The Perfect Proposal
Summary; All Harry wants to do is ask his long-time girlfriend, Ginny Weasley, to marry him. However it seems that Fate has other plans for him…
A/N; Happy Valentines to everyone out there! Here's a strange little romance-y sort of story that... well, I'm not entirely sure how it came about, nor if it's any good, but I do hope you all like it!
It was beautiful. A thin golden band inset with four small diamonds in the same of hearts and in the middle a circular ruby. Some would call it plain for an engagement ring, but Harry Potter was sure it was just perfect.
He fiddled with it as he stared at it as though he were examining it from every angle, but he wasn't really seeing it. He was thinking, instead, of the person that he was planning to give it to this very night.
He had been attempting for over a month to get up the courage to ask her to marry him, but it wasn't until Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, his best friends and due to be married in a few weeks, had spoken to him about it that he finally decided to do something. He loved her, she loved him. Surely nothing could be more simple then asking Ginny Weasley to marry him?
But every time he thought about it he felt funny little fluttering butterflies in his stomach and his mouth went dry. He'd even tried practicing a speech, but his tongue had frozen and he couldn't think what to say.
If this was how he was now, he hated to think what he would be like tonight.
Determinedly he picked the ring box up from his bedside table and stowed the ring into it before stashing the box safely in his coat pocket. He was going to do it, he would find something to say and he would make sure it would be a night she would remember.
Fate works in strange and wondrous ways. It is the firm belief of some that human beings were merely part of Fate's game, destined to go where she directed them. And as she looked down upon Harry Potter and thought of her plans for that day she couldn't help but rub her hands together in glee.
She did so love stirring things up every now and then, after all.
Utterly unaware of the fact that Fate herself was plotting against him today, Harry stepped outside and locked the door to his flat behind him, basking in the sunlight. For the last two weeks it had rained almost constantly and there were puddles everywhere on the sidewalk and road.
For a moment he considered apparating to his destination, but the chance to walk in the sunlight when for so long it had been covered by clouds was too good an opportunity to pass up. So he walked down his stairs and walked briskly down the sidewalk, avoiding the puddles as he went.
He could not have known that a car was speeding down the side of the road closest to him, nor was he to know that said car would reach a rather large puddle on the road at the exact same moment that Harry was walking beside it.
A moment later there was a large splash and suddenly Harry was drenched from head to toe as the car sped through the puddle. Harry froze and blinked as he looked down at himself and then looked back the way he had come. He sighed.
Seemed like he would need a change of clothes.
Once he had walked back to his flat, managing to trip and fall into another puddle on the way, he made a beeline to his room and changed clothes, already shivering. Quickly he went and locked the door and decided that perhaps he might apparate after all.
With a loud crack Harry disappeared and reappeared a moment later in an alleyway… right on top of another person.
"Oomph!" Harry sounded as he fell straight on top of someone and knocked them both to the ground.
This is just not my day…
"I'm so sorry," Harry said, hurriedly getting to his feet. "I was running and wasn't watching where I was going…"
He trailed off as the other person stood too. It was a tall, bulky and rough-looking man, much taller and thicker than Harry was, and he was snarling as his hands balled into fists, his eyes narrowing in severe dislike.
Harry couldn't help but swallow slightly as he looked up at him.
"Again, really sorry!" he said hurriedly before he dashed out of the alleyway, wanting to put as much distance between him and the man as possible.
It wasn't long before he had managed to lose himself in the crowds of London and tried to see over the heads of other people to get some idea of where he was headed now. He needed to get to Diagon Alley.
He was rather dismayed to find that he didn't recognise a lot of the shops around here, which meant he was quite a long way from where he needed to be. He knew all the shops in the vicinity of the entrance to the Alley.
For a moment he wondered how his apparition could have gone so horribly wrong, and then he realised he had only thought of apparating to an alleyway in London. He had forgotten to specify where exactly that alleyway would be.
Sighing he allowed himself to be pulled along aimlessly with the crowds, knowing better then to fight against the tide.
Overhead thunder sounded and Harry looked up to see black clouds slowly creeping across the sky. It looked like rain was going to break again soon; he just hoped that he would be under cover when that happened.
Jostled and pushed by people hurrying here, there and everywhere, Harry sped up his pace a little, pushing his way through the crowds as he realised he was heading in the wrong direction now. He was knocked into someone and, in a fit of bad temper, that person shoved him back so hard that Harry stumbled clear of the crowds just as rain started sprinkling down.
