A/N: wow, this was kind of fun to write! :p
QLFC round 11, Tutshill Tornados beater #2.
Prompts: 5 (Word: Freedom), 9 (Word: Information), 13 (Quote- "I think I've discovered the secret of life - you just hang around until you get used to it." Charles M. Schulz)
Please enjoy this short little fic!
It was peaceful, she decided on that fine autumn day. She had just begun her fifth year. The fifth year Hogwarts had been on. She was proud to know she would be in the first group of students to finish their schooling by Hogwarts alone.
"Etta!" An older boy with tan skin called from down the long halls. Henrietta Hufflepuff glanced over her shoulder at the approaching figure curiously. It wasn't often Terence Sims addressed her so.
"Yes?" She wondered. He finally caught up to her and fell into pace as they walked out of the dungeons to the Great Hall for the usual 6:30am breakfast.
The sunlight was bright in the Hall and Etta stared around the room in quiet admiration. The elegant architecture of the old family castle. She wasn't quite sure who inherited the castle of the founders, her mother, Helga Hufflepuff, Salazar Slytherin, Rowena Ravenclaw, or Godric Gryffindor. But either way, she had since grown fond of the large, magical building. Each day she spent within its walls seemed to bring a new layer of reasons she found such peace there.
Etta and Terence took a seat at the Hufflepuff table, although Terence was technically supposed to be seated at the Slytherin's table. He had, after all, been sorted there by the wise four.
During breakfast they were greeted by the few teachers making there way in for a bite before going and preparing their classes for the day. Etta watched as Sir Nicholas, as he insisted to be known by the students, walked to the head table in the front of the room. He always had a certain way about him when he walked; with the slightest of spring, although Etta was sure she was the only one who really noticed- as she was particularly skilled at noticing and finding small oddities as thus- she decided to tell her Slytherin friend her newest find.
"Terence!" She called across the table where he and a younger Hufflepuff boy were discussing the recent organization of a new version of an ancient game on brooms; Quidditch. It was hoped to be the next best thing. Jolted from his conversation so suddenly, Terence flinched.
"What, Henry?" He asked, calling Etta by her masculine nickname, which, as I she grew older, she started to hate more and more. It made it much harder to be seen as a perfect lady to the young chaps around her.
Blushing lightly, Etta found that, although she was slightly flustered, she shouldn't be distracted from her original goal of getting Terence's attention. She cracked a small smile and indicated to professor Sir. Nicholas with a nod of her head. "Have you ever noticed that Sir. Nick walks with a skip, as if he can't bear to be so firmly grounded?" Etta asked superstitiously. Terence rolled his eyes and waved her off, returning to his previous conversation.
Etta sighed. Typical Terence.
"Why so glum?" Ambria, a girl the year above her from Ravenclaw's house asked as she passed by. Etta smiled and shook her head.
"I'm not, I'm okay, honestly, just caught in thought I suppose." Etta replied. Ambria giggled and sat down next to her.
"Knut for your thoughts? I'm sure you need someone better to talk to than manipulative Terence over there. At least once in a while!" Ambria said with a wise smile. Etta nodded and laughed with her.
For the rest of breakfast, the two girls spoke and gossiped before departing ways to go off to their separate classes. Typical breakfast.
As Etta Hufflepuff walked to the first class she had with her mother, she observed the plain stone walls of the school hallways. She almost couldn't stand the unchanging atmosphere, but she felt there was a sort of... Freedom that came from the ability to not have to confine to or abide by any circumstances set forth by the coverings of the walls. In a sense the walls were free. They may have only been gray, but as the sun moves in the sky, Etta knew that the walls too would change, able to adapt to match the world around it. She found that especially remarkable, and from then on, began to smile as she saw the bland stone walls all around the castle.
They meant something more to her now than they ever had in the past.
Etta was a bright student and dutifully attended all her classes, seeking the enrichment of her mind that could only be brought about by the knowledge and wisdom of her professors. All through her lessons with Helga Hufflepuff, her mother, Etta listened carefully, and participated. Only occasionally would her mother choose to single her out on a question or skill, but if she did, Etta would most always have the answer nearby, ready to present the acquired information- though she wasn't quite as sharp as many Ravenclaws. When Hufflepuff let her students out, it was on to potions with Salazar Slytherin for Etta. She didn't particularly love this part of the day, but she was persistent in her value of school, and tried to create the potions as they were instructed with only as much mistake as would constitute the learning of new dangerous or positive ingredient combinations.
Then there was a break and for a glorious hour and a half the students of Hogwarts had a time to rest their brains, relax, maybe do homework but most prominent, the students had lunch. There was something about the food there that was no way similar to how anyone else could find anywhere else. It was as if the foods pulled you in and you had no choice but to take a bite of everything.
Etta and a few of her Hufflepuff friends sat together during this time, chatting amicable of the boys they fancied and the spells they wished to learn, careers they wanted to pursue. They spoke and ate and generally thought of the good to look forward to.
Once a good majority of the food had been scraped from the many plates around the room, Etta and the other above year two pupils went to their job specific classes- hers being healing and arithmetics. She enjoyed these classes both immensely, a solid dream in her heart to help and save people from untimely accidents and things pertaining to injury of heart, mind, and body. And of course, to find and help cure things, she would have to understand basic maths and such.
Even as she finished those classes and it was late in the afternoon did she find what she had been thinking for years reiterated by a wise and ancient wizard. By ancient she meant probably only a few years before her time then, but she paid this no mind.
She was browsing the ever growing collection of books in the large library space Hogwarts had to offer. In one of the books Etta had chosen she saw a quote which said; "I think I've discovered the secret of life - you just hang around until you get used to it." By Charles M. Schulz. She took this message not only to her mind, but to her heart and soul, quickly committing the smooth expression of words to memory.
It was as if she had been trying to find these words all day. With the walls; she became accustomed to the gray emptiness of the stone expanses, and with her potions course; though she wished she wouldn't have to attend in the past she now found it just as enriching as her other classes because of the time she had spent adjusting.
Suddenly, with the words in her mind solidly, she believed her own essential philosophy of such even greater.
She realized why, although Terence should have been difficult to get along with for his seemingly uncaring attitude, and Ambria for her constant prying, she couldn't dislike either. Their constant state in her life, and her close bonds with them made it so she honestly enjoyed spending time with the two diverse students of the school.
Life was more that gray walls. Life was about how the walls turn orange in the sunset, and glow brilliantly in the morning sun.
Henrietta Hufflepuff returned to her dormitory that night with a decidedly new aura about her. She was brighter and would forever be a light for others around her, if they only decided to come close enough to see her brightness.
When this is a normal day, Etta thinks, how amazing my good days must be.