Written by: Pili204
The crisp, cold air felt almost welcome, refreshing as it hit Ron’s face. He had been shoveling snow for what seemed liked hours, but today he needed to keep busy, so he wasn’t complaining. He had eagerly volunteered to do the job when his mum had complained about the piles of snow blocking the front and back entrances to the house.
“Mental,” George had muttered as he entertained himself in the sitting room with brightly colored Christmas decorations he had brought over from the shop. The new holiday items were a hit, and George couldn’t wait to surprise the rest of his siblings with the new products, which carried more than holiday cheer. “Who in their right mind is going to Apparate outside in this weather?” he asked to no one in particular as Ron made his way to the door carrying a shovel that their mum had summoned from the shed.
Ron shrugged his shoulders, half-agreeing with his brother and half-glad to have something to do. He quite liked the cold weather, and it would help him keep his mind from wandering to what Hermione might be doing. So shoveling the snow, instead of easily banishing it with the wave of his wand, was a distraction Ron needed.
Hermione had only left three days ago on holiday to Switzerland with her parents, and he already missed her terribly. He wanted her holiday to be over already, and yet he was a nervous wreck about what he wanted to do upon her return.
Ron was disappointed that they would be spending Christmas apart, but Hermione had argued that she hadn’t gone on holiday with her parents since her third year at Hogwarts, and that she couldn’t really say no because the holiday included attending her cousin’s wedding. Hermione was excited, so Ron decided not to let his disappointment ruin her trip and agreed to accompany Hermione to her parents’ house to dig out her luggage.
He still couldn’t exactly explain why, but when Hermione had mentioned the word ‘wedding’ something inside Ron stirred. Maybe it was the way Hermione’s eyes shone when she spoke of bridesmaids and the ruby colored dress she would be wearing, the bouquet, and the vows. She spoke about it in an excited, dreamy sort of tone, which made Ron’s face heat up unexpectedly. Or maybe it was because as he heard her speak of her holiday plans, Ron had, without thinking, imagined Hermione dressed in a simple yet perfect wedding dress. In that image that had come and gone in a flash, he had been standing next to her, dressed in elegant, black dress robes and fidgeting nervously.
Complete awe had been his immediate reaction. And more so when he realized that if he were to stand in front of the Mirror of Erised, that same image would appear in front of him. Somehow Ron knew that such an image wasn’t irrational… that it was quite within reach. And that he very much wanted it to happen. Soon.
All those revelations in such a short period of time had Ron’s head spinning. He felt happily dizzy, as if he had drank one too many bottles of Madame Rosemerta’s Meade. And he must have had a stupid grin on his face, because Hermione had stopped talking about Switzerland to ask if he was okay. He’d nodded absent-mindedly, gave her a lingering kiss that left them both breathless, and then proceeded to help her drag down her luggage out of her parents’ attic.
Since then, he couldn’t get that image out of his mind. He had to admit that he liked what he saw, even if it was a little scary. Or a lot.
Truth be told, Ron had never thought about getting married before, but he had never thought about his life without Hermione either. Even since their unexpected kiss during the final battle, Ron knew he and Hermione were meant to be together. He loved her, and he knew that she loved him. He had left behind insecurities and doubts, and since then, they had been happily dating.
It was over three years now, and although they were still young Ron knew he wanted to get married. He wanted to share everything with her––the routine of their everyday lives, the excitement and work behind every dream and goal, the laughter behind every silly mishap. He simply wanted to share it all, the good and the bad.
Ron only hoped Hermione would want the same, and that for some reason she didn’t think it was too soon or that they were too young to settle down. That’s why Ron had to find the perfect moment, the perfect way to propose. He couldn’t bugger this up. It was too important.
It was because of that image that on the same day Hermione left for Switzerland, Ron found himself in Hogsmeade pacing nervously in front of Lemminkainen’s Jewelsmythes Shop. For that same reason, he had gone into the shop and after listening to the witch behind the glass case explain the properties of different stones, he carefully picked out Hermione’s engagement ring. Now, he just needed to find the right moment to propose.
