|SIYE Time:13:30 on 18th May 2021|
Ginny Gets the Guy
By Jim McGuffin
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Category: December Engagement Challenge (2006-6)
Story is Complete
Summary: Ron tells his twin brothers about Harry's plan to marry Ginny, but they disappear to plan some sort of surprise for them. What could it be?
Hitcount: Story Total: 5739
Disclaimer: Rowling, not me!
Sorry for the last-minute entry. I was busy over the holidays, but I promised that I would write this fic, for Jacqueline and her family. Enjoy!
“Run, Harry, Run!” Ron Weasley called out in warning.
Harry Potter needed no second bidding. The two of them were being chased, and they desperately needed to find some place to hide in order to avoid being caught and tortured.
It was Wednesday of the final week of classes before the Christmas holidays at Hogwarts. Harry and Ron Weasley had just completed their last class of the day, Potions, while Hermione Granger still had Ancient Runes left on her schedule. The two seventh years had been on their way from the dungeons to the common room when they were spotted.
“There’s no way we’ll be able to make it all the way up to Gryffindor Tower,” Harry pointed out once they had reached the fourth floor.
“We need to find a place to hide,” Ron agreed. “Didn’t Fred and George say that there’s a secret passageway behind that mirror?”
“Not anymore,” Harry reminded him. “Didn’t it cave in years ago?”
“You’re right,” Ron conceded. “We’d better find a place to find and quickly, before they catch up to us.”
“Too bad I don’t have my Invisibility Cloak with me,” Harry frowned.
“I think I hear them coming!” Ron warned.
“How about that room over there?” Harry pointed over towards an unused classroom. “It’s our only hope.”
And so Harry and Ron dashed into the classroom, not a moment too soon. They knew that if they were caught, they’d suffer a fate worse than death. They kept the door ajar, waiting until the coast was clear before continuing to the tower.
“Oh, Harry Potter?” a voice called out. “Where are you? Don’t be scared. We wish you no harm.”
“That’s what they all say,” Ron whispered to Harry.
“And we’re not picky at all. We’ll settle for Ron Weasley!”
Finally, a few tense moments later, ten feet scurried up the staircase. Harry and Ron took the chance to gather their breath.
“They’re bloody mental!” Ron told Harry. “Armed and dangerous, that’s what they are!”
“You’re telling me!” Harry laughed. “There’s no one more troublesome in this school than Romilda Vane and her pack of fifth year girls, armed with mistletoe!”
“Do you reckon it’s safe to come out now?”
“Not yet. They’re Gryffindors, so they’ll be able to see us in our common room. Let’s stay here for a while and have a little chat about something.”
“Like what?” asked Ron.
“Well, it’s almost Christmas,” Harry pointed out, “and Hermione and Ginny are both in class. Perhaps we should come up with some ideas on what to buy our girlfriends for Christmas. We ought to buy them something nice, since we did earn some money during our summer jobs for Flitwick.”
“You earned some money, not me,” said Ron. “I was sacked my first week on the job, remember?”
“That’s right.” Harry thought back to the previous summer, when Professor Flitwick had assigned Diagon Alley jobs to all of the seventh years. Harry had been assigned to Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor and fared reasonably well, but Ron had been engaged in a row with his boss at the Magical Menagerie concerning overtime hours, which led to his termination.
“So how will I be able to buy Hermione a Christmas gift?” Ron lamented.
“How about this,” Harry suggested. “We’ll split the eighty Galleons I earned this summer. That’s forty Galleons apiece, which is plenty enough for you to buy something nice for Hermione and for me to buy Ginny a gift as well.”
“You know I’ll never accept money from you, mate,” Ron reminded him.
“Technically speaking,” Harry pointed out, “I’d be giving you money to spend on Hermione’s present, so I’m actually giving Hermione the money, not you. And Hermione will be disappointed if she finds out that her boyfriend is a cheapskate.”
“All right then,” Ron conceded. “I’ll accept your forty Galleons then. So what should we buy for the girls?”
Harry and Ron paced around the classroom, trying to come up with ideas on what to purchase for their respective girlfriends.
“Look at all this stuff,” Ron looked at the objects scattered throughout the room. “Old books and scrolls and even broken wands. This seems to be a old classroom of some sort, but it hasn’t been used in ages.”
