|This Time Around
Author: sweasley PM
There's going to be a Potter/Weasley wedding, much to the delight of all. However, exes Ron and Hermione now find themselves being drawn back together given the occasion. Wanting to fix their damaged friendship, they may get more than they bargained forRated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Hermione G. & Ron W. - Chapters: 20 - Words: 77,675 - Reviews: 271 - Favs: 281 - Follows: 84 - Updated: 02-20-08 - Published: 02-05-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4054989
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: If you recognize someone, they belong to JKR. The others are all creations of mine to fill the gaps. :) Plus, any similarities are accidental and completely unintentional.
Full Summary: It's time for a Potter/Weasley wedding, much to the delight of family and friends. However, exes Ron and Hermione find themselves now being drawn back together given the impending occasion. Wanting more than anything to fix their damaged friendship, they may get more than they bargained for once forced to confront each other again.
"A black dragon, eh?" asked Harry Potter as he observed five-year-old Teddy Lupin, who was currently coloring vigorously on the floor of his living room. "Why black?"
"Why not?" Teddy asked, glancing up at Harry.
"Fair enough," Harry said with a small smile before he ruffled the boy's now black hair. Seconds earlier, it had been a shade of sandy brown, inherited from his father, but young Teddy was working on his colors as of late, and had the tendency to change his hair color to whatever color he happened to be thinking about at the moment. The gift of being able to change his appearance at will was something he had inherited from his mother, but it was still something he was learning to control. Usually, he changed things without realizing he had done it.
The fumbling sound of a key in the door made both Harry and Teddy turn towards the entrance.
"Is Ginny back?" Teddy asked excitedly.
"I sure hope so," Harry said before Teddy jumped up and ran for the doorway, just as it opened to reveal a small woman with bright red hair and a tired expression on her face.
"Did you get it, Ginny!?" Teddy asked, jumping up and down and blocking her entrance as though looking for something. She struggled around him, her hands full of bags.
"Hey, hey," Harry said, appearing behind Teddy and helping to lift some of the packages out of Ginny's hands. "How about we wait until she gets inside and settled? Here Ted, take these to the kitchen."
Teddy made a face, but did as he was told.
"Thanks," Ginny said once Harry had leaned in to kiss her hello. "I could barely get my wand out to Apparate home."
"Long day?" he asked as he put her large Quidditch duffle bag into the hall closet.
"We've got a new Chaser," she said, taking off her cloak. "She's got an attitude problem, but she's a fantastic flyer. It was just a long day of dealing with that."
"I read about her in the Prophet," Harry said as he and Ginny followed Teddy to the kitchen. "Calista something…"
"Cornwall," she said with a glance at Teddy, who was still looking at her expectantly. "I like your hair, Ted. You and Harry could almost be twins."
"Really?" Ted asked. He turned and caught a glimpse of his reflection in a nearby window and began absently examining his hair. He tried to flatten the front down more like the way Harry wore it.
"Absolutely," she said, throwing Harry a smile before reaching into a small case. "Oh, and you'll never believe who happened to stop by practice today."
Teddy immediately rounded on her.
"Who's that?" Harry asked as he watched Teddy's face, pretending to be unaware of where Ginny was going with this.
"I don't know if you've ever heard of him," she said, glancing at Harry before pulling out a photograph with the image of a burly man flying about on a broom. "He plays keeper for the Wimbourne Wasps--"
"YOU GOT IT!" Teddy yelled, rushing to take the photograph from Ginny. "YOU REALLY GOT IT!"
"Of course I did," she said as she and Harry happily observed Teddy's reaction. "He signed it just there," she pointed to a spot on the photo, "and he was very pleasent. He said he'd love to meet you, Teddy."
"Kensworth Judge said that about me?" Teddy asked in an awestruck tone.
"Well, after I told him how you were such a huge fan, and how wonderful a young man you are, he--"
"When can I meet him!?" Teddy asked without skipping a beat. He rounded on Harry.
"We'll work that out," Harry said once he the photo from Teddy and began examining it for himself. "He really was a nice guy, then?"
