(1937-09-23) Ophelia's Sweet Sixteen
Details for Ophelia's Sweet Sixteen
Summary: It's Ophelia's sixteenth birthday, and Hephaesta is determined to throw her a grand party…but could use a little help.
Date: September 23, 1937
Location: Club Room, Hogwarts
Related:
Characters
OpheliaHephaestaElspethNoalanJacksonLlewellynColtonGabrielleAngelusAjax

The club room has been sparsely decorated, though a great many more banners, streamers, and party games are scattered about, waiting to be put in place. Standing on a table in the middle of the room (which has been configured for the Domestics Club's setup) is a frantic-looking Hephaesta, waving her wand to direct the decor to its intended places along the walls and ceiling. Smoke seeps out from the oven door, thus far unnoticed. Several place settings are still stacked on one end of the table. All in all, this is a party that is far from ready to start.

"Don't worry," Ophelia is saying as she leads the way inside, "I don't expect presents or anything, really. To be honest, I wasn't even expecting a par… ty… " She stops a few feet inside, looking around with wide eyes. "Hephaesta?" She says, her voice quiet, "You… you did all this for me?" Finished or not, she's definitely impressed.

Being raised in a bakery, Elspeth's nose quickly picks up on the smoke. She bypasses the decorations without even looking to head to the oven. She pulls the door open, waving her hands at the smoke that issues forth. "Oh. My." She says quietly. She pulls her wand out of her pocket, and with a quiet utterance and swish and flick she removes the hot… mass from the oven, and lowers it to a nearby table. She glances over her shoulder at her fellow housemate and pulls her lips together. "Hm." Looking around, she searches for some ingredients and another cake pan.

"Is there anyone that says no to Cake? It's like saying no to pie or a Treacle tart, but it still doesn't seem right that there be no presence in the offering. Perhaps I could run down to the commons and see what I have in my trunk…" Lan starts, fading off and stepping out of the way once in the club room. "Was your birthday wish to have the castle burn down Summerbee?" He says, trying to lighten the atmosphere. The joke sounds inappropriate to his ears even as he says it. "Sorry."

Hephaesta whirls to face those entering, an almost fearful look on her face. Her concentration broken, a half-hung streamer flutters to the ground behind her. "Ophelia…I'm so sorry. I…I tried. It was going to be the best party ever. But…Ajax was pulled away to some Prefect meeting, and I had to find all of these things…and…and I've never used a Baking Charm before!" She's trying to keep it all in, but Noalan's joke breaks the dam, and the first sob escapes.

Ophelia laughs at Noalan, the sound dying quickly in the face of Hephaesta's sobs. "I'm thinking it was Hephaesta's wish to have more help." She hurries over to her friend, hopping up on the table and grabbing her for a tight hug. "Me either, but look! I brought help. And perhaps someday I'll bring pictures of the parties my parents tried to make for me. I think you'd feel loads better." She grins wryly, squeezing Phae's shoulders as she turns to Noalan, "Wanna help us decorate?" Elspeth, she notices with some relief, seems to have the cake situation well in hand.

Walking through the halls, Jackson Jacob Potter, Junior, (or Jack for the lazy) can't help but catch the sweet, sweet smell of cooking confection eminating from within the club room. He glances left and then right before making quick work of tucking in his shirt. He makes no move to right the improper tie hanging off his neck. He steps into the club room, looking around with a impish grin before he announces loudly, "Excuse me, is this the dueling club? Has their been a change of format?"

Noalan eyes widen as slightly as Hephaesta starts to cry, raising his hands in a surrender motion. "I, didn't mean…" He starts, looking profoundly uncomfortable, and not really knowing to go with it after that. "Everything else looks great." He tries, "Impressive for just one person." His voice having the faintest hints of desperation in the tone, "Yes, yes, of course." Desperate to make up for his verbal blunder. So much so, that he doesn't even notice Jackson entering. "What?" With horrible slowness, Lan can feel the snarky comment coming, "No, we're just dueling fire elementals in a party atmosphere. You know, as you do."

Well in hand, yes. Turning around, Elspeth gives a nod to Lan to summon him over. She misses the joke, but at the moment she's too busy pulling supplies out of the cupboards to mix up a cake the good old-fashioned muggle way. Except for one thing… the spoon keeps stirring on its own while she adds ingredients. She does, however, catch the second comment to Jackson, and can't help giggling a little. Once Lan is close enough she lowers her voice to ask him a couple of questions.

