Christmas is just around the corner as Mid-December, Hogwarts woke to find itself covered in knee-high and higher snowdrifts. The owls that had battered their way through the stormy skies to deliver their mail had to be nursed back to health by Hagrid, before being allowed to fly off again. Not to mention, that the lake had frozen solid during the storm. However as soon as the storm ceased, Potter and the rest of the Marauders were once again caught skating on the ice, but this time during the middle of the night. And though they weren't strictly punished, they did lose several Gryffindor's a good chunk of points.
The school is abuzz with holiday delight as the Slytherin common room is filled with delightful snacks and great holiday cheer. The surprisingly usually elegant Slytherin common room is filled with lavish ornaments as almost every day the overworked 5th and 7th years lead in the merrymaking. Quite a few times, Professor Slughorn was even forced to come down into the common room and tell them to all go to sleep as common hours were long over!
The great halls are filled with roaring fires hot enough to singe one's eyebrows off. But even so, the icy, bitter winds rattled through the hallways and windows. But that wasn't half as bad as the dungeons for just as predicted during Professor Slughorn's potion class one could even go as far as see one's breath turn into mist as they all struggled to press themselves as close as possible to their hot cauldrons without burning themselves.
During such an icy class, Lily with teeth chattering says, "It can't possibly get any colder." Severus grunts in agreement as are lips are pale violet and frozen stiff at the chill.
"It's not even January or February," Rowan muttered through frozen lips, unable to even feel her numb face. "I've heard it gets worse than."
Lily's face fills with despair and with trembling fingers tries to not rattle the measuring scale to properly measure the powered spine of lionfish. Severus does the same as Rowan's eyes the lionfish with despair. "One, this is an endangered species! And two, how I envy its former life in the tropics," Rowan gloomily thought to herself.
Thankfully, Potions class soon ended as Professor Slughorn said, "All Slytherins not returning home for the Holidays, please stay behind." Professor Slughorn in particular eyes a first-year student, who guiltily glanced away. With a wave of his hand, Potions class is dismissed as they all stagger upstairs including Severus and Rowan, to warm their numb limbs, before heading back down into the freezing dungeons and making a run for the Slytherin common room.
"Are you excited to go back for the Holidays?" Severus asked Lily.
"Mm, it'll be nice to be with mum and dad again," Lily happily said.
"Achoo!" Rowan sniffed at the frostily cold as they come to a halt at seeing an enormous fir tree blocking the corridor in front of them.
Two enormous feet stick out of the bottom as a loud huffing sound is made as Hagrid pauses to wipe the sweat off his face. "Hi, Hagrid need any help?" Lily sweetly asked.
"No, I'm fine, but thank ya, Lily," Hagrid replied.
Rowan's eyes gleam at that subtle communication. How did Lily know Hagrid so well to be a first-name basis? They weren't taking Care of Magical Creatures to be out on the grounds. And even then, the professor for the said class would be Silvanus Kettleburn, not Hagrid. So, beyond a general recognition of Hagrid, there shouldn't be much of an interaction with the first years.
Rowan slightly frowns to herself as she recalled that the only person James ever listened to was Lily. Maybe something had already happened during one of the Marauder's adventures and Lily happened to save them? It certainly explained a lot when Rowan looked at it that way.
Hagrid lets out a grunt as he grabs the tree with all his strength and with heavy steps makes his way into the Great Hall. The three of them follow largely because the Great Hall was one of the few places that is still warm. "Hagrid put that last tree down in the far corner," Professor Flitwick instructed as he and Professor McGonagall decorated the Great Hall with Christmas decorations.
The three of them gape as the Great Hall simply looks fantastic. Streamers of holly and mistletoe hang on the walls, with no less than twelve towering great fir trees elegantly placed throughout the room. The decorated Christmas trees are all slightly different from each other, some spark with tiny non-melting icicles, other with strings of burning candles-.
"Why is there a burning hazard that screams a fiery death in the Great Hall?" Rowan thought to herself and made a personal note to stay as possible from that Christmas tree, lest an accident occurs, and she is set on fire! But then again, this is Hogwarts...Where safety is an afterthought.
The three of them warm themselves in the Great Hall before each briskly setting off to their own common rooms. Severus and Rowan hike up their robes and sprint down the stairs and through the freezing dungeon hallways. Never mind Filch or being caught by Mrs. Norris, they'd sooner risk detention or loss of points, before being stuck in the freezing dungeon hallways.
Rushing into the common room, Rowan and Severus shiver with cold as they head directly to the roaring fireplace and warm themselves like shivering kittens. The 4th years and up are still notably missing from the common room as they have yet to be released from their last class of the day. Thankfully after tomorrow, everyone would be able to head back home.
After some time, Rowan says, "We better start packing for tomorrow."
"Yeah," Severus reluctantly said. The two go their separate ways, but not before Rowan snickers loudly at the empty Slytherin window that views into the frozen lake. Survive the bitter chill, perverted fishes and stalker squids!
Upstairs, Rowan finds three huddled lumps in each bed as Bethany, Tiffany, and Silvia have wrapped themselves in their warm, thick fur bed covers. "Aren't you three going to start packing?" Rowan asked as she put down her school bag onto her bed.
"It's not like we need to pack a lot as we're only going back for a few weeks," Silvia hastily said. "Besides, it's da*n cold!"
Tiffany squeaks in reply, before stuffing her face down to her nose under the cover only leaving her mischievous eyes peeking out like an adorable woodland creature. But the thing that most people forget is that no matter how cute of a woodland creature is, it's still a wild creature with sharp teeth and claws.
Rowan shrugs and says, "Suit yourself." Rowan swiftly begins to pack as Bethanie eyes Rowan with narrowed eyes.
"And why aren't you freezing your tail off like the rest of us?" Bethany pointedly inquired causing Silvia and Tiffany to gaze at Rowan with betrayal.
"I just put enchanted hot stones in my pockets," Rowan fearlessly answered as she took out an enchanted warm stone from her pocket that released a faint wisp of steam in the cool air.
"Brilliant!" Silvia applauded as Tiffany squeaked in agreement.
"And, why not share this secret with us before?" Bethany indignantly huffed.
"I just figured it only a two days ago," Rowan sheepishly admitted.
The three of them stare at Rowan and then burst out laughing. Pointing at Rowan from under the thick fur cover, Tiffany squeaks, "Even you're bad at some things, Rowan."
"Naturally, I'm far from Prefect," Rowan matter-of-factly stated as she packed a simple trunk with school items and one or two sets of clothing as there was a closet full of clothes back home.
"Home," Rowan paused at hearing herself think that. "I guess it is home now," Rowan quietly thought to herself with a faint gentle smile.
Finished, Rowan copies the three girls and curls up in bed as they all chat about what they're going to do for the holidays. On an interesting note, despite Silvia and Bethany being from the 28 Families, Silvia is the wealthiest out of them all. If Rowan had to describe Silvia in terms of wealth it would be that of a Sultan. As in very, very wealthy. Like the kind of money to even go as far as to buy Hogwarts and still have 's of the family fortune remain intact.