Chapter 1 : The Worst Day in the History of England
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I don't think I'll be writing anything else for a while, but then again, I said that last time, so who knows? Also keep in mind that school is starting in about a week (*sobs* I don't want to go back for what's known as the hell year!), and I doubt I'll have a lot of spare time (apparently sophomore year is the worst at my high school, in terms of work loads, etc.).
I hope you like this one-shot. I'm pretty sure it's the longest one-shot I've ever written...anyway, enjoy! (And no, this is NOT a sequel to I'm Not Neurotic! Just wanted to let you know...^_^). Enjoy!
To say Hermione Granger was having the worst day in her life would be a complete and total understatement, in the opinion of said woman.
No, Miss Granger would insist that she was having the worst day that any woman in the history of England possibly could have had. She was going to say in the history of mankind but realized, given the history classes prior to her days at Hogwarts, England's history was most likely longer than that of humans. Or so it seemed to the students that had also attended Mrs. Gerwin's class.
Like any bad day, it all began that morning, as what is the worst day in the history of one's country without it starting with the morning's coffee? True, it would've been more nationalistic had there been something wrong with her morning tea, but tea lacked the caffeine that such a woman as Hermione Granger needed. Such a woman as insane, neurotic, and surprisingly scheming as she, that is. So it was coffee that ended up causing the domino effect of the so-called Doom's Day.
“Work!” a frustrated Hermione cried, banging hopelessly on her coffee maker. “Work Damn it!” A small sob worked its way up her throat as she collapsed on the ground of her kitchen that took up a good portion of her modest flat. Looking towards the ceiling, Hermione pleaded, “Why? Why must you do this to me?”
Sighing, the woman pushed herself up from the floor and placed her arms on the counter. She then proceeded to crash her head into the granite four times, screaming, “Stupid! Useless! Idiotic! Machine!” as she did so. She only stopped because a) due to the lack of caffeine, she couldn’t come up with any other clever descriptions for how evil the coffee maker was, and b) she realized that the granite was surprisingly hard, and therefore it was rather inconvenient to bash her head into the edge of the counter.
Rubbing her head woefully, Hermione worked her way to the bathroom, where another task was at hand – battling the nest on her head that someone who was visually impaired might possibly call hair.
Ten minutes later a very pissed Hermione left her bathroom, cursing her hairbrush for mocking her. How dare it break? It was an insult, and it hadn’t helped when her reflection in the mirror that Ginny had given her for Christmas snickered upon observing the scene. Arrogant little thing, Hermione thought angrily to herself. There’s a reason why I was less than thrilled when Ginny gave it to me. I knew it would be nothing but trouble.
So now not only was her coffee machine broken, but her hairbrush as well. To add salt to the wound, her hair was a mess. Well, more so than usual, that is. And to top it all of, when she tried to tie it up in a ponytail, the hair band snapped.
One more thing to add to my list of broken items, Hermione thought to herself, flinging the hair band irately across the room where it landed on a rather piqued Crookshanks.
And so it was a very disgruntled woman, dressed in a set of black robes, with hair that looked as it if someone had set a bomb off in it, that apparated into her office at exactly eight o’clock AM, as per usual, demanding at the top of her lungs that someone bring her a cup of coffee.
It was a few minutes later when Hermione realized that her door was closed, and as such her secretary, who worked right outside her door, would not have heard a word she said.
“Stupid silencing spells,” Hermione mumbled to herself. “Why on earth did I place one on my office?” Growling about how she wished she could just conjure up a cup of coffee, Hermione grabbed her wand and yelled the first spell that came to her mind. Given the state that she was currently in (restless, grouchy, and above all impatient), the unfortunate door was subject to a cry of, “Reducto.” Needless to say the door ceased to exist. Hermione noted unhappily that the replacement would most likely come out of her pay, but decided that getting her hands on a cup of coffee would be well worth it.
Repeating her demands for a cup of coffee (although this time in a slightly more dignified and polite manner), Hermione waited for her request to be met, tapping her foot incessantly against the floor. A few moments later Jessica, her secretary, rushed in with the very drink that would save Hermione’s soul.
