Hermione’s Brilliant Birthday
Hermione woke with a slight smile on her face. It was her 21st birthday! She was now legally an adult in both muggle and wizarding worlds. She stretched as she got out of bed, wondering what her friends had planned for her special day. She’d been trying to make plans with them for weeks, but they were all either busy or not sure if they could commit to the actual day, September 19. She supposed she could understand since it was a Tuesday, after all. Still, it would have been nice to at least have dinner with Harry and Ron and Sirius. A smile graced her face as she thought about Sirius Black, Harry’s godfather, and her paramour.
He was just so ruggedly handsome, and smart, and the perfect foil to her serious (no pun intended, thank you very much) and bookish nature. He loved to have fun and make others laugh; he’d certainly gotten enough laughs from her over the years with his antics as both a human and his animagus form.
She went downstairs, and sure enough her parents were standing at the foot of the stairs waiting for her. “Happy birthday sweetheart,” they said as they gave her a hug.
“Thanks Mum, Dad,” she said as she gave a subtle sniff. “Is that bacon and blueberry pancakes I smell?” She asked with a chuckle as they headed toward the kitchen. They always made her favorite breakfast for her birthday from as far back as she could remember: At least for those she was home for.
“With hot chocolate,” her father said as he pulled out her chair and her mum put her plate before her.
“It smells heavenly!” She exclaimed as she put her fork and knife to good use. “And tastes even better,” she said around a moan as the blueberries exploded in her mouth.
She had just laid her fork and knife down after finishing her scrumptious breakfast when a tapping at the kitchen window was heard. Hermione looked and her smile finally reached her eyes: Harry’s owl Hedwig was knocking for entry! She rushed to the window and let the snowy owl in. She landed beside Hermione’s plate and held out her foot to the birthday girl and let out a soft screech which sounded remarkably like happy birthday. Hermione laughed and fed her friend’s owl the last bit of her bacon which had been soaking in maple syrup. Hedwig took off without waiting for a reply, which was strange since Harry knew she didn’t have an owl. Maybe they’d be seeing each other later?
Hermione looked more closely at the envelope and was surprised, it wasn’t written in Harry’s messy scrawl: it was much too neat. In fact it looked like Sirius’s handwriting.
It was!! Happy birthday dove. Today is your special day, and I have Sirius(ly) decided to make your day extra special.
Today is one of great adventure, provided you’re willing to face the risks to reap your reward.
Complete three quests, one for each seven years of your life, and find yourself leagues ahead of your friends.
Your first clue, I think, is quite easy.
What kind of ink would you put on stains to make them disappear? A friend with four pair of arms could give you this item so dear.
Have a wonderful day sweetheart, and I’ll see you soon.
She sat there and stared at the parchment for several minutes before her father’s concern broke through her thoughts. She looked up at him and smiled, “it’s nothing dad, at least nothing bad. Although considering it’s Sirius, who really knows?
He’s sending me on a scavenger hunt for my birthday!” She squealed, finally realizing what was going on.
Her father held out his hand and she reluctantly handed it to him. She knew she’d get it back, but still…”he seems to know you fairly well Hermione. Who else knows that you love word and logic puzzles second only to your books?” He asked as he handed the letter back to her.
She laughed, “anyone who’s known me more than five minutes dad. Come on, how hard is that to figure out?”
Her dad shook his head and got up to put his dishes in the sink as Hermione sat there and put together the clues. Hmmmm, leagues is underlined, so it probably has something to do with water. Ink to make a stain disappear? How is that possible? You would think that would make it worse, not make it disappear…disappearing ink maybe? Four pair of arms could only be an octopus or squid, yeah? Well I suppose it could be other cephalopods, but how many have ink? How in the world am I supposed to get ink from an octopus or squid without endangering myself? It also says friend. Who do i know who would have such a thing? As far as i know, not even George has any.
George! He would know where to buy it!
