The Sugar Quill
Author: Jennifer Lupin (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: What Would You Propose?  Chapter: Chapter Two
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Chapter Two

Ron paced around his apartment that evening, too nervous to sit down.  He had Apparated there immediately after his epiphany about his proposal to Hermione in order to plan out the whole thing.  He had barely said goodbye to Ginny before disappearing.  If he hadn’t been so distracted he would have thought that he must apologize to her later.  But now, the only thing that mattered to him was making sure that the evening went off exactly as he hoped that it would.

            Hermione was supposed to be coming to his apartment in Godric’s Hollow that night from her parents’ house before going to spend the evening at his parents’ home.  They had set aside this time to have their own private Christmas first.  Ron had bought Hermione a beautiful diamond drop necklace for the event, but he decided to save it for another time and to give her an entirely different piece of jewelry. 

            Soon after Ron had arrived and thoroughly planned out what he wanted to do, he had Apparated to The Leaky Cauldron and had entered Diagon Alley.  There he had walked straight to Madame Palkery’s Hard Jewelry.  Ron had always thought that that name was a little off.  Wasn’t all jewelry hard?  Especially wizard jewelry which had been charmed to be unbreakable and warded off all scratches and imperfections.  But then, Madame Palkery wasn’t exactly known for her sanity.  However, Ron also knew that her shop contained the best jewelry Diagon Alley had to offer. 

            After spending about an hour and a half of looking over all the rings in the store and trying to avoid Madame Palkery’s crazy suggestions, like her idea that Hermione would enjoy a ring that shot water in people’s faces, Ron finally decided on the perfect ring for Hermione.  It was a small cut, but very elegant.  Kind of like Hermione herself, Ron thought.  He was happy that he already knew her ring size.

It took a lot of Ron’s savings from his job at the Ministry in the Department of International Magical Cooperation to pay for the ring, but he knew it was worth it.  It always made Ron ill to think that he had followed in Percy’s footsteps, but he just reminded himself that he was in a totally different part of the Department. He was a diplomat to France and was also making quite a name for himself in the International Federation of Wizards Playing Chess.  And he was close enough to England that he could always Apparate safely home at night, no matter what he might be doing in France that day.  (It was quite a surprise to everyone that Ron was capable of diplomatic duties, but he had gotten quite good at tolerating anyone as long as their last name wasn’t Malfoy.)

            Ron left the shop, bought the supplies for Hermione’s favorite meal, (Baked chicken, roast potatoes, broccoli...she liked chocolate gateau too, but Ron knew that he had neither the skill or the patience to try and make that.) and Apparated home.  He began to bustle about his kitchen, preparing the meal and putting the ring in the perfect place.  He was done with everything almost exactly a half an hour before Hermione was due to arrive at his apartment.  He was immensely glad that she had not decided to come back early as a surprise. 

            And now he was pacing around, still too nervous to sit down.  He was just considering forcing himself to, when Hermione suddenly appeared out of thin air not two feet from where he was standing.  She gave a small cry of surprise at Ron’s closeness and dropped her bags.  For a split second, neither of them moved or said anything.  Then Hermione threw herself into his arms and kissed him repeatedly. 

            “Oh Ron!  I missed you so much!  I mean, I know that we’ve only been apart a week.  But I still missed you!  Oh how have you been?  I’ve had a lovely time at Mum and Dad’s, they…”  Ron kissed her quickly to shut her up.  What was it with these babbling females? Ron thought.  He knew he loved it, though. 

            They pulled apart and Ron smiled down into her face.  “I’m glad you had fun.  I missed you too.  Even if it was only a week.”  His smile grew even wider as he thought about all the time they would have together for the rest of their lives.  Unless of course, she said no.  Ron almost choked.  He hadn’t thought of that.  He felt as if his stomach had suddenly become the home of a thousand flobberworms.  His worry must have shown on his face because Hermione frowned and said, “Are you quite alright?”

            Ron quickly composed himself.  “Yes, love.  Come see what I’ve done!”  He led her into the dining room where he had laid out their dinner on his best plates.  Not exactly china, but the best he had.  He had lit a single long white candle in the middle of the table and covered the scrubbed wood with a lacy tablecloth.  Ron sincerely hoped that none of his brothers ever found out that he had a lacy tablecloth.  

