Summary: What happens when Harry waits until the last minute on Valentine’s Day to get something for Ginny?
A/N: While this is written for the Valentine’s Day Challenge, it is not exactly a romantic piece. I do hope you appreciate this attempt at humour, however weak it may be.
Harry stumbled out of the passageway into the cellar of Honeydukes. He looked around cautiously to make sure there was no one to see him. He moaned softly as he thought of his mission – to get Ginny a present. Not that getting Ginny a present was a bad thing. It’s just that he wasn’t very keen on the occasion of the present – Valentine’s Day. Harry reckoned Valentine's Day was celebrated in February to lighten up the gloom and doom of the long winter months. He also reckoned the whole thing was a load of Porlock droppings. Not that he would ever let Ginny know he thought of it that way. No, that just wouldn’t do. She was female, and females had this certain weakness when it came to Valentine’s Day and romantic events in general.
Harry sighed. As happy as Ginny had made him – life with her was better than soaring across the Quidditch pitch to snatch the Snitch right from under the opposing Seeker’s nose or, in the case of Draco Malfoy, from just above his left ear – Harry figured he must do something that would make her happy as well. That’s why he had come to Hogsmeade. He had a mission – a mission to find something special and unique for this special and unique female who had brought such dizzying happiness to his life.
He crept slowly up the stairs. He paused at the door to listen. Slowly he inched the door open and peeped through the crack. The girl behind the counter was busying with customers. A man, Harry figured he must be the proprietor, had his back turned and was stocking the many empty shelves. Harry opened the door wide enough to crawl through. Glancing around to make sure no one was looking, he crept sideways until he was out from behind the counter. He then stood and began looking around the shop. Ginny loves chocolate, a box of Honeydukes’ best should do the trick. But as Harry looked around, he couldn’t see any chocolate.
‘Can I ‘elp you find sumfing?’ Harry jumped at the voice.
‘Erm, I was hoping to get a box of chocolates, please.’
‘Want to get it fer yer lady friend, then?’
‘Well, yes, I would.’
‘Sorry, we’re all out. Ya ought to come before the day itself.’
Harry groaned audibly.
‘How ‘bout some Pepper Imps, then?’
Just wonderful, Harry thought. As if Ginny won’t already be breathing fire at me.
‘No, I don’t think so. That just doesn’t seem quite romantic.’
The attendant snorted. ‘Well, maybe some Toothflossing Stringmints, that’ll freshen her breath for snoggin.’ He then doubled over laughing, obviously quite taken with himself.
‘Er, no thank you. I’ll try and find something else. I appreciate your time and help, Mr. . . .’
‘Flume. Ambrosius Flume. Come again, and earlier next time.’
Harry just wanted to get out of there; the other customers were starting to look his way. He didn’t need any unwanted attention. As he headed for the door, he could hear Flume’s booming voice.
‘Can you imagine it? Comin’ so late on the day itself to get a present for his lady love?’
Harry bolted to the door and out into the street. The cold, grey sky began to add its comment to his dismal plight. He looked up at the sleet and wondered what he could do now. If he didn’t figure something out soon, he wouldn’t be able to face Ginny. He could imagine what they’d think, It was his first Valentine’s Day alone since fourth year.
Then he brightened. Gred and Forge had a place here in Hogsmeade now. Zonko’s Joke Shop had been wiped out in the war, and they had opened a branch of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes here in Hogsmeade. How could he have forgotten that? Perhaps Ginny would appreciate one of their Patented Daydream Charms.
Harry turned and quickened his pace. He slipped a couple of times on the ice-covered pavement, but made it to their door. As he opened the door, the sounds of chaos attacked his ears. Fireworks were shooting all around the shop. He quickly ducked to avoid having his hair set on fire.
‘Sorry, Harry, but you’ve caught us . . .’
‘at a rather bad time. You see, . . .
‘our new worker, . . .’
‘a certain Llewellyn Longbottom . . .’
‘is a bit loony, if you know what we mean.’
‘Yes, he had the astonishing insight . . .’
‘quite astonishing, mind you . . .’
‘to store our new shipment of Fabulous No-Heat, Wet-Start Fireworks . . .’
