Harry Potter shook the cold mid-December rain out of his hair and wiped his glasses on his shirttail as he ducked back inside the tent he and Hermione (and up until recently, Ron) shared. He noticed a light on behind Hermione's partition and ducked his head in to look. There he watched as Hermione crouched over a makeshift writing table, dutifully filling out Christmas cards. After about five minutes of this he made his presence known.

"You're barking, you do know that, right?"

Hermione fairly jumped out of her skin. "Damn it, Harry! Don't sneak up on me like that! And I most certainly am not barking. I've sent out Christmas cards each year since I was six, and I surely don't intend to let any mad dark wizard stop me from doing the same this year."

Harry reckoned as how he was probably not going to disabuse her of the notion that she'd be able to find postage stamps in the middle of the forest, and so he didn't try. Rather, he gave his compatriot a kind smile and left her to her work, flopping back onto his cot with a sigh. Five minutes later, Hermione emerged from her room ready to begin her watch. As she passed the nearly sleeping Harry, she dropped a card and an envelope on his stomach, along with a muggle ballpoint pen.

"What's this, then?" Harry asked.

"It's a quartet of Hippogriffs singing 'Coney Island Baby' barbershop style – what does it look like, Harry?"

"Right, but what am I supposed to do with it? I don't know any muggles; at least none that I'm not related to, and I'm probably the last person in Britain that wants to start sending owls off hither and yon. "

"Well then, save it until after we're done with whatever it is we're doing out here. It'll keep. Or save it until next year and give it to –"


Harry had expected to duck a Stinging Hex for his cheeky retort. He hadn't expected Hermione to turn on her heel and walk out of the tent into the rain to start her watch without so much as a word. By the time he'd gathered his bearings, she'd already cast an Imperturbable Charm around herself, not allowing Harry to get anywhere near her to apologise. After discovering this, Harry slunk back to his cot, once again flinging himself down on it to sulk and nap. After remembering what it was that was poking him underneath his ribs, he pulled the card, envelope and pen out from under him and studied the card a moment. On its front was a black and white muggle photograph of a snow-covered tree. Inside was a rather innocuous greeting that read "Wishing you and yours all the happiness this season can offer." On the back he saw the name of the photographer of the tree, and found out that the card was printed in China. He exhaled in a heavy sigh and began to write.

Dear Sirius

Five minutes of staring at the card hadn't seemed to have gotten him any further, so he wrote down the first words that came to his mind.

God rest ye, merry Hippogriffs

Let nothing you beshame

Something something bended knee

And something by your name

Prancing about majestically

To general acclaim

Oh please let us fly on your back, on Christmas Day

Oh please let us fly on Christmas Day.

Sorry I don't know all the words. I guess I'd hoped to have had a few more chances to hear you sing the song in person. Dumbledore had said we — well, I guess he told you, too. Anyway, if you were here, we'd probably be spending Christmas together at your house rather than me freezing my arse off out here in the middle of nowhere. Even with this war, we'd have managed a proper Christmas, somehow, because that's how you would have wanted it.

I miss you terribly, Sirius, and I hope wherever you are, you're tipping a flagon or two of Firewhiskey and singing horribly off-key.

With love from your Godson,