"Nicer than he is on the pitch," Ginny said. "I don't think I'll ever forgive him for that flagrant foul on Mulberry two years ago, but he was very sweet in person. He said he'd also love the opportunity to meet you. He tried to get me to set up a meeting."
Harry looked at Ginny with his eyebrow raised as he handed Teddy back his photo.
"I know." She quickly rubbed Harry's back. "I made no promises. Although," she looked at Teddy who was happily staring at his photo with a large grin on his face, oblivious to the fact that he was being watched, "it may make someone very happy if you were to."
"You're the all-star Quidditch player," Harry said with a mock groan. "You should have enough pull as it is."
"I'm not Harry Potter," she said as she walked over to the sacks of groceries to put things away. "Anyway, how was your day?"
"Dull," he said as he stood and joined her in putting away groceries. "Just the way I like it."
"That's a nice change after last week, what with all those wankers up in York with the poisons."
"Tell me about it," he mumbled. "Oh, Robards says Kingsley wants me specifically to go to Paris next week. Just for a few days." He glanced apprehensively at her and, just as he had suspected, her eyes shot immediately to his.
"Which days?" she asked.
He sighed. "Tuesday through Sunday."
Ginny's face fell but Harry spoke before she could. "I know, I know, Saturday after your match we were supposed to celebrate our anniversary, and we will. Just a day late…Or perhaps, you could come to Paris with me for a couple days?"
"With the Puddlemere game on Saturday?" she said. "You know I can't. I can't afford to miss practice."
He shrugged. "I know. It was worth a shot."
"You know I want to go," she said as she casually leaned against the counter and glanced at Teddy.
"Well," he said, folding his arms and leaning next to her. "Look at it this way. On Saturday, you'll beat Puddlemere and it'll even be more of a happy occasion to celebrate."
Ginny chuckled slightly. "Ever the optimist, Harry."
"Me?" He let out a laugh of disbelief. "You will beat Puddlemere." He glanced at Teddy. "That's a given. Right, Teddy?"
"Puddlemere is rubbish," Teddy said, still not looking up from his photo. "Holyhead will crush them."
"Well, if you two experts say so." She grinned before sighing heavily. Harry could sense that she was clearly nervous about the impending match next weekend, but seemed to shake off her apprehension before turning back to the groceries. "Perhaps we should decide what's for dinner, then?"
"Don't give Teddy the option," Harry joked. "He'd eat fish and chips for the rest of time if it was up to him."
"Are we having fish and chips?" Teddy asked.
"How about pasta with the red sauce?" Ginny asked Teddy. "Your grandmother said you love that, Teddy."
Teddy made a curious face, as if contemplating whether or not he should agree to this. Ginny nudged Harry and shot him an knowing look.
"It sounds good to me," Harry encouraged.
Teddy smiled. "Me too, then!"
"Me too," Ginny agreed, throwing Harry a smile.
"Teddy," Harry said, "why don't you go wash up and make sure that picture is put somewhere where you won't forget it?"
"Okay." He stood and delicately, as if handling a dangerous substance, picked up his photo and took it back into the other room.
"Are you going to meet up with Ron while you're in Paris?" Ginny asked as she tapped her wand to an empty cauldron and watched as it began to fill with water.
"Yeah, I want to see his new place and how he's settling in."
"I can't believe he went to Paris."
"It's only for a few months," he said. "It'll be good for him to continue his training with the French Aurors. He'll learn different techniques."
"More like a year," she mumbled. "And you never had to go to Paris."
"I would have," he said, "but for some reason, my application kept getting rejected."
She laughed. "By Kingsley?"
"Oh, I wonder why," she teased. "They were probably afraid that the French would try to woo you away or make a spectacle out of you. Plus, it's not as if you need specialized training, Harry. I mean, you were already at the top of your game before you joined the department."
"And Ron does?"
"Ron's only joined the Aurors a few months ago," she said. "And wasn't it you who told me that in order to be accepted into foreign training, you had to put in at least a year with the department?"
