A/N: Disclaimer in chapter one. I have no money, don't waste your time.
thanks to my beta, Daily Prophet Reporting, who seems to be managing to
drill basic English grammar into my head. Without him, no one would be
able to read and understand what I write. Or at least there would be a
lot more commas and more stupid mistakes.
Again, much thanks to my
fiancée, upon whom, though she may not know it, I draw a lot of my
inspiration for Hermione, and especially for Hermione's reactions in
Thanks to all who have been reading and enjoying
Defining Moments. There's still more to come, so never fear. So, turn
off your cell phones and pagers, no talking, refreshments are available
at the concessions stand, and enjoy the show.
Ron Weasley opened the door to Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes
and the door chime rang. He shook off the rain, stepping past the
doorway. Getting permission to come to Diagon Alley alone had been a
chore, but his mum had finally relented. He was glad to come before the
back-to-school rush started: the store was empty.
look what we've got here!" George's voice came from behind the counter.
"Come for some tricks to take back to school then Ron?"
"A little early for school shopping, don't you think ickle Ronnikins?"
shook his head and leveled what he hoped was his best serious stare at
his twin brothers. "No. I need to talk to both of you. Privately, if
Fred and George seemed a bit taken aback by Ron's
serious manner. "Sure, Ron, just let me put a sign in the door," Fred
said, putting up a "Back in 10 minutes sign" in the door and flipping
the catch. With the rain, it was unlikely anyone would wander in anyway.
"C'mon back to the office, little bro."
followed the twins back to their office, which was cluttered with
paperwork as well as cauldrons bubbling with experiments. They made
themselves comfortable, Ron choosing a seat where he could look at both
"What's up, mate? You look like somebody died."
need a favor. A serious favor. And you can't laugh." Ron clearly
enunciated the last words, looking both his brothers in the eye.
twins began to look a little uncomfortable. "Are you in trouble? Do you
need a place to hide out?" George brightened a little at that
possibility. "We can hide you here in the shop, disguise you as a
"I need to borrow some money."
the twins just looked confused, and they turned to each other and
shrugged. "Well, that's nothing new. How much do you need?" Fred asked.
Fred, you don't understand. I need a little bit more than just 20
Galleons for schoolbooks. This is important." Ron took a deep breath.
"I need to buy an engagement ring."
The only sound was the soft bubbling of the kettles.
"I know she's young, and so am I, but with everything that's going on, I need her to know…."
Fred held up a hand. "Ron. We know."
George nodded. "We've always known."
"And we understand."
"Contrary to popular opinion, we aren't always obnoxious gits."
stood up, walked over to a drawer, drew out his wand, and utter a spell
under his breath. The drawer sprang open, and he removed a key and took
it to a safe. He opened it. "How much do you need, little brother?"
Ron winced. "I've picked out one over at Madam March's…it's 200 Galleons."
Fred nodded, unfazed, and began counting out the coins.
"I'll pay you back, every Sickle," Ron promised.
"Business has been good, Ron. We're doing well," George said. "Take your time."
took out a life insurance policy last week. Hermione gets everything in
my will, except 200 Galleons for you if anything should happen to me
before I pay you back."
George put a hand on Ron's shoulder.
"Ron, it's okay. We understand. And nothing's going to happen to you.
You're our little brother, and besides, you've come this far."
you've survived being Harry Potter's best mate for nearly seven years
now. I hardly think the people in charge will let you miss the big
celebration when this is all over. It would just be wrong," Fred said,
handing Ron the bag of Galleons.
"Thank you," Ron said.
"We're proud of you, Ron," George said. "Take good care of her. She's perfect for you."
"Thanks." Ron found his throat abnormally tight. "Not a word, both of you."
"On the shop, Ron, not a word," Fred said, holding up his right hand. George followed suit.
sighed. "Ickle Ronnikins is all growed up now. Fine young man now,
getting married." Fred broke the serious mood that had descended on the
shop, and Ron laughed.
"More than can be said for the two of you."
I don't know, little brother. Angelina's been around a lot lately,"
George whispered conspiratorially. Ron arched an eyebrow and Fred
turned bright red.
