|SIYE Time:12:40 on 18th May 2021|
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Category: December Engagement Challenge (2006-6)
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Ron Weasley
Story is Complete
Summary: A broken nose, an embarassing position and cowpats! Will Harry manage to find the perfect moment in which to propose? What is Ginny's new hex, which renders the Bat Bogey just a fond memory?
Hitcount: Story Total: 5019
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
Many thanks to Stacey for some good advice and Eric for all your help.
I hope this makes you all smile!
The Great hall, dinnertime, a few weeks before the end of the autumn term
The Great Hall bustled with activity, just as it always did at dinnertime. Hufflepuffs chatted amiably with each other about how being in fourth place with the house points race didn't matter. Ravenclaws (and Hermione as well) rustled pages of giant textbooks. Slytherins plotted their devilish schemes, and the Gryffindors had competitions to see who could fit the most pieces of scampi in their mouth at once. Yes, all was well at Hogwarts.
Harry didn't notice of course. Many girls however, stopped what they were doing to watch him when he arrived. As he walked up the aisle between the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw tables, he was stopped for a moment by Luna Lovegood, and had a brief whispered conversation, before carrying on. Harry walked to his seat at the far end of the Gryffindor table. He plopped down beside Ginny and started to put various different things onto his plate. Female eyes everywhere reverted to their previous activities, now that Harry Potter's butt was no longer available for ogling.
"What did you need to talk to Luna about, Harry?" Ginny asked.
"If you must know, my love, I wanted to get you some sexy lingerie as a Christmas present so I've asked her to help me."
"Really?" squealed Ginny, with a look of delight. Grinning from ear to ear, she went back to her slow roasted guinea fowl with Grand Marnier sauce.
Hermione couldn't help herself, as she huffed from across the table. After shovelling in several more forkfuls of her chosen dinner, which was a sixteen-ounce rump steak with chips, onion rings and chunky coleslaw, she turned to Harry.
"I could have helped with that, Harry. Why didn't you ask me? I'm one of your best friends."
"Maybe it's because I'm getting some for you too."
"Hey, what about me?" piped up Ron, who hadn't been completely paying attention. He was in the middle of eating after all. You couldn't really expect a male to listen and eat at the same time (except in the case of Muggle men, eating dinner in front of the TV, of course).
"No Ron, I'm not getting any lingerie for you. Although Hermione is always complaining about you borrowing her knickers. Maybe I should…"
"WHAT?" shouted Ron, spraying partly chewed duck biryiani all over his sister, who had the misfortune to be opposite him.
"I didn't say anything of the kind," pleaded a very embarrassed Hermione, who went back to gobbling down her surprisingly large dinner.
"So he has been borrowing your knickers then?" called Seamus, from down the table...
The Room of Requirement, later on
As Luna Lovegood sashayed dreamily across to the comfy chairs where Harry was waiting, he said to her. "Thanks for coming, Luna."
"Oooh, you're going to propose to Ginny…how romantic," she responded.
"Do you have any idea how freaky it is when you do that?"
"Ach, its gift. So, how do you need my help?"
"I need to get her a ring. I've no idea where to start. You've been friends for a long time, haven't you?"
"Great, I love a challenge." Luna looked up towards the ceiling and called out "Dipsy?"
An elderly, female house-elf appeared. She was small and frail and wore her Hogwarts insignia pillowcase in a modest fashion. It was up high around her neck and came down below her knees, pulled in at the waist with a shiny pink belt. Harry assumed this must be Dipsy.
"How can Dipsy help Missy Lovesgood?"
Luna spoke very loud and clearly to the old elf, who was obviously a bit deaf.
"Please will you go and get the catalogue from my nightstand for me?"
Harry looked at Luna with his eyebrows raised.
"You're not the only one who makes friends with house-elves, you know."
After only a few moments, there was a quiet pop and Dipsy returned, handing a well-worn catalogue to Luna. Dipsy stood patiently as Luna had a quick look at the catalogue, making sure it was what she wanted. Thinking this old elf might be able to pass on a message for him, Harry decided to speak to her.
