Title: My True Love Gave To Me
Summary: Written for the Harry/Ron Holiday Slash Fest. AChristmas tale of fluff and presents. Merry Christmas!
"Oh, well I'm sorry I make your life so fucking miserable, Ron!"
"That's not what I meant and you know it!"
Harry Potter and Ron Weasley stood head to head in the centre of the Common Room, both of the boy's faces flushed red with anger. The room had emptied of Gryffindors fifteen minutes earlier when the clock chimed six o'clock for dinner and the students had gradually made their way down to the Great Hall to eat. Harry and Ron stayed behind to get some alone time together, but their conversation had quickly turned ugly.
"Then what did you mean by that exactly?" Harry demanded waving his hands in the air. "Perhaps my head is so big, I secretly think of myself as too worthy to be your boyfriend, that I merely took you on as a charity case, someone to make me look good. Is that it?"
"No." Ron sighed and ran an agitated hand through his messy red locks. "I'm sorry I even brought it up. Can we just drop it?"
Harry took a step back and crossed his arms over his chest. "I'm getting tired of your petty insecurities, Ron. Maybe we should take a break from each other for awhile."
"What?" Ron paled. "Isn't that a bit…much?" Before Harry could reply Ron's complexion regained it's colour and he lifted his chin. "Fine. You want to break up? Then we will. We're through. For good."
Any words of apology quickly died in Harry's throat as he watched Ron storm out of the room and slam the portrait hard behind him. Ron usually protested, or flung insults for another hour or two before leaving in a rage. Harry had a sneaking suspicion that maybe this time he'd gone too far, pushing Ron to his limits. Harry slumped into the nearest chair and put his head in his hands. What have I done? he thought miserably.
It didn't take long for Hermione to return. She walked straight over to Harry with her hands firmly planted on her hips. "What did you do?" she demanded.
Harry lifted his head from his hands, tear tracks still glistening on his cheeks. Hermione immediately softened and squeezed herself into the chair next to her friend, wrapping her arms around him comfortingly.
"I think I just made a huge mistake," Harry admitted sorrowfully.
"You're always making huge mistakes where your relationships are concerned, Harry," Hermione said with an affectionate smile. "I think you were born with that foot of yours permanently lodged in your mouth."
"I always do this," Harry growled to himself angrily. "I always act without thinking."
"I don't know, Harry, maybe it's for the best this time."
"No." Harry looked up sharply and shook his head. "I didn't really mean it. I do love him, 'Mione, I just…I don't know…"
"No relationship is easy, Harry. Especially ones that get as much media attention as yours tend to. Unwanted or not."
Hermione pushed herself out of the squashy armchair and perched on the edge of the coffee table opposite Harry. "Why don't you tell me what it was you were fighting about and we'll go from there?"
"Okay." Harry took off his glasses and wiped them with the corner of his jumper as he began to explain. "Well, we had decided to stay behind for a few minutes to be alone – we hadn't been alone for quite awhile since we've been spending every waking moment studying for all those annoying last minute pop-quizzes before the Christmas break – so we sat over there by the fire and just started talking about whatever was on our minds. I was sitting with my back against Ron's chest and he had his arms around me, everything was just fine, until he said-"
--"Don't you ever wonder why we're together, Harry?"
"What do you mean?" Harry asked lazily, closing his eyes and leaning his head back against Ron's shoulder.
"I mean, don't you ever feel that you're too good for me?"
"What?" Harry sat up and turned to look at his redheaded boyfriend.
Ron lowered his eyes. "You can have anyone you want, I just don't know why you picked me."
"Because I love you." Harry softly kissed Ron's cheek and smiled at him.
Ron smiled but his eyes remained downcast.
Harry frowned in concern. "What brought this on?"
"Some of the guys in the locker room were talking," Ron admitted quietly.
"About how I should feel grateful for the fact that Harry Potter is dating me. That I should relish every moment because once you kill You-Know-Who you'll be the most sought after wizard in the world."
"That's rubbish Ron, and you know it," said Harry, feeling a spark of anger towards whoever was filling his lover with such nonsense. "I haven't done anything worth mentioning yet where you weren't there beside me helping me every step of the way. I'm no better than you, or Neville, or Hermione, or anyone."
"Except that everyone knows your name," Ron said, a touch of bitterness creeping into his voice.
Harry sighed wearily. "Not this again."
Ron finally raised his eyes to look at him. "Well, it keeps getting in the way."
"No, you let it get in the way."
"Do you know how much I have to go through just because I'm the boyfriend of Harry Potter?"
Harry's eyes widened in shock. He jumped to his feet, fists clenched by his side. Ron quickly followed.
"Oh, well I'm sorry I make your life so fucking miserable, Ron!"---
"Harry James Potter, is that anything to say to someone you love?" Hermione interrupted, shaking her head in disapproval. "Then what happened?" she asked.
"Then he said that that wasn't what he meant. I said maybe we should take a break from each other for awhile and he said fine and stormed out."
Hermione tutted and shook her head again.
"What was I supposed to say?" Harry demanded in irritation. "He pretty much told me that I make his life a living hell."
"Oh he did not," Hermione exhaled in exasperation. "Can't you see that deep down he's just worried that what everyone says will turn out to be true and that some day you will leave him for someone better?"
Harry flopped back down into the plush cushions of the armchair again. "But there is no one better. I wish he could see that. There'll never be anyone better because he's perfect."
"Then why did you suggest breaking up?"
"I don't know, I didn't really mean it. I was just hurt by what he said. I don't want us to break up. Ever."
"So tell him."