"So, when are you going to ask her?" Fred asked, trying to redirect the conversation.
not sure yet. Soon though. Things are moving too fast. I wouldn't want
anything to happen before I asked her. I want her to know how I feel,"
"Well, if it makes you feel any better, Ron," George said, "I'm sure she already does."
Ron nodded. "I've got to go get that ring. Mum wants me back before teatime. You know how she is."
"Right-o. Give her our love, will you?"
course," he replied, making his way to the door. Someone else was
standing in the rain outside the store. He flipped the lock back and
opened it. "Come in out of the ra…oh hullo Angelina!" Ron said,
shooting a look back at Fred, before disappearing into the rain.
-- -- -- --
rain was still pouring down when Ron Apparated into the cemetery. There
didn't appear to be a single person within kilometers. He knelt down
and laid a bunch of flowers on the gravestone.
David Granger and Meredith Granger
Loving Children and Loving Parents
"O grave where is thy victory, O death where is thy sting?"
1 Corinthians 15:55
stood there for a moment in awkward silence, letting the rain beat down
on him. "I'm not sure why I came here," he began. "I suppose I can say
this any old place, since you'll hear me anywhere. It just felt right
to come here." Ron wiped rain off his forehead – it was running into
his eyes. "Hermione misses you terribly, but she's doing better now."
He paused again.
"I know we didn't really get to know each
other all that well, and I wish we had…. I love Hermione, you see. And
I came here to let you know that I want to do right by her. I'm going
to ask her to marry me. I wish I could be doing this in person," Ron
said. "As much as I'd be terrified to do it, I'd give anything to be
that terrified if it meant you could be here for her." He pulled the
ring box out. "I have prospects, after school. I want to be an
Auror…kind of like a policeman. And I'll take good care of her," he
trailed off. "I just wanted you to know." He sighed, put the ring box
back in his pocket, and Apparated to the Burrow.
-- -- -- --
stars were out, and Ron looked to them for guidance as he waited for
Hermione. He was on one of the castle's many battlements, surrounded by
gargoyle statues. The air was clear. He'd been here since the sun went
down. It was now long after he should have been in bed, but based on
much experimentation and experience, he'd been able to determine that
Filch and Mrs. Norris never actually left the castle to inspect any of the outside areas, including the roof.
had Harry give Hermione the parchment that asked her to meet him here
at midnight. Harry was the only person, aside from the twins, who knew
he had a ring. He hadn't told his mum, and although he had wanted to,
he hadn't even talked about it with his dad. He knew his parents had
married young and wanted to ask about it, but with everything that had
gone on, and with people being away, the time had never presented
itself. Harry had encouraged him to talk to Remus since he was always
floating around Grimmauld Place, but while Harry and Remus had grown
close since Sirius' death, Ron still felt uncomfortable bearing his
soul to a former professor. No, he was doing this all on his own.
Ron heard a soft sound, and he ducked behind a gargoyle. He glanced around. Nothing. Must have been the wind, he thought. He resumed his pacing. After a moment he began to mutter to himself under his breath.
"Okay, Weasley, you can do this, you're a Gryffindor. It's easy, just look her straight in the eye and tell her."
"Tell her what?" Ron jumped straight in the air.
Hermione was looking at him strangely. "You're a strange one, Ronald Weasley, you know that, right?"
Ron laughed nervously. "Yeah." He leaned down and kissed her softly.
what was so important that you dragged me out here at midnight? And
where have you been? Have you been out here all evening?"
"Yeah. Hermione, there's something I wanted to tell you."
Hermione began to look confused. Ron took a deep breath and looked to the stars one more time for guidance.
this war. Well, I mean, nobody knows what's going to happen from one
day to the next, and with Harry, who knows what could happen to us? I'd
die if anything happened to you, I really would. I can't see myself
living if something happened to you." Ron began to sweat. He was
rambling. Why was this so easy for wizards in novels? "You know I love you. But I wouldn't want anything to happen to me without you knowing just how much I love you. And let's face it, the likelihood of something happening to me is pretty high. I mean…"
"Ron!" Hermione looked like she was concerned for his sanity. "What is it?"
took another deep breath and got down on one knee. Hermione's eyes
looked like they were about to pop out of her head. She gasped. He's not going to…
I don't want anything to happen to me without you knowing how much I
care about you. How much I want to be with you forever. How much I
can't wait to wake up next to you every morning and whisper how much I
love you in your ear. How I want to grow old next to you. How much I
desperately love you and need you. Hermione Granger, will you do me the
honor of agreeing to marry me?" Ron poured out in a rush, pulling the
small jewelry box out of his robes and holding it out to her.
