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Sugar Dumplin'

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Perfect... Millie looked absolutely perfect in the floating candlelight of the Great hall. 

Hannah looked up from her plate at the Slytherin across the long table to see where Millie was sitting over with the Hufflepuffs. She was giggling along with Marcus, Becca, and Bo who sat beside her, they looked happy together. Though it was no secret that Bo and Willowdean fancied each other, Hannah was still green with envy. Hannah wanted to eat with Millie! It wasn’t fair they had to sit with their houses... Okay, it totally was but it didn’t mean that Hannah had to like it. The punk teen barely got to spend any time with Millie, they weren’t any of the same classes. Millie was aiming to be a Healer and Hannah wanted to be an Auror, not a lot of room for overlapping subjects. So they could talk after class but then they had homework. Hogwarts was a funny place considering that there was almost too many nook and crannies to meet friends in but never enough privacy. The library was excellent but Irma Price didn’t appreciate idle chatter, the courtyard was too cold now in the winter season, and almost anywhere else someone always had to find them and interrupt. It could never just be the two of them! Someone was always...

Callie elbowed Hannah and gave her a playful look. “You really oughta stop staring.”

“I’m not staring.”

“Sure you’re not, Hannah.” Callie rolled her eyes and turned back to her conversation with the other housemates.

Hannah shook her head. God, did everyone know she had a crush on Millie now? Was Hannah that transparent? And if that was the case then could they all leave her to pine in peace without being so obnoxious about it-

Hannah winced a banana was dropped on her head by one of the owls above. Hannah whipped around to look at the Gryffindor table to see Willowdean and Ellen were very giggly and non-apologetic as they were clearly the culprits of this assault. Hannah glowered at them, they just mouthed “ASK HER OUT ALREADY!”

Hannah’s scowl deepened as she shook her head no and turned back around.

But just as she faced right side round a letter was suddenly dropped on her head.

Bloody owls were out to get her today it seemed.

Hannah opened the letter, not at all phased when she saw ASK HER OUT ALREADY in Willowdean hasty scrawl on the parchment.

Hannah carefully tucked the note into her robe. Hannah carefully checked the staff table to make sure no one was looking, before she turned back round to see the owl-messenger abusing Gryffindors to flip them a bird of her own. 

 

The first time Hannah met Millie was on the train to Hogwarts first year. Hannah was brooding off in what appeared to be the only free compartment. Hannah was… a mix of emotions. She was excited for Hogwarts, she had jumped for joy when she got her letter but now she was nervous. She’d never been away from home before and now she’d be living away from her Mother and everything she knew…

Hannah’s Mother had seen her off at the 9 ¾ platform, Mrs. Perez’s mouth had been in a tight line as she awkwardly patted Hannah’s head and told her: “Focus on your studies, get into Slytherin, and behave .”

Hannah just gave a somber nod as she got on the train, finding an isolated compartment as everyone else was coddled by their parents on the platform. Hannah watched out the window as one pretty girl (who looked about Hannah’s age) with round cheeks was practically being suffocated with the adamant embrace of the mother. The mother was pressing kiss after kiss on top of the girl’s head in the space between her pigtails. But instead of being annoyed or embarrassed the girl was beaming and holding her mother back just a tight. They looked sweet, and Hannah had to swallow her envy. She turned away. The girl was clearly going to be a Hufflepuff. There would be no need for Hannah to ever interact with such a bubble-brain… which made Hannah feel… sad?

She shook the thought away she turned to her knapsack and pulled out one of her books. Hannah was hoping to use the train ride to get ahead on the school work as she was kind of hoping that she’d end up in Ravenclaw. Hannah kept diligently reading as she heard everyone else board the train as it got ready to depart but she was finding herself distracted by dreams of Hogwarts and what the Ravenclaw dorms would be like... Hannah smirked at the thought of the letters her mother would send her: disappointed that Hannah didn’t end up in Slytherin like the Perez dynasty would have it. It would be so funny… Mother… Hannah (for some inexplicable reason) found her eyes starting to well up with tears. She would miss the ol’ bat after all…

Just then the compartment door slid open to reveal none other than the future Hufflepuff girl from the platform. Just perfect! Hannah thought as she quickly swiped at her eyes and buried her face into her book, hoping to send the vibe that she wanted to be left alone.

But the girl didn’t leave. “Oh good, an open seat! Most are already taken now, I stayed a bit too long saying’ bye to mum. Mind if I sit?”

Hannah shrugged but moved so she was facing away from the other girl, hoping that would be message enough to leave Hannah alone.

