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Chapter 6 : Celebrating in Style
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There, in the street below, Ron and Hermione were snogging enthusiastically in their pajamas.
“Mental,” he muttered to himself as he crept downstairs. When he opened the front door and stepped outside, they still didn’t stop, and so he cleared his throat loudly.
“You two pick the most interesting times to snog the daylights out of each other,” he said dryly.
“Nobody asked you, anyway,” said Ron, not bothering to look at Harry.
Harry could only assume that the ring in Ron’s hand had something to do with this.
“I’d say congratulations, but I’ve noticed Hermione isn’t actually wearing her ring yet.”
“Oh!” Hermione broke away from Ron in surprise. “I totally forgot!” Ron placed it on her finger, grinning, and Hermione admired it for several moments before adding, “Oh, before I forget something else…”
She walked up to Harry and stared at him congenially.
“I talked to Ginny today – ”
“Look,” he interrupted, “can this be saved for tomorrow?”
“No,” she replied, “because I have something important to tell you.” Without warning, she reached up and gave him a firm, motherly slap on the cheek. “Don’t be an idiot,” she said pleasantly, shaking her finger at him. Then she marched back to Ron and wrapped her arms around him once more.
“Hey – ” Harry began.
“Harry, go get your invisibility cloak so Hermione can sneak back into school. Thanks, mate,” said Ron, leaning in to kiss Hermione.
Harry stalked back inside, muttering imprecations about his mental friends.
* * * * *
When Harry woke again, the sun was shining and Ron was whistling far too cheerfully.
“I had the strangest dream,” said Harry, “that you asked Hermione to marry you in the middle of the street last night.”
“I did!” replied Ron, grinning like a Cheshire cat. “Come on, get dressed. Ginny’s downstairs, and when Hermione gets here we’re going to go eat something. I’m starving.” Ron resumed his whistling and ducked, laughing, when Harry threw a shoe at him.
Fifteen minutes later, Harry stumped downstairs in time to catch part of Ginny’s conversation with Ron.
“…she was ambushed in the common room by every girl in the House. When I left, there were about fifteen girls lined up to look at her ring. It’ll probably be another five hours before she gets her left hand back and can come meet us…”
She trailed off as she caught sight of Harry at the foot of the staircase. Harry gave Ron a pointed look, and Ron, thankfully, made himself scarce.
Harry and Ginny stood for several moments in uncomfortable silence. At least, for Harry it was uncomfortable – Ginny looked extraordinarily at ease. Her haughty expression made it clear to Harry that she wasn’t going to be the first to speak.
“So, um…I’m sorry about yesterday…” he offered.
“Are you still angry with me?”
“Um, okay… Are you going to forgive me?”
“I’m sure I will eventually,” she responded. She bore a look of ultimate unconcern, but a moment later her mouth turned upwards in a wry smile.
“That’s good enough for me,” Harry said. He pulled her into a tentative hug, relieved that she allowed him to do it.
“Oi!” George’s irritated voice seemed to ring throughout the entire shop. “I’m not running a matchmaking service here! Sod off before you scare away my customers!”
* * * * *
Engagement suited Hermione. Her cheeks retained a pink flush the entire time they sat in the Three Broomsticks, and she smiled self-consciously but happily every time a Hogwarts student stopped by to congratulate her. Ron, who was also pleasantly red, looked as if he considered this the greatest accomplishment of his life – and, considering how long Ron had willfully ignored his feelings for Hermione, Harry was inclined to agree.
Ginny was in a considerably better mood, and Harry couldn’t help wondering – as he watched Ginny grab Hermione’s hand and examine how her ring sparkled in the light – whether it had anything to do with last night’s fortunate turn of events. He thought perhaps he should encourage more of his friends to become engaged; the whole marriage thing seemed to put every girl within a hundred-mile radius in good spirits.
Having been shouted down by Madame Rosmerta – who, on top of not allowing Harry or his close friends to pay for anything in her establishment, had insisted they accept a bottle of her best champagne to celebrate the occasion – the four friends raised their glasses and toasted Ron and Hermione. With yesterday’s argument almost entirely forgotten, Harry and Ginny became further unified in their mutual endeavor of heckling Ron, teasing him that they still couldn’t believe he’d actually plucked up the courage to go through with it. Smiling conspiratorially at Hermione, Ron insisted he’d had no choice in the matter.
“And anyway, was nothing,” Ron added with bravado. “I think I’m a natural at this kind of thing.”
Hermione rolled her eyes. “Well, I’m glad you think so, because now you get to come with me to tell my parents.”
Ron’s smile promptly slipped off his face, and his eyes became very wide.
“What?” asked Ginny, feigning shock. “Ronald, do you mean you didn’t go ask her parents first?”
Ron froze as he seemed to realize he had missed a vital step in the process.
“Oh, don’t be silly,” smiled Hermione, running a soothing hand through his hair. “My parents don’t care about that sort of thing. Nothing to worry about.” Ron relaxed but still looked slightly paranoid.
“Harry, on the other hand, has quite a task ahead of him,” teased Hermione.
Harry raised his eyebrows. “What are you on about?”
“You know, don’t you, that you’re going to have to get written permission from Ginny’s dad and each of her brothers before you even think about mentioning the word ‘marriage’ to her.”
Ron snickered. “Well, let’s see…that’s six of us, mate. Better get a move on.”
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