"Hey-ho, Dipsy!" called Harry. "Do you know Dobby?"
"Oooh yes, I knows mad Dobby. Every elf knows mad Dobby. Not right that one. Always banging on about some dead wizard 'e thinks 'e still talks to. All you can hear in the kitchens is ‘The Late Gary Jotter this’ and ‘The Late Gary Jotter that’. I steers well clear of mad Dobby."
With a nod to Luna, Dipsy the house-elf disappeared with a pop. Harry was stunned. Luna thought to herself for a few moments before she spoke again.
"I've never heard of a wizard called Gary Jotter. I wonder who he was. I wonder if Hermione has read about him in the library. I'll have to ask her."
After a few more minutes of wistfulness from Luna, which Harry spent repeatedly banging himself in the head with a book that the room conveniently provided him, Luna started to show Harry the catalogue.
"It's a jewellery catalogue, Harry. It has everything you could possibly need. I get all of my earrings from them."
Harry glanced at the blond haired girl's current choice of ear-wear…baby corn. Harry was starting to wonder if Luna was the best person to help him after all. It was too late to change his mind now however, so Harry politely turned his attention to the catalogue.
At the beginning, all of the items were made out of vegetables; radish earrings, green bean necklaces, broad bean bracelets. There were pages of the stuff. Some of it wasn't even that bad, Harry thought. Brooches made out of citrus fruit pips in all shapes and sizes can actually be fashioned into all sorts of popular wizardly designs.
Eventually, they got to what Harry thought of as "real stuff". On the very last page Luna showed Harry, they found it — the perfect ring.
"Wow, Harry. Look at the price. A gazillion Galleons."
"I don't care, Luna. That's the one."
"OK Harry, I'll get it for you."
Gryffindor Tower, the last day of term
Harry stood, nervous and sweating slightly, gazing into the eyes that stared back at him. He took a deep breath and started to speak. His voice was confident and assured. There was no doubt that Harry Potter meant every word.
"Ginny, over the last six months, I've come to realise how much you mean to me. I never want to be without you. You are my strength, my power, my whole reason for fighting. I'm fighting for the future of the world, yes, but in my heart I'm fighting for our future. Our future together. I love you so much. Will you do me the honour of becoming my wife?"
"Yes…I mean…very good. Excellent, in fact. She's bound to say yes after a speech like that. Oh look, I'm steaming up."
Reassured, Harry walked out of his Head Boy's private bathroom, leaving the magical mirror to sort itself out on its own.
Fred and George's room at the Burrow, four days before Christmas
Fred and George Weasley were extremely underestimated young men. Whilst to the outside world they portray the image of fools, jesters or funny men; deep down, they were really quite sensitive souls, who cared for their family a great deal. As they both lay there in the dark, waiting to fall asleep, George's mind was churning.
"I've been thinking, Fred."
"I knew I heard a strange clunking noise. I thought it was Ron and Hermione snogging."
"No, no, no. That would sound more like water being sucked up through a hose."
"You're right. Definitely more of a water-sucking noise. What have you been thinking about?"
"Harry and Ginny. I overheard them talking about how they were desperate to get some time to themselves, but how hard it is in this madhouse. I think we need to help them out a bit."
"I agree. Let's start tomorrow."
"Right you are brother mine."
With that decided, the twins simultaneously turned on to their sides and fell asleep.
The Burrow, three days before Christmas
In the morning, the inhabitants of the Burrow awoke to a glorious scene. Overnight snowfall had left everything covered in a beautiful, thick, white blanket. Icicles hung precariously from the eaves of the house. The morning sunlight glinted off the frozen pond. In the lane, the snow was glistening. By some extraordinary miracle during breakfast, Fred and George managed to persuade Hermione that it would be a jolly jape to go out into the garden for a snowball fight. With Hermione going, Ron of course had to go too. The invisible piece of elastic connecting the two would only stretch so far.