Taking the coffee from Jessica, Hermione immediately took a deep drink from the mug, thanking Merlin that it was not scalding hot. Hermione closed her eyes as she swallowed the first gulp of hot liquid, revelling in the feel of the warmth that seeped through her throat, her chest, and finally into her stomach. A minute later the caffeine kicked in, and Hermione felt loads better. She gave her secretary a grateful smile and then apologized for her bossiness, explaining that it was due to a lack of caffeine.
“It’s all right,” Jessica smiled meekly at her boss. “I figured as much. That’s why I added a spell to speed up the effect of the caffeine before I brought in the coffee.”
“I think I may owe my life to you,” Hermione beamed at the girl who couldn’t be a day older than twenty (not that Hermione, at twenty-eight, was that old herself). “Will a pay raise do?”
Jessica’s eyes grew wide. “A…a raise?” she squeaked, unable to contain her happiness.
Hermione laughed, nodding slightly. “I guess that would be a yes. I’ll write up the papers right now.”
“Oh, thank you so much, Miss Granger!” Jessica cried. Giving a little cry of joy, Jessica skipped out of the room and back to her desk.
Granted, Hermione realized that bringing her coffee with a spell that increased the effects of the caffeine wasn’t exactly what constituted a raise in most situations, but today wasn’t exactly what Hermione would consider an ordinary day (More like a day from Hell, she thought).
Smiling, Hermione proceeded to fill out the paperwork needed to get Jessica a raise. Once completed, Hermione folded the paper and walked over to her owl (well, rather, one of the many owls that the department owned), attaching the letter to its clawed feet.
“Bring this to the head of the department,” Hermione instructed the owl as it flew out her window.
Sighing happily, Hermione returned to her desk, feeling that things were starting to turn around. It was as she attempted to sit down that her elbow knocked over her cup of coffee, and the dark liquid that had just moments ago been her saviour splattered onto her skirt, staining the cotton and scalding her thighs.
It was then that Hermione, along with cursing excessively, decided that someone with a higher power hated her, her skirt was destroyed, and that all living creatures deserved to die. It never occurred to her that a simple cleaning spell would fix the problem immediately. Of course, Hermione tended to become a little irrational when in a rage. Nothing serious. Just to the point where she forgot that she had been a witch for the past sixteen years.
So, when Hermione was informed by owl that her boss, Alan Hern, wanted to see her immediately, Hermione found herself in hysterics due to her appearance. She was never one to really care about how she looked, but when it came to impressing the head of the department, Hermione went all out to be perfect, and that included what she was wearing. Having a stain on her outfit wasn’t what she considered an impeccable outfit.
Luckily, Jessica once again saved the day. Having heard Hermione’s tortured sobs, Jessica had rushed into her employer’s office. Discovering the stain, Jessica quickly performed a cleaning spell, removing all evidence of coffee. Hermione blinked a few times as her hysterics reduced themselves to small hiccups.
“Thank you,” she said finally.
“Not a problem,” Jessica grinned.
“I have no idea what’s gotten into me,” Hermione sighed, unconsciously fingering the hem of her sleeve. “It’s almost as if I’m having the worst day in the history of– ”
“Mankind?” Jessica interjected hopefully.
Hermione thought for a moment, furrowing her brow. “No,” she finally decided. “That’s an understatement. I’d say the history of England.”
Jessica stared at Hermione, clearly confused.
“Don’t try to make sense of my logic,” Hermione told the young woman. “It’ll just give you a migraine.”
“Wasn’t even going to try,” Jessica replied, laughing slightly as she left the room. A few seconds later Hermione left the office as well, stepping over the remains of her door as she headed for her boss’s office.
After passing several people, she finally arrived at her destination. Knocking hesitantly on the already opened door, Hermione walked into the office after Alan gave a gruff, “Come in.”
“You wanted to see me?” Hermione asked, sitting down in the chair in front of her boss’s desk, her hands folded neatly in her lap.
“I did,” Alan replied, his voice cold. Hermione bit her lip, wondering what on earth could be going on that caused Alan, who was normally quite genial towards her, to treat her as if she was Voldemort’s incarnate.
“Miss Granger…” Alan began. Hermione waited patiently for the second half of his sentence. “You’re fired.”
Hermione blinked. This was not under any circumstances what she had expected to hear.
“I’m sorry, I think I just went deaf for a moment,” Hermione told her boss, laughing nervously. “What did you say?”
“I’m firing you,” Alan repeated with a slight growl.
