Helga turned—her childhood friend stood in the doorway of the Hufflepuffs' cottage. "Rowena!" she cried, hurrying to embrace her. "I thought you were abroad!"
"I am home again," said Rowena. "And—Helga, I have exciting news."
Helga blinked. "What is it?"
"Do you still dream of teaching magic, Helga?" Rowena asked.
"That would be a dream, indeed," Helga sighed, looking over her shoulder to her mother's work: the villagers' piles of unwashed laundry.
"I am trying to found a school," Rowena told her. "Along with two acquaintances, from my journeys."
Helga gasped. "Truly?" she whispered.
"Come now, you are barely seventeen years old," scoffed Godric Gryffindor, and Helga flinched.
"Go home to your mother, little one. I do not know why Rowena brought you here," Salazar Slytherin said.
"She is intelligent," Rowena snapped, rooting Helga to the spot with an arm about her shoulders. "You will understand if you take the time to know her. She is the cohesive force we need to stop our endless arguing and really do what we say we shall. I feel it."
Godric lifted his eyebrows skeptically. "Do you speak, little Puff?" he asked.
"That's Hufflepuff," Helga said proudly.
Salazar, Godric, Helga, and Rowena stood in the newly-constructed Great Hall.
"Thank you," said Helga, beaming at them. "I never thought I would be able to share my love for magic with anyone but my future children, but you have all given me much more."
"You have given us a great deal, yourself, Helga," Rowena said, smiling and embracing her.
"I suppose it was not such an error to include you, little Puff," Godric teased.
"May I remind you all that we will have our first students here in a matter of hours?" Salazar asked, though even he was smiling.
"You have the loveliest hair," Helga said gently, braiding Rowena's hair as they dressed for the Founding Day feast.
Rowena smiled at her in the looking glass. "You have the kindest heart," she said. She frowned slightly, polishing her diadem.
Helga looked down for a moment. "A kind heart will not always win out over true beauty," she said, tying off the braid.
Rowena shrugged, delicately setting the diadem on her dark curls. "Who's to say one must win over the other?" she asked, rising. She faced Helga and took her shoulders. "You have inner beauty. That is pure gold."
Helga Hufflepuff was never more grateful for anything in her life than her friends, especially Rowena. To Helga, nothing was more important than the bond shared by the best of friends.
In those early days at the castle, Helga and Rowena never exchanged a single cross word. As a matter of fact, Helga couldn't remember being angry until one afternoon, when she came upon Rowena sitting in an empty classroom, sobbing.
"Rowena, what can be the matter?" she asked earnestly. "Come, let me help you."
Rowena looked up, her face blotchy and red. "You are naïve, Helga Hufflepuff," she spat.
"Rowena, you are my dearest friend," Helga told her desperately, clinging to Rowena's wrist as she tried to storm from the office. "I cannot stand to see you this way."
"Then leave me be, Helga!" Rowena snapped. "All our lives I have watched you try to involve yourself in matters that do not concern you. Now, I offer you this advice; give up. Stop behaving like such a fool."
Rowena's Stinging Hex burned her hand, and Helga released her as tears filled her eyes.
"You did not mean that," Helga whispered.
Rowena sighed in irritation. "I did not. I apologize."
Fifty drabbles to tell the story of the founders' lives, specifically Hufflepuff's and Ravenclaw's! :) This was a really difficult project...I hope you like it! One chapter per day (ten days). This is for astronauts "50 Reasons, 50 Drabbles" Challenge. Thanks, everybody!