The hug from Ophelia seems to help Hephaesta settle down a bit, as does seeing Elspeth taking the cake situation in hand. She looks exhausted, and Elspeth could attest that Phae was uncharacteristically inattentive in classes today, and even fell asleep during Defense Against the Dark Arts! That didn't go over well with Professor Merrythought. She lifts her eyes to Ophelia, giving her a meek nod. "I'm sorry. I'm…*snf*…I'm being silly, I know." She moves to try to get down from the table, a bit unsteady thanks to her braced leg.

The next one to crash the party is Llewellyn, arriving with Avery in tow. Literally; he's carrying her in his arms in a classic pieta pose, her hands clasped around his neck in turn. "A very good piece of work, I assure you," he recites, "and a merry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your actors by the scroll! Masters, spread yourselves!"

Ophelia just smiles brightly. "You are being fantastic is what you are being." She insists. "Doing all this, just for me? Ajax is starting to have some real competition as my best friend." She wiggles her eyebrows comically as she steps back to look around, waving at Jackson. "Hullo Potter. The dueling club is taking the form of a birthday party today." She giggles at Noalan's joke while jumping down off the table, eyebrows lifting when Lewellyn and Avery arrive. "I think that's the plan?" She asks confusedly, "Anyway, come on in. Want to help us decorate?"

Colton is late, not too late, just later than he intended on being. His thumbs are black and blue and scabbed in places, so he's having a hard time putting the finishing touches on his present for the Birthday Girl. he turns around to face the corner quickly as he bites at something. But then he turns about quickly putting his hand in his pocket to hide away the present. Catching the tail end of Phae's being upset he does his best to distract her, "Oi, Phae, gots a box an' bit o ribbon?" When someone's overwhelmed it sometimes helps to distract them with a small little thing that's easy to do.

Avery looks…pleased, in a flat way, as she's carried in. "Merlin's beard, if I had known you were going to start talking nonsense, I wouldn't have agreed to this." Personality as flat as a pancake, this girl. Oh well, she's managed to get a fourth year to carry her around, so she must have something up her sleeve. Or she imperiused him. Either way.

Hephaesta gets down from the table, sitting on the bench to rest for a moment. At Colton's question, she looks about, then points to a chair where some packaging material has been deposited. "Over there." She rises carefully, and follows Colton to the chair, picking up a small box that's already been wrapped, and tucking it into her robe.

Not waiting for Jackson's response, Lan hurries over to help Elspeth with the cake before his mouth runs away with him anymore, "That's going to get me in trouble one of these days." He says under his breath as he moves over to the sink and wash his hands, "All right boss, just tell me what I need to do." He says with Elspeth.

Jackson looks towards Noalan, as he is the first one to respond to his question, albeit with a very short answer. When Lan continues, Jack chuckles, "That was a long time coming, wasn't it mate? Did you consult somebody on that response? Perhaps send an owl to the advice column in the Daily Prophet?" His voice takes on the higher pitched tone of someone dictating, "Dear Random Advice Columnist. I am a student at Hogwarts. One of my fellow students has walked into the club room, inquiring after a club that is not meeting today. I wish to appear witty and glib. What do I say? Signed, Humourless at Hogwarts." He peers towards Ophelia, his oration finished as a grin spreads across his face, "A birthday party? Bloody hell… Of course I want to help you decorate!" With that, he turns around and walks out.

Laughing at Lan and ignoring Jackson's long speech, in fact, getting the cake together has her speaking over him, so to speak, Elspeth gives him another elbow nudge to his arm. "That is tempting me to tell you to put on a pink apron with bows." She nods to the door of the oven. "We will be leaving that open for a few moments, it is too hot. I need a cake pan to be buttered and flour shaken over the butter."

With Hephaesta distracted, Ophelia smiles gratefully to Colton (and completely misses, in all the chaos, exactly what he is asking the other girl for) and hops down to work on the decorations. She turns to Jackson, opens her mouth to reply… but then he's gone. So she shakes her head and shrugs, getting out her wand. "Alright then." Starting with the streamer Phae had dropped, she levitates and secures it to the ceiling so that it hangs the way she assumes it was intended to.

