A/N: All right. For the purpose of this fic, just pretend that McGonagall, Poppy Pomfrey, Snape, and Trelawny all went to Hogwarts together. Yes, I know that isn't the way their ages actually work, but.....this is fan-fic. I am all powerful! Mwahahahaha! *pause* Okay, forget that. And please, don't blame me if this is really bad....I've had a small case of writer's block, and I'm JUST getting over it. Anyway.....I own nothing. J.K. Rowling gets all the credit.

15-year old Minerva McGonagall stared silently in front of her, nothing but the dying fire to meet her gaze. Tears trickled silently down her face in a steady stream, but she made no effort to brush them away. The warm drops began to tickle her cheeks, and still she refused to move, refused to acknowledge the fact that she was crying.

It just wasn't fair. Yes, she had a good life. She was ready to admit that. She was well-off, had parents who loved her, had many friends, was always at the top of her class in Hogwarts. Yet some things were so unfair....

"Silly." she said aloud to the empty common room, and quickly brushed away her tears with the back of her hand. It was silly to cry over this. "Who cares about what Sibyll thinks, anyway?"

Friends. Yes, Minerva had friends. But best friends? Those seemed to be getting harder and harder to find these days. Her best friend was Poppy Pomfrey.....she could trust Poppy. She could talk to Poppy about anything. They had been through a lot together, and although they had fought before, they were still the best of friends.

And then there was Sibyll.

Sibyll was Minerva's other best friend. WAS being the key word here. She was a year younger than Minerva, and very pretty, although she could be quite the ditz at times. Severus, Sibyll, Poppy, and Minerva. Some people compared them to the four wheels of a carriage; none of them could function properly if something happened to one of them.

But lately, Severus and Sibyll had been growing closer and closer. This wasn't too hard on Poppy, because she was better friends with Minerva than the two "lovebirds" as some put it. But it cut Minerva deeply. They shut her out. She, who had brought them together in the first place, was now just the odd person out. It wasn't always so bad when they were apart....but put Sibyll and Severus together, and they didn't seem to want to talk to anyone else.

Now, it was Christmas vacation. Normally, the four friends would stay together at Hogwarts over the holidays, but this time, Severus was going to be with his family. That just left the three girls together, and it had raised Minerva's spirits considerably. "Maybe....just maybe....we can get everything patched up...." she had thought.

The one day, she got an owl from her parents. Her sixteenth birthday came four days before Christmas, and they were going to pick her up from Hogwarts and take her out to whatever restaurant she wanted with all her relatives. They also said she could ask a few of her friends if they wanted to come along, as well. She felt bad that Severus couldn't come, since he was still in Scotland with his family, but Poppy had immediately agreed to attend. Then, Minerva had gone to ask Sibyll if she wanted to join the party...


"Well? Will you come?"

Sibyll shrugged, applying fresh lipstick in the mirror. "I guess so." she replied absently. This reaction slightly stung Minerva, but she refused to let it get to her. Deciding to change the subject, she picked up a set of pale gray dress robes off her bed and held them up to herself on the mirror.

"I think I'll wear this....dressy, but not TOO fancy....and it brings out my eyes. At least, I think it does." she said skeptically, turning herself at a different angle. Sibyll snorted quietly and rolled her eyes. Minerva frowned. "What?"

"Do you HAVE to talk about yourself constantly, Minnie?" the younger girl said, putting the top back on her lipstick. "It gets so annoying after a while."

Minerva stared at her in shock for a moment. "What are you talking about? I don't talk about myself all the time!" Sibyll snorted again.

"Yeah, sure. Whatever you say, Minnie. I'm gonna go down to the library and get the rest of this stupid Transfiguration homework over with before Christmas." she replied, then left the room. Still stunned, Minerva had made her way to the common room, only to find it completely deserted......


So, there she was. Sitting in front of the common room fire, her face still damp with tears. No, this wasn't the first time Sibyll Trelawny had insulted her, had brought her to tears. Minerva hated herself for letting the opinion of one person get to her, but when that person was supposed to be one of her best friends....

She didn't know how long she sat there, but eventually, she heard the portrait hole open and Sibyll's light tread across the floor. Without turning from the fire, she spoke,

"You're not going to come, are you." It was more of a statement than a question. The footsteps stopped, and the room was filled with an unbearable silence for a moment. Then,

"I don't know. I'll think about it." The steps resumed, followed by the soft slamming of the door leading to the girl's dormitory. Minerva gulped back a short sob, refusing to let herself cry again.

"One day, Trelawny, you'll regret it. One day, you'll be the one left alone." she whispered into the fire.