because i'm kind of tired of the entire "hufflepuffs are boring and plain and super chill and are like a field of wheat or something when the other houses get a sunset, bird flock, and forest"
so yes. i'm writing fanfic.
this may have gotten slightly out of hand.
a later note - what the hell did i just write???? did i just turn a fic about drunk hufflepuffs into something sad???? what just happened????
THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE SILLY, GODDAMIT
What nobody seems to realize is that the Hufflepuffs are the best with makeup.
The Gryffindors generally seem to go for the "shove everything on" tactic, the Ravenclaws rarely try to "distract people from our intellectual prowess" with mascara and lipstick, and even though the Slytherins are pros at it, they're just... well, nobody's as good as the Hufflepuffs.
Miranda Rhona's by far the best out of them all - when the Yule Ball swings around, she's got a crowd clustered around her bed as she shows everyone how to achieve the perfect cat eye. Sometimes after class she gets Slytherins trying to bribe her into showing them how to do their makeup, to which she responds by holding after school tutorials in the Room of Requirement, inviting the interested Ravenclaws and Slytherins. Occasionally Gryffindors creep in, but they always refuse to admit that they're there for help.
The point being that Hufflepuffs are great at makeup - but nobody's ever bothered to ask them why. Why does the house with the calmest people have girls who can create the perfect shade of ice blue lipstick to match any dress?
Because the wards around the basement are the weakest - it's the least magically-bound part of the castle. Part of this is because the magic that the house elves radiate sometimes creeps into the infrastructure of wards, and the other part is because Hufflepuffs for generations have been bending the magic back and using the lack of restrictions to apparate out of the common room and into the nearest Muggle city - which also happens to have a nightclub.
So once a week, on Saturday nights when the castle is quiet at eleven o'clock, nothing stirring in the basement, they all get out of the stuffy dorms and head for the loud music and dark corners and flashing lights of Club Magenta, returning early in the morning before the sun rises.
It's a carefully-kept secret for obvious reasons, and a tradition by all means. It's been going on for as long as nightclubs have existed, and before that, Hufflepuffs would find a bar tucked away somewhere and spend the night getting so drunk that the designated-apparater (the only sober student there) would have a hard time rounding them all up to go back to Hogwarts.
The only time they usually pay attention in Potions class is when Snape begrudgingly teaches them briefly (but thoroughly) how to mix a hangover treatment. It's usually the only time in the entire year that the Hufflepuff students excel in Potions.
Fourth-years are the youngest house members allowed to go on the weekly trips, and they're taken special care of - Club Magenta has two floors, and the fourth-years are watched over will careful eyes on the first floor. Only seventh-years ever go on the second floor. When the student that leads the excursions graduates from Hogwarts, the one they trained takes over in their stead.
It's a good system, and it works, despite it being part of Hufflepuff's dirty little secret.
They're right next to the kitchens, and most of them are friends with various house elves, making it easy to stumble over there in the mornings, groaning like zombies while the first-years, second-years, and third-years watch in confusion. Most of Hogwarts has gotten used to the way the Hufflepuff table in the Great Hall is usually extremely sparse on Sunday mornings. Every house has their own rumours about it, but the silliest is that everyone is Hufflepuff is always rushing up the stairs to get to the food, and they all injure themselves trying to squeeze into the narrow passages.
It's not entirely unreasonable, considering the house's predilection for clumsiness - Madam Pomfrey sees at least three Hufflepuffs a week, for things ranging from a particularly large gash to broken limbs. Once a student tripped head-first into a flesh-eating plant at the teething age. It was an experience for everyone, needless to say.
Their makeup skills aren't only for their nights out, though. A lot of them aren't the best at wise decision making while being completely wasted, and most of them end up in brawls outside Club Magenta.
Miranda Rhona may be great at showy makeup, but nobody trumps Edward Yaeri's prowess for concealer. He can make a black eye look like nothing. Of course, it also helps that he's planning on being a mediwizard at St Mungo's Hospital For Magical Maladies and Injuries when he's older - he can already do rudimentary healing spells like reducing swelling, repairing basic cuts and scrapes, and other small things.
Hufflepuff's always been like this - big on roles in the house, and a little disobedient when it comes to things like curfew and wards. And even though everyone sees them as the perfect little boring house, they know the truth - and that's enough for them.
Until it isn't.
Until the Battle of Hogwarts arrives, and nobody seems to realize the devastating effect it has on Hufflepuff most of all. The weekly trips stop. Their strong sense of community that makes them so distinctive becomes clouded with the threat of death.
All of Hufflepuff becomes gaunt with worry and gutted with grief. New traits begin to crop up in the house - issues with authority figures, nervousness and skittishness, quiet, jumpiness. Gone are the easy smiles and the calm demeanour.