‘in amongst the Joke Cauldrons in which’
‘he felt the uncommon need . . .’
‘to throw some Bulbadox powder,’
‘all the while muttering something about . . .’
‘the frumious Bandersnatch, or was it . . .’
‘Anyway, Harry, what is it . . .’
‘that we can do for you today?’
Harry stood there dumbfounded for a moment before diving behind the counter as a Catherine wheel came spinning toward them. He slowly raised himself up to look at the grinning twins.
‘Will you look at the size of that!’ Fred and George exclaimed together. They turned and blinked at each other in surprise. As often as they had finished each other’s sentences, they had never spoken the exact same thought at precisely the same moment together.
‘Well, I was hoping that, erm, perhaps I could . . .’
‘Come on now, Harry, . . .’
‘spit it out, we haven’t got . . .’
‘Could I buy some of your Patented Daydream Charms?’ he finally blurted out.
‘Oh, so sorry, Harry, …’
‘Yes, extremely, most embarrassingly sorry, but . . .’
‘We just sold our last good one.’
‘Everything in back, you know, has been ruined . . .’
‘by the Decoy Detonators and . . .’
‘Skiving Snackboxes that . . .’
‘were bounced amongst the Patented Daydream Charms . . .’
‘by the explosion the Bulbadox powder created . . .’
‘when it hit the Fireworks.’
‘Is there something else . . .’
‘we could get for you?’
‘Yea, Harry, anything at all . . .
‘for our largest investor.’
‘You silly twit, he’s our only investor.’
Harry frowned at the turn of the conversation. ‘Quiet, you two gits, I don’t want anyone to know about that.’
Harry turned and cautiously headed out of the shop, dodging the last few fireworks that were still zooming around the room.
He stepped back out into the cold sleet. He felt a coldness in the pit of his stomach that matched the weather.
‘If I don’t find something soon, Ginny will kick me out and this will end up being Happy Singles’ Awareness Day,’ he said bitterly.
It was hopeless now. Most shops were closing up already. He didn’t think Scrivenshaft's Quill Shop or Gladrags Wizardwear would have anything he was interested in getting Ginny anyway. As he shuffled morosely up the street, he stopped to pluck one hardy dandelion poking up through the pavement. At least I can give her flowers.
He decided to head over to The Three Broomsticks. He’d at least have some hot butterbeer before heading back up to the castle. He shouldn’t have sneaked out of Hogwarts. It had turned out to be a colossal waste of time.
As he shambled into the inn, he spotted a tall, gangling bloke with freckles and flaming red hair.
‘Oi, Harry, whacha doing here?’
Harry saw his eyes travel to the weeds he carried in his hand.
‘Where did you find that?’ Ron chortled.
‘Uh, it’s all I have for Valentine’s Day?’
‘Who gave you that? One of the kids at the school?’
‘Erm, no I plucked it myself. I don’t have anything else to give Ginny.’
Ron’s eyes bugged out at that. He struggled to keep from bursting out in laughter. He won that battle, but couldn’t keep the smirk off of his face.
‘Harry, surely you can do better than that.’
‘They’re out of chocolate at Honeydukes Sweetshop and exploding fireworks have ruined everything at your brothers’ shop.’
Ron sat in silence for a moment. Apparently he was struggling with an idea.
‘Here, Harry. You’ve done so much for me and my family over the years. I’ve got to help you out now. Take this and give it to her.’
Harry looked at the large, heart-shaped package. ‘What is it, Ron?’
‘Chocolate, I was going to give it to Hermione. But your need is greater.’
‘No, Ron, I can’t take it. You bought it for Hermione, and I now how you’ve struggled to get it right with her.’
Ron shook his head. ‘No, mate. I can’t let you face her Bat-Bogey Hex. You’ve gotta take this. I could never live with myself. You saved my life in the last battle. Let me save yours now.’
Harry stared at the package. He doubted it was really a life-and-death matter. Still, this would make things so much easier. Then he had another thought.
‘But, Ron, what will you give Hermione now?’
‘Don’t worry about that, mate. I got tickets. I’m going to take her to mmmmb.’
Harry could hear what Ron said as he lowered his voice to an inaudible mumble. ‘You want to take her where?’