"Oh Ron," she breathed.
know we're young, and we can wait as long as we need to. But I wanted
you to know how I feel. Before anything else happens to us." Ron
paused. "So, will you?"
"Oh Ron, yes, yes, yes, a thousand
times yes." She pulled him up and embraced him fiercely, tears
threatening to trickle down her eyes. She leaned back and kissed him
deeply. Ron held out the box, and carefully she pulled out the ring and
slipped it onto her finger.
"It's beautiful Ron. It's really beautiful. However did you…?" He put a finger to her lips.
"Don't worry about it, darling. Does it fit?"
"It's perfect." Ron gave her a watery smile. Hermione was still in shock – she couldn't believe this. She kissed him again.
"Mr. Weasley! Miss Granger! What is the meaning of this?"
They jumped and spun, horrified to find Professor McGonagall standing a few feat away.
"It's all my fault, Professor," Ron began immediately, stepping in front of Hermione.
"No, it's my fault," Hermione cried, trying to get in front of Ron.
you both…" McGonagall stopped short. "Miss Granger, have you been
crying? Are you quite all right?" McGonagall glared venomously at Ron.
Ron swallowed hard.
"I'm fine, Professor. Honestly it was my
fault…." McGonagall's eyes narrowed, focusing on a small flash of light
and the small box that hung empty in Weasley's hand. Oh Merlin….
hand, Miss Granger." Confused, Hermione held out her right hand.
McGonagall tisked in exasperation. "Your left one, Miss Granger." Ron
and Hermione exchanged glances. Ron shrugged, and Minerva could see the
nonverbal communication of resigned acceptance. Hermione's left hand
came out, sporting a large diamond on her ring finger.
took her hand and examined it carefully. The diamond was set in a plain
golden band with no additional adornment. In many ways, McGonagall
thought it was the perfect expression of their love: simple, elegant,
straightforward and pure. Not to mention plainly obvious, McGonagall
thought wryly, marveling at the size of the stone again. Where he had
gotten the money, she could only hazard a guess. "Mr. Weasley has
excellent taste, Miss Granger. You should consider yourself fortunate."
"Thank you, Professor," Hermione said hesitantly.
I suppose congratulations are in order." Small, uncertain smiles
appeared on their faces. "But I'm afraid you're both far past curfew,
even for an event such as this. I shall be forced to take five points
from Gryffindor for each of you." They hung their heads, but Minerva
could not miss the sigh of relief from each. It could have been much
"Yes, Professor," they said in unison.
Granger, you may return to your room. And mind you, Mr. Filch is in the
East corridor. I trust you can return in such a way as to not attract
"Yes, Professor." She hesitated.
"Mr. Weasley will be along shortly." Ron nodded to her, and she fled down the rampart, robes flapping in the breeze.
Ron watched her go and then turned to McGonagall.
"Be quiet, Ronald." Ron blinked. He was not sure what surprised him more: her tone, or the use of his first name.
There was a silence as McGonagall seemed to be measuring him up. "You're both quite young, Ron."
know, Professor. But I couldn't… If anything happened…I wanted her to
know. You understand? I mean, Harry says it's coming, and I'm going to
be there with him, and if I have my way, she'll be far away, but I
wanted her to know how much I…" Ron trailed off, not sure where to go.
"I told her we could wait as long as we needed to. I needed to
know, needed her to know." Ron had the strange feeling this was a
conversation he should have had with his father, but he was now having
it with a professor who he barely knew. It made the irony of not asking
Remus about it all the more rich.
"I understand how you feel, Ron. Many have felt that way before."
"My mum and my dad married young."