It wasn’t.

The girl jumped into the seat across from Hannah, grinning. “This is so exciting! I’m Millicent, well everyone calls me Millie. I like that better. What’s your name?”

Hannah didn’t respond. She turned her page.

“You’re so cool!”

That took Hannah by surprise she looked up to see Millie looking at her at awe, despite the snub.

“You’re so calm! I was a nervous wreck last night, couldn’t sleep a wink! Aren’t you nervous? Hannah is it?”

“H-how do you know my name?” Hannah stuttered, most likely destroying whatever cool rep she just established.

Millie stole herself for a moment, smiling fading into a very serious face. “Imma witch.”

Hannah blinked.

Millie bit her lip, her cheeks turned red, and it wasn’t long till she burst into giggles. “Your name is on your luggage label next to you.”

Hannah resisted smacking herself in the forehead for her stupidity. Duh.

And then to make things worse-

“Wait have you been crying?” Millie asked, big Bambi eyes growing in concern.

“W-what?! No!” Hannah denied, even though she knew her eyes were red.

Millie just reached forward to rest her hand on Hannah’s. For some reason, Hannah didn’t pull away. “It’s okay, Hannah.” then Millie gave Hannah probably the kindest smile anyone ever gave her. “Me too.” Millie didn’t ask Hannah any more questions, didn’t force her to talk. Instead, Millie lit up in a pleasant conversation which Hannah found herself enjoying immensely. Then to top it off Millie bought Hannah jelly slugs later.

Yeah… Millie was definitely going to be a Hufflepuff…

… But it turned out that Hannah wasn’t going to be a Ravenclaw. She was a Slytherin. She didn’t want to be, Hannah hated the idea of being cold and calculating like the rest of her family. She wanted to be smart and she’d worked so hard all summer. But apparently, it wasn’t hard enough. All that work for nothing.

Her mother won.

Hannah kept her cool but rushed out of the Great Hall and fled to the Girl’s lavatory the first opportunity she got. She didn’t realize it but Millie, seeing that Hannah was clearly upset, followed her.

“I’m so sorry Hannah, I know you were hoping for-”

“Get out!” Hannah cried. Her mother was right, people in their family were cold and they didn’t need friends and she didn’t need Millie feeling sorry for her.

“But I just wanna help-”

“You can’t help! Leave me alone!”

 

“Mmm thought I’d find you here.” A smooth voice rang out from the darkness.

Hannah jolted upright from where she was hunched over her books, tucked away secretly in an alcove with her books after having snuck past curfew to study for the N.E.W.T. “Expecto Patro-”

“Easy, Han!” Millie interjected, quickly tugging off the hood to the invisibility cloak. “It’s me.”

Hannah let out a deep breath of relief. “Bleeding Hell, Mils! Don’t scare me like that! What are you doing here, shouldn’t you be asleep?”

“I could ask you the same question.” Millie returned, her eyes visibly softening even in the shallow light of the luminous spell. “It’s late, Han. You need to get your rest.”

“I need to study if I want to be-”

“I know.” Millie cooed, slipping the rest of the cloak off her shoulders, she grabbed a seat next to Hannah and rested her hand on the Slytherin’s narrow shoulder. “But you’re working yourself too hard! You’re gonna burn yourself out!”

Hannah sighed in defeat. “You’re right, I’ll just finish this chapter and-”

“Oh no, you don’t! One chapter turns into the rest of the textbook. Common Han, I know you better than that. Here, how bout I quiz you real quick and then we’ll both go to bed-”

“No, you could get caught and-”

“Shh,” Millie simpered as she gently moved closer so that her side was pressed against Hannah’s. Carefully Millie grabbed the invisibility cloak (which she undoubtedly borrowed from Bo who uses it to sneak into Gryffindor and see Will all the freakin’ time) and draped it over both of them. “There! Now let’s get through this and get some shut-eye, hmm?”

Hannah wished the cloak would make her blush invisible too.

 

It would be weeks later, in Flying lessons that Hannah would see Millie again, after weeks of ducking the Hufflepuff at every opportunity. But that all changed after a couple weeks when the universe thrust the two of them together again. The Slytherin students were being competitive with each other. This competitiveness soon took the form of aggression. The Slytherin house had lost 15 points in the first week due to Hannah’s first-year class fighting each other on their broomsticks. As a result, Professor McGonagall decided to co-ed the class with Hufflepuffs (at least until some of the beds in the Infirmary were cleared from kids who had been pushed off their broom).

