"Happy Birthday, Hermione." Luna said kindly, the blonde suddenly appearing behind the girl genius with her golden flowing locks. Dreamy blue eyes innocently beaming as she held out her present.
"Oh, well...thank you, Luna," Hermione thanked the other forcefully with a well practiced smile, her face clearly showing absolute confusion for the gift offered and Luna being Luna was too innocent to detect it. "Erm...may I ask what it is?"
Hermione's brown eyes scanned the object she was currently dangling from her hand sceptically. Her delicate eyebrows furrowed and her lips tightly pursed as she, for once, couldn't figure out what to do. Her eyes darted from the small blue cage to Luna who had cocked her head dreamily to the side in expectation. What made this situation even more awkward was what was in the cage, because that's all it was- an empty cage.
Luna just smiled and just sat to the right of the girl genius on their Gryffindor table, unabashedly helping herself to a piece of toast from their breakfast table. She, as always, was welcomed to the table even with her being a Ravenclaw. Only after Hermione cleared her throat with the small blue cage still held up in the air did Luna innocently turn her gaze back.
"What is wrong Hermione? Do you not see her?" Luna asked curiously, her voice could be compared to the sound of chiming bells.
"I am sorry to say this but, no." Hermione replied sincerely, secretly jabbing Ron in his side on her left when he began to snigger. As usual she doubted Luna's sanity but was too kind to admit it.
"Oh dear, well do not worry. When certain circumstances occur then she will reveal herself to you. She is a Bildrid, they can get rather snappy so do not rattle the cage too much. If you do she might bite your fingers." Luna stated honestly and took a small bite of her toast, returning her attention to Ginny tapping her shoulder next to her.
Some people on the table rolled their eyes fondly at the dreamy girl who seemed to constantly be in her own world and it wasn't an action of annoyance or hatred. The Gryffindor's had come to enjoy the little things Luna brought to their knowledge, no matter how ridiculous it sometimes seemed to be.
Hermione was brought out of her confused musing as Ron whispered, "What's a Bildrid?"
"I have no idea!" Hermione hissed back with a look of sheer panic across her face, still staring at what seemed to be an empty cage to her.
She was actually contemplating on shaking the cage vigorously to see if her fingers would, indeed, be bitten by something unknown. Her glassy brown eyes glanced at Luna next to her making her have second thoughts, she really didn't want to offend the Ravenclaw.
"Come on 'Mione, you need to eat something," Ron grinned as he began to stuff his mouth with another sausage-his fifth. Feeling her glare he slowly turned to look at her. "What?"
"Honestly, Ron..." She deliberately let the sentence trail off as she reached out to retrieve some fried egg with her fork.
Anyone who didn't know her would have thought she was angry, but Harry opposite her detected the small and almost non-existent smile of her slightly upturned lips. The smile was expertly small and hidden, making the oblivious Ronald Weasley once again not detect it. Harry almost physically palm smacked his forehead as Ron turned to him helplessly trying to figure out what he had done wrong. My God Ron...you can be so dense! Harry thought with mirth in his eyes, hiding his own amused smile behind his glass of morning pumpkin juice.
"Double potions tomorrow mate," Ron sighed to Harry gloomily, almost as if it was the end of the world. "It's been nice knowing ya."
"Oh come off it Ron, we have all survived...him, for five years. We're in the middle of our sixth, get a hold of yourself," Hermione lectured half-heartedly, resting her chin on one feminine hand as she eyed the other two. "I would have thought you would have got used to his, antics, by now."
"Used to it! If you count me getting so angry that I would bloody plunge his head into my own cauldron mess when he simply breathes then, yes, I'm bloody used to it!" Ron stated exasperatedly with food still in his mouth, hands frantically waving about with his eyes bulging from his sockets as if he was afraid he wouldn't get the point across. Hermione just rolled her eyes, not impressed.
"Or maybe punching the greasy git as soon as he comes within a five foot radius..." Ron added as a murmur into his own cup of pumpkin juice as he took a large gulp, Hermione whipped her head to him in disbelief.
Having failed Occulmency because Professor Snape had all but thrown him out because of breaching his memories, Harry was a little unsure of how to approach the subject of their potions master. What he had seen, of his father no less, was unsettling. He once believed that people saying he was just like his father was a compliment, after that fateful night last year he was not so sure anymore.
Subconsciously rubbing his scar with a forefinger after brushing some brown locks away he slowly turned his head to peer at the staff table. It seemed Professor McGonagall was having another arguing match with Professor Trelawney Professor Flitwick, sitting upon his many large books upon his seat, was seemingly having a fun conversation with Professor Dumbledore. All the staff seemed to be happy as he slowly scanned them one by one.
