Hettie had waited eleven years to go to Hogwarts and be sorted into her family house, Slytherin. But Hettie soon finds out unexpected things can happen when the magical sorting hat is involved.
Hettie stood in the crowd of other first years, waiting to enter the dining hall. Anticipation filled the air as the pressing crowd waited for the dining hall doors to open.
The thin, curly-haired girl shivered. This was the moment she had waited eleven years for. She had watched all four older sisters go off to Hogwarts, each coming home with robes emblazoned with silver and green.
Each year Hettie had become more and more excited. She was the baby and her older sisters had always accused her of being a crybaby. Today she would show them she was as good as they were.
Today, she would be sorted into Slytherin.
The booming of the doors caused a hush to fall over the over stuffed waiting hall. A tall, black haired woman entered the room. Something about the way her eyes flicked over the students reminded Hettie of a cat.
“Professor McGonagall.” A stout little boy on Hettie’s left whispered. Faint whispers popped up all over the crowd. All chatter stopped when the stern looking woman spoke.
“Come first years. It is time to be sorted!”
A flood of students spilled into the dining hall. Some bouncing in anticipation, most in solemn fear. Hettie didn’t know if she were going to laugh or cry. Crying would be very un-slytherin. The thought crossed her mind and she broke into a grin.
Thoughts of the silver and green wall hang her mother had bought her before school crossed her mind.
“I know it’s early,” her mother had said, “but I was too excited to wait. My baby, finally going to Hogwarts!” the memory deepened Hettie’s grin.
Today, she would make her mother proud.
“Boleyn, Hettie!” the thunderous voice caused Hettie to jump out of her skin. The teary feeling had crept back in. She heard her sisters’ screams as they waited at the Slytherin table. Hettie took a deep breath and walked to the stool with a shaky grin.
She plopped down harder on the stool than she meant to. A few students in the front row of the Slytherin table snickered and Hettie’s oldest sister smacked one of them in the back of the head. He had just turned around in protest as the hat dropped over Hettie’s eyes.
The smell of an old library distracted Hettie from almost everything else.
Hettie’s back straightened and tears sprung to Hettie’s eyes as she heard the voice in her head.
Yes, this one is very clear. No question. The values of your heart are strong.
This was it. Eleven years she had waited to hear the hat say-
Hettie froze, it was the wrong word. The hat was pulled off her head and she saw her sisters. The entire green and silver table was silent. The other Boleyn girls gaped, not believing what they heard. The black and yellow table had exploded into cheers.
Hettie didn’t remember much after that. Someone had pulled her to the Hufflepuff table. Dumbledore had spoken, what he said she had no idea. She had nibbled on the feast, but everything she ate turned her stomach.
Before she had time to come out of her shock, she found someone taking her by the hand and pulling her along the winding corridors with the other Hufflepuffs.
As they crossed through a door a distinct earthy scent pulled her from her thoughts. She was in a room with a low ceiling. Everything was made of earth tones. The room was comforting. A snap drew her attention across the room. A cheerful fire blazed in the fireplace.
Without thinking, Hettie crossed to the stone hearth. She dropped down harder than she had on the stool. Before her world fell apart.
The hubbub of the room swirled around her. The smells, the heat of the fire, and the noise calmed her.
I’m a Hufflepuff. I didn’t belong in Slytherin. I didn’t belong anywhere. So now I’m here.
Hettie flinched as an older boy came and sat down next to her. As she looked at him she realized,
“You are the one who led me to the home room.” He smiled at her frankness. He was good looking, she realized.
“You looked a little shell shocked. I couldn’t let you get lost.” His grin was infectious and Hettie found herself smiling. “You barely touched your food. Most Hufflepuffs have a healthy appetite -” he paused and tilted his head. She felt her cheeks go red. Her smile faded. Was he saying she didn’t belong here either? “- unless they are upset about something.” Hettie glowered at the floor.
“Why would I be upset? I’ve never been good enough for my family and now I’m not good enough for Hogwarts so I’m in the house with the leftovers-” the boy threw his hands up.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Time out. Hufflepuff are not leftovers.” He shook his head. “Not by a long shot. People are put in Hufflepuff because they have one trait stronger than any other.” Now Hettie’s face went bright red.
“I didn’t mean to insult you. You’ve only been super nice to me. Not letting me get lost was one of the nicest things.” Her voice trailed off as he grinned at her expectantly. “What?”
“That is it.” He grinned. “A Hufflepuff always cares.” The smile on his face slipped. “I get it though.” shaking his head he stared into the fire. “My dad was very disappointed with my sorting. He still doesn’t understand. I’m a failure in his eyes.” He looked back and her, the smile sad now. “Three years later and I still care about that too.”
Hettie stared at the boy who had taken care of her, had made sure she didn’t get lost. He seemed popular here. How could someone like that be a failure?
“But even though I care, I’m still proud to be a Hufflepuff.” He grinned at her again. “and not just because our room is right by the kitchen.”
As if on cue Hettie’s stomach growled. He laughed, but he wasn’t laughing at her. “I knew you’d be hungry sooner or later. You are a Hufflepuff.” He stood and offered her his hand. “Come on Hettie, I’ll show you one of the best things about being a Hufflepuff.” She took his outstretched hand, trembling, and stood.
“You know my name, but I don’t know yours.” She stared at him for a minute. He started pulling her toward the door.
“Digory. Cedric Digory.”