Ron couldn’t quite believe that he was actually going to be a married bloke. If Hermione accepted, that is.
A strong huff of wind blew in Ron’s direction, making him shiver involuntary. He looked around, and although there were still enough piles of snow covering the yard, none of them were blocking the front or back entrances to The Burrow now. His job was done, but he didn’t quite want to go back inside, not yet. I’ll wait for the smell of Mum’s roast, he thought good-humouredly.
Instead of heading back inside, Ron sat on a tree root that made its way out from the ground. He dusted off some snowflakes and found a comfortable position with his back against the trunk. He pulled his cloak tighter around himself, and then rubbed his hands together, hoping to create some warmth.
Ron hoped to have a chance to talk to his dad; it was his main reason for visiting The Burrow today instead of accepting Harry’s invitation for a get together in the Leaky Cauldron. Maybe his dad could offer some advice on how or when to propose, or better yet on how to control his increasing nerves. He didn’t want to give anything away. Ron knew his dad would keep his plan of proposing a secret, but he wasn’t sure about anyone else in his family.
He let out a chuckle as he imagined his mum’s reaction. She would let out an ‘Oh, Ronnie,” and hug him so tightly he would be left short of breath. Without a doubt she would be thrilled, wanting to start planning the wedding already. But it wasn’t time for the planning to begin, not when Hermione didn’t even know about his plans.
Ron had been carrying the velvet box in his pocket since he bought the ring. He thought about keeping it safe at the flat he shared with George, but he didn’t want to risk George (or anyone else) finding it. For now, it was his secret. And that’s how he wanted to keep it. But oddly enough, he also wanted to share it with someone else. He needed someone to tell him this idea wasn’t mad, that it wasn’t too soon, that they weren’t too young for such a big step.
He had though about telling Harry his plan of proposing, hoping his best mate would help him come up with a brilliant plan for the proposal, but he found he couldn’t even say the words out loud. Bugger. How the bloody hell am I going to have the guts to ask her?
Ron had been thinking non-stop about how to do it or when the right time would be, but until now he hadn’t come up with anything remotely right.
The evening sky was getting darker, only a smidge of the colorful sunset could be seen. The red and purplish colors of today’s sunset made Ron grin; he was reminded of the bright color stone of Hermione’s engagement ring. One of the reasons he had chosen it was because the color represented passion, and Ron had never met someone more passionate than Hermione, in every sense of the word. The ring, the color of the stone, would suit her. He had no doubt of it.
It was getting late and Ron hoped his dad would come home soon. His stomach growled, reminding Ron that he had skipped lunch, another side effect of his constant distraction. Thankfully, dinner would be ready soon. There were fumes escaping from the chimney connected to the kitchen, and Ron could now smell the savory dishes his mum had prepared.
“Ron,” he heard his mum calling, “dinner’s ready. Come in and clean up.”
“Be right in,” he shouted. He looked up at the sky and sighed as he realized his dad was running late tonight. Their talk might have to wait for another day, hopefully before Hermione’s return.
As Ron walked into the kitchen, he saw George putting on his traveling cloak. “Where you going?”
“The shop. Verity just Owled, there seems to be a problem with a delivery. I have to go and take care of it.”
“Just give me a minute and we’ll get going.” Ron enjoyed helping George with the shop, and it had brought them closer. It had been good for both of them. George had found a new partner to share his inventions. Not that Ron would ever replace Fred, but they got along surprisingly well. By helping his brother at the shop, Ron had not only been there during George’s times of darkest grief, but had also found he had a knack for business; and it was certainly more enjoyable than some of his assignments as an Auror.
“No, Ron, stay. Mum’s already fed me. You get some dinner. I’ll see you later at the flat.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. This’ll be quick, and I’m going to go see Angie after. You know the girl can’t live without me,” he joked.
