Bea looked around at the warm Hufflepuff common room. The carpet was soft, thick and plush, the walls an old, red brick. There were small, circular windows dotted around the commons.
Outside of these windows was half underground, the other half just above the grass. A large fireplace was in the middle of the wall, and a comforting fire flickered inside. Above this was a large portrait of the founder the house, Helga Hufflepuff.
The rest of the room was covered in squashy armchairs, pillows, beanbags, blankets, and there were even a few bookshelves lining the walls. Somehow, through all of this there was still room to fit a ton of plants.
On shelves on the wall, on top of the fire place, on the bookshelves, on a large round table, anywhere with space there was a pot plant.
The entire room had a lovely atmosphere, and even if Bea didn't feel like a Hufflepuff, she still felt at home in the common room.
'Right Hufflepuffs, anyone who isn't a first year can go on up to bed as I know we're all extremely tired. Your pets and luggage are all by your beds.' Said the prefect from before, standing in front of the fire. Most of the Hufflepuff horde walked up the stairs and went into their dorms.
Then all that was left was two prefects and a bunch of sleepy first years.
'So! Hello everyone,' said Florence. 'I am Florence, and I'm one of the Hufflepuff prefects. This here is...' They pointed to the girl next to them. 'Poppie!' Said the girl.
She looked extremely un-Hufflepuff, her hair was short, blue and jagged, her boots looked like they could crush an entire human, and her leather jacket was emblazoned with tons of badges.
She smiled warmly at everyone. 'So, me and Florence are technically prefects, but think of us more as... guidance counsellors. We're here for anything that you need help with.'
'Homework, friendships, crushes, gender identity, sexuality, anything! We'll try to help as much as possible. Now, go sleep! We'll wake you up when it's time for breakfast, so don't worry about setting an alarm. '
Bea walked over to the wall opposite the fireplace and found three tunnels. Where the roof of these tunnels, instead there was glass.
Bea followed a line of girls down one tunnel, looking up at the starry night sky. Ahead, the door of the girl's dormitory had a small tapestry with the Hufflepuff crest on it.
Bea turned the door handle, and... it was locked. Bea frowned, she had just seen someone enter the room. Maybe they had locked it as a prank? Bea turned around and saw Florence standing at the start of the tunnel. He was smiling, a knowing smile.
Bea walked over to him and asked: 'Is this a tradition or something? Does the last person in line get pranked?' Florence chuckled. 'No. Bea, have you ever felt like being a girl just... didn't suit you?'
Bea thought about it, and now that they said it, they were right. Whenever Bea had a shower, or looked in the mirror, she felt... wrong. Something wasn't right. Bea assumed that it happened to everyone, it was just a part of growing up. Hormones, and all that.
'I guess? But what does that have to do with being locked out of the girls dormitory?' Bea felt slightly hurt, she thought that Hufflepuffs were kind, not exactly the type of people to lock you out from your bedroom.
'Bea,' started Florence, his face soft. 'Bea, you're not a girl.'