“Hey, what’s this?” asked Harry suddenly as he stared at a certain piece of glass.
“Nah, it can’t be!” Ron added with disbelief.
“But it is indeed.”
For Harry and Ron were now looking at the Mirror of Erised, a special mirror they had discovered back in their first year. The mirror had the power to reveal the heart’s innermost desires. This was the very room in which they had first found the mirror, although it had been moved to protect a certain stone from evil wizards who wished to use it for their own less-than-noble deeds. But neither of them had ever thought about what had happened to the Mirror of Erised once that stone was recovered. Apparently it had been in this very room for years.
“I remember seeing myself becoming Head Boy and Quidditch Captain,” Ron reminded Harry.
“But that dream came true this year,” Harry pointed out. “You are both Head Boy and Quidditch Captain.”
“You’re right. So the mirror would show me something different now, wouldn’t it.”
“Well, there’s only one way to find out.”
And so Ron began to stare into the Mirror of Erised. “I see -- I see, a dead Lord Voldemort, and all the wizards in the world are celebrating. I see Bill and Fleur starting a wonderful family. I see Charlie marrying his Romanian girlfriend Katia Krum. I see Fred and George making millions with their joke shop. I see Ginny having a nice, tranquil final year at Hogwarts.”
“What about Percy?” asked Ron.
“I don’t see him -- ah, now I do. There’s Percy, winning the Order of Merlin award. And there’s Dad, being promoted to head of Magical Law Enforcement and earning the recognition he deserves.”
“And your Mum?” asked Harry.
“She’s standing by his side, happy that the entire family has survived the war,” said Ron.
“That’s an interesting desire,” Harry commented. “The first time you looked in the mirror, you wanted glory for yourself, and now you desire glory and happiness for the rest of your family. And since the first dream came true, maybe this one will as well.” But then Harry frowned. “But my own desire was to see my Mum and Dad alive, and that one will never come true.”
“Go on,” Ron urged. “Look in the mirror.”
“There’s no point,” Harry replied. “I’ll just see my family again.”
“Maybe you won’t,” Ron insisted. “You remember, just like in first year when you envisioned yourself finding the Stone. Maybe this time you’ll see yourself holding one of the Horcruxes or something.”
“Okay, very well then.”
So Harry decided to give the mirror another go. “No, I don’t see any Horcruxes. Just Mum and Dad again.”
“Are you sure about this?” asked Ron.
“Yes it -- no wait, it’s changing. Now I see myself wearing some sort of tuxedo, and,” he paused for a moment before continuing, “Ginny, wearing a long, white dress.”
“Like a wedding dress?”
“Yes, that’s exactly what it is,” Harry agreed, “a wedding dress. And I see all of your family there, with all of their respective significant others, and several Order members there. And now Ginny and I are standing at an altar, and now I’m giving her a kiss.”
Ron grinned. “It sounds as if your desire is to marry my sister.” Then his face lit up. “That’s it! That’s what you can buy Ginny for Christmas. An engagement ring!”
“I don’t know,” Harry hesitated. “Of course I love Ginny very much, but I’m much too young to be making that sort of commitment.”
“Your father did not think he was too young for that sort of commitment,” came a voice. Harry and Ron looked up to see that Headmistress McGonagall had entered the room. “Yes, Potter, your father proposed to your mother around Christmas of their seventh year as well. They did not actually marry, of course, until a couple of autumns later, but he did give her an engagement ring.”
“That’s interesting to know,” Harry replied.
“In those days of war,” McGonagall continued, “wizards and witches were eloping left and right, and the same is happening now. You are on a dangerous mission to defeat the darkest wizard of all time. How do you think your girlfriend would feel if you were killed without having told her how you truly feel? I agree with Mr. Weasley here, and that you should buy here the ring for Christmas.”
“We can go out to Hogsmeade and buy it tomorrow,” Ron suggested. “We have the day off tomorrow and Friday, while Ginny still has classes those days. Hermione can help us, since she has tomorrow off too.”
“Hey, that’s a very good idea, Ron,” Harry agreed. "But we must keep this all a secret from Ginny until I propose. There is no bloody way she could know beforehand, okay?"
"Sure, mate," Ron promised.