“George!” Hermione exclaimed as soon as she rushed through the door to Weasley Wizard Wheezes.
He startled as she yelled and the door, despite being charmed against it, slammed behind his guest. “What’s gotten you out and about so early on a,” he looked to the magical calendar on the wall behind the till, “Tuesday morning?”
“It’s not that early! It’s barely 10:00!” She huffed. “Anyway, do you know where I can get some disappearing ink?”
He looked at his friend mischievously, “why would you need that? The only one I know of is…” his tongue tied itself in a painful knot as he tried to tell her where to get what she was after.
“Where? Where can I get it George?” She demanded. He glared at his youngest brother’s friend, patient she was not! He held up a finger for her to wait a minute and headed to the back of the store and through the door which led to his living quarters. He soon returned with a book he’d had since he’d learned to read.
“Hogwarts: A History? The answer’s in a book I’ve read a thousand times and have memorized?” George tapped the book several times, then again when she looked like she was about to start yelling at him. “there’s nothing in there about disappearing ink George.” He took the book from her and opened it to the copyright page, and pointed to the publication date. “Oh! This is an earlier version than what a I bought my first trip here!” She enthused. “May I borrow this for a little bit? I’ll return it today, I promise.” George nodded and shooed her from the store.
She flipped through the book as she drank her tea, looking for the section which dealt with Black Lake (no, it isn’t named after my family, Hermione, Sirius’s voice said in her head). Finally she found what she was looking for, and sure enough the section on the creatures which lived in the lake had been edited extensively, for her copy did NOT mention the fact that the squid was magical, and that its ink was invisible!
She smiled as she gathered her things, returned the book and flooed to The Three Broomsticks so she could walk up to Hogwarts. She hadn’t been back since she’d graduated, but it still looked magnificent after all the restoration that had been done once the war was over.
It was a long trek to the Black Lake, shut up Sirius!, but she finally made it. As luck would have it the Giant Squid was basking in the sun in the shallows. “Mr. Squid,” she said as she approached him, “could I get some of your ink please? It’s my birthday and my boyfriend sent me on a scavenger hunt. Your ink is one of the items I have to retrieve.” The squid had been nodding the whole time, but waited until she was finished speaking before waving a tentacle to get her attention. “Oh, yes, I suppose something to put it in would be useful. But, how am I going to know where it is if it’s invisible?” The squid smirked, although Hermione couldn’t see it since its mouth was in the water, and handed her a totally dry package. She narrowed her eyes at the Giant Squid as it moved into deeper water and disappeared from sight.
Hermione sat on one of the stone benches and opened the package. In it was a vial of what she assumed was invisible ink, and another letter.
I see you figured out your first clue, Sweet. Congratulations. Here’s the next one: you’ll find yourself at the BOTTom of Davy Jones’ Locker with the other 15 men in the Dead Man’s Chest if your ears are so clean they can hear the pirate’s Bertie’s scream.
Good luck, Love.
- S. The ink was gathered in the waning light last night.
There is definitely a nautical theme going on, she thought. Why else would he have underlined leagues before, and mentioned Davy Jones’s Locker? Bott is capitalized, and that is NOT how you spell birdy! Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans maybe? But why? She reread the clue several more times until she finally figured it out and headed for Honeydukes, the sweet shop in Hogsmead village.
The store had been rearranged since she’d last been there, but it didn’t take her long to find the section with Bertie Bott’s Beans, and, surprisingly, bins with the individual flavours, just in time for one of their clerks to approach and ask if they could help her. She smiled at the clerk. “I think I found what I need. My boyfriend sent me on a scavenger hunt for my birthday…”
“Ah,” the clerk said with a brighter smile than before, “you must be Miss Granger then. I have something for you at the counter.”
Hermione hurriedly replaced the scoop and followed the clerk to the counter where he handed her a bag with greyish brown ear wax flavoured beans and another letter: She made a moué of disgust just thinking of that particular flavor. She thanked the man and hurried to The Three Broomsticks for some lunch and to read her letter.