“Tell her she needs to come over for dinner soon,” their mum added with a smile.
“Sure thing, Mum. Bye.” And with a flick of his wand, George disappeared from view.
“It looks like it’ll be just you and me, Ronnie.” She looked at her charmed clock that told her where everyone was and added, “Arthur must be buried in work.” She gave him a sad smile and busied herself with the cauldron on the stove.
Ron knew how much his mum liked having his dad home for dinner, especially when any of them visited. She liked having her family together every chance she got. It was a good thing George didn’t need him at the shop. Ron actually enjoyed talking with him mum, especially when it was just the two of them. And he wouldn’t want to have left her alone.
“Want me to set the table, Mum?” he asked, trying to distract her.
“Just spoons and bowls. I’ve got everything else ready. Careful,” she said as she levitated the steaming cauldron to the table. “Will you get the roast, Ron? It’s in the oven.”
“Sure, Mum,” he said as he opened the oven’s door, and the smell of the roast filled his nose. He definitely liked coming home for dinner. His mum’s food couldn’t be beat.
A large knife magically sliced a loaf of bread as Ron and his mum sat down to eat. “Have you heard from Hermione?” she asked as she poured a spoonful of hot soup in his bowl.
“Yes,” he said, quickly swallowing a bite of bread. “She Owled today; she and her parents arrived in Geneva yesterday.”
“That’s nice. Have you picked out her Christmas present already?”
“She’ll be spending Christmas in Switzerland.”
“You can always give it to her after Christmas. When is it that she gets back?”
Ron hadn’t really thought of a Christmas present, not since he had bought her something much more meaningful. “The twenty-ninth,” he said in between bites.
“I been thinking of something you might want to give her,” she added hesitantly.
Ron looked up with interest. “What is it?”
“Well… see Andromeda and I were in Hogsmeade last weekend and there was this store that had such beautiful rings… and you and Hermione have been dating for more than three years… and I thought that maybe it was time for you to––”
“Mum, wait.” He could feel his face heating up. Ron knew where his mum was heading. She had been throwing hints about the importance of ‘getting serious’ before, but he thought they were meant for George or Charlie.
“I know this is something you have to decide for yourself, Ron… but it might be time for you to start thinking about a serious commitment.”
“I have,” he added quickly, hoping his mum would stop. His plans for keeping the ring a secret might not hold up now, not if his mum kept on with this insistence.
“Hermione is a young woman who deserves––” she continued as if she hadn’t heard him. But then she stopped and looked at him with surprise in her eyes. “What? You have? What did Hermione say?”
“She doesn’t know.”
His mum scrunched her eyebrows. “What exactly have you been thinking about, Ron? And why doesn’t Hermione know about your plans, if they involve her?”
Ron pushed his half-eaten plate away and sighed heavily. His mum wasn’t going to let it go. He might as well come clean. “Marriage. I thought about asking Hermione to marry me. And I haven’t told her because… well, because she’s not in England.” And because I’m bloody afraid she might think it’s too soon, he thought.
“Oh, Ronnie!” She clapped her hands, and her eyes sparkled just as he’d imagined they would. “I always knew you two were meant to be.” Ron smiled and relaxed, thinking that it would be enough information for his mum. “A ring, you have to get a ring!” she exclaimed as an afterthought.
He bit his lip and reached inside the pocket of his trousers, clutching tightly the velvet box that held Hermione’s engagement ring. “I already have.”
“You did?” she said, jumping out of her seat, the roast and soup forgotten. “This is so exciting. I can’t believe how grown up you are, Ron. I’m so very proud.”
“So you don’t think it’s too soon?”
“No. You two have been together for years; you’ve grown up together. You’ve been through some very rough times, and you’ve come out of them stronger. I don’t think you’re rushing into anything, if that’s what worries you, Ron.”
