The entrance to the common room is concealed in a stack of large barrels in a nook on the right hand side of the kitchen corridor, which is one floor below ground level (this is also known as Hufflepuff Basement). Tap the barrel two from the bottom, middle of the second row, in the rhythm of ‘Helga Hufflepuff’, and the lid will swing open. We are the only house at Hogwarts that also has a repelling device for would-be intruders. If the wrong lid is tapped, or if the rhythm of the tapping is wrong, the illegal entrant is doused in vinegar. You will hear other houses boast of their security arrangements, but it so happens that in more than a thousand years, the Hufflepuff common room and dormitories have never been seen by outsiders. Like badgers, we know exactly how to lie low – and how to defend ourselves. Once you’ve opened the barrel, crawl inside and along the passageway behind it, and you will emerge into the cosiest common room of them all. It is round and earthy and low-ceilinged; it always feels sunny, and its circular windows have a view of rippling grass and dandelions. There is a lot of burnished copper about the place, and many plants, which either hang from the ceiling or sit on the windowsills. The Herbology Professor brings the most interesting specimens (some of which dance and talk) to decorate our room – one reason why Hufflepuffs are often very good at Herbology. Our overstuffed sofas and chairs are upholstered in yellow and black, and our dormitories are reached through round doors in the walls of the common room. Copper lamps cast a warm light over our four-posters, all of which are covered in patchwork quilts, and copper bed warmers hang on the walls, should you have cold feet.
"Welcome, hufflepuffs! You may not recognise me, for I am your new head of house! My name is Professor Chaudhuri, and I am the current healing professor! Before that, however, I am your pastoral support figure, and I want you all to know that you have my support whenever you need it! Please do come and see me in my office, my door is always open, and remember, no request is too small or too silly. I'm here to help you! With that said, I hope you all continue to exemplify our values of tolerance, fairness, and above all, hard work. Thank you all, and good luck this year!"
Abigaia carried her cat in a warm hug as she entered the Hufflepuff Common Room. When the passageway closed behind her, she released Pistachio to let him lurk around wherever. Immediately, he sprinted to the fire, where he rolled around and scratched at the rug. Briefly, she scolded him for messing up the carpet material, before tossing him a couple small cat toys from her bag and settling into one of the chairs beside the fire.
Abigaia was shocked that there was another girl nearby, but nothing showed on her face as she turned to smile at her. "Pistachio. My eight year old mind couldn't have come up with anything more creative, but at least his name isn't Caramel or Creme."
Abigaia nodded, feeling sad for the other girl's cat, although she didn't know anything about it except that it was old. "Pistachio is a little bit over six years old, so not too old. I feel like he's ancient though."