Congratulations Love. Last clue, but the adventure isn’t over quite yet.
You don’t have a ghost of a chance crossing this line in a mortal vessel: 25.0000 deg N, AND 71.0000 deg W.
I’ll see you soon Dove.
Ghost of a chance? What in the name of Merlin? Mortal vessel? Are ghost ships even real? Well, I know ghosts are real, so why wouldn’t they be? She thought as she silently gushed to herself that Sirius was so thoughtful.
By chance someone had left that day’s copy of the Daily Prophet at the table, so on the off chance they would actually advertise, she picked it up and read through the advertisements, hoping to find what she was looking for, but not really thinking she would.
“Arrrrrrrr Matey, it’s about time we head for shore!” Hermione’s head snapped up at those words. What were the odds that someone would be talking about setting sale when she was in need of a ship? She grinned, Sirius was certainly pulling out all the stops for this little adventure. “Or maybe we’re supposed to set sail?”
“Dobby thinks Master Blackbeard Sir means set sail Sir,” another hauntingly familiar voice said. Hermione looked around, but the room was too well lit with the noon day sun shining through the windows, making it nearly impossible to see the owners of the voices.
“Dobby?” She called, hoping he would be able to hear her.
“Miss Grangy Ma’am!” Dobby squealed excitedly. He tried to hug her, but his arms went right through her. Another ghostly hand read out and pulled the ghost of Dobby back before he could cause even more of a scene.
“Arrrrr, house elves are to be seen, not heard!”
“But Dobby is a free house elf Master Blackbeard Sir!”
“Well,” the not so mysterious ghost said, “I suppose that’s true enough, but yer not supposed to make a scene among the humans!”
“That’s alright Mr…?” Her sentence trailed off since she didn’t know who the other ghost was, although she felt she should.
He took off his tricorn and gave Hermione a deep, sweeping bow, “Blackbeard, pretty lady. No Mister about it.” Hermione’s mouth fell open. Even in her wildest imaginings she didn’t think she would actually meet a real pirate!
“And you pilot a ghost ship now?” She asked once she regained her wits.
“Aye. And who might you be?” Blackbeard asked.
“I am sooooo sorry! I’m Hermione Granger. It’s a pleasure to meet such a legend!” She turned toward Dobby, who had finally settled down as Hermione and Blackbeard made introductions. “It’s good to see you again Dobby.”
Dobby’s ears flapped as he started jumping in place, “Miss Grangy remembers Dobby!”
Hermione smiled, “You haven’t changed a bit Dobby.”
Before Dobby could do anything more than vibrate happily in place, Hermione asked if they were the answer to her latest clue. Dobby looked like he was going to answer, but Blackbeard told him, “if you don’t behave, you will be sitting in the galley WATCHING while the others cook!” The former house-elf settled down marginally, and looked at Hermione with pleading eyes.
She looked confused for a few moments before it dawned on her, “Captain Blackbeard, would you please take me to my next destination?”
The captain took off his tricorn again and offered her another sweeping bow, “it would be my pleasure, m’lady.” Dobby beamed at her; she had solved the clue and saved him from being forced to watch others work while not being allowed to do any himself. “Shall we?” Blackbeard asked as he extended his arm towards the door.
As they approached Black Lake Hermione saw a ship that hadn’t been there when she’d spoken with the giant squid; the ship’s name was The Hermione! Her mouth dropped open, but she was speechless for probably the first time ever. Blackbeard laughed and answered her unasked question as he thumped up the gang plank, “aye. Your benefactor asked, and I agreed.” She was still standing there, mouth open, flabbergasted, when both captain and first mate had made it to the ghost ship.
“Are you coming Miss Grangy?” Dobby squeaked as he turned and looked back and saw that she wasn’t with them. She snapped out of her surprise and somehow managed to walk up a gangplank which wasn’t solid.