“Hmmm,” mumbled Professor McGonagall.
“Professor,” said Harry, “remember that I had agreed to return to Hogwarts for my seventh year on the condition that the three of us be allowed to leave freely on Thursdays and Fridays.”
“But that was so you could complete the mission for Dumbledore,” said the headmistress, referring to the search for the Horcruxes. “I am not about to let you go just so you could do some Christmas shopping.”
“You told us that we could leave for any reason whatsoever, no questions asked,” Ron reminded her.
“Very well then,” she conceded. “The two of you, along with Miss Granger, may go shopping. I suggest you go to Diagon Alley rather than Hogsmeade, so as not to raise suspicion from the other students. Oh, and it is safe to return to your dormitory now. I have already given Miss Vane a detention for chasing you around the school.”
“It’s settled then. Oh, and one more thing,” Ron added, “here’s your forty Galleons back. You’ll need them, knowing how expensive rings are!”
The next day was Thursday. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were in Professor McGonagall’s office, ready to take the Floo to Diagon Alley.
“This is a wonderful idea,” Hermione told Harry. “Ginny will be so excited.”
“And since you have no more classes the rest of this week,” the headmistress began as she threw a pinch of powder into the fireplace, “you are not obligated to return until the new year. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
“Diagon Alley,” Harry voiced, and as he, Ron, and Hermione stepped into the fire, they all instantly arrived at the fireplace inside the Leaky Cauldron.
“Hello, Tom,” Harry greeted.
“Good to see you again,” the bartender replied. “What brings you here?”
“I’m off to buy a ring,” Harry explained. “It’s a Christmas present for my girlfriend. Have you any suggestions on a good place to buy one?”
“Try Madam Malkin’s,” Tom suggested. “I’m sure they have plenty of rings there.”
And so Harry, Ron, and Hermione stepped outside the Leaky Cauldron into the chilly morning air. They started to head towards Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions. He hadn’t been to Diagon Alley since the end of August, when he’d worked in the ice cream shop. He’d been filling in for Mr. Fortescue, who was most likely dead. The shop was now closed, no one having filled the void since Harry left. Then again, with snow completely covering the ground, it wasn’t exactly ice cream weather anymore, to say the least.
“Hey, let’s go inside the Magical Menagerie,” Hermione grinned evilly.
“Noooo!” Ron screamed, memories of his terrible summer job there haunting him once again.
“I’m just kidding!” Hermione giggled.
“What’s this I hear?” asked Fred Weasley, stepping outside of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. “Could it be ickle Ronniekins, Head Boy and Quidditch Captain, screaming at the top of his lungs like a little girl?”
“I bet Hermione bought some spider legs from Apothecary and shoved them down Ron’s robes,” said his twin George.
“Very funny,” said Ron sarcastically.
“So, what brings you here?” asked Fred.
“I’m buying a Christmas present for Ginny,” Harry informed the twins.
“He’s going to propose to her on Christmas Day,” Ron added nonchalantly.
“Ron!” Harry scolded his friend. “That was supposed to be a secret!”
“So we’re even now,” Ron declared.
“Even?” asked Harry, confused. “For what?”
“Remember when Hermione and I hooked up on her birthday?” Ron demanded. “We were drunk that night and Colin Creevey took embarrassing photos of us, then you just had to go and send those photos to Fred and George. And now I even the score by telling them about your engagement!”
“Don’t worry,” Fred continued, “we wouldn’t do anything to ruin your engagement.”
“On the contrary,” George added, “we’re going to help you two out!”
“Just leave everything to us,” Fred insisted. “Here’s what’s going to happen. George and I will buy everything you need, including the ring and a special surprise of ours. Then we’ll send Ginny and owl telling her to come to our flat here upstairs. That’s where you’ll be, Harry, ready to bend down on one knee and propose to her.”
“You’ll have plenty of privacy,” George noted, “to propose to her and take care of any other business the two of you might have, if you know what I mean.”
“But about Hermione and me?” asked Ron.
“Your job, ickle Ronniekins, will be to take care of our store for us while we’re gone,” Fred told him. “It will be a second chance to make it as a retailer.”
“We’re heard what happened to your first attempt,” George was referring to Ron’s ill-fated summer job at the Magical Menagerie once again.