Colton gives Ophelia a wink as he continues to distract Phae, "Need something hand sized…" He leans over to whisper to Phae, "Somethin' for a bracelet…With her favorite color to wrap. Do you know what her favorite color is?"

Noalan 's back stiffens slowly at Jackson's exceptionally long and blistering comeback. He turns slowly, irritation write large across his posture, so much so that it's surprising his hair isn't bristling. Gryffindor's. He very nearly calls out for the older student to stop and come back, but he's caused enough of a seen making Hephaesta cry. Taking a deep breath, he goes back to the task at hand, "I'm sorry, what was that?" He asks Elspeth again, totally distracted.

Hephaesta blinks at Colton, almost hiding a slight frown. "A…a bracelet?" She casts about aimless among the boxes and wrapping paper. "I don't know. I just…I don't know." Without warning, she abruptly turns and walks away, toward Ophelia. "I can still help," she insists, lifting her wand to continue raising streamers and banners. "Ophelia, you shouldn't be working on your own party. You should sit and relax."

Gabrielle will come up to the door and peek in, looking rather confused at the mess in front of her. She'll look to see if she can catch Ophelia or Hephaesta's eye.

Ophelia looks to Hephaesta, protest flaring in her eyes "But! That would be boooor- ok!" She breaks off suddenly when she sees Gabrielle trying to catch her eye, waving and skipping over to the newly blonde Ravenclaw, "Hello! Are you coming to join the party? Do you have a minute? I couldn't find you last night, but I do want to know what you wanted to talk about… "

Llewellyn looks around for a place to set Avery down, after glancing blankly at the interplay between Noalan and Jackson. No, he doesn't get what that was all about, either. "I can throw in a color-changing charm if you like," he offers to Ophelia, "are you going for anything in particular or should we just make up what we like?"

Avery has been looking around indifferently, but now she tunes back in on the room at large. Naturally, this means she has no idea what's going on now that Llew has put her down. Now on an even footing (hah, pun) wiht the rest of the room, she goes to see what she can do for the decorating effort. "I've got a mean wingardium leviosa."

Whether it was seeing people heading into the room or hearing word, Angelus enters to check it out. Upon arriving he takes a few to look around, quietly observing first.

Elspeth shakes her head as she looks at Lan and mutters something in German. "You should not be paying attention to, what is you call them here in England? Wind socks?" She reaches a hand down in front of the oven and shuts the door. "I need you to please butter the inside of a cake pan. And then to sprinkle flour on it," she repeats patiently.

Gabrielle will nod, and step into the room, but out of the way.She has her sketch book with her, but it looks more like she is just used to carrying it ,not like she was going to use it.

Ophelia looks back at Llewellyn over her shoulder, grinning. "Ask Hephaesta. She's our planner. Apparently I'm to sit and relax." She giggles, finding this beyond funny. She waves to Angelus when she sees him at the door and follows Gabrielle to her out of the way spot, peering curiously at the sketchbook. "So? What did you want to talk about?"

Gabrielle will glance around the room and then lean over and start whispering something.

Avery moves Hephaesta-wards to see what the Ravenclaw girl has. "Claire Avery, reporting for duty, boss. Put my wand to work."

Hephaesta's mouth screws up in moderate frustration as Ophelia skips away. But she at least gives a little wave of greeting to Gabrielle as she levitates the decor into place. When Avery approach, she gives the girl a nod and a meager smile. "Brilliant. Can you start draping streamers over the rafters? So they hang down a bit, like the others." Overhearing her name, she glances toward Ophelia, then Llewellyn. "Oh, color…um…well, it's all Ravenclaw colors now. Ophelia? What's your favourite color?"

Noalan runs a hand through his hair to calm himself. Blast, now he's going to have to wash it again. "Wind bag." He corrects, "I know. The problem is how similar Gryffindor is to Slytherin I think." He takes a moment to wash his hands AGAIN and moves to do as instructed, grabbing the stick of butter and beginning to smear it on the pan. He glances around the room while doing this as more people arrive. "Maybe I should go see what I have in my trunk. I have quite a few nice things I've never even opened." Next comes the flower.

Avery lifts her wand and gives Hephaesta a salute. "Can do!" And then she goes to do just that, with more precision and down-right anal attention to detail than any 11 year old should have.

