Standard Anti-Litigation Charm: The Harry Potter characters belong to JK Rowling, the Goddess Circe is a Greek myth, and the Key itself is the creation of my own mind. Don't sue, I'm just a broke college student.

Summary: I liked the idea of Circe being Hermione's grandmother, and started to answer the Circe Challenge on WIKTT… Then the story took on it's own life. It's still going to follow most of the rules with a few exceptions, such as Circe deciding that Severus and Hermione have to marry, instead of date, and that Circe decides to come to Hogwarts instead of being sent by Hermione's parents. The original rules just didn't make sense with the direction it took..

Chapter the Fist

This had been one of the worst days of Hermione's school career. It was her eighteenth birthday, and nothing had gone right. Normally, this would be a day that she would be happy about, but today, everything was going wrong.

"First the Twins Exploding frosting on my birthday cake before breakfast, then a surprise exam in Herbology. Now detention with Snape? What's next? Running late, Hermione called the password to the Fat Lady, and ran through the portrait hole into the Griffindor Common Room.

Entering the room, Hermione spotted Ron and Harry sprawled out on the couches in front of the fire. The spot had become their territory sometime during first year. Wow, that seems like yesterday, she thought.

Ron looked up and called out "Hermione? What's wrong? Why did the Greasy Git keep you?"

"He found out about the vampire fang I borrowed last week, for the Moondark Potion I made. This day is turning out to be more trouble than it's worth."

At this, Harry dragged his eyes from his "Quidditch Quill Magazine." At the look on Hermione's face, he suddenly realized something… "Hermione? What's today's date?"

"It's the ninteenth, why forget something?" Hermione asked, her fists on her hips.

"Oh, 'Mione! Happy Birthday! I didn't forget I swear!" Ron said, defensively. "Hang on, I've got to go get your present from our room. It's under the bed."

"Could you get mine too?" Harry called after him. "Sure Harry," Ron called back as he ran up the stairs.

Hermione laughed. Trust those two to remember to get her something, but forget when to give it to her. At least they hadn't forgotten, like her parents had.

Ron came down a second later, and handed her two packages. The first one was obviously from Ron. It was old newspaper wrapped up and tied with some yarn that had probably been part of a Weasley sweater. Unwrapping it, Hermione found the newest edition of Moste Potente Potions. She had been trying to get a hold of this for weeks now, but whenever she had asked in at the bookstore, she had been told that they were on backorder.

"Thanks, Ron. This should help me with the research I'm doing for Snape's project."

"Yeah, I thought you'd like it. It was bloody hard to find, you know." Ron said, with a smile on his face.

"Well, I didn't give you a book, Hermione, but I hope you like mine too," Harry said, pointing to the second box.

This one was wrapped in gold paper with little teddy bears on it. The bears had been charmed to say "Happy Birthday" in their little squeaky voices. Opening it, she found a dark blue velvet bag. Reaching inside, she grasped what felt like a small rod. Pulling it out of the bag, she found that it was a slim lapis lazuli rod, topped with a blue-purple stone that could only be tanzanite. Looking at it in awe, Hermione didn't know what to say.

"What is that, Harry?" Ron asked, somewhat embarrassed by his own present, which paled in comparison to this.

"I don't know. I found it in a box in my vault at Gringotts. I thought Hermione might like it, since she's of age now, and it's a big birthday and all," Harry was getting a little nervous at Hermione's silence. "I figured she could try and find out what it is… Are you okay 'Mione?" Harry asked, seeing tears in her eyes.

"I know exactly what this is, Harry, but I don't know how it got into your vault. It's my grandmother's talisman," Hermione smiled through the tears stinging her eyes. "It's the Key of Circe. Grandmother told me that she had given it to her great grandson long ago. I've got to go. I'll see you at dinner. Thanks you two!" Hermione said, her books forgotten on the table, she walked out of the portrait hole, still staring at the rod.

"Well, thanks, mate. You managed to get her something that makes my present look like yesterday's garbage" Ron looked at Harry with a frustrated glint in his eyes. "Come on, let's go talk to Seamus before dinner."

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I will update frequently. My chapters will probably get longer, but remember: I usually post more than one at a time!