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Nano #41: Draco the Storyteller: Heart of Gold

Title: Draco the Storyteller: Heart of Gold
Author: [info]elfflame
Characters: Harry, Lucius, Draco, Narcissa
Rating: PG
A/N: Harry shows off his creatures to Draco.


The Menagerie

While the Dutchess arranged the gathering, Harry and Draco escaped to see the animals.

"Is she always that organized?" Harry asked.

Draco nodded. "She loves to throw parties. And what better reason than a visiting prince?" He smiled at Harry, then turned to look at camel, wide-eyed. "Are you certain they're not magical?" he asked.

Harry grinned. He'd been astonished, too, when he'd first seen them, but at least he had recognized them from Minnie's books, even if he had not seen them before. "I am. I have a whole zoo at home…some animals never even heard of here in England."

"Like what?" Draco wanted to know, moving on to the zebra, who was contentedly eating from a bucket of oats. "Oh, come on…this one's just a painted horse…"

"He's not." Harry made a clucking sound at it, and it turned its head to look at them, making a high-pitched sound that was nothing like anything a horse would make.

Draco's eyes grew round. "What is it?"

"That one's a zebra. The one with the humps back there is a camel."

"Is it…a sort of horse, too?"

Harry frowned. "No…I don't think so. I think…it's something else. Like small cats and badgers. Similar, but definitely not the same."

Draco nodded after a moment. "I…guess that makes sense. But…people do ride it?"

"Yeah. In the desert."

"How?" Draco asked, looking back at it. "I mean…where would you sit?"

"Between the humps, I guess…"

Draco made a face, then turned around to look at all the animals in the surrounding cages before looking back at Harry. "And they're really all yours?"

"Well, as much as any animal can be," Harry said with a smile.

"Are they all going to travel with us?"

Harry frowned. He'd not really got that far. "No…I'll…send them back home with father's men." Where they could disappear and hopefully Draco wouldn't remember them.

"Oh." Draco sounded disappointed.

"Did you want to travel with all these beasts?" Harry asked, unable to keep the smile from his face.

"Well…might have been fun…"

"It's less fun at night when they all start making all their noises. Calling and stamping and snorting… Not to mention the smell… We'll be better off with out them."

Draco made a face. "Good point. So…will it just be the two of us, then?"

"Oh, I'm sure we'll find other companions as we go. But…just the two of us at first. Is that all right?"

Smiling, Draco nodded. "I don't mind. I like being the centre of attention."

Harry laughed. "And here I thought I was supposed to be the prince?"

"Of course you are. But since it will just be the two of us…that means I'll have your undivided attention." He grinned. "Now…tell me more about Gryffindor?"

The two walked the castle gardens until servants came to find them to prepare them for the banquet that night.

Harry changed to an outfit in the Duke's colours, hoping to please him more in order to get approval for Draco to come with him. After all, he still hadn't agreed, even if his wife had liked the idea.

He made his way down to the Entrance Hall to find the Duke and his family waiting for him. "My wife suggested we all go in together," he said.

Harry bowed to the Duchess. "My lady. I would be honoured if you would allow me to escort you in?"

She smiled wide, and both of them ignored the sour looks on both the Duke and Draco's faces as she took his arm.

The Hall was filled with people lining the tables leading up to the dais, one running down each side of the hall. Harry led the Duchess up to the head table, pulling out her seat, then settled beside her, winning another scowl from father and son as they settled on her other side.

The Duke waved for everyone to be seated, though he stayed standing. "Friends, we welcome you tonight to greet our new friend, Harald, Prince of Gryffindor. Please relax and enjoy the feast, and take a moment to introduce yourself to the prince." He seated himself and waved to the servants to bring around the washing bowls.

Harry quickly followed the Duchess's lead with the bowl, dipping his fingers in, then wiping them on the cloth provided, then began to talk to her, answering many of the same questions for her that he had answered for her son a short hour before.

Luckily it wasn't very long before the first dishes were shown to the head table. A fruit compote, bread, meat and cheese tarts, and an onion pie. Harry took a bit of each, amazed at the variety. He'd never even realized so many different kinds of food even existed. He couldn't wait to try them.

As he began to eat, however, nobles of lesser rank than the Duke came up to talk with him, and Harry found he had little chance to try more than a bite of each before the next course was served.

This started off with a bowl of soup of something that Harry didn't recognize, followed by a pheasant and more tarts, all meat this time, with vegetables inside as well. And to round it off, there was some pork that smelled good enough to make Harry drool. This time, he managed a few more bites of everything before the parade of admirers stopped by to distract him, and even with their conversations and questions, he was still able to eat a good deal more.

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