"I do tell him, all the time. It doesn't seem to be helping."
"Then you're just going to have to be a little more tolerant and a little more understanding until he finally realizes the truth."
Harry nodded and tiredly rubbed his eyes behind his glasses. "I guess I'll go down to the Hall and apologize for being such a prat – again. I hope there's some food left, I'm starving."
"Wait!" Hermione called after him. "You can't apologize in the Hall. Wait until he comes back."
"But I'm hungry," Harry whined.
Hermione's eyes practically bugged out of her head as she rushed forward and grabbed onto his arm in excitement. "I've got it!"
"Got what?" Harry asked, looking at her as if she had finally lost her mind.
"The perfect plan to woo Ron back."
"Woo?" Harry raised his brows with a snicker.
"Yes," Hermione continued, ignoring him. "You could get him a really terrific Christmas present as a peace offering and apologize on Christmas Day. Oh, it would be so romantic!"
"Hmm…" Harry thought it over. "That's actually not a bad idea."
"Of course it's not," Hermione bristled indignantly.
"I don't want him to think that I'm trying to buy him back though either," Harry warned.
"It doesn't have to be anything expensive, but you do only have thirteen days left to decide."
Harry walked back over to the fire and stood in front of it, holding his hands out to the warm flames as he thought. "I want it to be something different, something unique. Maybe Muggle…"
Hermione nodded thoughtfully and joined him by the fire. "Good idea."
"That means I have thirteen days to get over to the Muggle world and buy something for Ron."
"Actually, you only have twelve days since today doesn't really count," Hermione pointed out.
"Okay, twelve days until Christmas," said Harry with a touch of panic.
"Like the song." Hermione smiled.
"Yeah." Harry had to smile in return as Hermione started humming the first few bars of the classic Muggle Christmas song. "Wait! That's it!"
Hermione stopped her humming and glanced over. "You're starting to sound like me," she teased. "What's it?"
"The twelve days of Christmas," Harry explained in a rush. "I'll give him a present every day for the next twelve days, just like the song says. Take tomorrow for instance, I could buy him a marzipan pear tree with a little chocolate partridge sitting in it or something."
"Oh, Harry!" Hermione squealed. "That's perfect!"
"I can have everything specially made and then delivered to Ron with the post every morning."
"What are you going to do for the eight maids a-milking? Or the ten lords a-leaping?"
"I don't know." Harry shrugged carelessly. "I'll think about it when the time comes." His heart felt loads lighter already.
Hermione squealed again as another great idea struck her. "You should send them all from a secret admirer! And on the twelfth day have him meet you somewhere with the last gift."
"That's brilliant!" Harry exclaimed, already picturing it in his mind; a moonlit night, a trail of roses, softly falling snowflakes, him waiting with one last, wonderful gift for the love of his life…
"Plus, giving Ron a secret admirer might boost his self-confidence."
Harry nodded, smiling to himself. What a perfect plan, he thought in satisfaction.
Harry and Hermione were still busy planning Harry's special Christmas plan for Ron when the redheaded Gryffindor himself entered the Common Room and rushed for the stairs without looking at either one of them. Harry felt his happiness wane momentarily at the sight. He felt horrible for making Ron so angry, and obviously hurt as well by the looks of it. He just hoped that his surprise would help fix everything and make up for how badly he had reacted earlier.
Hermione patted his arm and drew his focus back to the problem at hand. "So, how are you going to get the first present in time for the morning post tomorrow?"
Harry smiled mischievously. "I still have my father's cloak and the Marauder's map don't I?"
Hermione bit her lip, clearly torn between her Head Girl sensibilities and wanting to help her friend. "Just be careful, Harry," she finally cautioned without censure.
"I always am." Harry winked.
Day 1 – A Partridge in a Pear Tree
Harry tried to keep his eyes open as he carefully spooned some sugar onto his porridge. He was practically falling asleep at the table after staying up all night designing and assembling Ron's first present, not to mention the added exhaustion of a journey to Honeydukes and back through that blasted tunnel. He suppressed another yawn and leaned his head on his hand as he began to absently stir his breakfast in slow, goopy circles. He was too tired and keyed up to eat anyhow. This was going to be the first day of Ron's Christmas surprise.
He glanced over at Hermione and they shared a secretive look. Ron sat further down the table next to Dean and Seamus, seeming to be caught in the same breakfast stirring stupor that Harry currently found himself. Harry noted in dismay that Ron looked just as tired and miserable as he'd felt last night, as if he'd spent the entire night tossing and turning, crying as well judging by the tell-tale puffiness around his eyes. Harry felt another stab of guilt and sighed.
Just then, a fluttering of feathered wings signaled the arrival of the post. Harry sat up straight and tried to find the grey owl he had assigned to deliver Ron's first gift. He noticed that quite a few of the owls were carrying presents in their talons for various students.
Ron's eyes widened in surprise as a graceful, grey owl flew overhead and gently placed a large parcel onto his plate.
"Who's it from, Ron?" Seamus asked interestedly.
"Dunno…" Ron carefully lifted the white card from the top of the beautifully wrapped box and opened it. His eyes widened even more as he read the elegant scrawl.
"Well?" Dean prompted, leaning over to get a look.
Wordlessly, Ron handed the note over to him and began to examine the box from all angles. Harry thought he saw Ron glance his way. He carefully kept his expression neutral and, to his acting credit, tinged with a little bit of jealousy.