‘I’m going to ammsk mmrry mmme.’
Again, what Ron said was an indiscernible muttering of words.
‘And do what?’
‘Don’t make me say it out loud, Harry. It’s hard enough to think it.’
Harry’s mind was a spinning mass of confused thoughts. Slowly one strand untangled itself from the others. He knew Ron liked Hermione. He had for years. It had been obvious ever since his reaction, make that, bad reaction, to Victor Krum’s taking her to the Yule Ball back in fourth year. Could it possibly be that he had finally sorted out his feelings for her? Had he reached the long-awaited realization that he cared for her and that she cared for him?
‘Ron, you’re going to ask her to marry you, aren’t you?’
Ron turned an astounding shade of red that, if anything, was more brilliant even that the colour of his hair. ‘Yes … I … am,’ he stuttered.
‘That’s bloody brilliant, mate.’
Harry looked down at the large gift Ron had given him. He’d saved the day with Ginny, and now he was finally going to make Hermione an honest woman.
‘Ron, I could kiss you!’ said Harry.
‘Oi, mate, please don’t. Save it for Ginny.’ Ron smirked at Harry.
Now it was Harry’s turn to blush a vivid shade of red.
Harry looked at his watch. ‘Well, I’d better be getting back.’
‘All right. Let’s go, then. I’ll walk up with you.’
The two friends stood and exited the inn, after paying their bill. They slowly trudged up the hill to the gated entrance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Albus Dumbledore was no longer Headmaster. Harry remembered with sadness the great wizard and how he had been helpless to save his life. Lost in his remembrances he passed through the gate with Ron and approached the castle entryway.
A very grey Minerva McGonagall stood in the entryway.
‘Harry Potter, where have you been off too? You missed your lessons this afternoon. I know it is Valentine’s Day, but we have not made it a holiday.’
‘I am sorry, Headmistress. I had a mission to attend to.’
The Headmistress looked startled. ‘Mission? What mission?’
‘I needed to get a present for Ginny.’
‘Oh, well.’ She settled into herself as if that explained everything. ‘Yes, after all she has been through, Ginevra must not be disappointed. Very, well. But you’ve missed the feast.’
Harry and Ron headed up the stairs. He started to turn for the staircase that led up to the Gryffindor Tower, but Ron turned him in another direction.
‘Oh, right, the Defence Against the Dark Arts quarters,’ Harry mumbled. How did I forget that? After the war, he’d accepted the DADA post. Apparently the curse was ended with the death of Voldemort, as he was sure he’d lasted more than one year. It was coming back to him now. Later Ginny had become Potions mistress when Slughorn had needed to really retire. And Hermione had replaced Flitwick in Charms when he had become too old to manage the proper wand motions.
Together the two moved through the classroom and then the office, and into the living quarters beyond.
Hermione and Ginny were sitting on a settee talking together.
Ginny turned and greeted Harry with a smile. ‘Hello, luv, we missed you at the feast.’ She stood walked across the room. She took him in her arms and caught his lips in a searing kiss. ‘Happy Valentine’s Day, Harry.’
Ron moved to joined Hermione on the settee. She looked up at him warily. Harry couldn’t quite figure out what was in her eyes. It looked like a mixture of caution and expectation. He guessed she didn’t want to end up in an argument on today, of all days. The expectation told him she hoped Ron would finally proclaim his love for her.
Ron handed her a small package.
She looked at him with wonder in her eyes. She looked like she wanted to squeal with delight.
‘Go ahead, open it.’
She quickly tore the paper off. Inside was a book. A book. He got her a book. What a git! Well, maybe not; Hermione is always reading. Hermione read the title out loud. ‘Famous and Fabulous Magical Locales of Northern Europe: A Witch’s Guidebook to Important Sites in Wizarding History.’ Harry could see Hermione’s struggle to hide her disappointment.
‘Oh!’ she exclaimed. ‘Oh... that's a really terrific present. Thanks!’
Ron laughed. ‘Look inside, Hermione!’
She slowly opened the cover of the book. Two tickets floated out and down into her lap. She set the book down and picked the tickets up. She looked at them curiously. After a few moments of staring at them she turned again to Ron.
