(1938-02-03) Phae's 15th Birthday
Details for Phae's 15th Birthday
Summary: Hephaesta turns 15, and Ophelia has a special surprise for her.
Date: February 3, 1938
Location: Ravenclaw Girls Dormitory

As the date of Hephaesta's birthday approached, Ophelia kept herself as busy as ever of late. Her studies took up more and more of her time, and though she found as much as she could to spend with Hephaesta, she seemed as likely to forget the event as she had been to dismiss her own birthday.

And yet, Sunday morning, a bright orange card is waiting on Hephaesta's bedside table. The card contained a simple riddle, and was propped over a single rose, perfectly matched to one of Ophelia's costume roses from the Halloween ball. There was also a box under the rose and card, containing a dress of bright blue, and a note suggesting that she might want to wear it before going to the location that was the answer to the riddle. That location being the lake.

Hephaesta has never been a fanatic about parties or birthdays. But then, she's never had a significant other who she wanted to remember her birthday. So, there was growing worry as the day drew nearer. The morning of her 15th birthday, she was ready to face the day with melancholy, but the discovery of the riddle card, rose, and dress had her squealing at such a pitch that she woke three other girls from their beds. She spent much longer than she intended brushing out her newly straight hair, polishing her clockwork leg brace, and making herself look just right before following the clues to the lake shore.

At the lake shore waits Ophelia, fidgeting nervously with the ties of her own pale green dress and the sleeves of the white coat worn over it. Theere's a boat pulled up beside where she stands, filled with cushions and thick blankets, and a large basket placed in the center. Ophelia, her hair in tight ringlets, looks up as she hears that familiar sound of Hephaesta's brace, her face breaking into a beaming smile. "You- Happy birthday!"

Hephaesta glows at the sight of Ophelia, and picks up her pace to hurry into her girlfriend's arms. "Thank you thank you thank you! You sneaky girl!" She giggles, squeezing her tight.

Laughing, Ophelia pulls Hephaesta in for a tight hug. "You like it? Its not everything, there's more. And I know its not a party, but I think I need to get better at parties first… " She pulls back, just a little, but can't help leaning in for a quick kiss.

Hephaesta is more than happy to receive the kiss, and doesn't settle for a quick one. "I don't need a party," she whispers. "I just need you. So, what are you up to?"

"Come on and find out." Ophelia, eyes alight with anticipation (and more than a little heat after that not-so-quick kiss), steps toward the boat, holding both hands out for Hephaesta. "We're starting with a picnic. Mum sent everything from London. She didn't tell me everything that's in it though, so… " She shrugs, "That part will be a surprise for both of us."

Hephaesta's fingers tighten in Ophelia's grip as they approach the boat. She swallows nervously at the prospect of going out on the water. But she has braved her own heart for Ophelia, and that's much scarier than a lake. So, with some assistance, she steps into the little boat and gets herself settled, gripping the sides with white knuckles.

Ophelia makes certain to hold on to Hephaesta, first to her hands and then to her shoulders, until she is seated. "I know its… well, there's a reason we're here. Are you ok?" She starts quickly padding Hephaesta with pillows, to make her as secure as possible, before sitting herself.

Hephaesta's eyes say no, but her nod says yes. "I'm with you…I'll be okay." She takes a few deep breaths, and focuses her mind, examining the shape and contours of the boat, repeating in her mind the science of buoyancy like a mantra. "So…what's the reason? A romantic way to be alone?" She giggles softly, clearly not minding the idea.

Giggling softly as well, Ophelia takes her own seat and picks up the oars to push them away from the shore. It takes a bit of work, as she's definitely not the strongest of Ravenclaws, but with a few tries she manages to get them out over the water. And they don't flip over, or even wobble that much! "Partly. But there's more, its in the basket. Hopefully. When we get out into the middle I'll show you."

Hephaesta beams excitedly, and her anticipation grows with each stroke of the oars. So she distracts herself dreaming up ideas for a magical motor for the boat. "It's beautiful out here, Ophie."

After a bit of rowing Ophelia has to pause to rest her arms. She sets the oars to the side, shrugging out of her coat with a bright smile and eyes only for Hephaesta. "It really is." The boat keeps moving, drifting along more slowly now toward the center of the lake, as Ophelia scoots forward carefully to open the basket.

Hephaesta can't help resorting to tooth-rottingly sweet comments. "Not half as beautiful as you, though." Once the basket is opening, she leans forward a bit, craning her neck, but not looking directly in, just in case Ophelia indicates that she isn't supposed to yet.

Ophelia pulls out the first layer of the basket's contents. It turns out to be a bottle of cider and a small box, as well as a set of cups, plates, and forks for two. "Oh, perfect." Ophelia whispers with a smile. Glancing up, she sets everything on her lap and opens the small box, which holds a tiny three-layer cake, its frosting the same color as Hephaesta's dress, with a sparkling silver '15' set at the top. Ophelia also pulls out a candle, which lights itself with a snap of her fingers (and a little squeal as the charm works!). "I know you're supposed to do this later, but… well, here. Make a wish?"