There were two things in this world that Hannah was afraid of:

  1.  Public Speaking and 
  2. Heights

 

She was petrified in Flying Lessons and had happily hidden in the disaster that was her class to avoid flying for the last few weeks. But now it was unavoidable: she was going to have to face her fear.

And in the end, it had been Millie who helped Hannah. While McGonagall was talking to other students, Millie showed Hannah where to put her hands and hold the broom, promising that Hannah wouldn’t crash or fall off or get hurt.

“How do you know?” Hannah challenged.

“Just trust me.” Millie smiled as she took Hannah’s hand to adjust it on her broom.

And Hannah did. Hannah learned to fly quickly and she’s never been afraid of heights or flying since.

But more than that Millie and Hannah have been inseparable ever since.

 

Somewhere between second and third year, Hannah started to get this fuzzy feeling in her chest whenever she was around Millie. By fourth year Hannah had was hit with the fact that this fuzzy feeling was in fact FEELINGS. And now in the fifth year, Hannah was stuck pining.

But those thoughts would have to wait.

Hannah’s broom zoomed and zipped in the air as she desperately tried to catch the quaffle. She usually she was a Beater but apparently, she was too distracted lately so her team was trying a new strategy. So far it wasn’t working well.

Just as she was flying around the curve, trying to cover Bo (Hufflepuff’s best Chaser) from scoring. But Hannah was… distracted, to say the least. Millie was sitting there in the Hufflepuff stands, chin carefully tucked into her yellow and black scarf as she cheeks glowed pink in from the cold. Even though Millie’s face was concealed, Hannah could tell the Hufflepuff was smiling her radiant smile; it showed in the way Millie’s warm brown eyes sparkled in the chilly air. So warm like two cups of cocoa with marshmallows…

The next thing Hannah knew she was spinning out of control and nearly crashing into the Slytherin Banner. Hannah jolted back into the game to see that Bo had checked her broomstick.

Hannah narrowed her eyes and charged at Bo, who had the quaffle now, but Bo skillfully tossed the quaffle across the field to another team member before Hannah recovered.

“That was a dirty check!” Hannah screeched.

“Don’t be a sore loser, Hannah.” Bo teased. “And it’s nothing personal, just got my eye on the prize… I got a feeling that’s the same for you.” Bo smirked deviously as he jerked his head towards the Hufflepuff stands.

“She’s not a prize! You patriarchal arse, women aren’t some conquests-”

“Woah there, you know I didn’t mean it that way,” Bo assured as he turned around the hoop. “But you don’t deny it then?”

“I don’t know what you mean.” Hannah denied (horribly and convincing no one) and she looked away to dodge the bludger zipping in her way.

While Hannah wasn’t looking, Bo dropped down, intercepting the quaffle and rushing forward to score. Hannah gapped at him.

Bo just cheekily chirped. “All is fair in love and Quidditch, eh Hannah?”

“Now that was dirty! Since when are Hufflepuffs such competitive cheats?!”

“You’re right I thought that was just the Slytherins!”

“Bo Larsen when I get my hands on you I swear you’re gonna have to be sipping pumpkin juice through a straw for a month!”

 

“You doing alright, Han?” Millie asks.

“I’m fine.” Hannah bats the question away, and it’s true… mostly. She’s had a good day but she’s exhausted. With the N.E.W.T only 6 weeks away the Slytherin house is a mess. Everyone is studying and up in the night with ambitious dreams of being Aurors or in Ministry. And with everyone doing their own luminous spells it gets kinda hard to sleep there, least of all because Hannah’s been studying after hours too.

There’s a lot of pressure for pride.

Millie, intuitive as ever doesn’t push the issue but instead offers “You should sleep over.”

“What in Hufflepuff?” Hannah quirks a brow.

“Yeah! It’ll be great and you’ll get a night of better sleep than in your house.”

“What about bed check?”

“Well, you’ve been sneaking out to study as it is…”

She had a point.

“Okay,” Hannah tried to reason. She wasn’t an impulsive person (well except when something made her mad) and there were a lot of factors. Hufflepuff had the vinegar security system, what if she set it off? “Won’t I get sprayed with vinegar?”

“Not if you come in with me or you know the secret knock.” Millie shook her head.

Alright…  What if someone snitched on her for sneaking out- well it couldn’t be another Slytherin less they want to lose house points and Hufflepuffs aren’t known for being tattletales… “Where would I sleep?”

“Well I think there should be enough room in my bed in my dorm but if there isn’t I can grab blankets and pillows and we can sleep in the common room.”

Hannah nodded, she couldn’t think of a  single reason to say no… “Fine.”

