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Serving Penance

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Eight days until the full moon!



Weeks passed, and inches of snow descended on Durmstrang. Essays were marked, bags were packed, and they were looking forward to the milder weather of southern England. It was three days until Christmas, and Kreacher, Hades, and Somnus had gone on ahead to London. Their quarters were clean and expanded for Ron, Hermione, Mr and Mrs Weasley, Teddy and Dromeda’s impending visit. Harry trudged down to the local pub—on horseback—to say their final farewells.

They didn’t want to stay out late, and so after the second round of lagers, Harry and Severus raised their glasses to start a rousing chorus. Severus flicked his wand, as if trying to dislodge a fly off the end, and a long silver ribbon flew out of it. It rose towards the ceiling and twisted itself snake-like into words.

Witches and wizards leaped onto chairs and tables—including the bemused innkeeper—to sing the farewell song they’d been taught:


‘Of all the money that e’er I had,

I’ve spent it in good company.

And all the harm that e’er I’ve done,

Alas, it was to none but me.

And all I’ve done for want of wit,

To memory now I can’t recall.

So, fill to me the parting glass;

Goodnight and joy be to you all.


Of all the comrades that e’er I’ve had,

They are sorry for my going away.

And all the sweethearts that e’er I’ve had,

They’d wish me one more day to stay.

But since it falls unto my lot

That I should rise, and you should not,

I’ll gently rise, and I’ll softly call,

“Goodnight and joy be to you all!”’



Tipsy, off-key, and full of heart, it was a send-off to top all send-offs.

Whatever the reason that Severus and Harry had been serving penance, it had long been absolved. They waved, and gloved hand in gloved hand, returned home.

Friendship, love, and humanity—this was a magic beyond understanding.