Ophelia glances over her shoulder once more, her mouth screwed up into a thoughtful grimace. "Hrm, not sure, really. Blue? Or maybe green? Hmmm… maybe, um, orange? Yes, orange." Tha decided, she turns back to grin and whisper in reply to Gabrielle.

Stepping back into the room, Jackson has returned with a bag thrown over his shoulder, "I've come back with decorations. I felt the party needed more amber tones…" He drops the bag on the ground with a clunk, showing to all interested the label on the side:

Somebody Else's Bag o' Shite

He picks the bag back up without slinging it over his shoulder, moving to one of the tables whereby he begins producing bottles upon bottles of beverages. There's easily two dozen by the time he's done. Finally, he reaches in once again and removes a round disk wrapped (quickly, it is quite evident) in parchment paper, "Is there a gift table set out?"

Llewellyn nods to Ophelia. "Orange, coming up!" With his hands free, he takes his wand out and gestures upward, and a couple of Colovaria's later, there are some orange streamers. With a little hint of brown highlighting along the edges? No, wait, that's just the way the light's falling on them. He even catches one of them at the same time Avery is levitating it, sending it into a chaotic mixture of blue-green as it twirls around and around.

"Bag. Wind bag. Wind bag. Wind bag," Elspeth repeats to herself three times, trying to remember the saying. Now that the pan is ready, she looks over, and lets the spoon finish the stirring as she taps the sides to make sure there isn't any excess flour in. "You did well. I can turn you into a baker, yet," she tells him with a grin, then lifts one shoulder, but nods to the comment on finding a gift. "That would be nice."

Colton rifles through all of the wrapping things using his elbows of all things as he keeps his hands in his pockets, occasionally he'll pull out a hand with his thumb tucked into a fist to nudge things around and then get a bronze bit of ribbon that's faded to look orange-ish. Then he scans the room. "Anyone able to help me with wrapping a present?"

Can't say Angelus isn't prepared for parties, or any social event. He scans the room briefly, trying to get a quick idea on who's here, or getting some idea on any nearby conversations as he starts to stroll further in. A grin flashes across his mouth as his blue eyes catch sight of Ophelia, and he starts to head in her direction. "Yours, isn't it?" Well the boy does keep up with information around school. "I think you've gotten twenty percent prettier." Then he adds with more of a side note to himself, even if it's said aloud, "Why's it always the older girls who are hot?"

With help recruited, Hephaesta turns to the one party decoration she dared not entrust to anyone else. Open a small chest, she gives her want a swish and flick, "Wingardium leviosa," and a rather fancy hanging mobile that looks a bit like crystalline windchimes rises from the container. Under her careful direction, the object rises to the center of the ceiling, where she hangs it on a hook protruding from a support beam. She looks around, smiling as she sees everything is about set up. "Just one last touch." Aiming her wand at the crystals, she incants, "Lumos perpetulum!" A shaft of light reaches from her wand to the chandelier-like prism, and a soft luminescence remains, glowing from within and casting shimmering wisps of light all over the room.

Ophelia is whispering animatedly with Gabrielle, completely engrossed. And then Angelus starts talking to her. Looking nearly horrified, or possibly just shocked, she very slowly turns to face the younger student, mouth open. "Ah, the… what?"

Gabrielle will look up from where she's whispering with Ophelia and give a small smile towards Angelus.she'll lean back, so Ophelia can talk.

Avery watches the changing streamers with interest, the color moving up the crepe paper as she twirls it with her wand and then sticks it in place. Once all of the streamers are up she turns back to the room, and notices the butterbeer. It's given an interested look, her eyebrows raising at Llew and a smirk overcoming her face.

There is certainly a bustle going on. At least Lan is well out of it and occupied. "I guess didn't join the Domestics Club for nothing then." Once more he moves to the sink to wash the flower and butter off. "This is going to take a while you know. Maybe… I could swing buy the pear panting on my way back up. See if there's any baked goods just laying around." Lan suggests, "Then we replace the borrowed one with this one."

"Not just the older ones," Llewellyn murmurs, just loudly enough that he might be overheard. Finishing up with the streamers, he turnsback and follows Avery's gaze toward the butterbeer. "And you be careful, would you? You remember what happened the last time."

Hephaesta takes stock of the party, now ready to get under way. Noting Jackson and his mystery bag, she hobbles over curiously. "Ooh, what have you got?"