"Then there you go. Obviously people are recognizing him as being the same Ron Weasley who helped you bring down Voldemort. They're not exactly starting him at the bottom level, are they? Give him a few years of this sort of stuff and before you know it, you two will be back to your old partners in crime ways."
"Weren't you the one just complaining that he had to go to Paris?" Harry asked as he watched her tap her wand to the cauldron again. The water instantly boiled.
"Well," she said as she dropped a box of pasta inside of the hot water, "I just don't see why he had to run off to Paris. I mean, he didn't need to go into foreign training."
"Its good experience," he said. "Plus, he needed the break after everything that's happened over the few months with Her..." He hesitated. Both he and Ginny exchanged silence looks, seeing as Teddy had just walked back into the room.
Harry took the moment to go to the nearest cupboard and collect the place settings for dinner. He handed them off to Teddy with the instructions to set the table before he returned to watch what Ginny was doing. They both silently watched as the pasta boiled in the cauldron below, their minds elsewhere.
"Speaking of Hermione," Harry said abruptly, "she said she's coming to the match tomorrow. You can get two extra tickets still, right?"
"It shouldn't be a problem," Ginny said. "Wait, two tickets? You already have one. Why would you need two?"
"It's not for me. It's for Martin."
"Martin?" she asked as she stopped stirring the pasta and looked at him. "Who's Martin?"
Harry shrugged and pursed his lips. "I don't know. I haven't met him yet."
"Is she…?" She made a face. "I mean, are they...?"
"I don't know. She claims they're just friends."
"Oh, boy…" she said heavily.
"I know. Seems a bit quick to jump back into something new, doesn't it?"
Ginny shrugged. "We say that because we both love Ron. It has been a couple of months. If it had been anyone else, we'd be happy she was moving on." She glanced at him. "The breakup was really hard on the both of them, you know? Just because Hermione puts on a stronger front--"
"Up until a few months ago, their relationship had been as long as ours," he interrupted. "And longer if you count the years of build up to it. I mean, if we just split up tomorrow, would you be able to just--?"
"No," she said, returning the interruption and giving him a smile that only he ever got to see, "but this isn't about us. It's about them. Hermione says she and this Martin character are friends and that's all they very well may be."
"Now who's being the optimist?" Harry asked, rolling his eyes. "I'm sure the three of us will have an absolutely amazing time tomorrow."
"Don't be too hard on him," she said, although she didn't sound like she was quite sure she meant it. "It's not his fault after all."
"Ron's my best friend."
"And Hermione is…?"
"Obviously she is, too," he said before pausing for a long moment. He seemed as if he wanted to say something more but thought better of it. Instead, he watched as Ginny placed the pasta into the sauce pan.
"And you know what the worst part about it is?" he said.
"Other than the obvious?" she asked.
"The team you're playing tomorrow."
"The Chudley Canons?" she asked before a look of realization appeared across her face. "Ohhhh…"
"Right," he said as Harry began spooning Teddy out a portion of pasta.
"She's not doing it on purpose, Harry. You have to know that."
"I don't think she is, either," he placed the plate down in front of Teddy, "but still, how exactly am I going to be able to watch a Canons game without bringing up--"
"Ron…" she said, finishing his sentence for him.
"The Canons are even more rubbish than Puddlemere," Teddy added suddenly as he slurped up a piece of pasta and smiled at the noise it made.
"The match is at five," Ginny said the following morning as she ran about the living room of their flat trying to make sure she had everything she needed. "You'll have to get there by at least four to get your tickets or else they'll sell them."
Harry chuckled. "I think I've done this a time or two."
"I know." She quickly blushed upon realizing how silly she must be sounding. Harry had realized over the years that Ginny had a tendency to ramble when she felt rushed, and that she always felt rushed before a match. "Just making sure."
"You'll be great," he said once he managed to stop her from rushing about the room for a second to kiss her. "I mean," he made an amused face, "it's the Canons, Gin. They're crap."
