Violet sat between Marybeth and Millicent at the final feast, wriggling with anticipation and studiously avoiding the eyes of her housemaster who must have been wondering where Malfoy and his cronies were. The house cup had just been awarded to Hufflepuff whose students had immediately given it back, insisting all four houses were equally worthy that year.
       "Was that a compliment or an insult?" Violet asked the older Slytherin beside her.
       "Yes," Millicent replied.
       Violet glanced nervously at the main doors to the hall. "I wish they'd hurry," she murmured as the feast materialized before them. "I feel naked without my wand."
       As if on cue, the doors to the hall slowly swung shut, then burst open again with a blaring of trumpets that sounded like a Spanish fanfare. Violet's face lit up as she turned eagerly in the direction of the music and watched her wand enter the hall. It floated by itself, 10 feet in the air, conducting a neat row of candles floating along behind it unspooling music the Slytherins had feverishly compiled over the last several days. When the fanfare ended, a rhythmic strumming of guitars began and Malfoy, flanked by Crabbe and Goyle, processed regally through the doors.
       "A musical number!" cried Trelawney in delight as Malfoy leapt on top of the Slytherin house table amid a final flourish of trumpet music. All eyes turned to him and several Gryffindor mouths dropped open, for he was dressed in a red quidditch robe with a pair of fake glasses resting upon his nose and a lightning bolt scar blazed across his forehead in bright green ink. The trumpets rose to a crescendo, then cut off abruptly as he began to sing.
       All the students and most of the staff began to giggle, except for Harry, who folded his arms irritably across his chest as Malfoy continued to sing.
       The giggles turned into chuckles and Harry began punching every snickering Gryffindor he could reach. Only Hermione Granger seemed unamused. She peered thoughtfully at Malfoy as he gave her a naughty wink and burst into the chorus.
       The students burst into applause and Malfoy bounced his eyebrows at Harry, who scowled obligingly at the Slytherin before reaching into his pocket to draw his wand. He twirled it between his fingers while he studied the blonde teenager, contemplating his choice of punitive curses. Then someone bumped into him and his wand clattered to the floor as Hermione Granger sprang to her feet. She strode purposefully towards the Slytherin table and Malfoy had just enough time to remember how she'd recognized Violet's quote from Oliver! before she climbed on top of the table beside him, never noticing that she'd stepped in a large bowl of mashed potatoes in the process. She shoved Malfoy aside with both hands, forcing him to jump to the floor, and began to sing.
       "Hey!" Malfoy shouted indignantly, but Violet just laughed and clapped with delight as Hermione sang her own parody of the famous show tune.
       "Gee!" Violet murmured as Hermione stood proudly atop their table, singing with all her might.
       All eyes watched her, enraptured, and Malfoy felt a shiver run up his back as he realized what was about to happen. Sure enough, Violet sprang up and began running up and down the aisles between the tables, shoving students in the back to get them on their feet. At first they hesitated, but Hermione stood firm and soon they were all scrambling on top of their tables, horrifying the staff by stepping unheedingly into roasts and puddings and kidney pies as they linked arms and prepared to sing.
       Millicent grabbed Tracey by the arm and hurried her over to the Gryffindor table where Harry's housemates were grinning and clapping him on the back as they climbed on top of their table. The Slytherin girls took hold of Harry, pulled him over to their table, grabbed the robe from Malfoy's shoulders, draped it over Harry's, and shoved him up onto the table beside Hermione.
       Malfoy watched it all, his mouth hanging open in wonder. I did this! he decided, completely ignoring his original goal or Hermione's contribution, and he hopped proudly onto his house table to shove the girl aside so he could grab for himself the spot beside Harry Potter. Together, he and the students of Hogwarts sang with all their might.
       Dobby popped into the room, coronet in hand, to add a final trumpet flourish while the students cavorted atop the tables, stepping heedlessly into plates full of food. The staff just shook their heads; even Dumbledore couldn't stomach this much nonsense. As the music came to an end and the students clapped and roared and cheered, he buried his face in his hands and muttered, "It's going to be a long summer."

The closing number of AN OBEDIENT HOUSE was inspired by Linda Eder's rendition of "Man of La Mancha" (BROADWAY MY WAY, Live at Carnegie Hall). Thanks to Lisa Mafrici for introducing me to this wonderful recording. Click here to sing along.

An Obedient House