Elspeth comes the closest to a glare as Lan's probably ever seen before she spoons the batter into the pan. "I do not think people will be noticing too much how long it takes to bake, as they are talking and enjoying themselves. You go ahead and scoot on to your room and pick out whatever it is you want to give the birthday girl, and let me do the worrying about how long the cake will take to bake."

"Don't remember the last time being so bad, honestly," remarks Avery cheerfully and meanders thataway to talk to Jackson. "Did you mug the house elves or smuggle it in from Hogsmeade?"

Noalan is duly chastised, and looks it. "All right, all right. It was just a suggestion. Would be pretty quick and easy to smuggle a cake up, and then they could be happily talking and full, but, as you say. I'll be right back then." He backs away, defensively before turning, "Shall I add your name to it then?" He says over his shoulder, but doesn't wait for a response. Lan does his best to skirt the crowd and make it to the door and out to freedom.

Gabrielle looks at Angelus and will then look at Ophelia, "You DO look 20% prettier." she's keeping a straight face so it's hard to tell if she's being cheeky or not.

With Gabrielle's help, Ophelia manages to recover from the younger student's cheek. She's grinning when she looks back to the blonde, "Oh now don't you start. Or I'll get to thinkin' someone /did/ put a spell on me again." She leans in after saying this to whisper once more.

Colton calls over, "Oi, Pidge, gonna come enjoy yer own party." He gives her a big wide grin and gestures with his head to call her over away from the little whispered conversation she's having with Gabby. "Plenty o time ta whisper bout how grand I am later." He chuckles and winks and gestures again to call her over into the party.

Llewellyn hmms, wandering over and peering at the drinks himself. "Suppose you're right about that," he says, after trying a sip of one for himself. "Seem safe enough to me." As he says this, the soles of his feet begin to lift up off the ground, slowly but surely. "And what's this 'pigeon' business, anyway?" he adds, turning toward Colton. "You two in some kind of secret bird club?"

With the batter poured in the pan, and water poured over the top that, Elspeth puts it all in the oven. Then she puts the spoon in the bowl, and carries it over to Ophelia. "I do not know if it is custom in Britain, but in Germany, the girl of the birthday is given the bowl to lick. And she can choose who to give the spoon for licking, too." So saying, she holds out the bowl with chocolate batter smeared on the inside.

Ophelia once more falls deep into conversation with Gabrielle. At one point she pauses and looks around, her expression angry. But she doesn't seem to find what she's looking for, and returns to the conversation. Which she is distracted from by two things. One is Cooper. The other, cake bowl liking! "My name is NOT PIDGEON!" She calls out, while reaching for the bowl. A quick nod is offered to Gabrielle, the matter, apparently, closed for now. And then she plasters on a smile for Elspeth. "Thanks! Do you want the spoon? If not, maybe Gabbi does?"

Angelus' grin widens, if briefly. A hand dips into his robes to pull something out of his pockets, and holds out a small, wrapped item to her. He gives her a genuine smile.

Hephaesta takes a seat on a bench, resting now that the party is in swing. She watches Ophelia and Gabrielle curiously, but hasn't Colton's boldness, so stays out of it.

Avery frowns at Llew as he starts to levitate. "Well, that's not butterbeer," she says with resignation and abandons the drink, having no desire to float unless it's on a broom. "If I had known you wanted to go flying tonight, I would have taken you to the quidditch pitch, Llew."

If Elspeth does not want the spoon, Gabby certainly does!,"Thanks!"And will lick the spoon with a smile! She'll lean in to say one last thing to Ophelia's ear.

Colton gets that squinty look of 'augh loud noise' when Ophelia 'calls' that she's not Pidgeon. "Petes sake, yeh bite off e'ryone's head when they call ye a sweet girl?" He asks defensively and wanders over to her to just hold out the box with a very sloppily tied bow. To hold the box out means his thumb is exposed and looks like it's been in some sort of vice for how it's swollen and bruised. "'appy b'rfday." He has the manner of a guy just delivering a package before he takes off.

Elspeth blinks as Gabby takes the spoon and demurs. "No, no. It is for your friend to be having," she says with a smile. "All that baking is making me thirsty. I do think I will have a glass of…" she turns and notes Llewellyn floating.