"Hey guys, listen to this!" Dean exclaimed, he held up Ron's card and read aloud. "Dear Ron, I can not stand idly by any longer without telling you what is truly in my heart. I have known and loved you from the first moment I laid eyes on you and I feel that it is time that I finally let my feelings be known. Don't be scared, I only wish the best for you and would never do anything to frighten or harm you. I wish that I could say this in person but I have never been very good at articulating my feelings, especially ones as deep and special to me as the ones I have for you. This present is the first of many that you will be receiving leading up to Christmas, one every day for the next twelve days. On the twelfth day I will finally be ready to reveal myself to you. I hope then that you will allow me to be a part of your life. I will do my utmost to protect you and care for you in the way that you deserve. Happy Christmas. With love, your secret admirer."
All the Gryffindors within hearing stared at Ron in wide-eyed shock, then, as if on cue, they all turned to look at Harry. They all knew that Harry and Ron had been dating for over a year before this recent break-up and wanted to see Harry's reaction.
Harry decided to play the part to the fullest and gave Ron and the rest of them a rather cold scowl before staring down into his porridge. He bit his lip to keep from laughing and felt Hermione kick him under the table before a tiny snort of laughter erupted from her lips. Thankfully, no one noticed as they were too busy watching Ron reach for the bow on his present.
Beneath the gold and silver wrapping was a shiny, silver box engraved with the Honeydukes trademarked monogram. Ron hesitated slightly then lifted the lid off the box. The sides immediately fell away to reveal a wondrous confection statue within.
Everyone gasped, including Hermione, who had not seen the finished product yet. Standing there was a tall, glassy, sugar-spun pear tree, looking as if it had been carved from ice and diamonds. It sparkled in the shafts of morning sunlight falling from the enchanted ceiling. The pears were made of glittering sugar as well, painted a pale yellow. Sitting amongst the crystal branches was one white-chocolate bird, dusted with a fine sprinkling of powdered sugar to add a touch of magic.
Everyone was absolutely gobsmacked. Ron just stared with round eyes, trying to take it all in as it glittered up at him.
"Whoa…" Seamus breathed. "Someone has got it bad for you."
Harry hugged himself with glee as he snuck little peeks at Ron from the corner of his eye.
"Who do you think it is?" Neville asked, trying to get closer to the beautiful gift.
"I…I have no idea," Ron replied, still in shock.
"Are you going to eat it?"
"I don't think so," Ron touched the tip of one of the glassy branches with his finger in wonder. "It's too nice to eat."
Ginny waltzed over and leaned down to speak urgently into her brother's ear. "What about Harry?" she demanded.
Ron glanced over at Harry, who was still glaring into his breakfast, and shrugged. "He knows where to find me if he ever decides to apologize."
"Just drop it, Ginny." Ron's voice became hard. "Sometimes you just have to face the fact that not everything works out like you thought it would. Like you hoped it would."
Ron looked to Harry again and saw him looking right back at him. They held each other's gaze for minute before Harry broke away and decided to leave the Hall. Ron wished that his heart would stop hurting so that he could move on with his life. Obviously a relationship with Harry just wasn't meant to be.
"I bet this person is rich," said Dean, looking around the Hall as if for clues to Ron's mystery person.
"What if it's from a girl?" Neville wondered, still eyeing the candy tree.
Ron snorted, coming back to himself. "Then they have no chance in hell."
"But you'll take the gifts anyway." Seamus winked.
Lavender and Parvati were cooing over the heartfelt card. "I wish I had a boyfriend that would send me love notes and expensive presents like this," Lavender sighed wistfully.
Parvati nodded. "You are so lucky, Ron."
Ron felt his cheeks redden as he blushed in embarrassment. For the rest of the day he daydreamed about his secret admirer and wondered whom in the school it could be.
Day 2 – Two Turtle Doves
Harry was pleased to see that Ron arrived in the Great Hall early the next morning, looking eager and excited, his eyes scanning the windows for any sign of the morning post. Hermione caught Harry's eye and gave him a nod and a smile. The plan was working.
Harry dug into his breakfast with newfound enthusiasm and couldn't wait until Ron saw the gift for day two.
"They're here!" Neville exclaimed, pointing up at the mass of owls flying in through the large windows of the Great Hall.
Harry munched on his buttered toast and watched.
The same grey owl circled above Ron a few times before soaring down and delivering the blue and silver wrapped present.
"Blue and silver," Dean commented. "Must be from a Ravenclaw."
Ron spared the Ravenclaw table a quick glance, but none of the students were looking his way. He shrugged and lifted the white card from the wrapping. He read it aloud for all to hear. "My second gift to you, my precious Gryffindor. I hope that it will brighten your heart as you have brightened mine. With love, your secret admirer." Ron blushed crimson, looking pleased and slightly embarrassed.
Lavender and Parvati sighed and gazed upon the new gift with wistful expressions.
"If that is from a bloke, then he has to be gay," proclaimed Seamus. "No straight guy would spout such fluffy nonsense."
Dean poked him in the ribs and rolled his eyes. "Oh, you poor little straight boy with your manly insecurities."
Everyone laughed and Harry smiled into his pumpkin juice. Hermione left her spot across from Harry and moved over to stand behind Ron as he opened the present.
The blue and silver wrapping fell away to reveal another silver box within, this time without the Honeydukes monogram. Ron saw that this box had a hinge to the lid and he lifted one side to look in.
Suddenly a flash of white light exploded from within and showered red confetti down on the Gryffindor students seated nearby. Everyone gasped and covered their heads, then slowly began to peek out at the silver box, waiting for it to make the next move.
Finally, Ron stood up and looked down into the box. A look of awe passed over his face and everyone immediately crowded around to see.