"Hey, move!" someone yelled.
A loud horn sounded and Harry jerked his head around to see a large bus bearing down on him, its breaks squealing as it tried to jerk to a stop. He had been pushed right onto the road.
With a yell he threw himself back onto the pavement just a moment before the bus would have hit and it rumbled past before it finally came to a stop.
Not wanting to wait around, his heart thumping wildly at the near miss, Harry joined the crowds again and merged with them, trying desperately to get his ragged breathing under control as he hurried in the direction he was sure he wanted to go.
Suddenly the sprinkling rain was no longer light but it was pouring down and people were running for cover. Harry couldn't help but stop and watch the confusion going on around him and then look up at the now almost completely black sky. Within moments he was soaked.
"This is just not my day," he muttered as, seeing the streets clearing, he began running.
Slipping and sliding, he turned a corner and, with a measure of relief, he saw the music store that always sat beside the Leaky Cauldron. Not even pausing he dashed into the small pub, making people look up to see who it was.
"Hello, Mr Potter," said Tom, the barkeeper, with a toothy grin. "You're looking a little wet."
"I know," said Harry with a sigh, trying to wringing out his jacket. "It wasn't even raining when I left."
"Yes, it just started a moment ago," said Tom with the air of someone comfortable in a nice, warm environment trying not to laugh at the unfortunate souls who had to go outside.
Harry sighed and made his way through the pub and out to the gateway into Diagon Alley. Once he had opened the brick wall he lowered his head and ran down the street, heading for the flower shop he knew was nearby.
He knew that Ginny loved the flowers that came from this shop, which is why he had to choose this one instead of a safer, muggle florist. His consternation at having to enter it only increased when, barely moments after going through the door, a seemingly harmless-looking daffodil tried to take off his hand with a razor-sharp leaf.
"Ah, Mr Potter!"
Harry turned to see the shop's owner, Mr Turnbill, approach him with a wide grin. Harry was a regular customer, so regular that the owner had easily gotten over his awe of the 'boy-who-lived' rubbish and now did not hesitate to laugh at the fact that his plants didn't seem to like the other man. Harry wasn't sure what he would have preferred; the awe or the embarrassment.
"Hello, Mr Turnbill," he said. "I was hoping to pick up a dozen roses. The normal kind," he added hurriedly.
Mr Turnbill laughed heartily. Harry had once made the mistake of asking for the special roses that had attacked him on the way to the Burrow. Needless to say he never asked for them again.
"Right you are, Mr Potter," the owner said in amusement. "How is Miss Weasley doing these days? Have you proposed yet?"
Harry wasn't sure whether or not he should be scandalised that the magical florist was prying into his personal life, then decided it wasn't worth the effort.
"As a matter of fact, I was going to propose tonight as long as my stream of bad luck doesn't continue," Harry said.
"Well, good luck with that, Mr Potter," Mr Turnbill said with a wink, going out back to get the roses Harry had requested.
Left alone in a store full of sentient plants that really didn't like him Harry looked around nervously. The nearby seemingly-innocent bush shook angrily at him and he jumped back.
Right into the waiting vines of a particularly vicious looking purple flower.
Harry had barely had time to cry out before a vine wrapped itself around his torso, pinning his left arm to his side, and another wrapped around his ankles, sending him crashing to the ground with an almost delicate pull. With his free arm he tried to get free, but the vines only tightened and slowly but sure started pulling him back towards the plant.
"Mr Turnbill!" he called desperately, trying to reach his wand, which was in his left pocket and therefore trapped.
"Just a minute, Mr Potter!" came the reply.
Harry turned to look at the plant only to see it was growing in size as though ready to swallow him hole.
"I don't have a minute!" he called back.
"Now, really, Mr Potter," said Mr Turnbill, rolling his eyes and coming back through to the main store. "I was almost finished with…" He stopped and stared. "Oh my."
For Harry,oh my didn't even begin to express the situation he had currently found himself in.
"Can you control your plant?" he asked. His feet were nearly at the bush.
Mr Turnbill seemed to shake himself free of his shock and he pulled his wand out and wagged it threateningly at the bush. The plant actually flinched and the vines loosened slightly.
"If you don't let him go, I shall set you on fire," Mr Turnbill said firmly.
The plant hesitated for a moment and then the vines twined around Harry whipped away from him and the plant resumed looking like a purple flower. Harry scrambled to his feet and backed away from it, glaring.