"And so did James and Lily Potter," Minerva sighed. "Have you thought it all through?"
gave it a lot of thought, Professor. My brothers helped me with the
money. I talked to Harry about it. I even…" Ron paused, "I even went
out to the cemetery to tell her parents."
McGonagall pursed her lips. It was hard to argue with the boy's logic. "A noble thing."
"I wish I could have asked them. Told them that I'd take good care of her, cherish her forever."
know you will Ron. I've been watching you and her for nearly seven
years now. I can't remember the last time I saw two people more
appropriate for each other. I'm just looking out for the good of the
"I can't exactly ask you to keep it
quiet, but please try and keep it low key. You'd be surprised at how
many young men might attempt to follow your example, despite not being
nearly as ready for this as you are. You can imagine the kind of
inquiries I might get from parents."
apologetically. "I hadn't thought of that, I'm sorry Professor. We'll
try and keep it low key. But I don't know how successful that will be."
sure you'll do you best, Ron," Minerva sighed. "You four, you remind me
so very much of…well, now. You get back to the dormitory now."
Ron turned and began to walk away.
"And Mr. Weasley?"
He turned back to her.
"For being brave enough to face your fear and show your love…ten points for Gryffindor."
brilliant smile lit the night sky for a moment. "Thanks, Professor."
And before she could reconsider, he flew down the rampart toward the
Minerva sighed and then turned to the row of gargoyles.
Nothing. "Albus Dumbledore! Come out this minute. You should be ashamed
of yourself. You're a voyeur of the worst order. I know you were here
the whole time."
There was a movement behind a gargoyle and Albus Dumbledore appeared.
"And interrupt the wonderful job you were doing in handling the situation, Minerva? I think not."
"You were there the whole time. You could have said something beforehand."
"Whatever for, Minerva?"
"We can't have…" Minerva trailed off. "Can you imagine if… They're not the only… Well, what will parents think?" She demanded.
"Are you concerned that every seventh-year boy will be proposing to a girl in the next week, simply because one has done it?"
normal circumstances no, but Ronald was right. The times are difficult.
Suppose everyone starts thinking about 'seizing the day' and living to
the fullest before it's too late?"
"And what would make that a
bad idea? Minerva, you and I know that many might not survive what's
coming." There was a long silence
"They're so young," she replied. "Suppose next week it's Potter up here? What then? How do you explain that one to Molly Weasley?"
"I hardly think you need to worry about Mr. Potter being up here."
"Why is that?"
"He knows that I come here frequently. Obviously, he hasn't shared that knowledge with Ronald."
Minerva huffed at him. "That's not what I'm concerned about and you know it…."
held up a hand to forestall the scolding. "Of course I do. And I think
you're overestimating that particular romance. Harry has had far too
much on his mind. And I think he's been busily convincing himself that
it's not fair to start a romance when he's going to die defeating
"Albus, you don't mean…?"
"Of course I
don't. But Harry believes it. And that's enough. No, Mr. Potter won't
be able to think about the future until he realizes he has one, so you
can stop your worrying about a vengeful Molly Weasley."
"They remind me so much of James and Lily."
resemblance is striking, isn't it? It's almost like history repeating
itself. Young Harry looks so much like his father, and Ginny, with her
red hair, could easily pass as his mother. Potter men and red hair,"
"You've distracted me from the point. Even
if you don't think you should have broken that up before Miss Granger
ended up with a ring on her finger, don't you think it was rude to
share in their private moment?"
"It was uncomfortable, yes,
when I realized what was going on. I arrived just before she did. Mr.
Weasley, I think, had been out here all evening."
"And you didn't question why he was here when you arrived!? He was obviously out of bounds."
Head Boy wouldn't be out of bounds without a very good reason, and I
suspected, as he was muttering to himself the whole time."
"You are a terrible voyeur, Albus Dumbledore. Now what did you want to see me for…and out here?"
Dumbledore sighed. "My time grows short, Minerva."
"Albus! Don't sa…."
held up a hand. "It is the way of life. And I have made arrangements
that if anything should happen to me, you would become Headmistress."
She gasped. "And it's time to tell you some things that you should have
known years ago…."