            Hermione’s eyes lit up.  “Oh Ron!  It’s lovely.  Baked chicken!  My favorite.  And roast potatoes and broccoli!  It’s all here.  Well, except the chocolate gateau.”  Her eyes were filled with amusement.  “And I haven’t even a chocolate frog for you.  I’m ashamed of myself!” 

            He laughed and pulled out her chair.  “Don’t trouble yourself, miss.  You’re worth at least…” he paused, “two or three chocolate frogs, at that!” 

            Hermione hit his arm and pretended to be put out.  It couldn’t last long though; they were both in such a good mood.  Of course, Ron was a nervous wreck, but he was, as a true diplomat would be, quite good at hiding it.   He didn’t often hide his emotions around Hermione, but he didn’t want to ruin the surprise.         

            They began to eat their meal and talked over the past week.  Hermione told him all about her Christmas in the Muggle world and he told her all about the wacky gifts the Weasleys had given to each other.  Percy had received five exploding ties.  Ginny had given Ron a book about the Wimbourne Wasps.  Everyone had been afraid to open Fred and George’s gifts.  Ron still had his wrapped and safely tucked under his bed.  The two of them talked and laughed until they could no longer breathe. 

            After they calmed down a bit, Ron began to wonder when he would be able to work in the whole proposal thing.  Finally, Hermione gave him the perfect opportunity. 

            “What are we going to be doing tomorrow?”  she asked.

            Ron grinned.  “Well, I thought since we haven’t visited Hogwarts for awhile, that we might just Apparate over there for a look around.”  He waited for the lecture.

            “Ronald Arthur Weasley! How many times to I have to tell you that you cannot Apparate inside Hogwarts grounds!”  Hermione’s eyes were blazing.  Ron knew he had her.

            “Well, you know, I’ve never actually seen that in writing.  Maybe you just made it up to confuse Harry and me.”  Ron could barely keep from laughing.

            Hermione took the bait.  “Made it up?  How dare you! Where is your copy of Hogwarts, A History!  I want to see it now!”  Hermione was beside herself. 

            Ron gestured to his bookshelf.  “Right where it has been these past three years, collecting dust.”  Hermione had given him and Harry a copy for their Hogwarts graduation, as a joke.

            Hermione snorted and marched over to the bookshelf. 

            “Memorized the page number, have you?”  Ron teased. 

            Hermione glared at him and looked slightly embarrassed because she did, indeed, have the page number memorized.  “If you must know, yes!”  She wrenched the book open and quickly turned to page 413.  She gasped.

            Out of the book rose a beautiful diamond ring and it floated in mid-air before her eyes. 

            Hermione’s breath staggered as she took the ring from where it had been magically placed.  The book fell to the ground and for once, Hermione could not care less what happened to it. 

            “Oh Ron…”

            Ron stood up and walked over to her.  He fell to his knees and took one of Hermione’s small hands into his own large ones. 

            “Hermione.  You are my best friend in the entire world.  I love you so much and can’t stand the thought of not being with you completely.  Will you marry me?”  Hermione gasped on that last part, although she must have known what was coming. 

            Hermione opened her mouth, but nothing came out.  Finally, she murmured his name and fell to her knees and wrapped her arms around his neck.  After a long pause, she pulled back, took the ring and slipped it on to her finger. 

            “Yes, Ron.  I will.”

            Ron let out a long breath and started to grin like an idiot.  He pulled her to him and they shared a long, deep kiss. 

            Hermione stood up, pulled Ron to his feet and picked up Hogwarts, A History.  Then she led him to his sofa and they both sat.

            “Ron, how did you ever come up with the idea to put the ring in a book?”

            Ron grinned and explained the episode with Ginny.  “Basically what she told me was to try to incorporate things that you loved into the proposal.”

            Hermione frowned.  “What things were those supposed to be?”

            Ron looked her straight in the eyes and said, “Hogwarts, A History and fighting with me.” 

Hermione tried to look affronted and smacked him.  She sighed and leaned back against him with the beloved book in her arms.  Suddenly, as if controlled by someone outside of her, she turned back to page 413 and said,

            “But you do know that you can’t Apparate onto Hogwarts grounds.  Look, it’s right here in the second paragraph.”

            Ron just looked at her.

            “Hermione?”

            “Yes.”

            “I love you.”

            “I love you, too.”

     “Good.  Now shut up.”

//
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