"Your plants are vicious," he grumbled, bending over and picking up the small box that had fallen from his pocket.
"Just to you, Mr Potter," said Mr Turnbill, highly amused. "Why don't you come out back with me so we don't have any more mishaps."
"That's probably for the best," Harry sighed.
The back of the store was much quieter and tamer as it was filled with the more ordinary plants and Harry sighed in relief. None of these plants would attack him.
"I'm not entirely sure why my plants dislike you," Mr Turnbill as he turned back to the roses he had been in the middle of wrapping. "Though it does amuse me to see the person who defeated Voldemort unable to defeat a few flowers."
"Those things aren't flowers, they're monsters in disguise," Harry said dryly. "And I can't defeat them because I'd have to pay you for the damage."
Mr Turnbill laughed, but didn't disagree.
It was still raining when Harry left the flower shop so, protecting the roses (which he had gotten for free since another plant had tried to eat him) as best he could, he made his way back to the Leaky Cauldron where he thought he would stop for some butterbeer to calm his nerves before he made his way to the Burrow for dinner.
Not to mention convince himself that he could propose to her after the numerous disastrous happenings that had occurred that day.
"What'll it be then, Mr Potter?" Mr Tom asked as Harry approached the counter.
"Just a butterbeer, thanks," Harry said, pushing his wet fringe away from his eyes.
Tom grinned toothily and only moments later a mug of warm butterbeer was being handed over. Harry paid for it, thanked the bartender, and carried it over to a table in a secluded corner.
As he sat down he sighed and nursed the mug between his hands. His stomach was already getting butterflies and he was feeling extremely jittery. He had never been a big believer in divination, but it was getting hard to tell himself that the day's events weren't some sort of omen.
I will propose tonight, no matter what, he said to himself firmly, ignoring the small voice bringing up reservations.
He put his hand into his pocket and fiddled with the small box residing there. Deciding to once more look at the ring, perhaps to calm himself, he pulled the box out and flipped the lid open.
The ring wasn't there.
Harry stared blankly at the empty box for all of two seconds before it occurred to him that the ring was gone and that this was cause for panic. And panic he did.
Where did it go? Harry thought, casting his mind desperately to some time when the ring could have, somehow, fallen from its box. It had to be in Mr Turnbill's shop when that damn plant had attacked him and the box had fallen from his pocket.
Slightly calmer now that he thought he knew where he had to go, Harry picked up the roses, took a deep drink from his butterbeer mug and made his way over to Tom.
"Hi, Tom, can I ask a favour?" he said to the bartended, lifting up the flowers. "Could you look after these until I get back?"
"Of course," Tom said with a grin, taking the roses and stowing them carefully underneath his desk. "They'll be safe here."
"Thanks," said Harry, hurrying back out to Diagon Alley.
When he re-entered the flower shop again, dripping wet and grumbling, Mr Turnbill looked up and gave a loud sigh of relief. He hurried over before Harry could get very far into the shop.
"Mr Potter!" he cried. "I had hoped you would come back! You have lost something, no?"
"The ring?" Harry asked eagerly.
Mr Turnbill looked at him blankly, causing Harry's heart to sink.
"A ring?" he asked. "Well, if I had known…" He trailed off at the look on Harry's face and burst out laughing. "Yes, Mr Potter, I have your ring right here."
"Oh, thank you!" Harry exclaimed.
Mr Turnbill opened his left hand and, sitting in the palm, was the beautiful gold engagement ring. Harry couldn't decide whether to cry or not as he took it reverently and placed it gently but securely back in its box.
"Thank you so much, Mr Turnbill," he said.
"Not to worry," said the owner dismissively. "Just try to be a bit more careful until you put that ring on her finger, hmmm?"
"Yes, sir," Harry said sheepishly.
With a cheerful goodbye, he strode out of the shop. He didn't even mind the fact that it was pouring with rain; he was just so relieved he had not lost the ring. Not only would Ron and Hermione kill him if he had lost it and been unable to propose, but Ginny would kill him once they had told her what happened.
He was in such a cheerful mood that he almost didn't notice the sudden commotion by Flourish and Blotts. In fact, if it wasn't for the strange purple glow spilling onto the street, he would have walked right past the crowd that was gathering.
He looked up only for his eyes to meet a most strange and disturbing sight. The disturbing part was that the bookstore was currently alight with vicious flames, despite the fact that it was pouring with rain, and people were fleeing from the store, coughing violently. The strange fact was that the flames were a vivid purple.