Suddenly, he felt a stern gaze watching him. It made his mind instantly freeze. Feeling a little unnerved he abruptly turned his head a little more. His eyes suddenly locked with another's. Gaze met glare. Green met black. Harry blinked as Professor Snape sneered with unprovoked distain before continuing to eat his breakfast.
"Well, the fact that he also has it in for you mate makes it even harder." Ron stated honestly as Harry quickly swivelled back to them looking miserable.
"You really are just filled with boundless positives aren't you Ronald." Hermione droned sarcastically as she pinched the bridge of her nose, she could see that Harry was struggling enough as it was without Ron's help.
"Let's go, I've lost my appetite," Harry muttered as he abruptly stood up, pulling the ends of his school robes out from under the table as he got off the bench. "We've got Charms now, right?"
At the same time Professor Snape had finished eating and was walking across the Great Hall with an elegant flurry of his black robes. Passing Harry he didn't even spare the Gryffindor a glance and ignored him with his usual coldness. Harry just watched his retreating back as the potions master's destination was obvious.
"Harry...you need to eat properly." Hermione stated sadly, however it was more of an order rather than a statement. When the young man just shrugged she sighed and stood too, Ron following suit after stuffing another piece of toast into his mouth to eat on the way.
"Do not forget your Bildrid," Luna suddenly piped up and tugged Hermione's robed sleeve gently, her eyes showing her to be as distant as ever as she handed the pale blue cage over. "You do not want to upset her; Bildrid's are actually quite sensitive creatures."
"Errr...thank you Luna." Hermione stumbled for words for a second.
Luckily the cage was quite small, no bigger than the length of her hand, making it possible to fit it in her shoulder bag. Fitting it snugly into place deep within her bag and jabbing Ron just a little bit harder in the ribs for his sniggering, they all began to head for the open double doors.
The day was uneventful apart from when Harry had accidently collided with Snape on their way to dinner, the potions master had scowled at him viciously and had deducted five points from Gryffindor.
"I swear, if Snape could deduct points for every time we breathed he'd do it." Harry sighed after looking behind him to see if Snape was out of earshot, Snape had vanished around a corner.
"Another five points for arguing Potter!" Snape's voice called from behind the corner making them all jump. They were quite far away from the corner yet he still had heard them.
"Definitely a dungeon bat with hearing like that mate." Ron whispered cautiously to Harry making him smile as the three hurriedly scurried away.
All the Gryffindor's had waited till the end of the day to give Hermione her birthday gifts since it felt more comfortable to be in their own common room.
As soon as they entered the password and entered the common room by one single step Hermione was suddenly hugged by Ginny with the ginger saying happy birthday madly. A parcel wrapped in metallic looking red wrapping paper was unceremoniously shoved into Hermione's slender fingers by Ginny who was grinning joyfully. Laughing, Hermione allowed Ginny to drag her by her arm down the short corridor to the main sitting room. Harry and Ron both smiled warmly, following at their own pace.
A comforting wave of warmth bathed them as Hermione and Ginny sat happily on the red sofa, Hermione already opening the red gift with excitement as the familiar musky smell of the Gryffindor common room wafted through the air. The only sounds were the many happy birthdays filling the room and people clapping in celebration as they all huddled around the sofa in curiosity.
"Say Cheese!" Collin Creevy suddenly shouted and sprang out in front of the fire, camera in hand causing a bright flash that temporarily blinded everyone.
"Collin..." everyone groaned playfully in unison as they rubbed their eyes, he didn't take pictures much anymore but he was an expert at catching them by surprise.
Collin just gave a little laugh as he rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly, before being tackled to the ground by a laughing Dean Thomas by surprise. Everyone grinned as Dean attempted to wrestle the beloved camera from the younger ones' grasp, the complaints consisting of `back off, it's mine!` or `don't touch my precious!`
"It is...it is," Hermione stammered feeling a little choked up with joy as she saw the beautiful gift before her. "I don't know how to thank you, it's just beautiful!"
Ginny grinned as everyone in the room stopped to pay attention to Hermione as she stood up and held out the beautiful red T-shirt. Even Dean with Collin stuck beneath him froze on the floor and watched curiously as Hermione hugged the T-shirt to her chest to measure it and spun in a little circle, a genuine smile plastered across her lush lips.