-- -- -- --
gave the Fat Lady the password and threw herself into the Gryffindor
common area. She thought she'd heard footsteps a moment ago, and she
didn't want to get caught, especially as she had started to tear up
again. She couldn't get a handle on her emotions. She was thrilled, but
she couldn't help but think about the reasoning behind Ron's actions.
And she had also thought about how she would never be able to share
this with her parents. As she entered the common room, she heard a
"Back already, Harry?"
Hermione looked up, startled. "Ginny?"
A flash of red hair appeared from one of the chairs by the fireplace. "Hermione! What are you doing out at this hour?"
were studying and we were hungry, so he's gone to raid the kitchen. He
took the Marauder's Map and the Invisibility Cloak. Hermione, where's
Ron?" Ginny asked.
"He what, Hermione? Is something wrong? Did he break up with you?" That possibility had Ginny's eye burning with fire.
Hermione managed to choke out a laugh. "You didn't know?" she asked, astonished.
crossed the common room and held her left hand out for inspection.
Ginny blinked. Twice. Her eyes widened as she grabbed frantically for
"Hermione?" Ginny asked wondrously. "My brother actually…?"
Hermione nodded enthusiastically, feeling about ready to burst.
Ginny threw her arms around her neck. "I can't believe it…! How did he?
Where did he get? Oh, this is so exciting! You're going to be my
sister!" Hermione sniffed. "What is it? Aren't you happy? Was my
brother a git?"
"NO!" Hermione wailed. "He was perfect. It was perfect. I'm so happy, but my mum and my dad…."
"And here's the worse part: just after he proposed, we got caught by McGonagall!"
"Oh no!" Ginny moaned. "What happened?"
looked really mad, but then she saw the ring, and congratulated us. And
she took five points from Gryffindor for each of us, which isn't so
bad, but she sent me back and held Ron so she's probably giving him
detention or something…."
Just then the door swung open again, and they turned to look.
Hermione flung herself at him. "Did McGonagall give you detention? I
swear, if she did, I'm going to owl Fred and George and get the best
they can offer."
Ron laughed. "No, she didn't give me
detention love. Here sit down. Are you all right, you look as if you've
been crying?" Ron was alarmed. "Is something wrong?"
sniffed once more as the three settled into the chairs and the couch
again. "No. I was just…just wishing I could tell my parents." Ron
"I know." He pulled her close. "Me too. As much
as I would have been petrified at the whole
speech, I wish you could share this with them too." He stroked her hair.
Hermione managed a small smile for her fiancé. What a word! She thought to herself. "What did McGonagall say?" she asked.
she gave me a talking to, about how we're still young. And did I think
this through, that kind of thing. I think she's just looking out for
her favorite student." Ron winked at Ginny. The women laughed. "Oh, and
she gave me ten house points."
"She did what?" Ginny's eyes were wide and Hermione was speechless.
apparently thought I did something very brave," Ron said softly,
brushing Hermione's cheek. "She obviously didn't know how easy it was."
at least we made up for the points we lost." Ron paused. "She also said
she wanted us to keep this low key. I think she has visions of every
seventh year close to a girl going out and getting engaged, or
something. She's very worried about us being young."
Hermione nodded. "This was easy for you?" she asked.
"Of course it was. I love you. Why shouldn't it have been easy?"
"Easy!?" a voice rose up. "Ron, you were a bloody nervous wreck all day!"
Ron whirled. "Harry?" The smell of food was permeating the room. "You git…I'll get you for that."
got to find me first!" The voice was behind him now, and a food basket
had appeared on the table. Ginny and Hermione were giggling.
Ron said, eyes sweeping around the room. He swept the room with his
eyes. Then he grinned mischievously. He pulled his wand. "Accio Invisibility Cloak!"
With a muffled "Hey!"
The cloak flew to Ron's hand, and Harry was left standing over by the
stairs to the girls' dormitory, a look of pleased irritation on his
face. "No fair," he said, scowling through a smile at Ron. "You just be
glad Filch can't do that when he suspects we're nearby."
"Agreed," Ron replied, cuffing his best mate on the shoulder. "That's for telling them I was nervous."