Hephaesta wiggles happily as the various treats are produces, laughing merrily at the candle charm. "A wish? Oh, goodness…I have to think." For a moment, she sobers and her face goes very serious. Then, a slow smile returns, and she opens her eyes and blows!

Ophelia holds the cake out for Phae, carefully balancing in the boat, her bright smile managing to widen even more as Hephaesta blows out the candle. With a giggle of pure happiness, she sits back, quickly cuts the cake into two halves, then slides one onto another plate and offers it to her sweetheart, along with a fork. "Happy birthday, Hephaesta. I really hope… I hope this year is everything you want it to be."

Hephaesta inhales deeply, sitting upright and giving Ophelia an adoring gaze. There is something different about Hephaesta, perhaps only more noticeable now that she's official fifteen years old. Maybe it's the new hairstyle. But, beyond physically maturing, even her posture and expressions are beginning to take on the first hints of womanly stature, leaving the girl behind. "I've got you. In September Archie is coming to school. It's going to be a fantastic year."

The blush spreads as quickly as ever across Ophelia's cheeks. She stares back, for a long moment, her eyes full of so much more than love, of gratitude and admiration, and even a little awe. "It really is. The best year yet."

Hephaesta mmmmms at her first bite of the cake. "Did you mother make this? It's wonderful. Will you pass along a thank you note if I write one?"

Ophelia grins, "Mum doesn't bake much, no. But I will. I think she had it ordered from our favorite bakery, she always has my cakes made there." She leans forward, looking carefully at Hephaesta's cake, then gasps. "Oh! Oh, wait that's the wrong piece!" Without explaining, she quickly takes Hephaesta's cake back, and replaces it with the slice she'd kept for herself. "/That's/ yours, sorry."

Hephaesta blinks, a bit startled. "Is…everything alright? What…was wrong with that piece?" She eyes both pieces of cake with newfound concern.

Blushing a little darker, Ophelia shakes her head. "Sorry, just… take a bite of that one." She wincec apologetically, then sighs down at the other slice.

Hephaesta chuckles nervously. "Alright. Being sneaky again?" She grins, and takes an experimental bite of her new slice.

Ophelia grins up from her new plate, but is quiet. She waits as Hephaesta takes her bite, taking away just enough cake to reveal that there's something hidden in the little slice. Something white, and box-shaped.

Hephaesta's lips part in awe. "Oh, my goodness. What is this?" Her eyes dance up at Ophelia. "Do I have to eat my way to it?"

Ophelia laughs, "No, not if you don't want to. There should be napkins… " Remembering them belatedly, she sets her plate aside to start digging through the basket. "Ah! There they are."

Hephaesta does take another large bite to expose more of the box. But impatience wins, and she carves around the surprise with her fork, pulling it free and cleaning it off with a napkin. Biting her lip with anticipation, she slowly opens it.

Ophelia comes back up with the napkins, chewing her lower lip as she watches Hephaesta open the box. Inside is a small gold charm bracelet with a number of charms spread out across the satin lining of the box. There is a wand, of course, and a tiny set of gears shaped like a heart(though these don't move), a tiny tree, a broom, a pair of goggles, a rose and a butterfly.

Hephaesta gasps, hand going to her heart. "Oh my word…Ophie…it's us." She carefully removes the bracelet, holding it as tenderly as if it were made of fine glass as she examines each little charm. "Ophie, it's wonderful. Put it on me?" She holds it out toward Ophelia and presents her wrist.

Ophelia watches Phae from the edge of her seat, where she tries not to bounce too excitedly as her sweetheart reacts to the gift. "You like it. then?" Pushing forward, she settles herself on her knees beside the basket to take the bracelet and clasp it around Hephaesta's wrist. "I had mum order it a little before Christmas. It doesn't move or anything, so it shouldn't get in the way of studies and things… "

"Ophie, it's perfect. Thank you so much." Once the chain is secure, Phae leans forward and beckons Ophelia into her arms — her extended leg making it nigh impossible for her to kneel down. "I'm going to have to write quite a thank you note to your mother."

Ophelia pushes up and squeezes onto the bench beside Hephaesta, wrapping her arms tightly around the other girl's waist. "She'd like that. She likes you. Said so, after you visited over the holiday." She chuckles softly, sounding a little nervous as she adds, "Said you'd make an excellent Summerbee."

Hephaesta would melt right now if she could. "She…she really said that? I was afraid she wouldn't like me. I mean…I barely got to speak to her. We just spent all that time…um…in your room." Her cheeks flush at the memory.

Ophelia grins, though her own cheeks darken a little too. "Yes, ah, I mentioned that too. She said it was what I'd been saying about you, mostly. And of course I showed them this." Pulling one hand free, she reaches up and pulls her pendant free of her dress.

Hephaesta traces her fingers over the gears of the heart pendant, then lifts her hand to Ophelia cheek to draw her in for a kiss. "This has been the most incredible year."