Concerned, he fought his way to the front of the crowd in time to see the last person, the manager himself, exiting the store and looking on sorrowfully.
"What happened?" Harry asked a nearby observer.
"Two kids got hold of their parents wands and somehow started the fire," the man answered, his eyes quickly darting to the scar on Harry's forehead as he recognised him. "No one knows how to put it out."
There was a sudden commotion. A man was dragging a sobbing woman out, looking haggard himself and close to tears.
"My child, my daughter, let me go!" the woman cried.
Murmurs spread through the crowd. There was still someone in there? The questions were answered by a shrill cry from the second floor of the store. Harry's mouth dropped open in horror.
"We have to get in there!" he exclaimed.
"The flames are magical, anyone who went in there would die," a woman nearby said mournfully as the mother sobbed in the man's arms.
Harry looked around at the crowd only to see people looking away from his gaze but nodding in agreement. He looked at them disgustedly.
"Are you people magical or not?" he snapped.
Without waiting for an answer he whipped around, his robes flying around him in the wind and rain, and ran straight into the store, past the startled couple by the door and ignoring the shouts for him to return.
The fire was hot, particularly after the biting cold of the outdoors. He was sweating in moments, before he had even found the stairs which were, miraculously, unburnt, though the fire creeping towards them said that would change soon.
Quickly he leapt up the stairs, coughing harshly at the smoke that was starting to fill his lungs, the heat searing his feet. The hot floorboards seemed to go through his shoes and he was almost hopping over them as he reached the landing.
"Hello?" he called.
A beam crashed to the ground nearby and he leapt out of the way. There was no answer. All he could see were shelves and books that were being quickly devoured by the purple flames.
"Hello?" he called, louder.
"Mum?" came a faint reply.
He made his way in that direction, cursing as his robe caught on something and stuck fast. He tore it off and left it behind, flinching as flames roared nearby.
Finding the little girl was easy. She was crouched right at the end of the landing between two bookshelves that had not yet caught fire, though the purple flames were rapidly making their way towards them. She could not have been any older than seven and she looked at him with wide blue eyes.
"Hi," Harry said with a kind smile. "I'm here to get you out of here and take you back to your mum. What's your name?"
"Sara," the little girl said shyly, taking his outstretched hand. "Can you help Nina too? She's stuck over here."
"Nina?" Harry asked, startled. I thought there was only one child here?"Who's Nina?"
"My best friend," Sara said solemnly. "She came with us."
She tugged on his hand and led him down past the shelves and to where it looked like a table had collapsed, creating a futile and inescapable shelter. No sound reached his ears and he hoped Nina was okay.
"She's under here, but she won't talk to me," Sara said, letting go of Harry's hand and running to the table. "Is she okay?"
"Let's see," said Harry. "Move out of the way, please? Thanks.Wingardian Leviosa!"
The table rose into the air, revealing the form of another little girl, and Harry directed it elsewhere, all too aware of the flames creeping up on them. Someone out there hates me today. He knelt beside Nina and was relieved to see her chest rising and falling, though there was a nasty bump on her head.
"Nina's okay," he informed Sara, who beamed. "She just hurt her head a little badly. Now, let's get out of here… unless you have any other friends in hiding?"
Sara giggled a little as Harry picked up Nina and she hung onto his arm. Thankfully the flames had yet to reach the bookshelf and they hurried down them and towards the stairs, passing Harry's unfortunate cloak. And I liked that one too.
When they reached the stairs, however, they encountered a potential problem. In fact, it was a rather large problem by Harry's estimation.
The stairs had collapsed.
He had wondered what that crash was as he had levitated the table, but he had just assumed that it was another roof beam falling. Apparently he had been wrong.
"Uh oh," Sara said, tugging on Harry's arm. "Now what?"
"Um…" Harry said. Suddenly, brilliance struck him, a way to get to the second floor without any broken bones and to even provide some amusement for Sara so that she didn't panic at the seriousness of their situation. He carefully repositioned Nina and took out his wand. "Cado Summisse!"
Nothing happened and Harry put his wand away, apparently satisfied. Sara looked down at the ground of the first floor and then at Harry, confused.
"What did you do?" she asked.
"Hold on tightly," Harry said, putting an arm around her and holding Nina tightly. "We're about to do something most people would call stupid."
