Written for the hp_refugees Yahoo group's February prompt-fest, "Through the Eyes of a Child." Specifications: Exactly 500 words, character under 13 years old, uses a canon spell or magical item/creature. My prompt was Minerva McGonagall/Hogwarts Express.

Icing on the Cake

She pursed her lips in concentration as her wand drew a clean line. "Tergeo!" The red icing disappeared from where it had smudged along the edge.

"Minnie!" Her mother's face appeared in the doorway. "How's it coming?"

"It's Minerva," she muttered crossly. She was so tired of being called by that baby name. Minnie might be a good name for a mouse, but not for a witch. "And it's coming fine." She took a step back.

It looked good.

No, it looked great.

It had taken all day to assemble the cake. Mother had offered to help, but Minerva had wanted to do it herself. It would be her special birthday gift for Maia.

They had known, of course, that The Letter would arrive this morning. The Letter had come for grandmother, and then for mother, and it had come for Minerva, almost two years ago.

But knowing it would come had in no way stifled the joy.

Two weeks from today, her sister would join her on the Hogwarts Express.

Minerva smiled as with a deft move of her wand she added a decorative swirl. She loved everything about Hogwarts – learning how to turn buttons into beetles, reading in her cozy window seat in Gryffindor tower, dodging the snap of the Biting Bumblebush in the greenhouses, even passing notes with housemates during Professor Binn's painfully boring lectures.

Sharing all that with her little sister would be icing on the cake.

Talking about cake – she had better finish.

"Fumo!" She watched with satisfaction as first one puff of white smoke emerged from the smokestack, then another. It had taken an awfully long time to work out that spell.

She'd attempted to actually make the wheels turn, but that had ended in disaster, with red icing being flung from one end of the kitchen to the other.

The fireplace flared emerald green. A moment later her father emerged. "Mother! Minnie! She's right behind me. I hope y'are ready!" Behind him he dropped the packages they'd acquired during the traditional birthday trip to Diagon Alley.

"It's Minerva." She waved her wand. "Accendio!" Eleven candles burst into flame just as the fireplace flared again. "We're ready."

Her mother hurried in, hanging up her apron by the stove before standing next to her father.

"Surprise!" they shouted in unison as Maia stepped out onto the hearth, blinking in confusion.

"Is that a cake?" The look of delight on her sister's face made all the hard work worth it. "It is! It's the Hogwarts Express!" As if in confirmation, the engine belched out another puff of smoke.

"Your sister made it for you," her mother said proudly. "All by herself."

"Minnie! Thank you! It's bonny!"

"Minerva," she muttered. But she smiled. "Blow out the candles and make a wish."

One mighty huff later, and the candles were out. "I wished for Gryffindor," Maia whispered as she threw her arms around her sister's neck. "I just can't wait!"

Minerva hugged her back fiercely.

Neither could she.

A/N: Did you know that Minnie Mouse's full first name is Minerva? That fact wasn't revealed to the public until 1942, well after this story took place. :0) Until then, she was just known as "Minnie." Many thanks go to Bellegeste for beta-reading and Britpicking!

Under-age wizards aren't supposed to use magic away from Hogwarts, but I remember reading in a JKR interview that the Ministry doesn't enforce the rule against Underage Magic inside wizarding households, since The Trace can't distinguish between magic done by an underage witch and the magic of a parent done nearby. So as with a lot of rules that aren't enforced, I choose to believe it is actually often ignored.