“It might be something Hermione would worry about.” He rubbed his eyes before continuing. “Or she might argue that we’re too young. She has so much to look forward to with her job at the Ministry… and she is always talking about all the places she wants to travel to… I don’t want to hold her back.” He raked his hands through his hair. “I’m bloody nervous about it, Mum. I don’t want to scare her away,” he confessed in an almost whisper.
“You can’t let fear stop you. This is something I’ve learned along the way––in order to get what you want in life, you need to take risks, Ron.” She reached for his hand and squeezed it. “If you risk nothing, then you risk everything.”
“But what if… what if I lose her?”
“I don’t think you will. She loves you, Ron.”
His voice caught on his throat. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure that she loves you.”
That he had no doubt of. “I know, but are… are you sure I won’t lose her if ask her to marry me?”
“I don’t think you will, but I can’t assure you she’ll say yes, if that’s what you want. Only Hermione knows the answer to that question. But if you don’t take that risk, if you don’t ask her, then you’ll lose the chance of her saying ‘yes.’ You’ll lose the chance of marrying the girl you love. You’ll risk losing more than what you now have. Think about it, Ron.” She patted his hand and got up to clean the dishes.
A few minutes later, his dad Apparated home. His mum quickly warmed up his dinner, and his dad joined Ron at the table. Ron grinned at him, happy to see him. He no longer felt the need to talk to his dad about how or when to propose; the details didn’t truly matter. More than ever, Ron knew what he wanted to do and he wasn’t going to let anything stop him.
He listened to his dad go on about the latest fiasco in his department. The three of them laughed at his dad’s stories, and enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate his mum whipped up. Some time later, as he got ready to leave, Ron gave his mum an extra tight hug, silently thanking her for her advice. He wasn’t good with words, but he knew his mum understood.
New Year’s Eve arrived sooner than expected, and Ron was in a foul mood. Hermione had returned from her holiday the day before yesterday, and he had already missed two opportunities to ask her to marry him. It was as if every time he was ready to propose, something derailed his plans. It was bloody ridiculous.
First, on the day Hermione arrived, he had Apparated to her parents’ house to welcome her back. He’d gone determined to surprise her with the proposal, but instead he sat in her parents’ sitting room, listening for hours to the three of them go on about how wonderful their holiday had been and how he must visit Switzerland one day.
The next day Hermione invited him to her flat for dinner. Ron had thought that it would be a perfect opportunity, since it would be just he two of them. A proposal over dinner seemed like a romantic gesture, one that Hermione would probably like.
But Hermione never even gave him a chance. As soon as he Apparated inside her flat, she had launched herself at him and covered him with kisses. No bloke in his right mind could resist that. She said how much she had missed him, and how she never wanted to spend such a long time away from him. Then, she had pulled him into her bedroom and proceeded to show him just how much she had missed. It was frantic and passionate. Dinner was forgotten, but he really couldn’t complain.
And today there would be no chance at all. He wasn’t going to ask Hermione to marry him in the middle of the New Year’s Eve party George had been planning for weeks. Not in front of so many people, no way. That was meant just for the two of them.
Hermione was due to arrive any minute, and although he was looking forward to ringing in the New Year with her, he was disappointed at another missed chance. He forced himself to smile as George levitated the last of the Butterbeers towards a large table near the end of the room. This was the first year since Fred’s death that George truly felt like celebrating. His joy wasn’t faked or forced. It was good to see George alive again.
Not long after, the faint cracks of people Apparating announced that the party was about to begin. First there was Ginny, who looked radiant in a red dress, and Harry. Then came Angelina who wasted no time in kissing George, who had been standing below a piece of dry mistletoe that had been left behind from Christmas day. Then came Lee and Pavarti, Charlie accompanied by an exotic looking witch, Neville and Hannah, and other people Ron didn’t recognize. In a matter of minutes their small flat was filled with music, laughter, and carefree chatter.
