Written for the 419 Hogwarts Students Challenge by Angeless7fallenstarsong. Betad by my lovely twinnie Jolly. All that you recognise is J.K.Rowling's work and not mine (unfortunately) and the things that you don't recognise are a pure result of my muse successfully distracting me from life.
Ernie Macmillan had always imagined himself as a Gryffindor, full of courage and destined for great deeds. If he was to belong to any other house it’d be Rawenclaw, he knew it sounded a bit narcissistic to think of himself as smart and clever but people always described him as quite witty and he thought he was too. When he finally, finally, had gotten the letter on his eleventh birthday there had been butterflies chased by kittens in his stomach. He did not even contemplate that there was a chance he would come to be a Slytherin or a Hufflepuff.
On the day that he and the other first years were rowed across the lake and marched up to the big castle, nervously waited, and those kittens turned into wild cats, to be lead into the great hall, to hear their names being called out and slowly walk up to sit on that three legged stool, to finally know where they belonged.
And when he finally did know, Ernie was disappointed.
Hufflepuff was nothing! Nothing compared to what he was and to what potential he had!
That night he had cried himself to sleep; he knew that brave Gryffindors never cried and that Rawenclaw boys were too smart to do so. He was so full of disappointment at not being everything he had wanted to be. To be placed in the lamest of lame houses.
Now we know that Hufflepuff is not the lamest of lame, but the coolest of cool and at the same time the hottest of hot. Hufflepuff has the real heroes, the heroes that dare to be themselves and always try to do their best at all times. They value friendship, they trust and they are loyal. It would take Ernie some time to realise this but when he did, when he finally did, he bore his Hufflepuff prefect badge with pride.
I am here to tell you the story of how Ernie Macmillan, a pureblood wizard from a family containing only Rawenclaws and Gryffindors, came to be a Hufflepuff, and how he came to realise that there is nothing more precious than a person that you can trust.
And that story begins with a name.
It begins with Hannah.
Hannah Abbot came to be Ernie’s best friend at Hogwarts. They did not have that much in common but they could talk and always made each other laugh. Hannah didn’t know that Ernie was displeased with being a Hufflepuff. She was delighted in being one and loved her house. Hannah’s favourite things were toasts on Sunday mornings, daffodils, red shoes and socks in all various colours. She was also very interested in music, but not the boring old classic pop music (like the Weird Sisters). Hannah loved the sound of nature. The songs that the birds let out at the approach of spring, the singing of the wind, the slow dripping of water from a leaf. But mainly she loved to listen to the glittering song of little fairies dancing as the snow gracefully fell to the ground.
Ernie actually thought Hannah was pretty weird but he had grown used to her and he couldn’t even imagine living a day without her.
But so on the night to the fifteenth of December the first snow fell and by morning it had reached twelve inches in height.
Hannah could not resist leaving the warm insides of the Hogwarts castle to hear the fairies dance.
She asked Ernie if he would accompany her. But he said that there were more important things to do in your OWL year and that he did not have time for fantasies. Hannah went by herself.
All alone she walked the grounds looked and searched for her dear little friends, the lovely little creatures. After a long time out in the cold and chilly winter weather her lone footsteps had walked twice around the castle and not found the singing beauties. It was then that Hannah made the decision which would change Ernie’s sight on his house forever.
She turned around just as she reached the lake and looked at the big dark silhouette of the forest. Could her creatures of delightful light be in there? Like lights in the dark for figures of the past… It made more sense than their beauty being hidden in the light.
Ernie, who had gotten a very bad conscience for snapping at one of his closest friends, had seated himself by a window to maybe, if those fairies existed, catch a glimpse of them. But all that he saw was Hannah. He did not look at her all the time but every now and then he tried to catch a glimpse of her. When Hannah disappeared for over three hours Ernie got worried, it could just be that she realised that she would never be able to see those fairies and had ventured inside, but what if something had happened? Ernie decided to wait and see if she came back to their common room. If she was not back in the next twenty minutes he figured that it would be time to go looking for her.
Twenty minutes passed and Ernie could not sit still. He paced back and forth next to the window and eagerly awaited the sight of a blond head and black robes. But he could not see her. So Ernie went up to his dormitory and clothed himself for the weather. He double checked that he had his wand tucked in his robes and then went out to look for her.
He followed in her footsteps. Hannah had small feet, and her footprints made him reminisce her so he decided not to step in them, but next to them. Now his footsteps were next to hers as they should’ve been from the very beginning of these events. After a while, Hannah’s steps had made a quick turn and soon Ernie realised where she had headed, in what direction that he was headed. He came to a sudden halt and thought for a second. Realising how much time that he had lost waiting he burst into a run.
He did not know what could have happened in there, he did not care, all that he knew was that he would have to help his friend.
In Ernie’s hastened pace he accidentally diverged from Hannah’s path. It took him five short of breaths, a hungry stomach and a Lumos to realise that he had no idea of where he was. Surrounded by dark trees in a magical forest, no one could have blamed him for panicking. But that is not what he did. He decided to wait and see what would happen.
Sitting down with his back leaning on a dead tree-trunk he waited, keeping his calm and thinking things through rationally. Hannah was still nowhere to be found and he was completely lost. He could’ve followed his footprints in the snow if it just hadn’t been snowing so horribly.
As he heard a sound of breaking sticks and a grunt from an unknown source he realised that the woods did not only contain his friend, but creatures of the dark as well. Ernie lit a fire in the snow. The warmth of the fire and the shelter it provided made Ernie drowsy and as he sat there, his eyes slowly closed and he fell asleep.
As he awoke hours later to flames rising ever higher he could hear a tinkling sound, a sound that almost sounded as those Hannah had told him… but no, fairies did not exist.
However that was something he had to change his mind about.
Little creatures emerged from the trees around him. Their legs and bodies were icily coloured and their hair was moving eerily in the wind. The sounds that they made were so pretty and full of laughter. They reminded Ernie of everything happy and everything joyful.
Reminded him of the things he treasured the most. The laughter of his brothers running around the house and playing games. A warm fireplace after a chilly trip to Hogsmeade. Trips to Hogsmeade. Spending summers by the lake. Rays of sun touching her face…
Ernie sat there watching the fairies dance and listening to the sound of their feet stroking the snow.
That was when she came, her laughter filling the air as she sped towards him.
Do you see them? she asked. She was short of breath and her face mirrored the light of her soul.
Ernie looked at her, slowly opened his mouth and said
I thought you were gone.
Hannah looked down from the fairies onto the snow and said
I just wanted to see them dance and dance with them…
Ernie looked up at the fairies and his dark blue eyes reflected the fairies graceful journey through the air. He then lowered his gaze to look at Hannah and replied
I have never seen or heard such beauty…
Hannah took his hand and pulled him up to his feet. They turned their backs on the fairies and as Hannah looked at Ernie she said
I thought that I had lost you too.
Thank you for reading :)