Chapter 12:

A Lovely Christmas

            Christmas was coming and Elaine was very excited. Every morning she would look out the window to see that another foot of snow had fallen. Christmas never failed to turn Elaine into a giddy small child.

            No one could wait for the holidays to start. While the common room had warm fires, the drafty corridors had become icy and a bitter wind that rattled the windows in the classrooms. Worst of all were the potions classes down in the dungeons, where their breath rose in a mist before them. Elaine was smart enough to bring fingerless gloves and ear muffs to class.

            “I feel so sorry,” said Draco Malfoy, one potions class, “For all those people who have to stay at Hogwarts for Christmas because they’re not wanted at home.”

            He was looking over at Harry as he spoke. Crabbe and Goyle chuckled but Harry ignored them. Elaine rolled her eyes. Draco had been even more unpleasant than usual since the Quidditch match. Disgusted that the Slytherins had lost, he had tried to get everyone laughing at Harry. Then he realized that nobody found anything that he said funny, because they were all so impressed at the way Harry had managed on stay on his broomstick.

            Elaine was glad that Harry was staying for Christmas. Ron and his brothers were staying, too, because Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were going to Romania to visit Charlie. So Elaine wouldn’t be alone even if she did spend Christmas with her father in the dungeons.

            When they left to go to lunch, they found a large fir tree blocking the corridor ahead. Two enormous feet sticking out at the bottom and a loud puffing sound told them that Hagrid was behind it.

            “Hi, Hagrid, want any help?” Ron asked.

            “Nah, I’m all right.”

            “Would you mind moving out of the way?” came Draco’s cold drawl from behind them. “Are you trying to earn some extra money, Weasley? Hoping to be gamekeeper yourself when you leave Hogwarts? I suppose that hut of Hagrid’s must seem like a palace compared to what your family lives in.”

            Ron dived at Draco.


            Ron let go of Draco’s robes.

            “Fighting is against Hogwarts rules.” scolded Professor Snape “Five points from Gryffindor. Move along, all of you.”

            Her father pulled Elaine aside as the other boys scattered. “I thought I told you to stay away from those boys. They bring you nothing but trouble.”

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