“Look, I know that I shouldn’t have given Jessica a raise just for getting me a cup of coffee, but do you honestly think that firing me is necessary?” Hermione pleaded, trying to show Alan the light.
Now it was Alan’s turn to blink. “You gave Jessica a raise?” he demanded of Hermione. “You’re kidding me, right?”
“Dear Merlin,” Hermione said to herself, eyes growing wide. If it isn’t the raise, then what is it? she asked herself. Then it hit her. Of course! The door!
“You don’t have to fire me just because I turned the door into rubble!” Hermione told Alan desperately. “Honestly, just take it out of my wages! I was just having a horrible day.”
“You destroyed your door?” Alan looked shocked.
“Oh no,” Hermione moaned. “So you didn’t know about that either?” Glaring at her, Alan shook his head slowly no.
“Don’t you think that firing me is a little rash?” Hermione tried to compromise with Alan. “I always turn my reports in on time, I cover for everyone else, and I’ve never received a complaint.”
“That’s true,” Alan sighed, looking pained. “I suppose I could give you a second chance.”
“Oh, really, I would be so— ”
“If you could explain this to me,” Alan interrupted, holding up a bulky folder that was titled, “Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare.”
Hermione’s eyes grew wide with fear as she comprehended what was in Alan’s hands. “You…how did…that folder…you…oh Merlin,” Hermione babbled, breathing heavily as her fingers clenched around the cloth of her skirt.
“I thought I made it clear to you,” Alan hissed at his former worker, “that I would not allow, let alone endorse, this activity?”
“I…I…” Hermione tried to find the words necessary to save herself from impending doom, but failed. She felt as if her whole life was spiralling out of control.
“When I offered you this job three years ago, I explained to you, rationally I thought, that any activity related to this spew thing could jeopardize our department, and lead the ministry to decrease its funding?” Alan’s eyes flared as he stared down at Hermione.
“It’s S.P.E.W,” Hermione replied in a small voice.
Alan stared at her. “What?” he asked her, almost threateningly.
“It’s S.P.E.W,” Hermione repeated, now finding her voice. “Not spew. It’s an acronym that represents the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. In other words S.P.E.W.”
“That’s it,” Alan informed her through clenched teeth, his face turning red. “No second chances. You’re fired.”
“No!” Hermione cried out.
“You are fired,” Alan reiterated, slowly and deliberately.
“On what grounds?” Hermione demanded, furiously, her face turning red with anger.
“You broke the rules I set out for you, Miss Granger,” Alan told her briskly. “Now please leave my office and clean out your own, before I call security.”
Half an hour later Hermione left her now empty office, carrying three plastic bags that held all of her possessions. Once again, her anger had somehow prevented her from thinking logically. Had she been thinking properly, she would’ve simply hovered her bags, and she would’ve been saved the pain of what was about to happen. But, of course, she didn’t, and thirty seconds later a scream echoed throughout the ministry as all three bags ripped and Hermione’s items littered the floor.
It was at this very moment that Hermione officially dubbed today as the worst day in the history of England.
Deciding that it wasn’t worth her time and that everything on the ground was replaceable, Hermione stalked out of the Ministry, leaving every single item behind. She blinked as she walked into the streets of London, her eyes having to adjust to the bright light of the sun.
It was only twenty minutes later, when she was halfway to her flat, that Hermione remembered that she could apparate.
It was rather unfortunate that Harry James Potter had chosen today of all days to propose to Hermione Jane Granger, the woman he had been dating for five years (or, for those who considered themselves clever, or rather annoying in the eyes of Harry, the woman that he had been married to since he was eleven). Rather unfortunate indeed.
Of course, how was he to know that today was the worst day in the history of mankind, no England, to ask his girlfriend to marry him? It really wasn’t his fault, if you thought about it. It was only natural that, as a male, he was completely ignorant to the fact that she had barely eaten and had cursed at her silverware when she dropped her fork.
He should’ve known that something was wrong when he arrived at her flat to pick her up for their date, which was dinner at one of the most sought after restaurants in all of London.
When Hermione opened the door, not only did she look surprised, but she seemed infuriated as well.
“What are you doing here?” she interrogated Harry, as if he was their most hated enemy, Draco Malfoy, instead of her best friend of sixteen years, not to mention her boyfriend.