‘You’re taking me on a trip.’ There was wonder in her voice. That meant Ron was finally serious about her. He was finally waking up to their relationship – to the love they had for each other.
Now she did squeal with delight as she threw her arms around Ron. They tumbled to the floor. Ron’s face disappeared in a bush of hair.
Ginny laughed at the antics of her brother and best friend.
‘Here, Ginny, this is for you.’
As Ginny turned to him, Harry handed her the package Ron had given him for her present.
Ginny smiled and began to unwrap the present. ‘It smells like chocolate. Oh, Harry, you know how I love chocolate.’
Suddenly Ron sat up. ‘Oi, mate, wait a minute.’
It was too late. Ginny had finished unwrapping the present. She was looking down at the large chocolate heart. There was a cupid engraved on the front of it. As Ginny watched, the charmed, chocolate cupid stood up from the heart and shot his arrow.
The arrow flew from his bow and shot into the air. At first it seemed it would hit Ginny, but at the last moment, perhaps sensing she already loved Harry as much as humanly possible, it swerved to the side and began to spiral around her body. As he spun over her head it burst, like an incandescent firework. The fragments of the exploded chocolate arrow formed words above her head:
WILL YOU MARRY ME?
Ginny looked at Harry with surprise and then almost collapsed to the floor as she convulsed with laughter.
Hermione paused in her rewarding of Ron to observe the ongoing scene. She had a puzzled, thoughtful expression on her face. Harry hoped she wasn’t her usual inquisitive self. He didn’t think he, or Ron for that matter, would want to answer any questions she might ask.
‘We're already married, you prat!’ Ginny gasped out as she caught her breath.
‘You’re not angry, then. I’m sorry I messed this up. I forgot this was Valentine’s Day. I overheard some students talking about it this morning. So I went out this afternoon after lunch – I even skipped my lessons with third-year Hufflepuffs and seventh-years studying for NEWTs – to find something for you. I couldn’t find anything good enough for you until Ron turned up and gave me this. I think it was for Hermione.’
Ginny’s eyes took on a steely glint. ‘You forgot, Harry. This is our seventieth Valentine's together, you know.’
It looked like Ginny was going to say more, but she was interrupted by a squeak from Hermione. Harry looked over at her. He was surprised. Well, at least she isn’t angry.
‘You got that for me?’
Ron mumbled something incoherent.
‘So, you’re asking me to marry you.’
Again something incoherent emerged from Ron’s mouth.
‘Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes.’ Ron again was buried in a bush of brownish-grey hair as Hermione jumped on him again.
Ginny turned back to Harry. Her eyes had lost some of the glint he was so familiar with after the many years with her. But they narrowed as she asked him, ‘Harry, does your forgetting mean you’re not taking your potion again? You know you have to keep taking it after what happened after we killed Tom.’ After Voldemort’s death, Harry’s scar had started slowly fading. But as it did something happened to his mind. It was as if he suffered from a constant Confundus Charm.
‘Sorry Ginny, you know how awful it tastes.’ Harry gazed into her lovely brown eyes and sighed deeply. ‘Tell me again how long we’ve been together.’
Ginny looked up at Harry again with concern. “Maybe I’d better go mix up a batch of your potion.’
‘No, luv, it’s not that. It’s just that loving you has no time to it. I always feel like every day is the first day.’
Harry watched her brown eyes as they melted. Then he bent down and pressed his lips to hers. Time truly did seem to stand still as their tongues began the familiar dance.
A/N: Well, I hope you recognize this is a bit of a parody, so please don’t jump on me about some of the characters not fitting canon. I couldn’t help but parody Ron and his ‘emotional range of a teaspoon’ as well as his and Hermione’s constant bickering. I’m sorry if this twists and turns oddly in places, but I just had to try and fit in all ten of the lines expected for submission (I know, only one was required).
If you haven’t figured it out, Llewellyn Longbottom, is the descendent of Neville and Luna (not directly, of course, that’s not canon). And please forgive me for stealing from Lewis Carroll – I mean him no disrespect, but I felt his nonsense verse worthy of an offspring of Luna.
Finally, I’d like to thank my beta for getting this into shape and including it. But don’t blame her for this barmy piece. I’m the insane one.