“A Head Boy and Quidditch Captain should have no trouble selling our wares to the dozens of customers who are interested in our fine products,” Fred pointed out.
“Christmas is only a week away,” George reminded him, “so the queues will be long. But Hermione will be there to keep you in check, and provide other fringe benefits at break time, if you know what I mean.”
“We’re off now. Accio brooms!” Fred summoned the twins’ broomsticks, and he and George mounted them and started to fly away from Harry, Ron, Hermione, as well as Diagon Alley completely.
“He’ll take the next customer,” George called out, pointing towards the ground at Ron.
And so Ron and Hermione were instantly thrust into business. Fortunately, although there were many adults who wanted to purchase items from the shop, the queues were not too long as Hogwarts was still in session and so the children were not present. Harry spent the day upstairs in the twins’ flat, trying to decide on the precise words he would use to Ginny in proposing to her. Although it was true that marrying her was his deepest desire, he was nonetheless nervous about the proposal. He wanted to make sure that everything would turn out perfectly for the occasion.
That night, the twins still haven’t returned. It was time for Harry, Ron, and Hermione to arrange their sleeping arrangements.
“I’ll take the sofa in the main room,” Hermione suggested. “The two of you can each take one of the twins’ beds in the bedroom.”
“I’m tired,” said Ron once he and Harry reached Fred and George’s bedroom. “It’s been tough selling all of my brothers’ products, but it’s loads of fun. Sure beats the Magical Menagerie! I wonder why Professor Flitwick didn’t let us do our summer project there.”
“Probably because he knew you’d have too much fun -- Ouch!” Harry started to lie down on Fred’s bed when he felt something bite him in the back.
“Lumos!” Ron pointed towards George’s bed with his wand. “What are those creepy crawly things?”
“Bedbugs,” Harry realized. “It’s a Muggle expression. ‘Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite,’ they say. So apparently bedbugs are real in the Wizarding World?”
“They never used to be real,” Ron explained. “I bet you anything Fred and George invented them. Then they to stay out all night knowing that we’d have to sleep in their beds, so they planted them. Just like with the punching telescope last year with Hermione, remember?”
“Goodnight, Ron,” Harry greeted him once he had removed all the bedbugs.
“Sleep tight,” Ron replied, “and this time, don’t let the bedbugs bite.”
“I won’t,” Harry reassured him.
The next day was Friday, but there was still no sign of Fred and George anywhere. And with a long queue of customers already lined up at the shop downstairs, Ron and Hermione had no choice but to open up and start selling more of the twins’ products yet again. Harry decided to spend the day decorating Fred and George’s bedroom with mistletoe, this time hoping to kiss Ginny under the mistletoe, not Cho as he had two years earlier. At the end of the day, Hermione began to complain about the twins’ disappearance.
“How much longer can they be away, anyway?” she asked. “I’ve seen enough Nosebleed Nougats and Puking Pastilles to last me a lifetime. Surely it doesn’t take this long to find a ring for Ginny, does it?”
“Especially since Madam Malkin’s is just down the road,” Harry added.
“They took their brooms. Maybe they know a better jeweler who happens to live far away,” Ron suggested.
“But that’s another thing,” Hermione pointed out. “Why would they ride brooms, anyway? After all, they’d been finding excuses to Apparate every couple of feet ever since they first earned their licenses, so why wouldn’t they just Apparate to the jeweler? And besides, with the weather we’re having this time of year, who’d want to go flying on a broom, anyway? ”
“Hey, you’re right,” Harry agreed. “This is really starting to sound strange.”
“With Fred and George, anything is possible.”
The next day, with there still being no sign of Fred and George, Harry decided that it was time to take matters into his own hands.
“It’s Saturday,” he said. “The term is over at Hogwarts, and so Ginny could be here at any moment.”
“Then forget about Fred and George,” Hermione told him. “Just go over to Madam Malkin’s and buy the ring yourself.”
“But I’m not sure which ring will be the right one to buy for Ginny,” Harry realized.
“Then I’ll come and help you choose,” Hermione volunteered. “A feminine perspective can help, and besides, anything is worth escaping this store.”