The long sleeved T-shirt was a beautiful shade of ruby red and was made out of extremely soft silk. It was quite slim signalling that it would show off her gorgeously slim waist and outline her flawless curves. Her brown eyes sparkled at the stunning, circular, red jewel sewn delicately on the T-shirt where it would lay in the middle of her chest when she wore it, the jewel being as big as her thumb.
"That's a keeper," Collin suddenly stated and Hermione looked down at the two as Collin, still on his stomach with Dean pinning down his back, was staring at the photograph he had taken in his hands. Dean moved a little to peer over Collin's shoulder and whistled in approval. "I may even have it animated."
Offering the picture up to Hermione Collin smirked as he sharply rolled over and flung Dean off long enough to scramble to his feet and dust himself off. Hermione rolled her eyes at them before feeling the undeniable presence of Ron and Harry behind her, turning her head to see them both gazing at the still photograph in her slender fingers. All three smiled at the very good photo.
Hermione was sitting on the left of the red sofa with the metallic red wrapped present sitting in her lap and Crookshanks grooming at her feet and Ginny absolutely beaming on her right. Ron and Harry were standing beside the arm closest Hermione and smiling brightly. Everyone else including Dean, Seamus and Neville were behind the sofa waving cheerfully at the camera. There seemed to be no fault with the photo, everything was just perfect.
"Definitely animate it mate, it's bloody brilliant for such a quick shot." Ron agreed before going off to get his present, dragging Harry along with him so that he could also get his own.
"You've noticed...right?" Ginny whispered as she poked Hermione's shoulder to grab her attention.
Hermione was all smiles, until she turned to Ginny who had the most serious expression on her face. Ginny's smile had vanished and she had the most stern look in her eyes, Hermione felt her stomach drop and her smile instantly disappear as she locked eyes with the ginger. A tense atmosphere had developed between them, as if they were caught in a bubble that excluded everyone else. The laughs and playful happenings behind the sofa seemed to fade away. Her heart began to race as she felt her mouth go dry. Looking deep into the Weasley's eyes she felt as if her own soul was being sucked away. Deep down...she knew.
"You mean...Harry?" Hermione whispered back uncertainly.
Ginny nodded slowly. Hermione released a shaky sigh, a sigh containing the pure worry she had been bottling up. Harry was struggling, they all knew it. They could see it in his tired eyes. They could sense it in his stance. The once brimming confidence was beginning to leak and drain away. Soon, Harry's glass of courage would be empty.
Slender fingers were so numb and cold from the tense sensation running through her veins that she let the photo in her hands go. Crookshanks could feel its owner's distress and watched with feline eyes as the photo floated menacingly to the floor. Everyone seemed to move in slow motion around her. Everyone was acting normally around the girls. All smiles and bubbling happiness outside the strange bubble of depression which was sucking the hope from them both. It was as if Ginny and Hermione were in their own world, a world completely different with its own time. The voices outside their bubble were just mummers, unrecognisable sounds. Where everyone else moved in slow motion they moved quickly, in an almost urgent state. Watching the slow motion laughing of Collin she frowned with her perfect lips. How can everyone be so laid back? How could they not realise the dreadful things that were going to happen? That would happen to them...to Harry? She swore she could hear someone calling her faintly.
Hermione's head slowly turned to stare at the photo on the floor. She stared at Harry, his bright smile-the disguise of the nervousness in his green eyes. How could no one else see it? A voice was calling her; it was distant, almost nonexistent.
When she felt someone suddenly grasp her shoulder she seemed to snap back to reality. It was as if someone had turned a light on or clicked their fingers, everything seemed to focus back into place. Everything exploded at once, the mummers became loud voices and laughs, the slow motion became fast playful movements, and the invisible bubble of depression that had imprisoned them had just popped.
Sharply spinning her head around Hermione saw that the firm and warm grasp on her shoulder was none other than Harry. Her brow furrowed as she noticed how Ron as well was frowning with concern at her strangely jumpy behaviour. Slowly trailing her chocolate brown eyes along his tense fingers, up his wrist, his robed arm, each delicate crease in the material, his shoulder, his masculine neck, and finally locking eyes with the Potter she saw the same look again-nervousness for the future.
She unexpectedly smiled, causing the tense atmosphere to immediately dissipate, and gently placed her own hand upon his grasping her relaxed shoulder. The look in her eyes was one of understanding, reassurance, and faith-all Harry needed to relax his grip and smile warmly too.
Feeling back within reality joy filled her as Harry and Ron both thrust their carefully wrapped gifts into her arms in unison, making her chuckle as Ron nearly fell over the arm of the chair and onto Crookshanks.