Claiming that he had a headache, caused by the combination of Ron's snoring and an out-of-date Pumpkin Pasty he had eaten on the train home, Harry stayed inside. This meant that Ginny had to stay inside as well, as their invisible elastic was even shorter. The two young lovebirds settled down on the sofa, confident that they wouldn't be disturbed for a little while at least. Mrs. Weasley was in the kitchen baking something that smelled quintessentially Christmassy. Fortunately, for Harry and Ginny, it required her complete attention. Everyone else (Mr. Weasley, Bill, Fleur and Charlie) was either at work or out somewhere.
After what seemed like only a few moments, but was actually more like five minutes, Harry and Ginny were startled out of their snuggling by the sounds of pandemonium in the kitchen. Within seconds, a blur of red hair, bushy brown hair and blood had whirled like a tornado into the lounge.
It turned out that Fred had managed to break Ron's nose with a direct hit from a snowball that actually contained a lump of house-brick. Hermione and Mrs. Weasley fussed over Ron, who tried to protest that he was okay. This was fairly futile however, as every time he spoke, or even breathed, blood sprayed over his mother who was crouched in front of him, trying to cast a healing charm.
After sorting out Ron, and ordering him to sit where he was for a while so as not to get light-headed, Mrs. Weasley whirled round to give Fred a good dressing down. After the first seven minutes listening to the tirade, Ginny turned to look at Harry. He gave a half-hearted shrug in response as he watched his and Ginny's quality time disappearing up the chimney.
Their tender moment lost, Ginny headed upstairs to make a start on her Potions assignment; describing the negative impacts of accidentally spilling chocolate-coated raisins into partially brewed sleeping draughts. Harry remained sitting on the sofa, looking around for something against which he could bang his head.
12 Grimmauld Place, two days before Christmas
"I can't believe I didn't think of this before," Harry said to Ginny as they cuddled up on the sofa in Sirius' old house. It smelt a little musty, and there was a slight damp feeling in the air, but Harry and Ginny didn't mind. They were alone. No one knew where they were. No one would come and find them here.
"Well, seeing as though Remus is away, and no-one knows we're here, lets make the most of things shall we?"
"What an excellent idea," agreed the young man, as he closed in for a kiss. It wasn't long before the two teens were completely oblivious to the world around them.
Back at the Burrow, around the same time
After the spectacular failure of Operation Snowball, Fred and George had come up with a new plan; Operation Phoenix. Unfortunately, the twins were unaware that Harry and Ginny had taken off to Order Headquarters already and were expecting it to be empty. Fred and George had hoped, that by taking all the older Weasleys out of the house, both Harry and Ginny and the water-suckers would have a pleasant evening, without adults.
Molly Weasley had been secretly impressed with her twin sons' commitment to the Order of the Phoenix. They had shown a previously hidden level of seriousness and maturity in their persuasive arguments that an Order meeting was necessary. So much so, that she had been convinced, and had then contacted her husband to convene a meeting of the Order of the Phoenix.
Back (again) at 12 Grimmauld Place, about half an hour later
Molly, Arthur, Bill, Fleur, Charlie and the twins arrived in the kitchen at HQ. When the disorder of seven adults arriving through the floo had died down, everyone apart from Molly sat down at the large kitchen table, waiting for others to arrive. Molly, as usual, bustled around, getting out cups, teapots and the like. Hearing a noise upstairs that sounded a lot like giggling, Molly decided to head up to the lounge and investigate. Opening the lounge door, Molly got the shock of her life when she saw Harry with his trousers down and Ginny's hands in a rather compromising location.
"WHAT IS GOING ON IN HERE?" she bellowed from the doorway.
The two startled teens jolted apart as if struck by a highly charged electric eel, with Harry trying to return his trousers to the 'on position' at the same time.
Thinking exceptionally quickly, Ginny proceeded to explain to her mother that while they were looking at one of the tapestries, Harry had been bitten in a delicate area by something that was hiding in the wall behind the aforementioned tapestry, possibly a doxy. Ginny tried to assure her mother that she had everything in hand.
"I could see that, young lady."
Ginny blushed, suddenly realising the double meaning of her last comment.