When Hermione arrived he instinctively marched towards her, but Ginny and Luna got to her first. Ron stood back and watched her. She looked beautiful with her hair up in a messy bun. He really couldn’t wait to marry the girl. She had been part of his life for so long that he couldn’t imagine life without her.
“Hi, Ron,” she said, reaching up to kiss him lightly.
“Hi, love.” He put his arms around her shoulders and steered her towards the hallway, away from the noise and the people. He was being selfish, yes, but he wanted her only for him. “Missed you,” he said as he planted small kisses down her neck. She let out a small, contented sigh, and Ron grinned cockily against her skin.
She pulled back and gave him a wide smile. “You’re awfully charming tonight, and I love it, but don’t you want to be out there,” she said as she pointed toward the mass of people, “with Harry and the rest?”
“No. I just want to be with my girl.”
“Perfect. I can’t think of a better way to end the year.” With her finger she drew small circles on his chest, and smiled up at him. “Oh, Ron I’m so excited for the New Year. There are so many things I want to do! I want to visit more places, traveling abroad is such a great learning experience… maybe Germany or Morocco or somewhere farther, Argentina, perhaps. And then at the Ministry, there’s this new project I’ve been working on and I…”
Ron saw her talk excitedly, moving her hands as she spoke. Making plans was great, and he had his own too. He didn’t want to hold Hermione back… but he wanted her and his plans to be the same… to be their plans. More than even, Ron couldn’t get his mum’s advice out of his head. If you risk nothing, then you risk everything. It might not be the perfect moment, but he couldn’t wait any longer.
“Hermione,” he said, interrupting her talk about a big Ministry project, “I was hoping that along with all that, we could do something else.” He gulped hard.
“Sure, what is it?”
“Get married.” He said it plainly, and he immediately berated himself for not coming up with a more romantic way of asking. He looked at her, hoping she knew he truly meant it, that he wanted nothing more.
“What?” She said it slowly; there was surprise and a new shine in her eyes.
“Marry me, Hermione. We can do all that traveling together. And you can tell me all about your Ministry projects at home, our home. I want to share everything with you. I want to sleep in on Saturday mornings, and then have a late breakfast in bed.” He waggled his eyebrows playfully, and Hermione let out a giggle. “I want to row with you over who gets to clean the dishes after dinner, and later make-up. I want to come home to you and only you. What do you say, would you marry me?”
“Yes!” she squealed and jumped up, hugging him tightly. “Yes, Ron. I want that and more, so much more.”
“Sure. I want to watch the snow, snuggled up next to you in our cozy sofa. And I want to help you build a shed for your brooms and Quidditch equipment, and––”
But Ron didn’t let her continue; he bent down and kissed her hard. This wonderful girl had accepted him. It was perfect, absolutely perfect.
He pulled back abruptly, and Hermione looked at him curiously. “I forgot something,” he explained. He reached inside his pockets and pulled out a box. “For you,” he offered.
“Oh, Ron, a ruby! It’s absolutely lovely,” she said, looking from him to the ring with loving, sincere eyes.
“The girl in the shop said that when given as a gift, a ruby is the symbol of friendship and love. And that’s us.” He took the ring out of the box and slid it on her finger.
“It’s perfect, Ron.”
“And the color… it matches you, your personality. It’s fierce and passionate, just like you.”
“Not just me, you too. You’re just as passionate or more than. It matches us perfectly.”
The voices from the party were getting louder as the countdown to the New Year began. But Ron and Hermione only had eyes for each other, imagining their lives together.
Seven, six, five, four, three, two, one! The crowd exploded with loud cheers.
“Happy New Year, love.”
“It already is the happiest,” Hermione said, and then she reached up to kiss him.
Disclaimer: The characters of and situations of Harry Potter used in this story are the legal property of J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury, and AOL Time Warner. We are just borrowing them. No copyright infringement is intended.