Sitting in the bottom of the box, nestled cozily together on a blue silk pillow, were two small, turtle doves. They opened their eyes and fluttered their wings before flitting up to perch on the sides of the box. The two birds were quite beautiful, with soft, pink coloured breasts and pale, grey heads. Ron smiled at them tenderly. The birds opened their beaks and a pleasant purring song poured forth, causing everyone to smile.
"Like I said before, mate," Seamus said quietly. "Someone has got it bad for you."
Ron smiled even more and held out his arm to his new pets. They obediently hopped onto his shoulder and peacefully settled next to his ear with more soft purring sounds of content.
Harry allowed himself a small smile as Ron left the Hall with the two birds and their silver box. Hermione gave him the thumbs up.
Day 3 – Three French Hens
Harry almost overslept and missed breakfast the next day. He hurried down to the Great Hall and rushed over to join the rest of the Gryffindors just as Ron was jumping back from the table as two owls delivered his next - very large - present.
Harry was exhausted, but knew that it was well worth it. He couldn't wait to see Ron's face when he opened this one.
Ron slipped the white card into his robe pocket and tore into the shiny yellow wrapping paper.
"Hufflepuff." Harry heard Dean whisper.
By now, all of Gryffindor had become aware of Ron's secret gift giving admirer and the entire house was gathered around to watch. Ron smiled proudly in the midst of all the attention.
Harry's view of Ron's face was blocked by other students so he took a chance and moved closer to stand just off to Ron's right hand side and slightly behind him. Ginny squished in beside him and gave him a sympathetic look while patting his hand. Harry tried to look like the wounded lover that he was.
Ron gasped as the paper fell away. This time the box was filled with three giant chocolate hens. Each hen had the back carved out of it, like bird-shaped bowls, and each chocolate bird was filled with another type of candy; one was full of Bertie Bott's Beans, another with Ice Mice, and the last one with Fizzing Whizzbees. It looked like enough candy to last a person at least two months, but knowing Ron, Harry figured that it might last the rest of the week. Maybe.
Ron generously offered everyone some of his sweets. Harry couldn't move away fast enough since he was pinned in by Gryffindors, and Ron turned, slightly surprised, to see Harry behind him. Harry smiled shyly and politely refused the candy before turning and hurriedly squeezing through the crowd.
Ron was the only one to watch him leave the Hall, noticing in confusion that Harry was practically running from the room.
Day 4 – Four Calling Birds
Day four's gift was even more spectacular than the last. Four small birds flew in through the window, each one carrying a different present. The first bird dropped off a large poster of Ron's favourite quidditch player from the Chudley Cannons. The second dropped an official Chudley Cannon's jersey into his lap. The third dropped off a book about the Chudley Cannons, with the entire team's autographs scrawled on the first few pages. Then the fourth bird deposited a small, orange envelope into his outstretched hand. Ron opened it and Harry worried that the redhead was going to faint.
"Well?!" Seamus demanded impatiently.
"Tickets to a Cannon's game next summer," Ron uttered breathlessly.
"Whoever this is, Ron, he or she must know you really well," Neville commented seriously.
Harry smiled through his exhaustion and slipped away to try to get in a good nap before lunch. He'd really outdone himself this time and couldn't wait to get to work on tomorrows' surprise.
Day 5 – Five Golden Rings
Harry rubbed his eyes and focused on trying to keep himself from nodding off into his food. Ron stood up and grinned as the morning post arrived. Harry had again assigned the same grey owl for the delivery and Ron spotted it immediately. He watched it approach with growing excitement.
Again, all of Gryffindor, except for Harry, was gathered around Ron to watch as the owl landed beside Ron's plate. Ron reached out and unhooked the velvet pouch from the owl's leg. He pulled the silken ties of the pouch and reached inside. He felt something cold and hard beneath his fingers and pulled it out.
Everyone moved closer to get a good look.
"What is it?" Neville asked.
"I don't know." Ron opened his hand and saw five large, golden rings. They were heavy and looked like gold bracelets.
"Jewelry?" Lavender raised a brow questioningly.
Ron shrugged. He hoped it wasn't jewelry, he wasn't the type of guy who usually wore that sort of thing. He was somewhat disappointed that his secret admirer didn't know him as well as he'd thought.
"Why don't you read the note?" Hermione finally suggested in exasperation. She was feeling impatient since she had helped Harry with this particular gift and was feeling quite proud of her ingenuity.
"Oh yeah…" Ron realized stupidly. He pulled the small, white card loose from the pouch and opened it. "Dearest Ron," he read, "inside this pouch are five enchanted rings. They have been specially designed for your magical signature alone, so no one else will be able to use them. Take note that each of them have been engraved with different letters; BB, HC, TT, CF, and F. Each one stands for a different kind of treat that may be called upon whenever you feel the urge. BB stands for butter beer, HC stands for hot chocolate, TT stands for treacle tarts, CF stands for chocolate frogs (which will appear with whatever wizarding card that you wish), and F stands for fudge (any flavour you want). Each ring may be used five times before it will disappear. Enjoy. With love, your secret admirer."
Hermione and Harry shared a smile as Ron immediately asked for a round of butter beers for everyone.
Day 6 – Six Geese A-laying
Harry watched Ron leave the Great Hall with a troubled expression on his face. Hermione sat down next to her friend and frowned.
"Harry, what's wrong?" she asked.
Harry sighed and rested his chin on his arms. "This is going to sound really dumb, but I kind of feel…jealous."
"Of Ron's secret admirer."