“Don’t worry,” Ron reassured them as they headed downstairs to the store. “I’ll be able to handle the shop all by myself. Alohamora!” He pointed his wand at the front door. Instantly, a crowd of students having just returned from Hogwarts stampeded into the shop and started to play with the twins’ products.
“Whatever you say, Ron,” Hermione waved to him as she and Harry headed for Madam Malkin’s.
When they had crossed the snow-covered road and arrived at the clothier, Harry and Hermione were surprised to see Parvati Patil working there.
“What are you doing here?” asked Hermione, bewildered.
“I know you were here for Flitwick’s summer project,” Harry remembered, “but summer is over.”
“I know that,” Parvati replied, “but Madam Malkin said that I’d done such a good job that she asked me to come back over the Christmas holidays. If I do well, she may even give me a permanent job here after I finish my seventh year, so wish me luck! Anyway, what can I do for you?”
“I’m looking for a ring,” Harry informed her.
“An engagement ring,” Hermione added.
“Ooooh, so you’re going to propose to Ginny over Christmas?” Parvati smiled. “That’s something to gossip to everyone about when we go back to Hogwarts! Anyway, follow me. The rings are right this way.”
Harry was grateful that by the time they returned to school, he’d have already proposed, otherwise he’d definitely have trouble keeping it a secret with the way rumors flew around Hogwarts.
“Here we go,” Parvati showed him rings of variously colored gems. “Here’s a beautiful gold and diamond ring for Ginny.”
“Diamond rings turn black after many years, right?” asked Harry.
“They do,” Parvati admitted, “but not for many, many years, but --”
“No thanks,” he shook his head. Then he added to Hermione in a low voice, “it reminds me too much of Salazar Slytherin’s engagement ring for Helga Hufflepuff.” For the two of them, along with Ron, had discovered upon their research of the Hogwarts Founders and the Horcruxes that Slytherin had actually married Hufflepuff. It was an ill-fated marriage, and indeed it was their breakup that had caused Slytherin’s leaving the school. He certainly didn’t want any reminders of that ancient relationship.
“Anyway,” Harry spoke up again, “how about this ring? It’s red, which matches Ginny’s hair of course.”
“Ah, that’s another fine choice,” said Parvati. “That’s ruby.”
“Harry, did you know that the ruby stands for passionate love?” asked Hermione.
“And the ruby means -- what?” Harry asked in utter shock.
“Passionate love,” Hermione repeated. “After all, you do passionately love Ginny, right?”
“Uh, yeah,” Harry nodded, “but --”
“It’s perfect,” Parvati smiled. “After all, the way you and Ginny keep snogging each other all over the school, everyone knows that you passionately love each other. And, just as you said, it matches her hair.”
“Look at the cost,” Hermione pointed to the price tag. “It’s eighty Galleons. Isn’t that exactly how much you earned at your summer job?”
“That’s great,” Parvati cheered. “Then I’ll just wrap this ring up in a little box with a Christmas ribbon.”
“Still --” Harry paused. He did love Ginny, of course, but all with all this talk about passionate love, he still wasn’t sure whether he was making the right decision.
“Hi, Harry,” came a voice, and he looked up to see that standing right next to him was none other than Romilda Vane. Fortunately, she wasn’t carrying any mistletoe, but obviously she, like many other Hogwarts students, were in town to buy some last minute gifts, for she was carrying bags from Madam Malkin’s, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, and other stores. “Are you buying a present for me?” she asked eagerly.
“Of course not,” Harry replied. “I’m buying it for Ginny Weasley. You know, my girlfriend?” He added extra emphasis on that final word.
“Ooooh, a ruby ring!” Romilda called out triumphantly. “Ruby means passionate love, you know. I’m so happy that you feel that way about me, Harry!”
“I’m not buying you a ruby ring,” Harry told her, annoyed.
“Of course you aren’t, wink, wink,” she grinned. “Oh, and one more thing. I bought you a present, too.” She handed him a small package.
“Gee, thanks,” Harry replied sarcastically. He expected that the gift contained some sort of food laced with Love Potion, and therefore he had no intention of eating, nor even opening, the gift.
“Bye, Harry,” Romilda greeted him before leaving.
“Hey,” he turned back towards the display, “that’s a list of birthstones. And ruby, apparently, is the birthstone for July. Ginny’s birthday is in August.”