She laughed as she gave the room one last look. "I think that's everything. I'll see you after the match, same place as always?"
"Sure thing. Hey, I'll bring Martin!"
"Be nice," she said, grabbing her bag and heading towards the door. "I love you."
"I love you, too," he said before she disappeared outside. He sighed and glanced around the room of the flat that they shared. It was more cluttered than it usually was, but that was always the result of a visit from Teddy. He couldn't help but think about how much he enjoyed their little flat as he plopped himself down on the sofa.
Upon leaving Hogwarts, he had contemplated moving to Grimmauld Place, but he just couldn't bear it. Not with all of the memories of Sirius and the Order that still dwelled there. He still owned the property of course, and visited from time to time, but he had started visiting less and less since Kreacher had passed away two years ago. That wasn't to say he didn't enjoy going there when he needed a quiet place to think, or a spot to be alone, though. Only a handful of people even knew how to find him there, and he liked the sense of escape from the world.
A quiet place to think was exactly what he needed at that moment as he ran over the days events in his head for the one hundredth time. On top of meeting Hermione's new "friend"--that he wasn't sure he was going to like no matter how nice he was--he had only one other thing on his mind. The fact that he was about to take the first step--a huge step--towards an event that would change his life.
He couldn't help but think that of all people in this world, he should be used to this sort of thing. This was different, though. This was something that he knew would ultimately be one of the best decisions he'd ever made. He hadn't had to make a huge life changing choice like this since he was seventeen and, even then, those decisions could have, and should have, potentially killed him. In comparison, this was one of the easiest things he'd ever have to do.
His train of thought was abruptly interrupted by a knock at the door. He pointed his wand at the door and mumbled "Alohamora" before yelling, "It's open!"
"You don't actually leave your door unlocked do you?" came the all too familiar voice of Hermione Granger as she entered the room.
"I opened it from here,"Harry said almost proudly. He thought it was quite the talent to exhibit his magical prowess while lying lazily on the sofa.
"Amazing," she said with a sarcastic smile before she sat herself down across from him. "Did Ginny leave already?"
"You just missed her," he said without moving from his lying position.
"It's probably better that way. Otherwise, she'll wonder why I'm six hours early for her match."
"She would start to ask questions," Harry said, looking aimlessly up at the ceiling.
"So, are you ready?" she asked. "Grab your coat, it's actually chilly out."
Harry didn't move, he just continued to stare up at the ceiling.
"You're not having second thoughts, are you?" she asked.
He didn't answer her right away. It wasn't until he glanced at her and realized she'd asked him a question that he mumbled, "What? Second thoughts about proposing? No, I know that's what I want to do."
"So? What's the matter, Harry?"
"It's just a lot to take in," he said as he finally sat himself up. "Ring shopping and all that."
"And that's why I'm here," she said. "To keep you from getting overwhelmed."
"Obviously," he said with a lazy smile as he stood. He took a deep breath.
Hermione picked up a box of crayons from the floor. "Was Teddy here last night?"
"No, those are mine," he joked.
Hermione gave him a reproachful look.
"He was here last night," he said as he walked over to the closet where he would find his cloak. "Guess what? Ginny managed to get him that autograph of Kensworth Judge."
"Is that a Quidditch player?"
Harry made a face. "He's like the best Keeper in ages, Hermione. Teddy's mad about him."
"Teddy has access to an entire Quidditch team through Ginny, and he's picking favorites from random players on other teams?"
"Yeah, but Holyhead is an all girls team," he said obviously.
Hermione cocked her eyebrow at him.
"That's what Teddy says," he added quickly, realizing the lecture he was narrowly avoiding, "not me. Anyway, Teddy loves Holyhead, and as he's told us numerous times that after Ginny, Kensworth is his favorite player."
Hermione grinned as she stood. "So, this Kensworth bloke is obviously his favorite?"
"I mean, Ginny's amazing of course," Harry said as he pulled his coat on, "but Judge is sick. An absolutely flawless player. Even Ginny says so."