In no time they were underway, albeit under the lake, but were soon in the open sea.
Several hours, and lots of conversation and fresh sea air later, they heard distant singing. Blackbeard growled, “They were supposed to be opening for the Weird Sisters tonight! What in the h…” he looked at the only female on board, blushed slightly and changed what he was saying, “what are they doing out here?”
Hermione looked confused, “Who? What is that singing?”
“Sirens m’dear. Sirens is the answer to both questions.”
“Sirens?” She asked sceptically. “I thought they were only myths.”
“Aye, well I’m supposed to be a myth too, aren’t I? All myths have some basis in fact Miss Granger.’
She sighed, “I suppose they do Captain.” She though back to the books of her youth, especially Homer’s Odyssey, trying to remember how he’d gotten by them, or even Jason and the Argonauts. Hmmmm, Jason had someone playing a lyre which was louder than the sirens. But Odysseus had his men block their ears with wax. Ear wax! I’ve got those ear wax flavoured beans! “Captain,” she said excitedly, “one of my scavenger items is Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, ear wax flavour! Would that help?”
The captain smiled at her, “Aye lassie, it will. Let’s have them then.” She hurriedly brought out the bag the clerk at Honeydukes had given her and held it out to the sailors around her. They each took two beans and stuffed them into their ears, leaving one pair which she quickly took and followed her shipmates’s example and stuck them in her ears. Just in the nick of time, too, since they were coming abreast of the sirens. Once they were past and far enough away Blackbeard signalled for them to remove the beans, which were deposited back into the bag. Hermione closed it tightly and held it out to Blackbeard, “for the next time,” she said with a smile, very happy that they had done their job and blocked the sirens’ song.
“Thank ye lassie,” he said as he took the bag and called, “Dobby!” Dobby faded into being right next to the captain, who handed him the bag of beans, ‘put these in a safe place for the next time. And bring our guest a snack.”
Dobby smiled and bowed as he faded away, only to reappear a moment later with a pot of tea and some scones with jam for Hermione.
Just as she took her first sip the sailors started singing, “It was on the good ship Venus, By Christ, ya shoulda seen us, The figurehead was a whore in bed, And the mast, a mammoth penis…” they stopped as their captain bellowed, “By Christ there’s a woman on board ye idiots! We won’t be hearing none o’ that today.”
Hermione giggled as they grumbled around her, some humming the tune softly under their breath. It was a pleasant afternoon, with a mild breeze, plenty of sun, and plenty of companionship. They’d been underway from the sirens for only a short time when a cry was heard from the crow’s nest, “Kraken! Kraken to port!”
Hermione jerked as the cry had woken her from a slight doze. She rubbed her eyes and straightened in her seat. “Did somebody say kraken,” she asked fearfully.
“Aye,” Captain Blackbeard said as the giant cephalopod came alongside The Hermione.
“Captain,” it said with a rather graceful tilt of its massive head.
“Seymour,” the captain said with a respectful nod in return. Hermione snickered quietly at the kraken’s name.
“See more what?” She asked with a giggle.
Seymour looked at her quizzically, “See more sea?” It asked, since it truly had no concept of puns or other types of word play.
Gahhh, she thought. I have spent entirely too much time with Sirius if I’m meeting up with a fearsome beast and all I can do is crack jokes! “I’m terribly sorry,” she said, “I didn’t realize you are real since I’ve only read about you in a couple of books.”
Seymour sighed, ‘I know,” he grumbled, “that awful Jason and the Argonauts and The Odyssey, which almost no one reads anymore.” A tear slipped out of its eye, “it was after that that a wizard came across me and offered a way for me to remain unseen. I haven’t seen him in a very long time, and it has worn off, so now everyone sees me and screams and runs away!”
