Commonwealth, tree_and_leaf; l_aqrchard; and blamebrampton; and in America, absynthedrinker and (Jet!) the sgt_majorette.  I chose to surprise noeon and femmequixotic with this rather than inflict it upon them for editing.



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40 comments or Leave a comment
From: seneska Date: July 4th, 2010 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
This was both humourous and touching. Sounds like a jolly good way to spend a summer. The family dynamic is brilliant as well.

wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 4th, 2010 02:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thanks, love.

And I trust yours is going more nearly swimmingly now than formerly.
vaysh From: vaysh Date: July 4th, 2010 03:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

re: O, for the wings of a dove

I am so smitten with your snarky, rural H/D. Harry's manifold attempts to give Draco a birthday he would never forget were wonderful and touching, and the constant rain was ... let's say, realistic. ;) Your double H/D AS/S is just always so adorable. Parental role models, indeed. Most of all, though, I am intrigued with Draco on the Damascus Rural District Council Roads and Transport Committee. Seriously, Wemyss, that one made me laugh out loud. Thanks so much for this. :D
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 4th, 2010 03:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Summer in England, after all.

I make certain that the original lyric actually began,

Svmer is a-pyssing down
Lhvde sing cucco....

To yr more serious point, I think it was Waugh, writing I believe to Nancy Mitford, who made a point that Jack Lewis loved to make as well, being in essence that, yes, he, Waugh, was a shit, and a good Catholic, and imagine how much more of a shit he'd be were he not a good Catholic. Draco after the War may have his own Paul on the Road to Damascus Moment, but he'll yet bide Draco (as indeed Saul remained Paul).

Thank you, as ever, for yr kind words.
lucianwolf From: lucianwolf Date: July 4th, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
God - I love this SO much.

I adore your sense of humour. It's subtle and lovely.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 4th, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you.

I'm very pleased that it was as fun to read as it was to write.
From: tree_and_leaf Date: July 4th, 2010 08:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Delightful as ever; and the coda makes it. The illustrations are rather lovely, too.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 4th, 2010 08:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you, thrice over.

Not least for yr efforts in making it worth posting.
enchanted_jae From: enchanted_jae Date: July 5th, 2010 01:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Love it!
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 5th, 2010 02:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you.

I hope it's some recompense, then, for all the pleasure you have given us as your readers.
noeon From: noeon Date: July 5th, 2010 02:17 am (UTC) (Link)

Dirty weekend indeed

We started snickering at the 'perfectly good tea', howling at 'chardonnay socialists', and guffawing at the 'significant boundary issues'. Really, this is too much fun.

As the fireworks sound across the Charles, the peals of laughter resound through the house.

wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 5th, 2010 02:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

And not even in Rutland.

And two of the three best jokes I was given on a plate by Brammers.

Thankee, lass.
femmequixotic From: femmequixotic Date: July 5th, 2010 02:21 am (UTC) (Link)

*claps hands in glee*

Dearest! Utterly wonderful as always--and you sent them to Lord's! That made me ridiculously happy, as did the thought of the boys coming to this side of the pond in July. We would be more than happy to throw a proper Boston tea party for them.

What a lovely way to celebrate their birthdays, and what an even lovelier surprise. We're still laughing over here. Delightful, dear.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 5th, 2010 02:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you.

They're too much fun, really, aren't they.
mijeli From: mijeli Date: July 12th, 2010 08:52 am (UTC) (Link)
This was very unusual writing - I don't think I ever read anything like it before in fanfiction. It was also quite challenging for me as a non-native (which generally is a sign for language expertise, or at least in my experience)
And then I do enjoy dialogue-heavy stories so very much, and this certainly was one! Applause for this unique little piece (with stunning art which I wish was bigger).
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 12th, 2010 12:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you very much for the plaudit.

And I'm sorry it was hard slogging - although, mind, I make certain your English is infinitely better than my - German, is it? It is particularly good of you to have taken time to read it, and then to speak so kindly of it, in a second language, and I'm very greatly obliged.
40 comments or Leave a comment