I cannot thank my alpha/beta, Meiri, enough for her quick help with this little Hermione birthday one shot.
Disclaimer: I own nothing recognizable from the Harry Potter world. I also do not own any work of art, or exhibit, from the British Museum.
She pulled out a fresh piece of parchment to begin her day and jotted down the date. She paused as she realised what she had written down.
19 September 2017
"With everyone gone, it looks like another quiet year on my own," she muttered to herself before she sat back and waited for the department's weekly meeting to start. At least I have that new movie I bought on Saturday to watch tonight and then a nice relaxing bath to end the day.
This wasn't her first birthday that she spent on her own over the years, but that didn't mean she enjoyed celebrating alone. She couldn't be upset with her friends because they had their own lives that took them out of town. Sometimes more often than they were in town. And then there were her parents who still lived in Australia and she saw only twice a year.
After the meeting, she made her way back to her office. She stopped at her secretary's desk before going in. "Good morning, Olivia. How are you doing today?"
"Good morning, Miss Granger. I am well. How are you doing?"
"Glad that meeting is over."
"Do I have any messages?"
"Just a couple," she replied handing over the messages in question.
"Thank you." She turned and walked the few feet to her door.
"Oh, and Miss Granger? Happy birthday."
Hermione paused in her doorway and looked over her shoulder, a smile on her lips. "Thank you, Olivia."
Closing the door behind her, Hermione made her way to her desk where a pile of presents was waiting for her. There was a stack of cards, a large basket full of different teas from China and India which she knew came from Blaise and Theo without having to look since she knew they were still travelling on their month-long honeymoon. A small do-it-yourself spa basket was sat next to it with the promise of a girls spa day with Ginny, Luna, and Pansy once all four were in town at the same time. Harry and Ron promised lunch and a new book when they were back from their Auror duties.
She smiled as she looked at everything her friends had sent her to show her that even if they couldn't be there for her birthday, they were thinking of her.
Turning to the two messages, she opened the first which was a request for information in regards to one of the cases she was working on. The other was a thick envelope with international markings on it. She opened the envelope to find a copy of two round-trip tickets from Sydney to London. The letter included said her parents were sorry they couldn't come during her birthday, but that they would be coming to see her soon.
Wiping away the tears that had gathered in the corners of her eyes, Hermione thanked her lucky stars for how wonderful her friends and family were to her.
Hours later, her secretary poked her head around her partially open door and announced, "Miss Granger, you have someone here to see you."
Hermione looked up from the report she was working on, her third one of the day. "Who is it, Olivia?"
"He didn't say, but…" she winked at Hermione before lowering her voice, "he's quite the looker."
Hermione barely refrained from rolling her eyes at Olivia's comment, but she nodded her head. "Please let him in, thank you."
"Sir, she'll see you now." Olivia opened her door the rest of the way and gestured for the unexpected guest to enter. She turned to look at Hermione and shot her a cheeky smile. "Can I get you anything else, Miss Granger?"
"No, thank you, Olivia." She turned to look at who was interrupting her afternoon. Her eyes widened and she stood up from her chair. "Neville?"
Neville Longbottom grinned sheepishly at her. "Hullo, Hermione."
"What are you doing here?" She saw movement out of the corner of her eye. "Olivia, that will be all for the day. Take the rest of the afternoon off and I will see you at eight sharp tomorrow." She raised an eyebrow at the other witch's frown. "And please close the door behind you."
Shaking his head, Neville chuckled. "What is it with secretaries and being nosy?"
Hermione quirked a grin. "I think it's encoded in their DNA."
"I can see that."
Hermione sat back down and gestured for Neville to sit in one of the chairs across from her. "What can I help you with today? It's not very often the Herbology Professor at Hogwarts makes his way into London and on a school day no less."
She could see a light blush blooming over his cheeks. A dark brown eyebrow rose at the sight.
"Well, I wanted to take you out for your birthday but since I have plans with Gran tonight, I thought I would take you out for a late lunch if you haven't eaten yet and a visit to the Muggle British Museum."
Hermione's eyes widened, not expecting that response. "You don't have to do anything for my birthday."
He sent her another sheepish grin. "I know I don't, but I want to. I told Headmistress McGonagall what I was wanting to do and she was more than happy to allow me the afternoon to escort you wherever you would like." He shrugged. "I'm kind of hoping you agree to go to the museum since I've never been there."
"I, uh…" she looked at him for a few more moments before glancing down at her parchment. Could everything she had been working on wait for one more day? Her stomach rumbling reminded her that she hadn't eaten anything since breakfast that morning. Upon her stomach's orders, she determined that, yes, her work could wait. She looked back up at Neville and smiled. "Let me put my things away and I'll come with you."
He breathed a sigh of relief. "Good. I would have hated to go back to Hogwarts tonight to have to tell the headmistress that I failed."
Hermione laughed. "No failures today. How do you feel about Thai food?"
"I don't get it nearly enough."
"Great answer, because I know the perfect place not too far from the museum.
After their late lunch, they made their way to the British Museum where Hermione showed him some of her favourite pieces. In the hours they were there, they walked through as much of the museum as they could with Hermione showing him some of her favourite pieces, including the small, Greek Macmillan Aryballos to the larger than life statues of Mausolus and Artemisia from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. They were even able to purchase tickets to see the new 'Scythians, Warriors of Ancient Siberia' exhibit that went on display only five days previously.
Hermione couldn't remember the last time she'd had so much fun with someone. It helped that Neville showed an interest in what they were seeing and what she said when she explained what everything was to him.
As they left the building, Hermione pulled Neville to the side.
"Neville, thank you so much for that. I haven't had this much fun in years."
He blushed at her compliment and his tongue darted out to wet his dry lips. Neville stepped forward and grasped her right hand in his left. "You're very welcome, Hermione."
"How long before you have to meet your Gran for dinner?"
He looked at the watch on his right wrist. "About twenty minutes."
Hermione's eyes widened. "Then you should get going!"
He dropped his right arm, allowing the tips of his fingers to ghost down her arm. Grasping her other hand, he asked, "Why don't you join us?"
Hermione shook her head. "Oh, I couldn't impose on your time with your Gran like that."
Neville gently pulled her closer. "It's not an imposition. Not when I'm inviting you and Gran wants to officially meet the witch who stole her grandson's heart."
Hermione stared at him in shock for the second time that day. "Neville? What are you trying to say?"
He slowly slid his hand up her arm and over her shoulder before he cupped the back of her neck. His eyes were shining brightly in the afternoon sun. "That I want to introduce you to my Gran as my girlfriend."
Her eyes widened further. "Um…"
She stared into his eyes for a few moments trying to buy some time for thinking. When his thumb brushed over her cheek, her eyelids fluttered closed.
"Okay," she said without any more hesitation.
Neville leaned down and kissed her for the first time.