“You really are a friendly thing, aren’t you?” Hermione asked as she reached out to touch the kraken. It leaned into her touch and moved its head slightly back and forth until she made a claw with her hand and started scratching its head, bringing forth a loud sigh of contentment.
“I really am,” it said with a nod once she’d stopped scratching. “And it hurts my feelings,” Seymour sniffed, “when people run away from me.”
“Awww, that’s too bad. Is there anything I can do to help?” She asked, not truly expecting an answer, but politeness always pays off in the end.
“Not unless you have some invisible ink gathered from the rarest of the rare,” he said sadly. It had been many years since he’d seen anybody with what he needed, and he figured it would be a long time again before he found anybody with it.
Hermione smiled brightly and reached into her bottomless beaded bag, bringing forth the vial which looked empty, but, in fact, was not. “I just happen to have some as part of my scavenger hunt, Seymour. Would you like it?”
Seymour’s eyes grew larger as he beheld what only he could see, “invisible ink! You visited the giant squid?” Hermione nodded happily as Seymour continued, “how fresh is it?”
“It was gathered in the waning light last night,” she answered, happy that Sirius had thought to include that information.
The giant cephalopod actually beamed at her, “if you would please pour it over my head?” He asked happily. Hermione pulled the cork and immediately complied, and watched in awe as one of the most wrongfully feared creatures she had ever met disappeared before her very eyes. “Thank you,” she heard before she watched the water ripple as the kraken moved away.
“How much longer Captain,” she asked once the ripples had stopped rocking the ship.
“Not long now m’dear. You’ll feel strange as we cross the barrier, but it won’t hurt you since you are on a ghost ship.” Hermione looked confused at the strange explanation, but nodded just as she felt her skin prickle all over and she started to feel dizzy. She quickly plopped down in her chair and put her head between her knees, hoping the dizziness would go away quickly. No sooner than she’d finished the thought, she felt right as rain again.
“Is Miss Grangy okay?“ Dobby squeaked from right in front of her. She jumped at the sound but smiled at him, “I am now Dobby, thanks. Where are we, anyway?”
Dobby shook his head and mimed locking his lips and throwing away the key, making Hermione laugh, “You don’t want to be forced to watch others work, huh?” He shook his head as she continued, “that’s alright, I think I’ve figured it out anyway. We’re in the Bermuda Triangle, aren’t we?” The ghostly house-elf nodded his head enthusiastically as he beamed at his greatest wizard’s friend for figuring out the clue.
She heard a familiar voice shout, “Hermione!” She rushed to the side and saw all her friends, and her parents, standing on a dock watching as a small skiff launched and headed towards them, Sirius at the helm, with Harry right beside him, laughing gleefully.
In no time she had transferred to the skiff and they were heading back to the dock.
“Welcome to Black Island in the Bermuda Triangle, Dove,” Sirius said as he helped her onto the dock.
Once her feet were on dry land she enveloped Sirius in a very enthusiastic hug, “thank you,” she whispered so only he could hear. “This has been the best birthday ever!”
Sirius turned and put his arm around her waist as they walked toward her parents, “I’m happy you enjoyed yourself, love. Now, there’s just one more thing.”
She turned her head, missing the smiles and looks of her assembled guests. Her mouth dropped open again as Sirius dropped to one knee, the largest grin she’d ever seen adorning his face, “Will you, Hermione Jean Granger, marry me?” As he held out a ring box from Wizarding London’s Harrods. As he flipped open the lid she saw a platinum band with blue and yellow sapphires surrounding a black opal.
She stood there, stunned, for more than a minute before she managed to gather her wits about her to shout’ “YES!” As she threw herself at her now fiancé and squeezed him in a hug until he complained he couldn’t breathe.
As he slid the ring onto her finger he explained the gemstones, “the blue sapphire is for your birth month, the yellow sapphire represents my birth month of November, and the black opal is because of the Black family name, and I just like opals.”
Her voice shook as she said, “It’s beautiful! I love it!”