War frazzles them, and nothing can smooth down the edges.
The official fatality count in the Battle of Hogwarts is 27, but it isn't. Not really. Most of the students who are killed in the Battle are Hufflepuffs, and some are still uncounted, never identified in the confusion.
Both Miranda Rhona and Edward Yaeri die of an Unforgivable Curse. With "Crucio!" still ringing in their ears, they breathe no more, bodies lying prone on the stone floor.
But behind Miranda huddles a small, terrified first-year who hadn't made it out of the castle. The Death Eater who had struck her down does not notice the student - because as Miranda's last action, she had cast a Disillusionment Charm over the girl (her name was Eliza DeVros. She would grow up to tell her grandchildren tales of the woman who gave her life for her, and those same kids would go to Hogwarts only to fight with the Headmistress when they find that the wall where Miranda bled out is still bare. In 2033, a plaque is installed in the spot where she died: Miranda Rhona died here on May 2nd, 1998, during the Battle of Hogwarts, where she gave her life to save another student. We remember her with respect for her bravery. 35 years after she died, her sacrifice is forced to acknowledgement by a pair third-years. Eliza thinks she would have been proud).
Edward Yaeri is working desperately to complete blood transfers, try to salvage what's left of lost limbs, and just making sure that the barely-alive bodies on the floor in front of him stay alive. But when his two siblings are brought in, having done something impossible, he does his best to save them.
When June was hit by a Killing Curse, Ida did what should not have been feasible - she stretched the effects so that they were shared between the two of them, lessening the repercussions upon her sister.
But they're still dying, fingers clutched in each other's, oxygen consumed in gasps and involuntary exhales. They're not going to make it.
So, eyes shimmering with tears he refuses to shed, he completes an impossible spell of his own - one that transfers his life energy to them. When his head hits the floor with a dull thud, their glassy eyes clear, both of them trying to regulate their breathing. It takes them longer than it should to realize that while they're trying to organize their thoughts, their brother is dead beside them.
The Yaeris are taught in Charms class. They're outlined as the legendary trio who defied the laws of spell-casting, but the Hufflepuffs always sit rigidly, eyes staring forwards solemnly. Their house may not have much in the way of traditions anymore, but they still teach the history of the Hufflepuffs that came before them. They are still as much of a community as they ever were.
But the two deaths were more than just two. They were the deaths of two roles, of two traditions that, in all likelihood, will never be continued. Saturday nights for the seventh-years are spent in a small bar in the nearest city to Hogwarts. Everyone else is left alone in the drafty basement, organized in what has, ever since the Battle, been called the Circle.
It's a way of reaffirming that they're all there - Hufflepuff never quite recovered, and this is just another example.
The chairs and couches are cleared to the side of the common room, and everyone settles down with a book or the intention of napping. All throughout the room, people sit down on the floor, book open or already lying down. Everyone touches.
A foot in someone's lap, a hand on someone's knee, a head on someone's shoulder. Everyone from the sixth-years down joins, and most Sunday mornings see them waking up with their head pillowed above someone's ribs, having fallen asleep to the lullaby of a heartbeat.
Sunday mornings are still not spent in the Great Hall. They are spent with the older students congregating in the kitchen (one thing that has not changed is the friendships with house elves) and making everyone breakfast. They eat quietly on the common room floor, plates clattering quietly and jugs of orange juice being passed around. They are still a strong community.
Everyone cleans up after and they show up for lunch and dinner just like normal. Headmistress McGonagall never comments - some things are too sad to talk about in the open air.
But even though the new generations have washed away the tragicness lingering in Slytherin, Gryffindor, and Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff still seems to have a mourning shroud thrown over their heads.
They are no longer silly, instead seen as the most serious house. When the students go home for the holidays, their parents, having lived and seen the Battle, do not understand their descriptions. They call Hufflepuff "Extrem", the students in the house often being referred to as "Extes".
The answer given to confused mothers and fathers is that it's a short form of "exremum", which is a short form of the phrase "donec extremum vitae". When confronted with the new information, most parents recoil and try to comprehend - why are the Hufflepuffs being nicknamed such macabre things?
And in fifty years, maybe they'll be happy again. Maybe they'll be silly and calm and friendly. But now, they aren't even beginning to recover. And yes, they will slog through years of quiet grief, but they will emerge as a new generation of Hufflepuffs. They will be everything their ancestors were. But they will never be the same. No more weekly trips. No more card games between teams of mixed ages. No more strong sense of community. Eventually, everyone will show up for Sunday breakfasts.
The Hufflepuffs aren't known for being good at makeup anymore.