"But," Hermione quickly lowered her voice, "you are Ron's secret admirer."
"I know, it doesn't make any sense. I just can't help but feel as if Ron got over me a little too easily. I was worried that he might think I was trying to buy him back and now I feel like some kind of worthless cast-off because Ron is being bought by what he thinks is some other bloke."
"Are you mad at him?" Hermione asked.
"No," Harry replied honestly.
"Maybe you should just tell him the truth."
"No." Harry sat up straight and rubbed his eyes behind smudged glasses. "I started this and I'm going to see it through to the end." He glanced suspiciously at his friend. "And don't you say anything to him, Hermione."
"I wasn't going to." Harry thought she looked a little guilty. "Just take it easy, Harry. You're starting to look really exhausted. Are you sleeping at all?"
"A bit." Harry shrugged it off. "Don't worry. Did you see Ron's face today?"
Hermione smiled reluctantly. "Yeah," she admitted. "You'd better hope that that little gift isn't going to get him expelled."
Harry chuckled. He'd given Ron six large goose eggs, each one housing an extra-strength dung bomb. His accompanying note had read: 'for use against Slytherins only.'
Day 7 – Seven Swans A-swimming
Harry slumped over on the table, wishing that the house elves served coffee. Ron's cry of excitement helped bolster his lagging spirits as the redhead pointed up at the now familiar grey owl. It held only a single, white card in its talons.
Ron curiously untied the card and read it aloud. "Do not fear, my love, your gift awaits you outside by the lake. Merry Christmas."
Ron and the others took off in a mad dash towards the doors and burst out onto the cold grounds of Hogwarts. Harry and Hermione followed at a safe distance and sat on the steps of the school to watch.
Ron halted at the lake side and smiled in amazement. Seven beautiful, snow white swans were gracefully floating over the lake's glassy surface. One of the swans swam towards him and lowered its long neck so that Ron could remove the silk ribbon with the card attached to it. This time he read it to himself.
These swans have been trained to fly home to your house near Ottery St. Catchpole. I do believe that you have a small pond behind your home that would be a perfect fit for these magnificent creatures. I have also included a new wizard camera in your gift for you to capture the beauty and wonder of the world around you. I hope that one day we may be able to safely travel this world together, until then, enjoy the sights closest to home.
Your Secret Admirer
Ron smiled and slipped the card carefully into his pocket before looking back up at his present.
Hermione placed an arm about Harry's shoulders as the Boy-Who-Lived sighed, watching his ex untie the camera from one of the swans and show it to the others. He still felt confused about the strange feelings he was experiencing.
Day 8 – Eight Maids A-milking
As Harry's head hit the pillow at five o'clock in the morning, he decided that he could afford to miss Ron opening his present just this once. He had paid for eight of the girls at the Hogsmeade Day Spa to come to Hogwarts and pamper Ron for the day. The only catch was that they had to use all milk products (as per the song). The girls had obligingly agreed and brought out a series of milk massage oils, milk bath, and even milk chocolate for Ron to snack on while they worked. They also promised to keep Harry's identity a secret, cooing over his 'loving generosity' just as Lavender and Parvati had.
Harry felt a little sad that he wouldn't get to see Ron's reaction, but he was sure Hermione would fill him in on every detail when he saw her later.
He fell asleep with a contented smile on his face.
Day 9 – Nine Ladies Waiting
"Harry!" Hermione ran towards her friend across the Common Room, waving her hand at him in excitement, an envelope clutched in her fist. "I got it!"
"Shh!" Harry shushed her, even though he was pretty sure they were the only ones in the room.
"Sorry," Hermione gasped breathlessly. "I got the tickets."
Harry smiled uncertainly. "Are you sure about this? I don't really think Ron's into ballet. Actually, I'm fairly certain that he's not."
Hermione laughed and shoved the envelope into his hand. "Believe me, he'll enjoy it once he's there. What did you give him today? I didn't get to see."
Harry slipped the envelope into the pocket of his robes and looked back up at Hermione with a grin. "I sent him to Hogsmeade to get fitted for some new dress robes. I picked out the material and helped the ladies with the design and everything," Harry said proudly.
"I hope he doesn't get offended by it," said Hermione. "Thinking its charity or something."
"He didn't look upset." Harry shrugged. "I even suggested in my note that he could wear the new robes for when we finally meet."
"Getting nervous yet?" Hermione asked slyly.
"Yeah," Harry admitted with a sigh. "Last night I was pondering the idea of finding a good looking bloke in the village and asking him to be Ron's secret admirer."
Hermione smiled. "Can you find me a boyfriend too while you're out shopping for handsome men?"
Harry laughed and threw a pillow at her.
Day 10 – Ten Lords A-leaping
Harry cringed as Ron stared down at the tickets in his hand with skepticism. He knew he shouldn't have listened to Hermione.
"What is it this time, Ron?" Neville asked, carefully putting together a monster sized sandwich of fried egg, Canadian bacon, ham, and cheese.
"Tickets to the…ballet," Ron answered, clearly baffled.
"Let me see." Dean dodged around the other gathered Gryffindors and snatched the tickets from Ron's hand. His eyes widened as he read the black print. "Ron, this isn't just any ballet, it's Swan Lake!"
Everyone, including Harry, goggled at him in shock. A few even laughed.
"Dean, you're scaring me," said Seamus, backing away from his dorm-mate.
Dean punched him in the arm and turned back to Ron. "This isn't some fruity girls-in-tutus ballet, you idiot. This is an all male version."
Ron's eyes sparked with interest, as did a few of the others.