"You were. You couldn't eat all day. You didn't even sleep last night," Harry confided. Ron blushed to his toes.
"Oh, Ron," Hermione sighed, grabbing his hand and pulling him to the sofa. "Did you honestly believe I'd say no?"
"Well, I wasn't sure…. I mean, we're so young I thought you might…."
Hermione shook her head at him and pulled him down into a kiss.
Harry ginned. "C'mon Ginny. I think it's time we put up the studying. I'll see you in the morning," Harry said,
grabbing a last drumstick and heading for the boys' dormitory. He
winked at Ginny, who likewise slipped away to the girls' dormitory. Ron
and Hermione hardly noticed.
-- -- -- --
"Ron." Hermione was whispering in his ear.
"Ron." His father was calling him for something.
"RON!" Ron jerked away, nearly tumbling off the couch.
He blinked and looked around.
had fallen asleep in the Gryffindor common room with Hermione on his
shoulder. Harry was looking at the both of them, eyes twinkling.
Hermione was stretching awake and still looking a little shell-shocked. Her ring sparkled on her finger.
It hadn't been a dream! Ron's heart gave a little jump, and he leaned down and gave her a quick kiss. Harry rolled his eyes.
"Can it, you two. I got up early just so you could have time to get ready for class. Don't waste my time."
you, Harry." Hermione stood up, shaking her hair out and giving Harry a
quick kiss on the cheek. "You're a good friend." She turned to Ron.
"C'mon fiancé," she said as she pulled him to his feet. "Go get cleaned
up. See you at breakfast?"
"Yeah." He kissed her softly.
turned and went up to the boys' dormitory, and Hermione went up to the
girls'. Harry collapsed on the couch. It was going to be a long day.
-- -- -- --
"Hermione! Where have you been?" Lavender asked when she appeared in the seventh-year dormitory.
"I fell asleep on the couch," Hermione said, leaving out Ron's part.
looking awfully awake this morning for falling asleep on the couch,"
Parvati said as Hermione hummed while she brushed out her hair.
"Hand me the hairbrush over there, Hermione, would you?" Lavender asked.
"Sure thing," Hermione said passing the hairbrush over.
"What?" Hermione tried to pull her hand back, but only halfheartedly. She knew she was supposed to be keeping this quiet, but she wanted to shout it from the mountaintops.
Parvati came over and gave a little yelp.
"Oh Merlin! Did he really…?"
"Hermione, it's beautiful! Tell us!"
"Oh," she said, giving a little shrug. She figured she would make them squirm a little. "It's nothing."
"But does this mean…?" Parvati asked.
Hermione smiled a little. "Well, Ron did ask me a question before he gave it to me. He's so cute."
"He did?" Lavender was hanging on every word.
"Well, of course. He asked me to marry him. I said yes, naturally." Hermione gave a superior sniff.
"Eeeeee!" her roommates shrieked and smothered her in what Ron would call a "girly hug."
"Stop! I've got to get ready for class!" Hermione protested.
"How did he do it?"
Hermione sighed in reluctant acceptance, smiled and related the whole story. Almost
the whole story: she left out the part with McGonagall. She dressed and
packed her book bag as she spoke. "And when we got back we fell asleep
on the couch. Harry just came down to wake us," she finished, hefting
her bag up onto her shoulder.
"So romantic," Lavender sighed.
"I didn't know Ron had it in him. You're such a lucky girl, Hermione."
"Yeah, Seamus is wonderful, but I can't possibly picture him doing anything that romantic."
"It's so wonderful that you're engaged, Hermione. Congratulations."
"We're going to be late for breakfast, c'mon," Hermione said, and suited action to words by heading out the door.
-- -- -- --
"Where were you last night, mate?" Seamus asked when Ron got out of the shower and began to dress.
"Yeah, did you and Hermione find a broom closet?" Dean asked. Seamus and Neville snickered.
"No, we fell asleep studying, downstairs on the couch."
"What were you studying? Anatomy?" It was Seamus this time.
"It wasn't like that," Ron protested.
"Ron's a gentleman, he doesn't kiss and tell," Neville said, sticking up for him. Sort of.
"But they were there all night….Who knows what happened?"