After closing and locking the lounge door with a quick swish of her wand, Molly turned back to Harry.
"Right then, my boy. Let's have a look at it."
"Show me where you were bitten. I'll need to see it so I can figure out what bit you."
"I think it's okay…really," pleaded Harry, the desperation in his voice evident.
"Don't be so bashful, Harry. I've got seven sons, including you, there's nothing I haven't seen before. Now come along, stand up, and let's have a good look at you."
Reluctantly, Harry got to his feet and started unbuttoning his jeans for the second time in half an hour.
"Ginevra, go and stand over there," said Molly, sharply, "and don't turn around until I tell you."
Ginny complied with her mother's instruction, not wanting to push their luck any further.
"Right then, Harry. Let's see. Hmmm. Well, it does seem a bit swollen, but I'm sure it'll go down on its own…"
The Burrow, later that night
Despite the chill of the winter air, Harry and Ginny sat on the veranda looking out at the snowy grounds that surrounded the Burrow. They weren't quite as pretty as the day before, but in the moonlight it was still a nice, romantic moment for them.
"I can't believe we got away with that doxy story," Ginny whispered quietly.
"Got away with it?" Harry whispered indignantly. "I'm not sure having your mum inspect my beater's bat and bludgers counts as getting way with it."
"At least she believed me and didn't ask what we were really doing."
They sat close but silent for several minutes before Ginny spoke again.
"A beater's bat? Not quite, Honey."
The Burrow, the day before Christmas
Harry awoke early on Christmas Eve and made his way down to breakfast. Molly was up, of course, and she soon handed Harry a plate of bacon, eggs and toast. Surprisingly, Fred and George were the next to appear. When Molly took a cup of tea up to Arthur, the twins quickly took the opportunity to speak to Harry.
"Listen, Harry mate. We know you've been trying to get some 'quality time' with our sister," began Fred.
"Uh-huh!" responded a slightly confused Harry.
"So we've been trying to help you out a bit," continued George.
"Unfortunately, things haven't gone quite to plan, what with Ron's nose and you being at HQ already," picked up Fred.
"Why do I get the feeling this is leading somewhere?"
"We knew you were a smart one, Harry. Didn't we Fred?"
"Certainly we did, George."
"Now then, if you've finished eating, there's a lovely spot a couple of fields over. Perfect for young lovers to meet…"
"…And do whatever it is young lovers do."
"And we're going to show you. Come on!"
Half an hour later, Harry was following the twins past the orchard, over a style, through a gate or two before they finally stopped at the far end of meadow. They'd come up and over a slight crest, but it was big enough that the Burrow was well hidden from view. Harry used his wand to clear the snow off a fallen tree that lay in a hollow, before sitting down on the trunk.
"So, what now?"
"Now, our favourite investor, we go back home and tell our favourite sister…"
"That you want her to meet you here. See ya later transfigurator!"
Before Harry could object to the plan, the twins turned tail and headed back across the meadow, over the crest and out of sight. Excited by one of their plans actually looking like it was going to work, neither twin noticed that George had left one of the gates to the meadow open, allowing the cows from the neighbouring field to wander in.
Unbeknownst to Harry, who was hidden by the undulations of the land, Farmer Hoggett's entire herd of award winning Friesians made its way into the picturesque meadow, churning the fluffy white snow into a muddy, slushy quagmire. To make matters worse, the herd had dined the night before on a decidedly dodgy batch of cattle cake. Several of the cows were now relieving their aching tummies all over Harry's lovely little meadow.
Back at the Burrow, the youngest Weasley was not in the best of moods.
"Have any of you seen Harry this morning?"
"I think I saw him disappearing off with twins, about an hour ago," answered Molly.
"That's just typical," muttered Ginny. "We've had no time together at all so far and the first chance he gets he's off with the twins. Well, heaven help him when I get hold of him…" She continued to chunter to herself throughout her breakfast, occasionally banging on the table with her fist.
"Well look who got out of the bed on the wrong side this morning." George's cheery voice sailed in through the kitchen door. It reached Ginny, where it slammed into a virtual wall of iron, before scuttling off to hide in the kettle.
