Minerva walked to the common room and sat down by the fire. In less than a week she would be going home to be with her family for the holidays. She didn't mind the homework, but she thought she deserved a break. She had worked herself like a House Elf to get everything done on time, starting essays days before they were due. The teachers had decided that it was time for the first years to stop complaining about the amount they were giving, so they gave extra. Eventually they caught on and stopped complaining.
Months had passed with no trouble. Minerva and Althea were always found in the library doing homework or out on the Quidditch pitch practicing their flying. Minerva got the hang of it, but Althea was still having some trouble. ''Come on, Althea. You can do it! It's natural!'' said Minerva one evening. ''Minerva, it's so cold! Can't we just call it a night!'' replied Althea as she tried to get up to Minerva's height.
Getting into the air was not a problem, going higher was. Minerva laughed and dropped down to her friends height, ''you'll have to get used to it if you want to join the Gryffindor team'' said Minerva. There were two spots opening the next year, one for Chaser and one for Beater, and the girls both wanted to play. ''If you can't get your broom to obey you, you'll be leaving me all alone to play'' said Minerva with a lost puppy look. Althea laughed and almost fell off her broom.
After 20 more minutes, the girls decided to head back inside. It was cold out and their hands had started to turn blue. They went into the Great Hall where they started their supper. ''So, where did you two ladies disappear to'' asked Zeke Smith, a second year in their house, and beater of the Gryffindor team. After threatening Mary the first week of school, a lot of the older students had been amazed by her, and after learning that she was a favorite of the teachers, they started to hang out with her. Minerva sometimes wondered if they hung out with her only to get favors from their teachers, but let it go after a while. She was just happy she had finally made friends.
''Getting a feel of flying in the cold'' said Althea as she helped herself to mashed potatoes and chicken. Zeke smiled, ''I forgot you two wanted to join the team. How's it going? Will I be counting on you two to help me win the cup next year?'' he asked with a smile. The girls laughed with him, Gryffindor weren't doing too well this year. Mostly because the players were too overwhelmed by the amount of homework they had been putting off. ''Minerva will. I'm still trying to get over the hoops'' said Althea with a sad sigh. Zeke patted her back, ''no worries T, you'll get there eventually. Tell you what, how about I help you girls once Spring starts?'' he asked. Althea nodded enthusiastely - it was evident she wanted to spend more time with the second year. Minerva simply smiled and continued to eat while reading about Mandrake roots and their uses, a book she had borrowed from Zeke the previous week.
Once supper was done, they headed up to their common room to start their potions homework. Slughorn had in a bad mood most of the week and had given the first years a 2 foot essay to write about the process of brewing a dreamless sleep potion. ''Min, isn't that your owl?'' asked Althea as she pointed to the window. Minerva smiled and opened the window to let the barn owl in. ''Couldn't you come during supper? Would of saved you a lot of trouble'' she told the barn own as she petted it's head. The owl hooted and jumped onto the table where Minerva's books were. Minerva unrolled the parchment on her owls leg and read;
I am so happy to hear that all is well now. I'm sure your Head of House is glad as well! If I remember well, this time of year is when you get a lot of homework before the holidays start, am I right? The teachers do this to show the first years that more homework will be coming after the holidays.
I know you are excited to come for the holidays but there is a small problem. It would seem as if Robert had contracted Dragon Pox and he gave it to Malcom. As you already know, it is extremely contagious - I have already caught it when I was young so it's no worries for me, but you haven't so I believe it would be best for you to remain at Hogwarts. I am so terribly sorry, I was looking forward to seeing you but this is unfortunate. I do hope you understand.
''Good news?'' asked Althea. Minerva shook her head, ''my brothers have Dragon Pox. My mother wants me to remain here so I don't get it'' she said before tearing a piece of parchement. 'I understand. Hope all will be well soon. Give my love to the boys and Dad, Love Minerva' she wrote, feeling slightly disappointed that she wouldn't be with her family this Christmas. ''Ready to head out, Lights?'' she asked the Owl, who hooted and gave her leg to Minerva. She tied it and gave a piece of cookie to the owl, who hooted her thanks. ''Be safe, take your time'' she told the owl before opening the window once more. 'Guess I'll be stuck here all alone' she thought as she watched the barn owl disappear into the night.