“Our date?” Harry told her slowly, scared that she would snap at him again. Harry knew the wrath of Hermione all too well, thanks to a few arguments during their relationship. It was not something with which to meddle.
“What date?” Hermione asked, as if Harry was making all of this up.
“You know, at Tom Aikens?” Harry reminded Hermione. “We made plans a week ago?” And I made the reservations three months ago… Harry thought slightly bitterly to himself.
Hermione closed her eyes as she remembered writing, “Eight o’clock – Harry – Tom Aikens,” in her daily planner.
“I’m sorry, Harry,” she sighed, rubbing at her temples out of stress. “I forgot. I’ll go get dressed.”
“It’s okay,” Harry smiled at her. “I’ll wait.”
Had Harry not been worrying about whether or not Hermione was going to accept his proposal, he would’ve found it odd that Hermione seemed annoyed at the aspect of getting ready. He probably would’ve questioned why Hermione didn’t invite him in, but instead closed the door in his face, forcing him to wait outside. Of course, the only thing occupying his mind was her answer, and therefore he didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary.
“Okay, I’m ready,” a voice announced twenty minutes later, waking Harry out of his reverie. Blinking twice, Harry’s vision returned, allowing him to see Hermione close the door gently behind her. She was wearing a black dress that had a reasonable V-neckline. It hugged her waist gently, while the A-line skirt flowed down to her knees. She also wore a simple, sheer blue shawl to cover her arms. Her outfit was simple, it was modest, it was classic, and above all, Harry thought smiling, it was Hermione.
“All set?” he asked her.
“Yeah, yeah,” Hermione mumbled. Sighing, she hoisted her black purse onto her shoulder and followed a very clueless Harry to his car. Seeing as they were going to a muggle restaurant, Harry decided that apparating in such a densely muggle populated area would not be wise. And after all, he had learned how to drive, thanks to Hermione. Why not use the skill?
After staring at the menu for quite a while, Hermione finally closed it (Harry had decided on his dinner almost ten minutes ago), and almost immediately a waiter arrived at their table.
“Are you ready to order?” the waiter, named Edward, asked the two, pen poised above his pad of white paper that would soon be destroyed by lists of food.
“Yes,” Harry nodded, after Hermione gave a slight shrug to show that she knew what she wanted. “I’d like to start with the Scallop.”
“Mmhmm,” Edward nodded as he penned what Harry said.
“Followed by the John Dory,” Harry continued.
“What’s that?” Hermione whispered, her brows furrowed in confusion. She knew that she had heard of the meal before (something to do with fish, she believed), but wasn't quite sure what it was.
“No idea,” Harry whispered back. “Sounded interesting though.”
“Right…” Hermione nodded slowly, realizing that men truly didn’t care what went into their stomachs.
“And for the lady?” Edward asked, turning to Hermione.
“Er, I’d like to start with the Foie Gras, if I may,” Hermione told the waiter. “And for my main course I will have the Beef.”
“Excellent choice,” Edward smiled. “And have you finally decided on drinks?”
Harry and Hermione stared at each other, both with blank looks upon their face.
“You decide,” Harry told Hermione, knowing that, no matter what, they’d eventually end up choosing what Hermione wanted.
“Hmm,” Hermione sighed, pursing her lips as she scanned the wine menu. “Would you mind if we got a champagne?” she asked Harry.
“Not at all!” Harry grinned, realizing how well it would go with what he had planned for tonight.
“All right then. May we please have a bottle of the La Grande Dame Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin,” Hermione asked the waiter in impeccable French (or what Harry assumed was French).
“Of course,” Edward nodded. “I’ll be back with your appetizers shortly.”
“Wait!” Harry exclaimed frantically. “I have one more request!”
“Yes?” Edward asked, turning around and waiting for Harry to expand upon his outburst.
“Er, if you could…” Harry requested, waving the waiter over to him.
Edward complied and Harry whispered something into his ear as Hermione stared out the window, wondering when on earth this date would be over so she could go to sleep and move on to a new day.
“So how’s your meal?” Harry asked Hermione as she picked at her beef.
“Horrible,” she frowned, knowing that it probably wasn’t true, seeing as she hadn’t even had one bite of the gorgeously prepared meal.
“That’s great!” Harry grinned, completely ignoring her response.