Turning her head slowly to the door, Ginny spoke with a quiet menace that would have cut glass.
"Where. Is. Harry?"
"Um…calm down sis….Harry's…"
Fred took over from his brother, who, despite the chilly winter air, was starting to sweat under Ginny's gaze.
"Harry's asked us to give you message. He wants you to meet him at…"
The "Picturesque Meadow", a short while later
After a half hour trek across the countryside, Ginny Weasley had got herself fired up into quite a tizzy. She was incensed that Harry hadn't waited for her. They always had breakfast together if they could; at Hogwarts or at home. It was just what they did.
She arrived at the meadow, surprised to find the gate open. Everyone knows that you keep gates shut in the country…didn't they? Starting to make her way across the meadow, she noticed the cows dotted all over the place. Surely, Harry wasn't waiting for her in a field of cows, was he?
The muddy, slushy ground was treacherously slippery. It did not help Ginny's mood when she slipped and landed on her bum, smack in the middle of a cowpat.
"Aaaaarrrrggghhhh!" she yelled as she struggled back to her feet.
"Ginny? Is that you?" Harry's voice drifted across the meadow, possibly from down in the hollow at the far side.
Battling onward, increasingly irate at the state of her clothes, shoes, hair and face, which were all now dirty with both mud and, well, other stuff.
Finally, she made her way down into the hollow where Harry was waiting. Making almost the greatest mistake of his life, Harry revealed a small smirk at the state of his girlfriend.
"Is this supposed to be funny, Potter? I was hoping we could spend some quality time together today but no, you go missing with Fred and George. What about breakfast, hmmm? We always have breakfast together. Couldn't be bothered today is that it? Is that how our relationship works? Is it? When you can be bothered. And then, if you haven't already done enough, you make me come here, like a master calling his pet, with all these cows and their shit. It's in my hair, on my face…and look at my clothes. If this is what being your girlfriend is going to be like then you can forget it."
And then, with as much dignity as she could muster, Ginny Weasley stomped off, back up the meadow towards her home.
"Gin wait! Let me explain".
Spinning on her heel a little too quickly, she almost fell over again. Regaining her composure she shouted back.
"Don't you Gin me. See how you like the taste of cow shit."
Her wand was out in a blur.
"BOVINUS EXCREMENTO!" screamed Ginny. Not waiting to see if her spell hit its target, she started across the field once more.
Harry dodged the stream of thick brown sludge that was hurtling towards his head. It splattered into the tree trunk behind him, leaving a huge area covered in steaming cow poo. Without hesitating, Harry chased after the retreating form of his girlfriend, although that description, it seemed, was now in doubt.
Easily catching her up with his longer legs, Ginny slowly calmed down as Harry explained that either Fred or George must have left the gate open. He managed to convince her that it was supposed to be a romantic spot they could spend some time together. By the time they arrived back at the Burrow, a very relieved Harry was confident that their relationship was okay. In fact, he intended to make sure of it in just a moment. First of all though, Ginny had something to take care of.
In a voice that would make her mother proud, Ginny yelled at the top of her voice.
"FRED AND GEORGE WEASLEY GET OUT HERE THIS INSTANT."
Fred and George came out, a little anxious. They knew better than to disobey a Weasley female who was using that voice. All the rest of the family are were at home today, so everyone came out to see what the fuss was.
"Right you miserable pair. Which one of you left the gate open that let all the cows into that field you just sent me to?"
Noticing the dishevelled and dirtied state their sister was in, neither could quite manage to suppress a laugh.
"Wrong answer boys. Time to meet the follow up to the BBH."
"Huh?" they said together.
Ginny proceeded to hit them both with a Bovinus Excremento, much to the delight of the watching family. Both of the twins, staggered back as they were struck by Ginny's spell. After a few steps, they tripped over a log and lay on their backs, steaming in the chilly winter air.
"Now that’s sorted, I'm off for a bath," stated Ginny, in her 'Get out of my way or you'll get the same' voice. She headed towards the door to the kitchen.