Now distracted by cake batter, Ophelia is finally getting the chance to look around. She takes Gabrielle's arm and makes her way to the center of the room, laughing when she sees the floating Llew. "This has to be the most spectacular party I've ever had." She murmurs to Gabrielle, "And yes, we /will/ talk about it later. Hephaesta!" Arriving at Phae's bench she plops down next to her friend and gives her a one-armed hug. "You are brilliant! I can still barely believe you did all this for me!"

Gabrielle will stay for a bit making small talk, and will sneak out as soon as she's able.

Hephaesta perks right up at Ophelia's hug, returning it in kind. "You deserve it," she says meekly. She gestures toward Colton, who is holding a package for Ophelia. "You've got a present."

"There's presents, too?" Ophelia, still holding Hephaesta with one hand, hurries to set the bowl down so she can accept the presents being offered. "Really? For me?" Apparently someone should explain the concept of a birthday party to this girl. "Thank you." Quiet now in the face of this new surprise, and still completely unsure what to do about 'pidgeon' meaning 'cute girl' instead of 'weirdy' as she had been assuming, she slowly releases Hephaesta's shoulders to open the packages.

Noalan is gone for several minutes before once more entering the room. A big problem is finding something acceptable for someone he doesn't know very well with the limited selection available. It's the thought that counts anyways, right? Lan approaches the birthday girl, gift under his arm. He apparently didn't have wrapping paper in his trunk, so the box is wrapped in Aluminum Foil. Only then does he spot Angelus is here as well, "Hope Aelus isn't bothering you too much." He says to Ophelia. Since Hephaesta is there as well, adds to her, "Sorry about the joke earlier. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings after all the work you put in."

Colton sticks around to watch Ophelia open up her present. Inside is bracelet of iridescent ever so slightly luminescent unicorn hair that's been spun to look a bit like a celtic knot band. He snuck into the forest to collect unicorn hair and got caught by Ogg who passed him off to Pringle, who hung him by his thumbs in the dungeon for the last three hours, which is why he was late-ish arriving. But this all goes unsaid, merely telling her, "It's unicorn 'air. Thought ye could snip bits off in the future…for yer wand makin'…" He shrugs his shoulders still feeling a bit gloomy from getting yelled at and with a faint little smile turns to head for the door with another, "'Appy B'rfday."

Hephaesta is considerably more composed now, so she can respond to Noalan's apology with a shy smile. "It's okay. I was being silly. I know you were joking."

Phae reaches into her robe to take out her own gift. But then Ophelia opens her present from Colton, and the color just about drains from Hephaesta's face. There is a brief flicker of her eyes toward Colton, and the look isn't pleasant. Slowly, she slides her package back into her robe.

Ophelia quickly finds herself overwhelmed with presents! Hephaesta is given many more hugs as she opens them, and many more thanks on the fantastic Birthday. Colton is given a surprised and rather enchanted smile(its probably a good thing, at that moment, that Kaiden isn't nearby), Angelus a wide grin and a short description of the book she thinks is /perfect/ for his gift. She looks for Jackson when she opens his, but is unable to find him so calls out a thanks and a desire to meet up later to learn more about his strange gift. She accepts Noalan's package with a giggle, quickly opening it amidst comments about using the foil for other projects later.

"It's from Elet too." Lan adds quickly. "Though, the cake she's making for you will be better than that." Under the makeshift wrapping paper is an unopened box holding an ornate quill, the kind you might see on the desk of the Gringotts bank manager. Flashy, but doesn't write any better than one you'd buy for a knut. "Happy Birthday, I should be heading back to see if Elet needs any more help."

Colton heads off to get into trouble elsewhere so Pringle will be distracted away from Ophelia's party, and too busy with him to try to ruin anything for all of the special things Phae had planned.

Angelus momentarily frowns as his brother's name alerts him to his presence, but he rolls his eyes. He doesn't actually say anything in turn to him, but it's in his eyes as he lifts a single brow. He hold his tongue though and instead turns back to Ophelia. "A very happy birthday to one so lovely," he dips his head lightly, offering a smile. Then he'll wander off, maybe saying a few things to other people or waving at them, and eventually will head out.

Ophelia looks up from the quill with a bright smile, "Thank you, Eibon! And Elspeth!" Looking around, she waves to the girl, and then to Colton and Angelus. "Thanks for joining us, and for all your help. Have a good night!"