Hermione stared at her boyfriend in disbelief, shook her head, and returned to not eating her meal.
A few moments later a voice caused the two to look up from their food.
“Could I join you?” it asked, sniffing.
“Ginny?” Hermione gasped in surprise at the girl whose eyes were now as red as her hair.
“Hi,” she said quietly.
“What happened?” Hermione asked.
“Alex cancelled our dinner tonight,” Ginny began to sob.
“Alex, as in your new boyfriend?” Hermione stated slowly.
“Uh huh,” Ginny nodded sadly. “He was told he had to do the nightshift at St. Mungo’s because there weren’t enough healers.”
“That’s…nice,” Hermione replied. She wasn’t in a mood to care about anyone right now.
“So can I join you since I’m here anyway?” Ginny inquired. Before either could answer she exclaimed, “Oh, thank you!” and grabbed a chair from an empty table and sat down.
Ten minutes later Ginny was now clearly over the disappointment of the cancellation and was prattling on and on about Alex.
“I’m just so glad I have a boyfriend,” Ginny told the two (who were staring at Ginny as if they wished daggers really could shoot out of their eyes) happily. “Mum was going on and on about how horrible it must be to be single.” Ginny rolled her eyes. “I swear, she was coming to my flat every bloody day. It was almost as if she thought that I was going to end up in some sort of depression or ‘drown my sorrows with bottles of firewhiskey,’ as she so eloquently put it. Now, of course, I have a boyfriend, just like she wanted, and she insists that he isn’t good enough for her baby.” Ginny sighed. “Sometimes I wish I had taken up that job offer in Australia. But then I realized she probably would’ve moved out there herself and insisted on living with me, and then I’m thankful that I stayed here.”
“Well that was a pointless, one-sided conversation,” Hermione snapped at the overly energetic redhead.
Ginny blinked and looked at Hermione thoughtfully. She then turned to Harry. “What the hell is wrong with your girlfriend?” she intuitively inquired.
“Hmm?” Harry asked, not paying attention whatsoever, proving once again how stupid men really could be.
Then again, it was a little hard to notice the things around him, including the woman he was about to ask to spend the rest of his life with, when his heart was pounding and all that occupied his mind was that little, velvet box, tucked away in his pocket. He was also a little preoccupied with the manner in which he was about to propose. Would she approve? And, of course, there was the ever-worrying question of whether or not she would accept. Therefore, one could say that it was fair that he didn’t even notice that, not once that evening, had the very woman sitting across from him smiled.
Ginny looked between the couple, desperately attempting to figure out what was going on in their brains. In the case of Harry’s, she concluded, there was nothing. However, when it came to Hermione, she was clueless. Of course, Hermione’s brain never was that easy to read.
It was at that moment, when Ginny was preoccupied with Harry and Hermione, Harry was preoccupied with the proposal, and Hermione was preoccupied with glaring, that the waiter chose to rush in with the cake Harry had instructed him to tell the kitchen to make. The waiter elegantly placed it in front of Ginny, who dropped her investigation and stared at it. Immediately her eyes filled up with tears.
“I can’t believe it!” she cried out in jubilation. Harry came out of his trance, and his expression quickly turned from that of, well, nothing to complete and utter horror. His carefully laid plans were ruined. In front of Ginny lay a gorgeous chocolate cake, on which the words, “Will you marry me?” were written in red icing.
“I knew he loved me!” Ginny cried out, sobbing as she grabbed onto Hermione who looked horrified. “I absolutely forgive him for not being here tonight. Everything makes sense now! He wanted to surprise me. Oh, isn’t he wonderful?” Ginny gushed.
“Er, Ginny?” Harry coughed awkwardly.
“What?” Ginny asked, turning her bright honey eyes in the direction of Harry, her arms still around a peeved Hermione.
“That cake isn’t for you.”
Ginny stared at him for a few seconds as she digested this new set of information. “What?” she asked, finally loosening her grip on Hermione.
“It’s…it’s from me,” Harry explained. “To Hermione.”
“You…to Hermione?” Ginny repeated slowly, her happiness diminishing in the blink of an eye.
“I was…proposing,” Harry told her, and then turned to Hermione. “I was going to ask you to marry me. I mean, I’m still going to ask you if you’d marry me,” Harry added in a rushed voice, as he noticed that Hermione was eyeing him with a steely glare. “So…er…will you marry me, Hermione?”
