Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of J. K. Rowling. This story was written for fun, not profit.

Not Quite a Fairy Tale


Cho Chang was not quite five feet tall. She had chin-length black hair and large brown eyes, and -- as certain reporters snidely pointed out -- possessed no curves to speak of. Her other credentials spoke for themselves: captain of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team during her seventh year, a member of the Order of the Phoenix, and now one of the most promising young Aurors in recent years.

There was no need to introduce the young man sitting across the table from her. Or rather, there wouldn't have been if they had been in the magical world. But they weren't. In what seemed to be a last-ditch effort to avoid reporters, Harry Potter had dragged his girlfriend into Muggle London. They were spending their third anniversary hiding out at a restaurant called McDonald's.

"I don't think this is meat," Cho said for at least the tenth time, poking at what claimed to be a hamburger with a stray straw. The bun gave a sort of sad plorp when she prodded it.

Her boyfriend grimaced and ran his fingers through his hair. He looked a bit stressed, as he always did. Harry wasn't an Auror, but he was working very closely with Arthur Weasley, the newly appointed Minister of Magic. There were still Dark wizards and witches to be hunted down, reporters to be dodged, and Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger to keep away from each other's throats. Harry claimed that he had lost track of the number of times those two had broken up and got back together. Cho being whom she was, she kept a tally and helped Ron's older brothers Fred and George take bets on when the eventual wedding would be.

Plorp went the hamburger. Cho wondered what noise the salad would make, but decided not to chance it.

"Sorry," Harry said after a moment. "It's not really romantic, is it?"

"Not really, no." Cho flashed a smile to show that she wasn't upset. Last year they had gone to the most expensive restaurant in Paris. That debacle had only ended when one too many reporters had brought up rumors about Harry's entirely fictitious affair with one Virginia Weasley. Cho might have been tiny, but she had a temper and a talent for transfiguration. As it turned out, Rita Skeeter made a very ugly parrot.

There were worse places to be than McDonald's.

"Listen," Harry said after a moment. He looked paler than usual, and Cho decided she was going to grumble at Arthur about working him too hard. He already spent a couple nights a week traveling who-knew-where, being the Boy Who Lived for people who still needed that kind of symbol. "This wasn't exactly how I planned this, but...."

"But?" Cho asked around a mouthful of so-called chips.

Harry didn't answer. He just shoved over a little gold ring. It wasn't even in a box.

For some reason, the absurdity of the situation hit her just then. She was in a Muggle speedy-food restaurant, eating a hamburger that went plorp -- and her boyfriend-who-saved-the-world was proposing to her. At least, she assumed he was. It was bizarrely, incredibly funny.

Which was why she found it very strange that she didn't sound amused at all. Her heart had lodged in her throat. Instead of chuckling, she rested a fingertip on the ring and slid it the rest of the way across the sticky table. "This is for me?"

"Who else would it be for?" Harry asked, and leaned across the table to kiss the tip of her nose. He was probably getting ketchup all over his tie.

Cho scrubbed at her eyes. She clutched the ring in a fist and propped herself up on one arm, reaching up with her free hand to run her fingers through her boyfriend's insane hair. Then she kissed him.

It wasn't the most romantic of proposals. There was no dropping to one knee, no candles, no speeches, no sea of beaming onlookers -- just a few Muggles who knew a good story when they saw one, and one couple who had no interest in fairy tales.