“Too late!” Parvati declared gleefully. “I already wrapped the ruby ring.”
“And besides, you were born in July,” Hermione pointed out, still trying to suppress a giggle, “so the ring can remind her of you.”
“I guess this is the best ring then,” Harry conceded. Red was not only the color of Ginny’s hair, but it was also Gryffindor’s color, and so it was fitting that Ginny’s ring would be of that particular color.
Harry and Hermione left Madam Malkin’s and returned to the snowy street. They were on their way back to the twins’ shop when he felt something burn in his pocket. “Ouch!” he called out.
“What is it?” asked Hermione. “Is it the package from Romilda?”
“No,” said Harry.
Suddenly Hermione felt the burning sensation, and she realized what it was as well. Both of them withdrew coins from their pockets.
“It’s the Protean charmed coins,” Harry realized. For the Order of the Phoenix, of which the two of them along with Ron were now members, had decided to adopt Hermione’s coins from the D.A. in order to call their meetings. “Apparently, the new Order Headquarters is at the Burrow, and there’s a meeting being called right now. But what about Ginny? She waiting for me to come over and give her the ring.”
“The meeting will be over well before Christmas,” Hermione pointed out. “What are we waiting for? Let’s Apparate on over there.” For Harry did finally pass his Apparition exam, right between his birthday and the start of his summer job. Indeed, Apparating to the Burrow was the final part of his exam, so he was definitely familiar with traveling there.
With a pop, Harry and Hermione arrived at the Burrow, where they met up with Ron. “I suppose you felt your pockets grow warm as well, right?”
“Of course, Ron,” Hermione replied. “Let’s go inside before we freeze to death.”
“Show me your Protean coins,” Mad-Eye Moody greeted them at the door. “You must show me your coins in order to prove your identity as members of the Order.”
So the three of them did so, and they entered the house. Several members of the Order were already seated in the family room, and Aberforth Dumbledore, his late brother’s successor as Head of the Order, stood in front of them to preside over the meeting.
“Welcome to an emergency meeting of the Order of the Phoenix,” Aberforth greeted them. “We’ve called this meeting because Misters Fred and George Weasley wanted to display some of their latest products, some of which may come in handy in the war. So, Mr. Fred Weasley, you have the floor.”
“Thank you, sir,” Fred began. “We have an entire weekend together, and that should be plenty of time to show everyone our new products. You’ll all be spending the night here, but let me warn you not to let the bedbugs bite! Of course, the bedbugs to be used on Death Eaters’ beds will be much more venomous.”
Harry laughed quietly to himself, knowing exactly what Fred was talking about. He could only imagine how Voldemort’s Death Eaters would respond when they find themselves sleeping with poison bedbugs.
“Now,” Fred continued, “the first product we will demonstrate tonight is the Forget-Me-All. It’s just like a Memory Charm, except this time you don’t need a wand. It looks just like a Remembrall, in fact, but instead of making people remember things, it makes them forget things. Imagine if the Death Eaters suddenly forget who their Dark Lord is, or how to use the Unforgivable Curses.”
“I’m sorry,” George, who was sitting between his twin and Harry, suddenly whispered to the latter. “Fred and I came up with this Order meeting so that the family would be distracted, and you could spend a quiet weekend with Ginny. We forgot you three were in the Order as well.”
“What about the ring you were supposed to buy for us?” Harry demanded. “You know, the ring you went out to buy?”
“We kind of forgot that as well,” said George. “We spent the whole time preparing your extra surprise.”
Harry sighed. He was starting to wonder whether the Forget-Me-All worked too well and now the twins were starting to forget everything.
The Order meeting ended up lasting until Tuesday. When at last the meeting was adjourned, the Order members started to leave the Burrow for their respective homes. There was a knock on the door.
“Hello, Harry, Ron, and Hermione,” Luna Lovegood, who lived across the street, greeted them. “I was waiting for your meeting to end so that I could invite you to my house this evening.”
“Hi, Luna,” Harry replied. “Who’s this bloke standing next to you?”
“I want you to meet my new boyfriend, Anthony Goldstein,” she introduced her tall, dark-haired friend.
“He’s one of the seventh-year prefects,” Ron recognized him.
“It’s good to see that you’re finally making friends with your fellow Ravenclaws,” Hermione added.