Ginny chuckled at her brothers' clumsy behaviour before turning to have a conversation with Neville about his upcoming Herbology assignment. Dean and Collin were fighting over the camera playfully and Seamus rolled his eyes with a giant grin on his face as he decided to team up with Dean, they then both tackled Collin to the ground. A sudden thud and a not so discrete `that's not fair!` was yelled and all three, Hermione, Harry and Ron, laughed until their sides hurt. Crookshanks, not liking the infernal racket, gave a tiny yowl of disapproval before trotting away to sleep on the windowsill with a small purr of content.
"Oh Ron! How did you know?" Hermione gasped as she practically tore off the gold wrapping paper to feast her eyes upon the most recently written potions book. "But this is not due to be released until December, how did-"
"Dad's got some links to the author through the Ministry, I asked him to talk to her and he managed to get the first ever copy of the book in the world. I thought you would like it so-"
Ron was suddenly interrupted from his rambling and bombarded by Hermione who was hugging him tightly, feeling her weight pushed up against him he blushed bright crimson. Glancing up at Harry with wide eyes the Golden Boy just chuckled and did a motion with his hands that clearly said, `well? Hug her back you moron!`
Although, deep down, he was currently hiding the strange twinge he felt in the back of his mind at seeing the potions book. It was a twinge of awful past memories-of Severus Snape. Releasing a tiny growl that he couldn't quite hide he handed Hermione her gift with a much forced smile. Raising a delicate eyebrow Hermione detected the change as she took the offered gift, but decided to not push him further. However, it did make her hesitate for a moment, perfectly wrapped gift of silver wrapping paper and golden ribbon still in hand.
"Well, what are you waiting for?" Ginny questioned with a playful nudge and Hermione smiled fondly, the whole depressed atmosphere had vanished like a cold mist that had been blown away to reveal a bright sun.
It was only then that the genius noticed that everyone, including a very dishevelled Collin Creevy, was watching intently.
With a happy sigh she slowly tore the paper off the gift, a gift that was perfectly wrapped unlike Ronald's. Ron's had been untidy, showing he didn't really know how. A tiny blush grazed her features; it was the fact that he had tried that warmed her heart. However, Harry's was the complete opposite. It was obvious that Harry had been taught to wrap gifts by the Dursley's so that he could wrap up Dudley's presents for his birthday. Hermione recalled that Petunia had been...quite strict on the topic. Staring at the tear in the once pristine condition of the wrapped gift she realised sadly that some things just get drilled into you.
Shaking her head suddenly to dispel those thoughts she hastily tore the rest off in her hasty excitement. She felt her fingers brush against something cold and smooth as the gift within began to reveal itself. The sensation just made her more curious and as she forced the rest of the wrapping off she let out a purely surprised gasp while the golden ribbon drifted contentedly to the red carpeted floor.
"WOW! HOW DID YOU GET YOUR HANDS ON THAT?" Ron suddenly burst out in disbelief; it wasn't angry at all and was filled with amazement.
"I think that Hermione was supposed to do that, Ron." Ginny teased and leant over to pat his arm with a mock smile. Ron, to say the least, blushed redder than his hair with embarrassment.
"He's got the right idea though, Harry. How on earth did you find this?" Hermione chuckled as she gleefully held her gift up in front of her face, the blazing fireplace seen through her gift as she peered through it.
The gift was a spyglass made out of pure gold; it was like a miniature telescope that split into three sections when pulled out to its full length. The large lens was a ruby colour and wasn't clear glass like normal lenses, but when Hermione stared through the smallest hole to peer through then everything turned mysteriously blue! The outer most section was encrusted heavily with pure rubies and the gift, in Hermione's eyes, was priceless.
"An All-Seeing Spyglass is an extremely rare gift Harry, the things this thing can do..." Hermione trailed off as she snapped the spyglass shut, she just couldn't believe it.
"What...can it do?" Harry asked unsurely and everyone's attention immediately snapped to him with widened eyes. "I mean, I thought it was just a great looking spyglass."
You could tell that Hermione looked like she was just about ready to head bang a wall when her eyes rolled to the ceiling before closing, a hand covering her face in disbelief as she said, "I will tell you tomorrow."
xXEnd of chapterXx
Never written a Harry Potter story before so this chapter was just to get used to it really, please keep reading as when I get used to it then it will definitely improve like my past stories.
CLAIMER: Bildrid's are my own creation and so is the All-Seeing Spyglass, just making sure you people knew