Hermione’s jaw began to tense, and she slowly clenched her fingers into a fist as she took in a deep breath and closed her eyes. After a few seconds she breathed out, opening her eyes and licking her lips as she prepared to say something (which Harry hoped was a, “Yes”).
“You, Harry James Potter,” Hermione hissed at Harry, “are the most insensitive git I’ve ever laid my eyes on. You are an idiot!”
With that said, Hermione stood up, knocking her chair down, and grabbed her glass of champagne. Ginny gaped as she watched the scene unfold, and the whole restaurant was reduced to astonished whispers.
Shaking her head in disgust, Hermione threw the glass into the shocked face of her could’ve been fiancé and walked off.
“Well, that was successful,” Harry sputtered, wiping off the champagne with his napkin.
“You’re hopeless,” Ginny sighed at Harry, giving him a look of pity. “Any man would know that you don’t propose to a woman when she’s having the worst day in her life.”
“She had a bad day?” Harry asked Ginny in surprise. “I didn’t notice.”
“Clearly,” Ginny shot at him. She turned to the waiter and requested, “The check please?” The waiter nodded and ran off to get what Ginny had asked for. Ginny then left Harry alone with his thoughts and the bill.
“Hey, Ron?” Hermione asked into the phone, thankful that Ron had finally learned how to use a phone and actually bought his own.
“Hey, what’s going on?” replied Ron.
“I was wondering if you’d like to accompany me to a bar and get drunk, while I ponder over such questions as why I’m a complete and total idiot.”
“No can do,” Ron apologized.
“Why not?” Hermione demanded sorrowfully.
“Last time I got drunk with another woman we ended up in an, er, compromising position,” Ron explained. “And I think that could jeopardize our friendship, and my life for that matter.”
“Why in the name of Merlin would us getting drunk and ending up in a 'compromising postion' possibly place your life in danger?” Hermione questioned Ron, absolutely confused.
“And I thought you were smart!” Ron laughed at his best friend, but he stopped immediately after she began to growl. “Er, right then. Well, I mean, your boyfriend is Harry, and we might be best friends and all, but that man has a temper that is a match for, well, for you.”
“Oh shut up,” Hermione spat at him. “I didn’t call you to get insulted.”
“How was that an insult!” Ron cried out.
“I don’t know,” Hermione huffed. “But I’m sure it was, simply because that’s the type of thing that you’d do.”
“Great,” Ron groaned. “Now you’re holding our years at Hogwarts together against me? You’re evil. Why can’t you recognize that I’m a completely different person now!”
“Because you’re not?” Hermione answered.
“Oh come off it!”
“You act as if it was so long ago,” Hermione laughed. “We only graduated nine years ago, and that was seven out of twenty-seven years of your life. More than one-fourth!”
“You just don’t like change, do you?” Ron asked her, clearly amused.
“I’m just having the worst day in the history of England, that’s all.”
“Ah…” Ron voiced knowingly. “So he didn’t propose after all?”
“Oh, he did,” Hermione replied immediately. “He brought me to this gorgeous restaurant and had them make a cake that said, ‘Will you marry me?’ on it.”
“And so you said yes, right?” Ron asked excitedly.
“And so I took my glass of £180 champagne, threw it in his face, and stalked off, leaving him with the £540 bill, and a little more when you add tax, of course.”
A moment of silence ensued as Ron tried to dissect, comprehend, and accept what Hermione had just said.
“Why the bloody hell did you do that?” he demanded finally, his tone of voice clearly conveying that he thought that she was more mental than usual. “You’ve been wanting him to propose for a year! You wouldn’t shut up about it when you visited us last month, remember? All you could do was ask us, ‘Do you think he’ll propose soon?’ So why didn’t you say yes and let all of us go on with our lives?”
“Because he chose the wrong day to do it!” Hermione practically screamed into the phone.
“My ears, Hermione, my ears,” Ron moaned.
“I’d apologize, but I don’t want to,” Hermione sniffed.
“Gee, thanks,” Ron commented sarcastically. “You really are an idiot.”
“Says the man who got a T on one of his OWLs.”
“Oh shut up.” Another silence ensued. Ron sighed, knowing that Hermione was probably absolutely miserable right now. “Do you want me to come over?” he asked her softly.