With the cake ready, Phae gets up and puts out several place settings for those still present. At last, the cake is brought forth, with sixteen candles hovering over it, waiting to be blown out. "I hope you don't mind if I don't sing. I…can't sing." She leaves it at that.

That's when the door swings open, and the sound ofwell, a discerning ear might charitably call it "Mermish"singing bursts into the room. The source? Ajax Selwyn, of course. His pronunciation and diction are charitably called "creative" at best, but even so he strides in singing a Mermish approximation of "Happy Birthday" with both great enthusiasm and a fairly impressive singing voice. Threat: carried out!

Ophelia is ready to assure Hephaesta that singing is /not/ necessary. But this becomes impossible when Ajax enters. Singing. In MERMISH. Caught between amused outrage and brimming excitement that her best friend is here and the party can officially begin now, she sets down the quill and jumps up, rushing over to hug Ajax the moment the song is finished. "You made it!" She exclaims happily while trying to pull him along toward the cake, "Now I have to change my wish! Hmmmm, oh, I know!"

Hephaesta's eyes widen first at Ajax's wonderful entrace, and even further at the announcement of an altered wish. What could it be? She leans in, as if it will help her hear Ophelia's thoughts better. "Quick…before the candles melt." Phae bounces excitedly, beaming over at Ophelia and Ajax.

As the song ends, Ajax permits himself a hearty laugh and ushers Ophelia over to the cake. "Well, amended wish or not, you better make it before the candles are gone! I'd have been disappointed to miss this." He winks, gesturing to the cake and handing the spotlight of the moment over to the birthday girl.

Ophelia bites her lip, looks eagerly from Ajax to Hephaesta, then leans forward and blows out a puff of air that should just baaaarely manage to get all of the candles out. She reaches out to squeeze Ajax's hand as she steps back to eye the cake eagerly, whisering, "This is just fantastic."

Hephaesta swishes her wand, sending the spent candles to a waste bucket. Then she sets about very carefully cutting the cake into portions, though they aren't equal at all — good grief, she's using an arithmantic formula to divide it. Well, at least each slice will be numerologically appropriate to its recipient.

Ajax will be perfectly happy with this method of cake division as long as his piece is big. Or he gets multiple pieces. Whichever. He wraps Ophelia in a one-armed hug since she's squeezing his other hand, laughing as he says, "Happy birthday, O! Hope your wish comes true, and—well, obviously your year is going to be fabulous."

Ophelia beams at Ajax. "Thank you! It really is. It just has to be, with a birthday like this. Who knows, maybe I'll be chosen as a Triwizard Champion?" Good lord, could that have been her wish? Lets hope not! She accepts her slice of cake and eagerly digs in, taking the first couple of bites before she's even sat down. "Oh, did you see the butterbeer? I think Apple spelled it, it makes you float or something."

Hephaesta mumbles through a bite of cake. "Iphs nob-…" swallows, "It's not butterbeer. Jackson was teasing. It's just bottles of soda pop." Now that things have died down, and the immensity of Colton's gift isn't so recent, Phae finds a little courage. "I…um…made you something." She reaches into her robe, drawing out the small silver-colored box, no bigger than the palm of her hand. It is tied with a royal blue ribbon. She slides it across the table to Ophelia, eyes downcast abashedly.

"Really?" Ophelia's beaming smile is shone on Hephaesta while she stes down her fork and reaches for the package. "Thank you!" Briefly, she fingers the ribbon, smiling at the color. She glances up once more at Phae as she opens it, grinning in excitement. "I've never had this many presents before, you know." She comments.

Ajax waggles his eyebrows mysteriously and says, "Oh, yes, presents! I'll have to get back to you about yours. It's not arrived yet." He then finds a seat and does his best to fade into the background a bit, wanting the party to be about Ophelia and to not snag the spotlight, as he sometimes does.

Hephaesta bites her lip nervously as Ophelia opens her present. Inside the box, attached to a long chain, is a pendant. Close inspection reveals that it is actually a collection of tiny cogs and gears — such as one would find in a pocketwatch — arranged in the shape of a heart. Two additional pieces of metal form a pair of wings. When a small key on the back of the pendant is wound, the entire this starts to move, gears spinning in an intricate dance, and the wings slowly flap. Phae swallows, and says hoarsely, "I stayed up all night to make it."

