five times challenge.

Foaly epically fails when proposing.

01. we're not getting anywhere.

Foaly took a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves. The source of his anxieties was a small object, perhaps the size of a quarter. It wasn't sharp, it wasn't poisoned, it wasn't an electronic bug that would send his location to every human surveillance system known to man (and fairy.)

It was a ring. Specifically, an engagement ring.

Thus the anxiety.

He whipped up the phone, dialing Caballine's number before he lost courage. She answered on the third ring. "Hello?"

"Hey," Foaly said casually. "We still on for jogging tonight?"

A cough filtered through the speakers. "I'm sorry, Foaly. I've got a fever. Maybe tomorrow?"

Foaly squeezed his eyes shut, trying to quell disappointment. "Yeah. Maybe."

Fail number one.

02. forgetting your head 'cause it's not attached.

Foaly was not a cook, not even in the loosest sense of the word. At the tender age of forty, he'd set off every fire alarm on the block trying to make toast. That was the end of his culinary career. Unfortunately, a traditional rite of courtship dictates that the male makes a lavish dinner for the female.

This lavish dinner was what was spread before the couple. Roasted potatoes and carrots were laid out on the plate, pleasing both the eye and the nose. Caballine smiled, then met Foaly's eyes. "You got this catered, didn't you?"

Foaly blushed red. "Well… I, ah--"

She kissed him on the cheek. "That was sweet. Thanks."

Now! Do it now! Foaly reached for the ring in his pocket, sinking down on one knee. "Caballine…"

The ring wasn't in his pocket.

Foaly mentally rattled off every foul curse he knew.

"Foaly…?" Caballine said quietly.

"I… I need to tie my shoe. Sorry."

"…you're not wearing shoes."

Fail number two.

03. all manner of broken things

He had the stupid ring now. After the whole shoe-tying thing, Foaly had wanted to Superglue the thing in his pocket. But now… the centaur allowed himself a grin. They were going to go see a movie tonight, he and Caballine. Actually, Foaly had already seen the movie three times because he was trying to find the perfect moment to propose. But that was besides the point.

His phone rang loudly, jerking him out of his reverie. Foaly flipped it open, grinning as he saw the name on the caller ID. "Ready for tonight?" he asked.

"Foaly…" Muffled sobs were coming from the other line, and his face lost all traces of merriment. "My mom is in the hospital. They think it's brittle hoof."

"I'm on my way," he said quickly.

Later, as he cradled her against him, Foaly realized that instead of being the best night of Caballine's life, it was quite possibly her worst. He pressed a kiss to her mane.

Fail number three.

04. we're all out of rationality, could i interest you in some pi?

One month later. Caballine's mother was making a good recovery after a few close calls. The couple was currently in The Bunker, a popular eatery in Haven. Truth be told, Foaly had to pull some strings to get reservations—but here they were.

Foaly folded his napkin nervously, waiting for Caballine to finish her tofu. She caught onto his fidgeting. "What's up?" she asked, cocking her head. Foaly had to tear his gaze away from her to recollect his thoughts. Normally only new hardware could make his brain freeze up like that.

"Oh, nothing." He paused. "I make a breakthrough on the temporal spells today. I think I know where Holly going to be landing."

"Really? How'd you figure it out?"

Foaly grinned, launching into a technical discussion with gusto, knowing she would understand. One of many reasons why he loved her. The conversation continued on for quite some time, and Caballine's food grew cold on her plate as they talked.

"So it was the dimensional influx?" she asked. "That makes sense. If the influx was a few degrees off, the longitudinal value's integrity would be corrupted."

"Exactly. So I purified that, and well, the rest is history." Foaly smiled, unable to keep a hint of smugness out of his voice. "Sool can eat that!"

The filly laughed. "He's less rational than pi." She glanced at her watch, then started. "D'arvit! It's eleven-thirty. I have an article for Invertors Weekly that I have to proofread by midnight!" She jumped up, quickly digging around in her purse for her keys. "I'm sorry, Foaly. I've gotta go."

Mentally, Foaly threw himself off of a cliff. But, chivalrous centaur that he was, he held the door open for her on her way out.

Fail number four.

05. make your own luck, pony boy.

He couldn't believe it.

How many times could one proposal fail? Surely his odds had to be getting worse.

"It's closed," Caballine stated unnecessarily. "Crap."

The one park in Haven—closed for mulching and gardening. Foaly groaned aloud, burying his face in his hands. He felt Caballine's arm around him. "It's alright," she said, slightly confused. "I mean, it's not that big of a deal. We'll just wait for another day."

"No, I can't!" Foaly moaned. He whinnied in anger and frustration. "I've been waiting two months, two months!"

"Wait, two months? We've only been planning this for a week."

Foaly then decided that he didn't care about the atmosphere, he didn't care than every single planet was lined up. He went down on one knee, pulling the ring box out of his pocket.

"Caballine," he said, looking up into her eyes. "I've been waiting for my entire life for you. Would you like to… I mean…" Deep breath. "Will you marry me?"

Her eyes abruptly filled with tears, and for a horrible moment Foaly thought he'd been all wrong. But then, she smiled as tear ran down her face. "Yes. Yes, of course I'll marry you!"

He slipped the ring on her finger, kissing her for several moments as trams raced by, neon lights flashing all around them. Caballine laughed quietly, and Foaly pulled a face. "What?"

"I can't believe you waited that long. What'd you want, perfection?"

"Well, yeah, actually."

She grinned. "Life doesn't hand you perfection. You have to make the moment yourself."

Foaly chuckled. "Yeah, I guess so. Then I suppose that now's as good as time as any." He kissed her again. "I'm just glad you'll be with me when perfection happens."

"You're such a sap."

Foaly wasn't good at everything, true—he was forgetful. His social graces were zilch. He could be a coward. But, he won the battle that mattered.

Win number one.


Written in about an hour on Saturday night for the Sunday deadline of Artemis Fowl Fangathering's Five Times Challenge. Hope it didn't suck. Let me know what you think!