"Just think of it," Dean went on dreamily. "All those toned, finely muscled bodies dancing around in tights for our viewing pleasure."
A slow smile spread across Ron's face. "I never thought of it that way…" He took the tickets back and glanced down at the accompanying card again. "The note says that you're invited to come too, Dean."
"Shut-up." Dean grabbed the note and read it. "Holy shit, it does!"
"There's still one ticket left if anyone else wants to go," Ron announced, looking around. "They're for tonight."
Lavender, Parvati, and his sister immediately jumped out of their seats and ran over, shoving Seamus out of the way.
Ron handed the ticket to Ginny. "You three can fight over it."
Harry let out a breath of relief and glanced at Hermione. She raised a brow as if to say 'see?' and Harry nodded, acknowledging her brilliance.
Harry flipped through Quidditch Through the Ages, feeling bored and restless. He had set up tomorrow's gift already and wasn't used to going to bed at a normal hour. He wandered down to the Common Room, the dying embers of the fire still glowing faintly as he flopped down onto the large armchair and tucked his knees up under his chin. An hour went by as he sat and contemplated life, or more specifically, his messed-up love life.
Harry jumped and looked up to see Ron at the foot of the dorm steps in his pajamas.
Ron hesitated, then walked over and settled himself on the overstuffed armchair across from him. "Are you okay?"
Harry shrugged and stared at the charred logs in the fireplace.
Ron bit his lip and plunged on. "Because you've been…you've looked really tired lately, and I was…"
"Worried?" Harry supplied, turning to look at him.
"Well, yeah." Ron shrugged. "You're still my friend." He said the last as more of a question than a statement.
Harry smiled warmly. "Yeah, I am."
"Do you want some candy? Or butterbeer?" Ron offered with a relieved smile. "I have an endless supply in my trunk now."
Harry frowned, feeling that ridiculously uncalled for jealousy again. "No thanks. I think I'll go to bed."
Ron stood up as Harry made for the stairs. "Harry, wait," he called after him, concerned.
Harry placed one foot on the stair and turned to look over his shoulder. "It's okay, Ron, really. I'm happy that you found someone else. He obviously cares for you a great deal, so don't throw it away, okay?"
"But…" Ron trailed off as Harry forced one last smile before heading off to bed.
This time it was Ron who was up all night thinking about Harry while the Boy-Who-Lived slept soundly in his bed.
Day 11 – Eleven Pipers Piping
Harry waited for Ron outside the portrait the next morning, hoping to walk to the Great Hall with him. He figured that he might have a better chance winning Ron back if he's friendly towards the redhead before revealing himself as the mystery man. Ron pushed through the portrait hole and stopped in surprise.
"Hi." Harry smiled in greeting.
Ron smiled back uncertainly. "Hi."
"Mind if I walk with you?"
Ron shook his head and Harry fell into step beside him as they started off down the corridor. An uncomfortable silence stretched between them.
"Sorry I've been so short with you lately," Harry finally said aloud.
"S'okay." Ron smiled and shrugged it off good-naturedly.
Harry shook his head in amazement at his friend's ability to forgive so easily. Ron had obviously grown a lot since that fourth year argument that almost ended their friendship for good. The uncomfortable tension was broken and they chatted amicably as they entered the Entrance Hall together. Both steering clear of any mention of Ron's secret admirer. In the back of his mind, Harry was thinking that he and Ron have been through so much and he still loved him, so that must mean that they're meant to be together.
With a lighter heart, both Gryffindors entered the Great Hall and headed towards their house table. Hermione smiled with pleasure at seeing the other two halves of her Gryffindor triangle together again. Harry and Ron seated themselves beside her, continuing their conversation without stopping.
The morning post came and went with no present for Ron. The redhead didn't even notice, so engrossed in his conversation with Harry, that it wasn't until Seamus poked him in the ribs did he stop talking to look up.
"Where's your present?" Seamus asked, bluntly.
Ron saw that all the Gryffindors were listening in. "I don't know." He shrugged.
Harry saw the look of disappointment flash across Ron's face as he reached for a piece of toast. He forced down the threatening smile and dug into his breakfast with enthusiasm. Hermione bit her lip and busied herself with the large book lying beside her plate, purposely keeping her eyes from Harry's face, knowing that one look at him would send the both of them into hysterics.
At precisely nine o'clock, there was a loud knocking on the large, double doors of the Great Hall. All the students jumped and looked up at Dumbledore. The old wizard merely smiled complacently and placed his utensils down on his plate to wait, his blue eyes twinkling even more than usual.
Harry was relieved that the headmaster had not looked in his direction. Yesterday he had gone to Dumbledore to clear the idea with him before going ahead with it. Dumbledore had faithfully promised to keep his secret and looked pleased at the prospect of having some fun at his student's expense. Harry knew then that he had the strangest headmaster that ever was, not that he would trade him for another in a million years.
The doors burst open and eleven house-elves came skipping and hopping into the room. They each carried a golden flute that scattered glitter and threw off sparks every time they moved it through the air. They all skipped and danced their way over to the Gryffindor table and leapt neatly on top of it – right in front of one Ronald Weasley.
Harry couldn't help himself and burst into laughter, barely refraining from burying his head in his arms and banging his fist on the table. Hermione's eyes shone proudly as the S.P.E.W badges twinkled merrily on the elves' costumes. It was her idea to hire the group of house-elves that she had managed to free in the last two years, with Dobby front and centre.
Ron's face burned red as all the students from every house stood on their benches and tables to see. Some of Slytherins making loud, scathing comments from their side of the room.