And so that evening, Harry, Ron, and Hermione headed across the street to the Lovegoods’ house, which also doubled as the printing location of the Quibbler. It was the second time they had visited the house, the first time being in August for Luna’s birthday.
Harry, Ron, Hermione, Luna, her father, Anthony, and his parents all met at the family room for dinner. Ron noticed that there was a candelabra at the center of the table.
“What are the candles for?” asked Ron curiously.
“My family and I are Jewish,” Anthony explained. “Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah.” Then his father lit the center candle and used it to light one of the eight side candles.
“We celebrate Hanukkah instead of Christmas,” Mrs. Goldstein continued. “It’s a time of celebration, of playing with the dreidel, of gift-giving, and just being with your family.”
“And don’t forget the latkes!” Anthony added. And so Mrs. Goldstein served the flat potato pancakes to everyone at the table.
“Mmmm, these are delicious,” Ron called out.
“The holidays are a happy time of year,” Luna spoke up, “but they are also a sad time of year as well.”
“What do you mean?” asked Hermione.
“My mother passed away seven years ago, on the second of December,” Luna shed a tear. “My father and I loved her very much. She was a writer, a wife, a mother, and a daughter. My father almost wasn’t sure he wanted to continue publishing after her death. But as he says, you have to move on. We will miss her very much, but she would have wanted us to continue living our lives. No matter who we lose, there will always be someone else to whom we can give our love. She’d be glad that I found my sweet Anthony here.”
They ate the rest of their meal in silence before Harry, Ron, and Hermione returned to the Burrow. The next day was Wednesday, Christmas Eve. A snowstorm began, signs that there would be a white Christmas this year for sure. Again, the three of them decided to return to Luna’s house for the second day of Hanukkah.
“I’m glad you’ve decided to come again,” Luna greeted them. “I’m surprised Ginny isn’t here, though.”
“Ginny?” said Harry as a small object fell out of his pocket. “How could I’ve forgotten about Ginny?”
“What is this?” asked Hermione as she inspected the object, which turned out to be Romilda’s unopened Christmas gift.
“You don’t suppose it’s --” Ron began
“A Forget-Me-All,” Harry realized. “Romilda was holding a bag from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes when she gave me her gift. She must have given it to me so that I’d forget to give Ginny the ring.”
“And give it to her instead,” Hermione added.
“Where’s Ginny, anyway?” asked Ron.
“She must be back at the twins’ flat,” Hermione figured out. “That’s where Fred and George sent her after Hogwarts let out for the --”
Before Hermione could finish her sentence, Harry had already Apparated to the twins’ flat, where he was staring face to face at Ginny.
“Where were you?” Ginny asked angrily. “My brothers told me that you’d be here, and then you made me wait for four days without explanation? I ought to hex you with the Bat Bogey right now!”
“I was -- I was buying you a Christmas present,” Harry spoke meekly.
Ginny’s expression melted. “How could I stay angry at you, Harry?” she laughed.
“And since you had to wait so many days to see me, I don’t mind if you open it right now.”
Ginny did exactly that. “Ah, a ruby ring. Ruby stands for passionate love. Does this mean what I think it means, Harry?”
Harry bent down on one knee. He remembered Luna’s words from the previous day, about how even though he’d lost his parents, there were still people to whom he could give his love left in the world, such as the girl who was standing in front of him. The vision that he’d seen in the Mirror of Erised was about to come true this very moment. Yet suddenly, the words couldn’t come out. As appropriate as he knew the marriage proposal was, he was still nervous about the situation.
Suddenly, there was an explosion outside. Harry and Ginny looked out the window, and saw, in the sky, against the setting sun, right through the falling snow, the words “Ginny, will you marry me?” appear as brightly as could be.
“Fred and George’s latest invention,” Ginny informed Harry. “It’s just like Muggle skywriting, except one flies on a broomstick to create it, they appear in any weather, and, like Portkeys, the words appear at a predetermined time.”
“And so,” Harry said, realizing that the twins had done their job after all, “what’s your answer to the question you see up there in the sky?”
Ginny replied in the affirmative. “Of course I will, Harry.” And they began to kiss each other deeply, a kiss full of the passionate love that her ruby ring symbolized perfectly.
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