Millie let out a delighted squeal, which coming from anyone else would have annoyed Hannah. Instead, Hannah felt her features soften, lips twitching up in a smirk.

“Okay meet you out here at 10 after.” Millie farewelled.

 

Hannah got into her PJs, Slytherin green set her Mother had mailed her for Christmas, and after a quick bed check, Hannah grabbed her bag with some study materials and quietly prepared to head out. Callie quirked a brow. “Going somewhere?”

“What?”

“Well, you usually don’t bother to change into your jammies before you sneak out… going someplace different?”

“No…” Hannah lies.

Callie’s eyes sparkle, she smirks. “Alrighty then, have fun.”

Hannah ducks her head and quickly shuffles out the door as Callie yells after her to “Tell Millie I say hi!”

 

Millie’s standing outside the large round Hufflepuff doors for Hannah already. She grins, and the place looks pleasant but Hannah’s still apprehensive about setting off the security system and altering the entire school about an “intruder”. Did they expel people for this? Hannah thought of what her mother would think. The word BEHAVE rattling around her head. 

Hannah gulped.

Millie just shot her a warm smile that said trust me.

Hannah gave a nod, returning a shaky smile of her own as Millie went forward and did a series of intricate taps on the different barrels. Finally one of the larger barrels creaks open, revealing… yellow. Lots of yellow.

Hannah follows Millie inside, the room doesn’t feel underground near the dungeons and kitchens. While the copper lamps have dimmed for lights out the room still feels sunny like it’s getting a sliver of sunshine from between the curtains. The couches are yellow with lovely looking quilts draped over the back there are round windows… wait how are there windows. Hannah wonders but she’s just captivated by how warm, earthy and inviting the Hufflepuff home is.

Millie goes over to adjust the lamps to be a bit brighter as Hannah flops down on the couch. “Do you want to study for a bit before bed.”

Hannah grins “You read my mind!”

 

Millie, to her credit, did study for about a solid thirty minutes. The two curled up together under one of the beautiful patchwork quilts with books in their laps. Millie flipped through her herbology book as Hannah plowed through her Defence Against the Dark Arts textbook. But after a while, Millie got up and started plucking dandelions and daisies from the window sills. She took the flower and set them in her lap as she curled up with Hannah on the couch, delicately streaming them into a flower crown. Hannah let her head drop to Millie’s shoulder as she kept reading, it was so content… so peaceful.

Hannah felt her mind starting to lull as she felt Millie softly humming some girly pop song next to her. After a moment Millie leaned up to drape the flower crown over the punk girls hair, the yellow flowers a stark contrast to Hannah’s dark choppy hair. Millie let out a triumphant giggle, smile making the room feel impossibly brighter… it almost hurt Hannah’s eyes to look at but she couldn’t look away… maybe… Hannah thought this was a good moment to finally tell Millie that she was in lov-

Suddenly the door to the common room opened, Hannah jumped a little, scared it was a staff member here to bust them. The flower crown dropped lopsided on her head. She stiffened… only to find… Willowdean?

“Will!” Millie exclaimed excitedly.

Will smiled, her eyes flicking to Hannah and letting out a snort when she saw the flower crown perched on top of Hannah’s head. Will opened her mouth, no doubt to tease but then Bo came out with the invisibility cloak tucked over his arm.

The four of them blinked at each other.

Bo blushed a little but grinned toothily. “Well, I’ll be off on my date, you kids behave now!”

Hannah wanted to bury herself in the large puffy yellow couch. God kill her now…

Millie just giggled, Hannah tried to bury her blush in her textbook… so much for a moment.

 

It would be weeks later, after the N.E.W.T. when they were all eagerly awaiting their results that Hannah could finally work up the nerve to ask Millie out. After coaxing from Bo, Will, Ellen, and even Callie: Hannah was finally going to do it.

She decided to send a letter by owl mail… it felt the safest.

After class, she went straight to the Owlery before she could talk herself out of it. However, as she ascended up the stairs she found that Callie was following close behind her, eyes glowing with mischief.

“Can I help you?” Hannah snarked.

“Relax, Hannah Banana.” Callie playfully chided, obviously calling back to the banana assault weeks ago… Callie never bloody forgot anything. “Just using the post.”

Hannah narrowed her eyes but turned around to make her way up the stairs, when she finally made it, she tried her hardest to ignore Callie who seemed innocently enough posting a letter to her mom, and reached into her bag to grab some parchment, since she came straight from class Hannah hadn’t even bothered to write the letter yet figuring that she’d love her nerve otherwise.