“No,” Hermione replied. “But thank you. I think I’ll just go to sleep, and hopefully I’ll wake up and realize that today was just a nightmare.”
“Next time he asks, that is, if he ever does again, just say yes, no matter what’s happened,” Ron instructed. “We both know what you want, and ending up alone in a house with ninety-nine cats isn’t it.”
“Right,” Hermione replied quietly, surprised to find that her eyes were slowly filling with tears. “’Night.”
Hermione slowly put the phone into the receiver and stared sadly around her flat. She could hear the clatter of the dishes as they washed themselves (why, she had no idea, but she wasn’t about to complain), and realized how lonely she really did feel.
“I’m an idiot,” she moaned, sinking into her couch and disturbing Crookshanks, who got up defiantly and walked off in search of another place to nap. “I wanted him to propose, and then he does and I say no, just because I had a bad day at work!” Hermione close her eyes. “If I’m supposed to be the smartest witch of my age, why am I so completely clueless?”
Her thoughts were interrupted by a loud knock on her door. When Hermione didn’t answer, a familiar voice called out, “Hermione…it’s me… I know you’re probably pissed at me for what happened tonight, but if we could just— ”
“Come in Harry,” Hermione called, sitting up immediately. Seconds later Harry apparated in front of her.
“Hi,” he said softly.
“Hi,” Hermione returned.
“I’m so sorry,” Harry apologized immediately, moving to sit next to her. “I was so preoccupied with the proposal that I didn’t pay attention to you at all. If I had, I would’ve seen that tonight was not the right night to do it.”
Hermione laughed. “Maybe so, but I’ve been waiting a year for this. I shouldn’t have said no. I’m sorry, too.”
Neither spoke up again, simply staring at the floor, allowing for more clashing to be heard.
Suddenly, Hermione looked at Harry, and an idea donned on her. Sliding down from the couch, she placed herself on one knee as Harry stared at her in confusion.
“Hermione, what are— ”
“Harry James Potter,” Hermione began, staring up at Harry with glittering eyes. “Will you marry me?”
“What?” Harry asked in awe.
“Will you marry me?” Hermione repeated, smiling shrewdly.
“Hermione!” Harry exclaimed. “That’s not how it’s supposed to work!”
“And why not?” Hermione demanded. “What does it matter who proposes, so long as we’re engaged?”
“I…I…the man’s supposed to propose!” Harry whined.
“You’re such a chauvinist,” Hermione rolled her eyes.
“I am not!” Harry protested. “I just had this night all set up and now…now you’re the one proposing.”
Hermione shrugged. “Hey, that’s life. If everything went the way you planned we never would’ve been friends.”
Harry thought for a moment. “Very true,” he admitted.
“So, what’s your answer?” Hermione asked. “Because I’m down on one knee her, and I’m fairly sure that this dress is getting covered completely in fur.”
Harry grinned. “Yes.”
“I was hoping you’d say that,” Hermione replied. And before she knew it, she was smiling like crazy. She flung herself onto an equally happy Harry, hugging him with all her might.
“I love you,” she whispered into his ear.
“Who wouldn’t?” he answered cheekily.
“Oh shut up,” Hermione laughed, burying her face into his shoulder.
“Hey Hermione,” Harry asked, once they had finished their display of affection. “You think we could have some coffee? I never got to have any since you left the restaurant so abruptly and— ”
“Sure,” Hermione replied, staring dazedly at the ring that Harry had placed on her ring finger a few minutes before. It was a sapphire, her birthstone, on a golden ring. On either side of the stone stood a small diamond. It was simple, it was modest, it was classic, and above all, Hermione thought smiling, it was Harry.
Hermione then blinked as she realized something. “Oh Harry!” she cried out. “I don’t know if you’ll have any luck with that. The coffee machine wouldn’t work this morning and magic had no effect on it. Actually, that was what started my horrible day,” Hermione commented bitterly.
“Hmm,” Harry replied, scratching his head. “Mind if I take a look at it?”
“Go ahead,” Hermione told him. Harry went next door to the kitchen as Hermione returned to staring at her ring.
“Hey Hermione!” Harry called a minute later. “You forgot to plug it in! It’s working fine.”
Hermione closed her eyes and let out a short laugh. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”