Sara immediately wrapped both hands around Harry's waist and screamed as Harry jumped and all three of them fell towards the floor; the veryhard-looking floor.
For a moment Harry was concerned he hadn't done the spell properly, and then he wondered why he only thought of this after he had jumped. However, when they hit the floor and then bounced up again, he knew they'd be alright.
"Let's go!" he said with a grin as a now wide-eyed Sara gaped at him.
Soon she was giggling as they jumped over to the front door, right over the flames, and stumbled out of it, trying to get used to solid ground again. Sara let go of him suddenly as she ran into the waiting arms of her mother, causing Harry to fall to the ground in surprise at the sudden lack of weight on his arm and taking Nina with him.
"Thanks," he grumbled, getting up from the puddle he had landed in.
"My word, Mr Potter…" the manager, who stood nearby, breathed in awe.
Harry looked at his watch and yelped, cutting the man off. He quickly handed Nina over to him.
"Sorry I can't stick around, I'm late!" he said, dashing off, unaware of the people who were trying to get him to go back and answer some questions.
Ginny was going to murder him. He was just over half an hour late for dinner at the Burrow… how had he lost track of time so easily?
He rushed into the Leaky Cauldron and Tom looked up, flowers already in hand. He started to grin, and then his mouth fell open.
"Mr Potter…?" he began.
"Sorry, no time," Harry rushed, taking the flowers from them man. "Thanks!"
With a sudden crack he disapparated. He was so late, but somehow he had found the courage he needed and he was bound and determined to do this right.
He appeared right beside the Weasley's back door and he rushed inside, somewhat breathless and fairly anxious. All the Weasley's looked up at him.
"I'm sorry I'm late," he rushed.
Then he noticed them staring at him in shock. Possibly for the same reason that Tom had stared at him. Wincing slightly at the thought of why this could be, he turned slowly and looked into the small mirror opposite him.
He could only see his head and shoulders, but he could see that he was an absolute wreck. His clothes were sooty and ripped and his skin was filthy and sported a few red marks from the searing heat.
"Whathave you been doing?" Mrs Weasley asked in shock.
"Er…" Harry said, not sure how to answer that. He looked over and met brown eyes. His shoulders squared. "Preparing myself for something. Ginny, could I talk to you for a moment?"
"Um, sure," she said uncertainly.
They went into the lounge and, with an almost shy smile, he handed her the rose. Then, suddenly, everything he had wanted to say fled his mind. He swallowed and stared at her and she gazed back at him bemusedly. She raised an eyebrow.
"If we're just going to stand here and stare at each other all night then I might as well go and finish dinner," Ginny said, turning to go.
Panic filled him.
"Wait!" he said, grabbing her wrist. She turned back and he dropped to one knee, causing her eyes to widen. "I know I don't look the best, but this day seems to have been against me getting here, and so many things happened. I got poured on and I got attacked and I lost something important and I nearly got burned down in a building… but that's not important now, because I love you." He swallowed and fumbled around in his pocket.
His fingers, however, were shaking, and he dropped the box and the ring went flying around the room. He watched, ashen-faced as it disappeared underneath the couch.
"Oh, damn," he muttered.
"Accio ring," Ginny said calmly and the ring zoomed calmly into her hand. Harry blushed brightly and bit his lip.
"Er, well…" he cleared his throat as she looked at him expectantly, her eyes strangely bright. He took her hand. "Ginny Weasley, will you marry me?"
She stared at him for a moment, such a long moment that he was afraid she was going to say 'no' after all. Finally her face broke into a beaming smile.
"Yes!" she cried, handing him the ring and throwing her arms around his neck, the flowers falling to the floor.
"I think you're supposed to do that after I put the ring on your finger," Harry said with a laugh, embracing her back, relief and joy flooding him.
"Nothing about this proposal has been traditional, anyway," Ginny said, rolling her eyes and pulling away. "You aren't supposed to show up looking like you've lived on the streets for months and, on top of that, late."
Harry grinned sheepishly and gently pushed the ring on her finger. She threw her arms around him again and kissed him soundly.
So many things had gone wrong that day, but it hadn't prevented him from this. And despite what had happened, despite his nerves and how late he had been, he couldn't help but think it had all gone perfectly.The perfect proposal, he thought in satisfaction. For us, anyway.
Note; Cado Summisse - fall softly (it sounds better in Latin, doesn't it? If the translation is wrong, blame the English-Latin translator I found after ages of searching. I sure hope it's good, though.)