Dobby bowed low to Ron and unrolled a large scroll, striving to look dignified and important. "Mr Weasley, sir, a song just for you, from S.A."
"S.A.?" Neville questioned curiously. "Are those his initials?"
"It stands for secret admirer," Dean answered simply. His eyes suddenly widened. "Or maybe it is his initials…"
Ron waited in trepidation for the elves to begin their song.
Dobby counted out '5,6,7,8' and the elves began to play the magic flutes. Harry stopped laughing and raised his brows in surprise. They were good. Very good.
Ron was also looking slightly amazed. Hermione was the only one who did not look shocked in the least, her eyes still shining as she watched in rapt attention. Only the Muggle students recognized the tune the elves were playing, and Harry hoped that they would not tell Ron what tomorrow's theme would be.
The mini orchestra of elves came to the end of The Twelve Days of Christmas and bowed to thunderous approval from the rest of the school, except the Slytherins of course (who were still bitter about being kept at school for the holidays, even if it was for their own safety).
Harry was just relieved that Dobby hadn't unintentionally ruined the whole thing by blurting out the secret admirer's true identity. He had made the little elf swear to him to keep it secret and still hadn't been sure whether it was a good idea or not. But there was no need to worry, Dobby had played his part perfectly.
Ron, now over his embarrassment, whistled loudly and clapped along with everyone else. Harry took great joy in the happiness radiating from the one he loved.
The elves bowed once more then disappeared with a pop, flutes and all.
"I cannot wait until tomorrow," Parvati exclaimed. "I'm going to get here early to make sure I get a good seat."
"S.A…" Seamus murmured under his breath, thinking.
"Are you still trying to work out the initials?" Dean asked, rolling his eyes. "I don't think-"
"I've got it!" Seamus interrupted loudly. "S.A. is Stuart Ackerly!"
"Who is Stuart Ackerly?" Ginny asked from down the table, next to Lavender.
"He's a Ravenclaw, fourth year, I think," Seamus answered.
Ron made a face. "I don't think it's him."
"Fourth year? You cradle-robber you!" Seamus teased.
"Wanna go for a walk, Ron?" Harry interjected before the teasing could get out of hand.
"Sure." Ron threw him a grateful look. The two left the Hall to grab their cloaks before heading out into the winter wonderland that was the grounds of Hogwarts in December.
"Maybe it's Harry…" Neville tilted his head thoughtfully as he watched the two depart.
"You are so far off, Neville." Seamus laughed. "Don't be ridiculous, Harry just broke up with him, remember?"
Neville's cheeks flushed pink with embarrassment and he quickly let the subject drop.
Day 12 – Twelve Drummers Drumming…???
Harry wrung his hands and paced back and forth in the snow-covered gazebo. His note had told Ron to meet him here at precisely twelve o'clock midnight and it was ten minutes after. Harry had decided at the last minute to wear his invisibility cloak, he still wasn't sure why. He had no intention of backing out now.
The doors of the school opened and cast a large square of yellow light onto the white grounds as Ron came walking outside into the falling snow.
Harry held his breath. "This is it…" He stilled his movements and waited.
Ron cautiously approached the white gazebo, his new dress robes gleaming with a silvery sheen at his neck where the cover of his cloak didn't quite reach.
Harry noticed this and felt a boost of confidence, his heart swelling with more affection than he ever thought possible. This is Ron. The Ron that I love with all of my heart. There is no one else…
Harry took a deep breath and removed his invisibility cloak in one grand sweep, dropping it to the floor of the snow sprinkled gazebo.
Ron's eyes widened and he took a step back. "Harry…?"
Harry waited silently, his stomach twisting itself into knots.
"But…how..." Ron seemed to be at a loss for words.
"Why don't you sit down?" Harry suggested, motioning to the bench circling the inside of the gazebo.
Ron nodded mutely and stepped into the enclosure. He sat down and pulled his cloak around him for warmth, staring at Harry expectantly.
"It was me, the secret admirer thing, it was all me, well, Hermione helped a bit, too," Harry explained.
"But…I thought." Ron shook his head, still trying to comprehend the last twenty seconds of his life.
Harry smiled gently. "I know I said that we should take a break from each other, but I was wrong. I'm so sorry, Ron. I didn't mean it."
"Then why did you suggest it?"
"I was just feeling hurt by what you said, and I know you didn't mean it that way." Harry sighed, running a hand through his tangled, black hair. "I do know how much you have to put up with by being with me, and I should've been the one to ask why you were with me, not the other way around. All I can say is that I'm sorry, and I swear that I will make it up to you." Harry sat next to him and spoke earnestly, with sincerity. "I love you, Ron, and you never have to worry about me finding someone better because there's no such thing. Believe me when I say that you are perfect."
Ron blinked and felt himself falling into those deep, emerald eyes. The world existed but for the two of them and Ron knew that all he had to do was simply love this wonderful person in return and everything else would just fall into place.
"Harry." Ron threw his arms around his friend and held on tight. "I love you, too," he whispered against Harry's ear.
Harry closed his eyes and nuzzled his face into Ron's warm neck, inhaling the scent of his lover as he held him in his arms again after being apart for so long. Ron was doing the same, reacquainting himself once more with Harry's smell, his touch, his taste.
Harry slowly pulled back and trailed his lips across Ron's cheek until he found the soft fullness of Ron's waiting mouth. Ron smiled into the kiss as he drank in the absolute perfection of feeling Harry's lips against his own. He opened his mouth, wanting more, and Harry obliged.