But when Hannah dipped her hand in the bag she found all her clean parchment was gone and all that was left was her quills and her Potions notes. Hannah dug around desperately in her bag… she could have sworn she had clean parchment in here…

“Out of parchment?” Callie asked, “You can borrow some of mine.”

Hannah felt a pull in her gut since when was Callie so nice? Hannah took the offered parchment skeptical, Callie’s eyes seemed to glimmer. “What’s the catch?”

“No catch. Damn Hannah, is it so hard to believe I could just help you?” Callie asked with a roll of her eyes.

Hannah bit back the obvious answer of yes.

“You should hurry though,” Callie noted, looking a little… nervous?

“Why? Is this a trick? This gonna explode or something?”

“No. But if you keep stalling you’re gonna chicken out, Hannah Banana.”

And Callie… wasn’t wrong. Without another thought,  Hannah fought against her logic and turned around so her back was to Callie. Using the wall Hannah carefully wrote out

Millie, I like you. You are the kindest person I know and your smile is like sunshine. Would you go out with me? Yours, Hannah. Before folding it, stuffing it into one of Callie's envelopes, and addressing it. Handing it to one of the owls before she could talk herself out of it.

Callie grinned, a Cheshire cat smiles if Hannah ever saw one. “Perfect, guess we should get ready for dinner!”

Hannah felt her stomach roll.

 

When it was finally time for dinner Hannah felt like she was going to throw up. She didn’t dare look at the Hufflepuff table or at Callie. She kept her eyes fixed on her plate as she nervously picked at her food. Any second now Millie was going to get her letter…

“Ohhh look!” Callie called. Elbowing Hannah in the ribs. “Millie’s got a letter!”

Hannah’s eyes bolted upright to see Millie’s confused face from getting a post… a red envelope having been dropped onto Millie’s plate. Hannah bit her lip. Red envelope… that’s strange. Did Hannah post it in one? She couldn’t remember. No, it couldn’t be Hannah’s letter cause red was usually for-

Becca gasped next to Millie. “Oh no! Someone sent you a Howler.”

"Want me to open it for you?" Bo offered kindly but Millie shook her head. 

Hannah’s stomach clenched. No, it couldn’t be her letter to Millie it had to be someone else-

Then the worst possible thing happened.

Millie took a breath before ripping off the seat to the letter. The letter floated up in the air, bending so that it looked like a mouth. In a loud, booming, haggard voice it read “TO MILLICENT MITCHELLCHUCK, HUFFLEPUFF: MILLIE, I LIKE YOU. YOU ARE THE KINDEST PERSON I KNOW AND YOUR SMILE IS LIKE SUNSHINE. WOULD YOU GO OUT WITH ME? YOURS, HANNAH. POSTED BY HANNAH PEREZ, SLYTHERIN”

The letter immediately shredded itself up.

Hannah just gapped. The dining room went quiet, someone’s dishes clattered. Beside her, Callie clamped a hand over her mouth to contain her giggles.

Hannah kept her eyes locked on Millie, the Hufflepuff just looked down at the scattered bits of paper on her plate. Both of their cheeks turned pink. Someone… who sounded a lot like Willowdean, gave out a cough. Millie looked up, brown eyes big.

Hannah couldn’t take it. She bolted up from the table, knocking over some glasses as she went as she fled out of the Great Hall. Someone called out “Wait!” but all she could hear was the scattered whispering and Callie’s cackling.

Hannah dove, not even sure where she was going as she sprinted through the corridors. Eventually, she burst through a door to find that she was in the girl's lavatory. She rushed over to the sink.

Someone rushed after her- and it was deja vu.

Millie stood in the doorway. Panting softly. “You… huh huh... You didn’t even wait for my reply-”

“Look Mils, I’m sorry. Callie gave me the parchment, I didn’t know it was gonna be a Howler, honest!”

“Hannah-”

“And you never want to be friends again I would get it-”

“Hannah! YES!”

“Cause that was so- wait what?”

“Yes,” Millie said walking forward to take Hannah’s hand. “I’ll go out with you.”

And maybe the girl's lavatory at Hogwarts, Moaning Myrtle a couple stall away, wasn’t the most romantic place to have a first kiss, but as Hannah leaned her forehead against Millie’s she couldn’t care less. Soft and sweet, Hannah could have sworn Millie's lips tasted like jelly slugs. Hannah smiled into the kiss. Maybe she wouldn't kill Callie after all... Millie just giggled sweetly as she pulled Hannah in for another kiss. 

And even in the dingy light, with leaky faucets around them, it was perfect.