"It's still nice of Teddy to say he only likes him second best, though," she said as Harry grabbed the front door and lurched it open. "I'm sure once he's older, he'll realize that girls can be just as good as boys at things, and that they're worthy of equal admiration."
Harry squinted and the morning sun caught his eyes. "I don't doubt it," he said quickly, suddenly feeling the urge to flip the conversation into another direction. "He's such a good kid and growing so fast too. I just can't get over it."
"I know. Every time I see him he's grown like a weed."
"He looks just like Remus," Harry said. "I mean, when he lets his natural appearance through."
"Has he got a handle on his morphing yet?"
"Not really. I mean he can change his hair color when he likes, but it also changes when he doesn't mean to."
"I'll have to come over one of the next times he's over," Hermione said in an exhausted tone. "It's been weeks since I've seen him, what with work being so hectic."
"He'd really like that," Harry said once they turned down a side street.
"So, do you have any idea where you want to start?" Hermione asked, glancing up and down a busy Muggle shopping district.
"No clue. I've never done this before."
"I should hope not," she said with a small smile. "And if you had, I would have hoped you would have told me!"
"Did you plan out how exactly you were going to propose? I knew you had an idea the last time we talked."
"I laid the seed," he said as they stopped to let several cars pass before crossing the street. "I told her Kingsley wants me in Paris until Sunday, when I'll easily be back on Friday. I figured I'd do it after the match. Puddlemere's a big one for her and spirits will be high when they win."
"And if they lose?"
Harry sighed. "I haven't thought that far ahead."
"For your sake," she smiled, "I hope they win."
"Me too," he said as he narrowly avoided a pudgy Muggle man whose hands were full of parcels.
"So, you're going to Paris?" Hermione asked after a few minutes of window shopping.
Harry glanced at her. He had an idea of where this conversation may be going. "Yeah, Kingsley's sending me down there for a couple days of observation of the Aurors we sent down there a few weeks ago."
"Oh," she said trying to sound casual. "So you'll probably run into--" She stopped just short of finishing her sentence.
"Ron?" he said bluntly. "Yeah, I plan on it." He stood there and watched her face for a reaction. Hermione and Ron could play this game of avoiding mentioning the other all they wanted, but he wasn't going to. He was tired of it.
"That should be fun," she said absently while she examined a nearby shop window with sudden interest.
"I hope so," Harry said. "I'm sort of happy to get the chance to tell him in person that I'm proposing to his sister."
"Yes," she said in the same absent tone as before. "That's probably good."
Harry sighed. This was obviously something Hermione didn't want to talk about, yet she had been the one to bring it up. It was something both she and Ron frequently did to him. They both refused to talk to each other, but then relied on Harry to fill them in on what the other was up to. When he did that however, they both suddenly acted as if they never asked in the first place. He certainly wasn't in the mood to push it any further than necessary today.
"Hey, do you think you do me a favor?" Harry asked.
"Maybe…" she said rather quickly. Harry could tell she sensed it had something to do with Ron.
"I needed a place to stay when I get back on Friday," he began, "so, I'm staying with Andromeda and Teddy."
"You could have stayed with me."
"Ah, but that's where the favor comes in," he said. "On Friday, I want to swing by the Burrow for a bit. I want to talk to Arthur and Molly."
"So," he continued, trying to not let Hermione get giggly on him, "I would need someone to distract Ginny from randomly swinging by her folks' house on Friday night."
"Maybe you could grab dinner with her after work? She'll have practice until about six."
"Sure. I'll do whatever it takes to help."
"Could you ask her to marry me, then?" he asked. "It'd save me a lot of time and nerves."
She laughed. "I'm not that helpful, Harry."
Days later, Harry found himself in the streets of Paris scanning address after address on the various buildings as he walked down a narrow street in the downtown area. He knew he was in the right place, yet felt completely turned around. He looked at the sheet of parchment in his hand once more.
"Where the hell is 511?" he said out loud to himself. He barely had time to process his thought when someone from behind him grabbed his shoulders and shook him excitedly. He had just managed to get his hand on his wand, and was seconds away from pulling it out, when he rounded on the person in question. He immediately let his hand fall back to his side. "I almost cursed you," he said.