Harry realised this was his moment. He moved quickly and grabbed her arm.
"Hold on a minute, Ginny, please?"
"What is it, Harry?"
"There's something I've wanted to say to you for the last three days. I've been waiting for the perfect moment, so I could say the perfect words but thanks to your brothers, over there, I've come to the conclusion that the perfect moment is never going to arrive. Therefore, I'm going to say it now anyway.
Ginny, at the moment you are angry, but all I see is spirit and passion. I know you must smell really bad, but all I can smell is the fresh delicacy of the perfume you wear. Your face is covered with cow poo but I don't care, I still want to kiss every part of it. I'm totally in love with everything about you and I can't imagine my life without you in it.
I couldn't find a perfect moment and I haven't said any of the perfect words I had intended on, but I do have the perfect ring. So, what do you say Gin? Will you marry me?"
Ginny looked down at the ring Harry held out to her. It was a gold band with an amazing combination of ruby and emerald, set to resemble a yin yang symbol. Her hands trembling, she reached out and touched it. Slowly, steadily, he took the beautiful ring from its velvet box and slid it purposefully onto her finger. Staring into each other's eyes, there was no need for words. Harry could see her answer shining in those big brown eyes.
The rest of the family, except Fred and George, who steamed quietly to themselves a few yards away, surrounded Harry and Ginny and engulfed them in a big nine-person hug. Eventually, they broke apart and Molly, Hermione and Fleur demanded a look at the ring. Ron, who couldn't go far from Hermione because of the invisible elastic, had a look too.
"I guess that the emerald is for Harry's eyes, and the ruby means…" Ron trailed off. "Nope, I've got no clue."
"Ronald, you really have the intellect of a short plank that's pretending to be especially thick," chastised Hermione. "
The Burrow, Christmas Day, just before lunch
All the Weasleys (except Big Head Boy, of course), Harry and Hermione were sitting around the battered old kitchen table having pre-lunch eggnog. The turkey was sizzling in the oven; chestnuts were roasting on the open fire. Jack Frost wasn't nibbling toes, however because a spell of low pressure had come across making it a bit milder. Happily laughing and chatting, the group were soon surprised by a very efficient rat-a-tat-tat on the door. It was Percy, begging for forgiveness. After apologising to everyone in turn, in a most subservient and humble manner, he was welcomed back into the family by all.
As Percy sat down, he explained that he had quit the Ministry in order to spend more time with his family. Not expecting much, Percy then asked if anyone else had got any exciting news
"Well, Percy," Ginny began. "Harry and I just got engaged."
Before Percy had a chance to respond, Bill cut in. "As people are announcing things, Fleur and I are excited to tell you that we've just bought a house in the next village."
"And we've just taken out a lease on another store," added George, on behalf of the twins.
Charlie nervously spoke up next. "Mum, Dad, everyone. I've quit my dragon handling job. I'm setting up a nail-bar in Hogsmeade with my friend Leonard."
Charlie's announcement was followed by silence. The wind rattled the loose window pane in the window above the sink. The turkey sizzled in the oven louder than ever before. From somewhere, a piece of tumbleweed rolled through the kitchen. All round the table, Weasleys, both actual and honorary shifted uncomfortably.
"Um…..I have an announcement too," squeaked out Hermione.
"Great, Hermione," said Charlie enthusiastically, eager to get the spotlight onto someone else. "Let's hear it then."
"What?" cried almost everyone else.
"WHAT?" cried Ron, half a second later as his brain caught up.
"Who's the father, Hermione?" asked Ginny, tenderly.
"Ron, of course!"
There was a painful thud as Ron slid off his chair onto the hard stone floor.
The Burrow, late Christmas night
Only Molly and Arthur remained awake, sitting in the kitchen having a cup of cocoa. Everyone else had gone to bed, or returned to their own homes.
"Well Molly dearest. That was by far the most unusual Christmas day we've ever had."
"I agree, Arthur. Ron's never missed a Christmas dinner before."
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