"Don't talk about my fiancée like that!" Ron snapped.
Stunned silence descended on the boys' dormitory.
Ron smacked his head with his palm. "Me and my big mouth."
"Your fiancée?" Seamus asked weakly.
"Yes, my fiancée," Ron said defiantly, sticking out his chin. Go ahead and laugh, I don't care. I love her.
There was a long silence in the boy dormitory.
"Well done, mate, bloody well done," Neville said, sticking out his hand. Ron took it, beaming.
"Aye," Seamus agreed, taking his turn shaking Ron's hand.
"Congratulations, mate," Dean said.
"You realize, of course, this mean you'll have to invite us all to the wedding," Dean pointed out.
"And the bachelor party!" Seamus grinned.
"Bloody hell," Ron groaned good-naturedly.
"C'mon mates, we're going to be late," Neville said, shouldering his bag.
-- -- -- --
one seemed to notice that Ron and Hermione came to breakfast hand in
hand and then went to class that way. They were not typically given to
public displays of affection, though they always seemed to project an
air of comfortable togetherness on which most people didn't want to
intrude. Nothing seemed particularly out of the ordinary for them, and
it wasn't until Potions that anyone else said anything.
some potion ingredients will react badly to or damage jewelry, so if
you need dragon hide gloves, please ask." Snape always said that, but
no one had the courage to ask. They just took off their jewelry. Today,
however, Hermione raised her hand.
"Miss Granger?" Snape
effected polite surprise. "And here I thought you were such a practical
girl." Snape drew out a pair of gloves and began to hand them to
Hermione. "And may I ask you what suddenly possessed you to acquire
Hermione simply blushed as she reached up to take
the gloves, but Snape's sharp eyes narrowed on her hand, and he refused
to let the gloves go as she held onto them, drawing the whole class's
attention onto the ring on her finger.
"Merlin's Beard!" exclaimed a seventh-year Hufflepuff.
"Where did you get the money for that, Weasley? Sell your soul?" Pansy Parkinson snickered.
"Enough!" Snape roared. "Ten points from Hufflepuff for disrupting my class."
Ron was red from head to toe, and Hermione glared venomously at Snape.
"Please gather yourself, Miss Granger," Snape advised her.
"Just ignore him, Hermione, you're the luckiest witch in the world," Harry whispered.
While they were packing up at the end of class, Snape suddenly called out, "Weasley, Granger, please stay."
Harry looked at them encouragingly as the rest of the class filed out. Ron and Hermione stood in front of Snape's desk.
I?" he asked politely. Hermione hesitantly held out her hand. He
examined the stone with one of his magnifying glasses. "Excellent cut
of diamond. Very well done Sparkle-Enhancement Spell. You have
excellent taste, Mr. Weasley."
"Thank you, sir."
"I trust this won't become a distraction in class?"
"No, sir," they chorused.
"No more than it has been in the past, I suppose," he sighed heavily. "I suppose congratulations are in order."
"Thank you, sir."
The corners of Snape's mouth turned up in what might have been the shadow of a smile. Then he scowled. "Now get out."
Ron and Hermione didn't need to be told twice. They gathered their things and left. Harry was waiting outside.
"It was weird."
"I think he just congratulated us."
"Really?" Harry was astonished.
"Yeah, it was weird. Let's never talk about it again."
"Agreed. I'm starved. Lunch time."
Ron put his arm around Hermione and they walked to the Great Hall.
"Did you tell your parents about this yet, Ron?"
"Yeah, I sent a little note home with Pig last night."
"A little note? Ron what did you say?" Hermione asked.
"Something along the lines of: Dear Mum, I asked Hermione to marry me. She said yes. Love, Ron."
"Ron! You didn't tell your parents ahead of time?" Hermione was stunned.
"Nope. Harry here is the only one who knew when it was going to be."
"Who knew you had the ring?" Hermione asked.
"Er…Harry, Fred and George."
"Fred and George?" It only took a moment for Hermione to put it all together. "Oh Ron, you asked…."