This time, Ophelia goes for a soft, long kiss. She searches Hephaesta's eyes when they part, both giddy with happiness and disbelieving at the same time. "Truly? I still feel that I've put you through so much."

Hephaesta can do soft kisses. Those full lips of hers are made for them. She shrugs, tipping her head. "You know, it wasn't you that put me through anything. It was me. I was confused. I've never felt like this about anyone…and I never thought it would be about a girl. If I'd figured out what I was feeling sooner, maybe I wouldn't have caused you so much turmoil. But…maybe it had to be like that. A catharsis, to clean out our heads of our expectations so we could see clearly."

Leaning her head on Hephaesta's shoulder, Ophelia sighs softly. "Maybe, that makes sense." She nods, a little, and tucks her arm back around Hephaesta's waist to hold her closely as she watches the water. "It did… it helped me to relate to people better."

Hephaesta nods, leaning her head against Ophelia's, wrapping her arms around her as well. "Me too. Before, people were sort of…I don't know…not important? I know that sounds awful."

Ophelia chuckles softly, "No, its ok. I didn't really have time for them, either, except Ajax. Other people always thouht I was so strange, or got all uncomfortable when I asked about their wands. So I stopped bothering."

Hephaesta rolls her eyes. "So silly. Your knowledge of wands is amazing. You'd think witches and wizards would be happy to know someone with expertise in the very thing that makes their magic possible."

Ophelia grins, "That's what I thought, at first. And mostly it's boys, they seem to think its funny." One shoulder lifts in a shrug, "And anyway. I'm a little stuck right now, with my knowledge. Hopefully Wandmaker Hawthorne can help me with that." She sits up, then, smiling brightly at Hephaesta, "So, do you want to see the reason we came out here?"

Hephaesta lights up, nodding vehemently. "There's more?"

"Just one more thing." Giggling at the excitement, Ophelia pulls back and goes to the basket again. She pulls out another layer, this one wrapped in a towel, "There's some snacks for later, too, in case we get hungry again." Setting the towel-wrapped parcel aside, she reaches in one more time, pulling out this time a lantern hung on a chain. "My dad found the wizard who made the enchantment in my ceiling, and he'd just made a couple of these."

Hephaesta's lips part with growing excitement. "I love your ceiling. So…what do these do?" She peers with great curiosity at the lantern, already trying to decipher its function.

"Well, it needs the water. Or something reflective, to really work. But I thought the water would be the prettiest." Ophelia shifts carefully in her seat, until she is at one side of the boat. Then, slowly, she lowers the lantern until the bottom touches the surface of the water. There's some rocking of the little boat as she does this, but mostly they remain steady.

Hephaesta grips the sides of the boat, suddenly nervous at even the slightest rocking. It's pure reflex, and she smiles apologetically, trying not to show her fear.

Ophelia glances up just once, wincing as she sees Hephaesta's reaction. "Sorry." She hurries then to lean over for the lantern, balancing even more carefully this time, and reaches for the top of the lantern, twisting a tiny knob there until it clicks. When the lantern lights up she sits back, watching carefully, chewing her lower lip in worry. What if nothing happens?

And at first, besides a simple glow, nothing does happen. Then, after almost a full minute, the glow dims, and piles of tiny glowing lights, like little stars, start zipping out from the lantern and skimming over the water in little circles.

Hephaesta smiles reassuringly, "It's okay…I'm fine." But any worry melts away when the lantern starts to do its thing. Her jaw drops into an open-mouthed smile of wonder at the display. "They're so pretty!"

Ophelia beams, watching the little lights. They go no farther than the lantern's light would spread without magic, but this means they nearly circle the little boat, creating a dancing display all around them on the water, which reflects them back, doubling the amount of dancing stars. "When dad told me about it, it reminded me of Wandmaker Hawthorne's work. So I asked if he'd get one for us."

Hephaesta looks all around in awe and childlike delight. "It's just spectacular, Ophie. Thank you so much." She reaches her hands toward Ophelia invitingly. "Kiss for the birthday girl?" She giggles abashedly.

Ophelia turns away from the water to smile brightly at Hephaesta. She nods, starts to lean forward, then stops and takes a couple of minutes to tie the lantern's chain to the side of the boat. "Sorry… " But it doesn't take too long, and soon enough she's moving over to sit beside her sweetheart again, leaning in and reaching up to cup Phae's face in her hands as she presses her lips to the other girl's.

Hephaesta wiggles happily when Ophelia rejoins her. She hums into the kiss, leaning into her ginger girl…carefully, so as not to rock the boat. The sound of the lapping water, the starlight playing on the lake's surface, it all has her dizzy with romantic vertigo. "I love you so much," she whispers.

Ophelia's hands slowly slide back into Hephaesta's hair, and after the whispered words she leans in for another kiss, and another, murmuring between then, "Oh, Phae. I love you too, so much."

Those words carry Hephaesta into the heavens that seem to surround them. The chill of the air is nothing next to the warmth Ophelia fills her with. Time is soon forgotten as the girls drift in lazy circles through the starlit waters, entwined in one another's arms.

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