"I would expect nothing less," Ron said with a wide smile. "How are you, mate?"
"Lost. Your directions are shit."
"You're on the wrong side of the street, idiot."
"I am not…" Harry muttered before glancing across the busy street to where he spotted the number 511. "Oh."
"I was sitting over there when I saw you," Ron continued, taking several steps across the street towards a small café. "Come on, I told the waitress that I'd be right back. I don't want them sending the police after me. How was your trip?"
"Eh," he said as he sat down at the table across from where Ron had sat himself. "You know how it is. What are you drinking?"
"Not really sure, but it's good," he said, gesturing towards a beer on the table just as the waitress appeared.
"Que buvez-vous?" she asked.
Harry stared at her blankly. He threw Ron a helpless look in the hopes that he would help him translate.
"She wants to know what you want to drink," Ron said. "At least, I think that's what she asked."
Harry pointed at Ron's drink, hoping the message would be conveyed, seeing as he knew little French. The waitress sighed, but seemingly understood before she walked away. Ron and Harry exchanged smiles.
"I'm just as bad," Ron said. "Actually, I keep coming to this place so that I don't really have to deal with not knowing how to order elsewhere. Here, they all just know. In fact, I originally just pointed to something on the menu and I've been having the same thing since."
Harry laughed. "You live in France and you still haven't figured out the little things like that?"
"Fleur tried to teach me a whole load of French before I got here," he said, brushing his hair out of his face, "but I don't know how much I picked up. I can understand some of it pretty well, but speaking it..." He rolled his eyes. "I can say 'thank you,' 'you're welcome,' and 'where is the loo?'"
Harry laughed again as the familiar feeling of being with his best mate overcame him. It was the thing he missed most now that Ron was living in Paris.
"Everyone I work with understands English loads better than I understand French," Ron continued. "They're being really patient with me and Rooney as we adapt to everything."
"That's good to hear," Harry said as the waitress returned and placed his drink down in front of him. "Seeing as that's why I'm here. To see how you're all adapting."
"I was excited to hear it was you coming. We'll have some fun over the next few days."
"We sure will," Harry said, glancing around the busy street. "So, how is life here, Ron?"
"Different," he said, looking around the street himself. "But in a good way, you know? I miss a lot of the things from home." He took a long pause. "Mainly the food." He paused again." And, you know, my family and friends obviously."
Harry smirked. "I'm second to food?"
"Actually third," he joked. "If you don't lump family and friends together as one thing."
"Oh, my mistake," he said as he took a swig of his beer.
"Work's great though," Ron continued. "It's really cool to see how they handle things down here. I see what you meant now. About how coming here would make me a more well rounded Auror."
"Well, Kingsley's the one who said that, I was just relaying the message."
"Either way," he said as he stretched his arms out and yawned. "So, how is everyone? Mum writes me once a week and lets me know how she and dad are. Plus she's always adding stories of how the nieces and nephew are growing, so no need to keep me updated on any of that." He cracked his knuckles. "I mean, I just saw them a month ago, how much can they grow?"
"You'd be surprised," Harry said. "Teddy seems to grow every time I see him."
"I can imagine. I have a feeling that kid will be tall. His dad and mum were pretty tall."
Harry smiled as he thought of Ted, and was suddenly reminded of how excited he'd gotten over his autographed photograph the last time he'd seen him. He glanced at Ron. "You'll appreciate this. Ginny managed to get him a Judge autographed photo the other day, right? You should have seen his face light up."
Ron's jaw dropped. "You're joking! He got Judge's autograph? Lucky kid! Hell, I want one!"
"I know!" Harry laughed. "Teddy was thrilled. I told the same story to Hermione and she just didn't get how big this was for him…"He trailed off as the excitement on Ron's face suddenly disappeared. Harry suddenly realized what he had said. "So, uh, yeah," he continued with an awkward cough, "he was really excited about it."