"Don't worry about it, Hermione," Ron said in a tone that brooked no argument.
trio turned into the Great Hall, and conversation died the moment they
entered. People were staring at Ron and Hermione. McGonagall was at the
head table shaking her head in exasperation. She obviously underestimated the power of gossip, Ron thought to himself.
Dean, Seamus and Neville stood up on their chairs and began cheering
their lungs out. They were soon joined by most of the Great Hall, and
Harry grinned and stepped out of the way, leaving them at center stage.
Ron turned a shade of pink, and even Hermione was a little embarrassed
at the attention. But she lifted her head and gazed around the room
levelly. He's mine and now all of you know it, she thought, and I'm proud of it.
She pulled Ron by the hand, and they communicated non-verbally. Ron
swallowed, screwed up his courage and lifted his head. They put on
smiles and waved like royalty.
The cheering finally died
down when they sat down at the Gryffindor table. Ron leaned over and
whispered in Hermione's ear, "You're the most beautiful girl in the
world and I can't believe you said yes. The rest of these clowns can
They were working their way through lunch when a series of owls flew in and landed in front of them.
hell," Ron groaned. Pig was among the owls and was dancing around in
his usual hyperactive hijinks. He had several letters attached to his
leg, including a bright red envelope.
"It's from Mum," he said, removing it. "A letter for you, Hermione. One for Harry. One for me. And a Howler for me."
He stood up. "I'll be back."
walked quickly to the boys' loo. The howler started to smoke, so he
bolted in the door, threw the outside window open and flung it out onto
the grounds. It didn't get very far before it exploded.
Weasley, why didn't you tell us? You nearly gave me a heart attack! I
can't believe you didn't tell us. But I'm so proud of you!" The Howler
seemed to even give a little sob before shriveling up and exploding.
Ron sighed and then returned to the Great Hall.
reading her letter and was looking suspiciously like she was crying.
Harry was laughing. Ginny was reading hers, and she also had gathered
up the rest of the letters from the other owls.
"Your dad's a riot, Ron," Harry said, folding up his letter.
"What did he say?"
should keep you and Hermione away from broom cupboards. Especially the
one on the second floor by the Muggle Studies room. He apparently has
"Ewww!" Ginny moaned. "I did not need to hear that!"
"Honey, you okay?" Ron asked, slipping an arm around Hermione's shoulder.
"Your mum's really sweet Ron." She leaned into him. "She told me she's going to have a new hand for the clock done up."
Ginny said. She handed over the rest of the letters. "These are from
the rest of our family. The twins, Charlie, Bill, and Percy."
and Hermione tore into the letters. There was silence for a few moments
as they read. Hermione snorted. "Bill says if you hurt me, he's going
to put you in a pyramid tomb."
"Funny, Charlie says he'll feed
me to a dragon. I think they like you more than they like me," Ron
snickered. "Can't imagine why…"
"Percy's letter is nice. He said he hopes I'll be a good influence on you, rather than the other way around," Hermione said.
had been awkwardly welcomed back to the family after the battle at the
Ministry of Magic and had slowly regained his brothers' trust and
Ron folded up the letter from the twins.
"What did the twins say Ron?"
"C'mon, let me see!" she said, grabbing the paper before he could stop her.
to hear that you finally popped the question. We can see that you put
those Galleons to use. Mum told us you're a complete prat for holding
out on her, but we understand. You just take good care of Hermione.
And, if you need a place for a good snog, try the broom cupboard near
the Ravenclaw entrance. It's plenty big enough to transfigure something
into a couch…or a bed. But you didn't hear that from us. Don't do
anything we wouldn't do.
Fred and George
P.S.: By the
way, the shareholders held a meeting and voted to grant you a partial
share of the store. Which comes to, glory be, 200 Galleons. So it looks
like you don't owe us anything after all, little brother.
looked down at his plate and sighed. "It's okay. You probably would
have found out sooner or later. I know it's not much, but…"
"Ron, it's perfect." She grabbed his head in her hands and forced him to look at her. "You understand? Perfect."
He saw the love in her eyes and smiled. "Yeah, I understand."
"It's perfect. Just like you." And she kissed him.
you two, we're going to be late for class," Harry groaned, gathering
his books. They followed on behind him, hand in hand.