Harry never wanted the kiss to end. It had never felt so sweet, so wonderful, so…perfect. That's what they were together – perfect.
But as all ordinary kisses must eventually come to an end, so do the ones that are perfection incarnate.
Harry placed a few more gentle kisses to Ron's lips before pulling away. Ron smiled at him and moved closer so that their thighs touched and their arms were firmly wrapped around the other's waist. Harry laid his head down on Ron's shoulder as the redhead stroked his hair with long, gentle fingers.
"I guess I should thank you for all those presents," said Ron.
"You're not mad about that, are you?" Harry asked, tensing.
Ron felt Harry's body tighten and quickly kissed the top of Harry's head. "Of course not, it was the most thoughtful thing anyone's ever done for me. I do happen to think that you spent too much money, but I'll let it go this time."
Harry smiled, his eyes drifting closed.
"But you have to promise to help me eat the candy, and to come to the Cannon's game next summer. That way we can both enjoy the gifts."
"I promise," Harry agreed happily, then added, "I'm just sad that I missed the ballet."
Ron laughed and swatted him playfully. "Where did you get the idea of sending me to a ballet?"
"Hermione," he replied simply.
"Should've known." Ron snorted.
"I thought you enjoyed it?"
"I did," Ron assured him. "I just felt kind of funny sitting there and ogling the men in tights. Although, Dean certainly didn't have a problem with it."
Harry laughed. "That's why I included him in the invitation."
Ron rested his chin in Harry's thick hair. "I still can't believe you did all that for me. I never even imagined that it would turn out to be you. In fact, I thought you looked jealous and angry about the whole thing."
Harry sat up, looking sheepishly at his boyfriend. "I was jealous."
"I know, it's dumb. But I was sort of feeling as if…well, as if you moved on a little too easily after we broke up."
Ron tilted Harry's chin up and stared into his eyes. "Harry, I never said that I was in love with the secret admirer, or even that I was going to date him. I almost didn't come out here tonight because I was still hoping that you and I could try to patch things up since you were talking to me again and everything. I only came here because I figured that I at least owed such a kind and generous person an explanation."
"You're just trying to make me feel better."
Harry could see that Ron was telling the truth. He broke into a smile and hugged him.
"So where's my twelfth present?" Ron asked after a pause, his tone teasing.
Harry pulled away, holding onto Ron's hands. "Do you really want it?"
Ron was about to reply with a flippant remark, but something in Harry's eyes told him that Harry was being very serious about something.
"Yes." Ron nodded.
Harry smiled and reached into his cloak pocket. He pulled something out and kept it hidden in his hand while giving Ron the familiar white card.
Ron fingered the delicate paper fondly for a moment, relishing the fact that he now knew who it was from, and knowing that made it all the better. He opened the card with a smile.
By now you know who I am, and since you are reading this card, then you have made me happier than words can say by returning my affections and accepting me back into your life. As you know, I do not do well with words, so I am writing this to you so that I may say this properly. I have never been loved by anyone before you, Ron. You showed me what it feels like to be loved, to be held, to be cared for. I have never loved before you. I now know how it feels to want to be with someone every moment of the day and to sleep with him by my side. To just watch you when you laugh, or hold you when you cry.
We've been through our share of laughs and tears, and yet, our love has never wavered. We've had our fair share of fights as well, but as time has told, even that is not enough to keep us apart for long. I have known you since I was eleven and can't even recall the day that I realized that I had fallen in love with you. I do know that the day you confessed your love for me was the luckiest day of my life…until today.
I love you, Ronald Weasley, and I want nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with you by my side. The years ahead of us are going to be hard. Nothing is easy when in the face of war, but I know together we can get through anything, and then the future will be ours. This is a promise that one day, when the war is over, we'll still be standing side by side.
Will you marry me?
Ron's jaw dropped. He lowered the card to see Harry on his knee in front of him, an open ring box sitting in the palm of his hand. "You…want to marry me?"
Harry smiled. "Looks like it."
"I can't believe Harry Potter wants to marry me…" Ron said faintly, disbelievingly.
Harry shook his head. "No, just Harry."
Ron started to smile. "Just Harry."
"Of course I will, you prat." Ron grinned and sunk to his knees in front of Harry. In front of his fiancé.
Harry took the ring from the box and slipped it onto Ron's finger. Ron looked down at the silver band, a woven Celtic design etched into the shiny metal.
"It's twelve karats," said Harry. "For the twelfth day."
Ron looked up from his new ring. "You're too romantic for your own good, Harry Potter."
Harry smiled and held up his left hand, a matching gold ring sitting there on his finger. Ron took Harry's hand and tenderly kissed his lover's engagement ring, then gathered Harry into his arms and over onto his lap, snuggling him in close.
"I think it's your turn to get pampered," said Ron, kissing the side of Harry's neck.
"Mmm…" Harry hummed pleasantly in reply.
"When should I tell my family the big day is?" Ron asked, now moving his lips to the sensitive area behind Harry's ear.
"The day after I kill Voldemort."
Ron's grip tightened around him. "I'm going to hold you to that."
Harry smiled. "Okay." He closed his eyes and rested his head on Ron's strong shoulder, all those sleepless nights finally catching up with him now that he was once more feeling content and at peace.
"What do you want for Christmas, Harry?" Ron asked quietly, rubbing his cheek against Harry's soft, dark hair.
"Nothing." Harry sighed happily.
Ron smiled tenderly and closed his eyes. "Does that mean that you now have everything you want?" he asked.
"Mmm…" Harry nodded under the warm weight of Ron's cheek as he drifted off, "and a partridge in a pear tree."