Ophelia's eyes go very, very wide as the last of the wrappings are laid aside. "Oh, wow." She whispers, hesitantly reaching out to gently brish a finger across the surface. Once certain that won't break the delicalt-looking pendant she gingerly lifts it, finding the key and winding it with mounting anticipation. The motion that follows brings a tiny sound of pure glee from the ginger-haired girl, who waits until the wings are completely finished moving before flashing one of her brightest smiles at Hephaesta, "Its compltely brilliant. You're brilliant. Oh, thank you!"

Hephaesta's cheeks flush bright red, and despite looking completely embarrassed, her smile cannot be hidden. "You really like it? It's one of a kind. I won't make one for anyone else. Ever."

"Its beautiful! I've never seen anything like it!" Ophelia carefully sets the pendant down to reach over and tightly hug her friend. "You made this and put together this party for me, and you even made me like it! I can't even believe how amazing you are!"

For those few moments, Hephaesta is in heaven. She squeeze Ophelia back, a warm sensation surging up inside her. She's never been especially good with people. People don't make sense like machines do. But this…this is nice. "I just wanted you to know how amazing I think you are."

Ophelia queezes Hephaesta tightly one more time, giggling. "I think I'm going to have to invent some new words. Thank you isn't even covering how I feel anymore." When she settles back into her seat she picks up the pendant once more, carefully hanging it around her neck. "Is there anything I should know about caring for it? I don't have much experience with machines… "

Hephaesta shrugs, "Don't smash it on anything. I tried some charms to make it sturdier. Oh, and when you wind it, once the key starts resisting, don't wind it any tighter. The spring could break." She beams up at the older girl, giddy at her enjoyment of the gift.

Ophelia puts on her most serious face and nods, committing this to memory. "What about water? Do I need to keep it away from water?" She closes one hand protectively around the little heart, her fingers loose enough not to put any pressure on it.

Hephaesta arches an eyebrow, and would look offended if not for her brilliant smile. "I use anti-rust spells on all metals I work with. It should be fine in the water. Why…planning on swimming?" There is a wariness to the way she asks the question.

"Well I have my annual lake swim to get in before it gets too cold." Ophelia replies absently, lifting the pendant to grin at it. "I'm going to try gillyweed this year, I found some by the lake a couple of weeks ago, but if I don't use it soon it might not work." This may, in fact, be completely untrue. But then Ophelia and herbology have yet to mix well.

"Annual swim?" Hephaesta's eyes widen a bit. "Like…a birthday swim?"

"Well, not exactly. I try to talk to the mermaids." Ophelia grins sheepishly. "My uncle chose to step outside of the family tradition for his obsession, he loves all things to do with Mermaids. He taught me to speak Mermish when I was growing up, and when I found out there were Mermaids in the lake I decided to try and talk to them. Didn't go well." She runs a hand through her hair, "So I keep trying, every year."

Hephaesta blinks. "But…merpeople can be dangerous…can't they? You shouldn't do that alone." Her hand instinctively goes to Ophelia's arm in a protective gesture.

Ophelia considers this, her head tilting a little to one side. "I suppose, I /did/ almost get eaten by those little pet things of theirs last year. Do you want to come with me?"

Hephaesta wants so badly to say YES. But…her eyes drift down to her leg. "The brace is good for walking…not so much for swimming."

Ophelia blinks, and her face fills with instant contrition. "Oh, oh I'm sorry I didn't mean to…" She grimaces, her mind flailing about for the right thing to say, "I'll make sure to take someone with me, okay? And when I come back maybe we can work on a way to get you swimming by next summer!" Because what Ophelia needs is MORE PROJECTS.

Hephaesta forces a smile. She has never liked being pitied for her handicap. "It's okay. So…yeah…take someone. Maybe," not Kaiden, "I don't know. Some girl you can really trust." She takes a deep breath, and gathers the courage to initiate the hug this time. She whispers into Ophelia's robes, "I'm really glad you're my friend."

Ophelia hugs Hephaesta back, "Me too. That you're mine, I mean." She closes her eyes for a minute, letting her embarrassment at her blunder fade and be replaced by the perfect happiness of spending her birthday with her newest and now favorite friends.

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