"He's a lucky kid," Ron said, trying to pretend that he hadn't been fazed by the mention of Hermione's name. "Glad to hear he's doing well. How's Andromeda doing?"
"Good. She starting to sort of date again, so we've been watching Teddy more and more."
"Yeah. We reckon it's good for her. She's spent the last five years cooped up with Teddy, with just him and the visitors as company, it's got to be a little draining after awhile. I mean, this one guy I've seen around lately seems pretty good. He's nice to Teddy, which is really all I want from him."
"It's healthy to move on," Harry said. He didn't immediately realize that those words had all but been his mantra to Ron over the last few months.
"Yeah, so I've been told," he said with a small smile.
Harry watched his face, and suddenly worried about the conversation veering back towards Hermione again. He assumed that now was as good a time as any to tell Ron about his proposal. "I'm actually going to stay with Andromeda and Teddy on Friday when I get back," he said, easing his way into the conversation.
"Why's that? You and Ginny didn't get into a fight, did you?"
"No, nothing like that," he said, taking a deep breath. "I just don't want Ginny to know I'm back until Saturday."
Ron face was suddenly hard to decipher. He looked confused, but at the same time, he looked worried that he was going to hear something he didn't want to hear, as if Harry was planning to break up with Ginny or was fooling around on her behind her back. He opened his mouth slowly to say something, but Harry spoke before he could.
"I want to surprise her," he continued, "after her game on Saturday. You know the one against Puddlemere?"
"Yeah. That's a huge game for them."
"Right," he said as he suddenly felt his heart beating rapidly in his chest. Telling Ron he wanted to marry his sister almost seemed harder than the thought of asking Ginny herself.
"Well, it's also around our five year anniversary…"
"Has it been five years already?" Ron asked thoughtfully. "Wait, is this counting the first time you two dated?"
"So, you're planning a big surprise for your anniversary, then?" he said with a tone of relief in his voice. "That's great."
"It's definitely big," Harry said before he took a long swig of his beer and drained his glass.
"What is it?"
Harry stared hard at Ron for a long second before taking a deep breath. "Ron, I'm going to ask your sister to marry me."
Ron stared at him for a moment before his eyes went wide. His mouth gaped briefly before he suddenly just let out a celebratory laugh. "Seriously?!"
"Harry!" he said. "I don't even know what to say. I mean, I guess we all assumed it would happen eventually, but to actually hear it..." He smiled. "Congrats mate." At that very moment, their waitress passed by the table and Ron immediately made a gesture for her to stop. "Two more," he said holding up two fingers and gesturing to their empty glasses. "On me of course," he added to Harry. "We have to toast to this."
"She hasn't said yes yet," Harry said almost sheepishly.
"She will," Ron said as he crossed his arms in front of his chest and continued to smile. "She's loved you for ages now." He laughed again. "Wow, Harry."
"I know. I wanted to tell you in person. You know, so you wouldn't have to read it in a letter from your mum."
"I appreciate that," he managed to stammer in between laughs. "So, my parents don't know?"
"I'm going to head over on Friday when I get back to tell them," he said. "It's old fashioned, but as close as I am to your family it just feels like the right thing to do."
"Oh, they'll love it," he said. "Who else knows?"
"Um, you," Harry began as the waitress returned, "Andromeda, and then Hermione. She helped me pick out the ring."
Ron beamed. He was clearly unfazed this go around at hearing Hermione's name; instead he picked up his glass to toast to Harry. "All right then, this is to you, Harry. For growing up faster than I'm willing to."
"And to the fact that even though I all but consider you one already, I can soon officially call you my brother."
"Wow," Harry said, felling touched. "Save something for the best man speech, mate."
"Oh, well, you know in my family brothers are a dime a dozen, so it's really not all that special," he joked, trying to hold back the laughter that was currently fighting to escape him given their happy spirits. Harry, too, was having a hard time keeping the laughter in, but quickly broke first. They both said, "Cheers!" in unison, clanked their glasses, and drank in celebration for the remainder of the evening.