As a child, Helga used to lull herself to sleep with the tales her mother told her. In the muggle world, folklore was often provided for entertainment. Yet, Helga knew there was more to it than that. Those fables, those tales that were supposedly composed of fiction, were true. They were the binding component between the two worlds; muggle and magical. In that same very way, she was a fairy tale. She belonged to both worlds.
At the ripe age of eleven, Helga had received a letter, a letter that had changed her whole world. She had been recruited by a Mr. Godric Gryffindor to learn the ways of magic. Her mother, very hesitant about leaving her daughter in the hands of an older, completely strange man, reluctantly allowed such to commence. And it was then that her education began.
According to Godric, there was an entire community of wizards, most completely magical but unable to properly perform the magic. He explained to her that magic came in many ways, shapes, and forms. It was uncommon for someone of her bloodline to show signs, which made her much different from those she’d be surrounded around.
“People in this world are unforgiving,” he explained to her that first morning. “Even now, when all of us should be uniting together to learn all that magic has to offer, there is a rift. Don’t let anyone treat you any lesser for being what you are.”
She would be studying alongside two others; Rowena Ravenclaw and Salazar Slytherin. It was under Godric’s teaching that she became fully trained and learned to expand her powers to levels she’d never even imagined. It was also under his supervision that her life changed, for better and worst.
With twenty years of experience under her belt, Helga Hufflepuff had made a name for herself in the wizarding community. She was known for her polite, courteous demeanor and pleasant default setting.
One, warm summer night, Helga found herself quickly walking the dark woods, her hooded cloak covering her pale face. Just as it had twenty years previously, a letter had come for her addressed from Godric Gryffindor. And now, this time, he was asking her for a favor.
In the distance, she saw the soft glow of a lantern and followed forward, her wand clenched in her hand tightly. The sound of footsteps behind her sent a rush of panic through her body, her spine receiving chills from the mere presence of another. She turned abruptly, her wand ignited and lit in the in the eyes of a familiar face.
“Salazar,” she greeted, relief coursing it’s way throughout her entire body. He flashed his clever, secretive smile her way, his hand raising to briefly graze her own. She felt a slight tingle at her fingertips as he assisted in lowering her wand.
“How are you?” he asked her, his voice like a warm blanket on a cool night. “It’s been so long.”
“It has,” she agreed, grinning nervously. “Too long. I’ve just been busy, passing the word of magic about.”
“As have I,” he told her. “But, isn’t that what Godric intended all along?”
She nodded, nearly laughing at the irony in the statement. Her teacher, the man who had devoted his life to passing along knowledge, had chosen the three of them in hopes of them following in his footsteps.
“Do you suppose that’s why he’s asked us to meet him?” she suggested, walking forward towards the small cottage nearby.
“Oh, I’m almost positive that’s why he’s brought us here,” Salazar dictated confidently. The two of them paused at the door, a slight sense of awkwardness passing between them. “You’ve grown into a beautiful woman, Helga.”
She felt her cheeks heat, almost positive that her face was now an embarrassing shade of scarlet. Quickly, she knocked on the door, awaiting for Godric to relieve her of the uncomfortable atmosphere.
“I’m sure the three of you, as intelligent as you all are, have figured out exactly why I’ve asked you here,” Godric told them, pacing the fire lit room nervously.
“To spread our knowledge onto others,” Rowena replied, the pieces having been put together by her as well.
“Quick as ever, my dear Rowena,” Godric chuckled, nodding. “As much as we’ve all done to educate, I believe there is more.”
“A school,” Salazar interjected omnisciently.
“Precisely. Our community has established a Ministry to uphold the law and keep tabs upon the magical occurrences within the world, but honestly, there has been no talk of creating an institution for learning. I’ve been pouring over the idea for months and now, I want to welcome my three prized pupils into the process,” he welcomed.
Helga said nothing throughout the entire meeting, her mind briefing over the various details being discussed. The possibilities that could be created were endless. A school. And they would be the first to do so.
No longer would she have to go about teaching so uncivilized. Alongside her friends, she could help recruit any and all to the school to help them become the best they could be. She wanted to do for the world what Godric had done for her.
“The plans are coming along well,” his voice rang from the other side of the dark room. She hugged her chest nervously, his presence a distraction she didn’t need. She knew she shouldn’t have even opened the door for him, but after all they’d been through, she didn’t have the heart to say no.
He played her heart hot and cold, making it beat both faster and slower at the same time. There had always been a lingering connection between the two of them, an unspoken bond.
She knew he was walking closer to her, the sounds of his footsteps on the cold floor ringing through her ears. She felt his hand slowly graze her shoulder and she knew at that very moment she’d failed Godric. She’d given away her heart so easily, so carelessly, and now, she was at the point of no return.
Salazar loved her, always had, for some unapparent reason. After much reluctance, she’d finally opened up to him. For once, her optimism and trust had misled her. And now, she was beginning to see the darkness within.
It had been his eyes that had thrown her off. So ambitious, thriving for power. He was transforming before her, becoming someone of a different entirety. The others had warned her that mixing business with pleasure was a foolish move on her behalf, but she’d insisted that she could handle it.
That was before his change, before his constant boasting and his silent, secret plans. His cold, emotionless eyes no longer looked at her with admiration. She was just another trophy, another accomplishment.
And when she’d left him, he’d lost it. She’d hated to do it, but her will had forced her. He was so dark, so judgmental, something she could never understand.
She watched, observed as he became bitter and cynical. She’d known Rowena and Godric had been right from the get go. It was impossible for their work to not be personal anymore. Salazar was making it so.
“You wouldn’t dare bring that mud blood filth into any school of mine,” he’d commanded during the final stages of Hogwarts’ construction.
The rift had only just begun. He was attacking the muggle name freely, knowing how much it brought hurt to her pride. Yet, their plans continued. They couldn’t let something so petty tear down the dreams they’d worked so hard to fulfill. The wizarding world was counting on them and they couldn’t let it down for something as measly as a broken heart. Oh, how she’d underestimated the pain.
“I’m leaving,” he’d stated one day to the three other founders. The words had come so unexpectedly, without the briefest hesitation whatsoever.
And when she’d gone to console him, to attempt to change his mind, he had shoved her away with nothing more than, “Haven’t you done enough damage?”
He was avenging his broken heart, tearing down her hopes and dreams in any way he could. She was being penalized for her values, for her beliefs.
Godric, who’d come to be a father to Helga, had been noticing the changes in Salazar as well. His suspicions did not go unheard and before long, the two men who’d once been teacher and student were now on opposing sides.
“After all we’ve all done for you, after all we’ve all worked for, you’re going to just leave?” he had asked, attempting to comprehend exactly how a man could be so selfish.
“He never loved the school,” Helga announced, her voice trembling in realization. “He only loved the idea of the school, the idea of being the first. Bringing magic into others’ lives was never his priority. If it were up to him, he would burn the entire establishment down and spit on it’s ashes.”
The tears fell rapidly from her torn eyes, burning their way down her cheeks fiercely. “I believed in you, Salazar. You weren’t the victim, whether you choose to believe it or not. You broke your own heart. And now, I fully intend on moving on completely and entirely. This school is my priority, as it always has been and always should be.”
Unlike the fairytales she used to hear, Helga believed that happiness didn’t depend upon a charming prince to save the day. Perhaps those stories only were stories after all.
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