Author's Note: This story was written in response to the First Task at
sugarquill.net. I hope it passes muster!
This is dedicated to all the R/H shippers out there, especially
and Squin, who will read it first.
Even after two years of working there, it still sometimes surprised
to see his name painted on the door. R. A. Weasley, Department of
Games and Sports. Well, at least all his years of slavish devotion
the Chudley Cannons hadn't been a complete waste of time; Ron's
knowledge of Quidditch had served him in good stead at the Ministry.
You-Know-Who's revival before his fifth year at Hogwarts, a mutiny
sorts had taken place within the Ministry, and those -- like former
Fudge -- who failed to act against him had been tossed out of
Ron's own father, Arthur Weasley, had eventually become the Deputy
of Magic, and most of his children now occupied positions within the
as well. It was a point of family pride to be a part of the new
regime after You-Know-Who's downfall, though Ron had still found it
bit of a shock the day he'd been appointed head of his
He shook himself suddenly, amused to find that he'd been ruminating
all of these things while still staring at his name on the door, and
himself into his office. The secretary had left a small pile of
and notes on his desk; plans were underway for the next World
Cup. Ron smiled to himself. There was one thing that came as no
-- England would be playing for the Cup this year, against Spain.
his best friend Harry playing in the position of Seeker for the
team, Ron had few doubts about whether they would win.
Beside the pile left by the secretary was another piece of paper.
grinned as he recognized the neat, precise script.
Just a little hello to start your morning. Meet me for lunch?
His eyes drifted, as they so often did, to one side of his desk
two photographs sat in wooden frames. One was the most recent
family picture, taken at Christmas the previous December, when he
his sister and all of their brothers and their families had returned
the Burrow for a family celebration. The figures in that picture
waving energetically at him. The other was a still picture of
and he let his mind wander -- just for a minute, he told himself --
the afternoon when he'd taken that particular shot.
It was the summer before seventh year, and Hermione had come to
him at the Burrow for the last week of the holidays. By then they'd
an "item" for over a year, to the amusement of Ron's
They'd gone for a walk through the old orchard, climbing one of the
that still produced the occasional apple, and sat and talked. The
was clear and the air was soft, and Ron was playing with the Muggle
she'd given him for his birthday earlier that year. He lifted it to
eye and pointed it at her.
She laughed. "You mean cheese."
"You know, Hermione, I love you." Where did THAT come
he'd wondered frantically. It wasn't that he didn't mean it -- he
it with all his heart -- but he hadn't planned to say it just then,
quite that way. It was the first time either one of them had
voiced what they'd both felt for so long. Suddenly he snapped the
capturing her expression forever. Surprise had brought a blush to
cheeks, and the wind had lifted in such a way that it tossed her
hair around like an autumn banner. Her lips were parted as though
an "Oh" sound, her dark eyes shining with astonished joy.
was so beautiful...
"Ron? Earth to Ron, come in, big brother!"
Ron's head snapped up in surprise. Ginny was standing in the
to his office, trying not to laugh at the dreamy expression on his
"You know, Ron, maybe you shouldn't keep Hermione's picture on
desk. I can't see how you ever get any work done like
With great dignity Ron began shuffling the untidy pile of messages
his secretary. "What did you want, Virginia?" he asked
She wrinkled her nose at his use of her proper name.
"What I wanted, Ronald, was to bring you these ideas I
out for the design for the World Cup programs." She handed him
red folder bulging with papers. Ginny worked in the Department of
Magic, where her artistic talents were put to a variety of uses for
projects like the World Cup.
"Oh...thanks, Gin. I'm sure they're fine." Ginny frowned
"Is something bothering you, Ron? You and Hermione didn't have
fight, did you?"
"No, it's just..." Ron looked up at his sister. She's
the only person I can talk to about this, he thought. "Here,
Ginny sat, looking quizzical. Ron reached into a pocket of his robe
pulled out a small velvet box, which he passed to her. Curiously she
it, and gasped. Winking at her from the blue velvet was a modest,
exquisitely cut, diamond.
"You're going to propose to Hermione?" Ginny squealed and
her arms around Ron. "I'm so happy for you, Ron! Hermione's
like my sister already, it's about time!"
Chuckling weakly, he patted her back and she drew away.
what Harry said too, actually. But I don't know how to ask her, Gin.
want to do it in some special way, something she'll always remember.
His face went vague and dreamy again. "Something that's as
as she is."
He waited for Ginny to giggle, or roll her eyes, or something. But
nodded as though she understood. "Did you have any
"Well, sort of. I was doing a bit of research on American
"Very funny. It was recommended reading for that last
I attended, and turned out to be completely useless anyway. Last
I listen to old Pennyfeather about 'recommended.' Anyway, I did see
thing I thought was interesting. Apparently, Americans sometimes go
sporting events and propose using the speaklouder thing, so everyone
the stadium knows all about it."
"Oh, I get it," said Ginny, eyes bright with excitement.
want to do it at the World Cup?"
Ron nodded. "That's what I was thinking of, but I'm not sure
to go about it."
"I'll let you know if I think of anything." She stood up.
got to get back. Good luck, Ron."
Hermione also worked in the Ministry of Magic, on the Accidental
Reversal Squad. She and several other wizards had to go out
to modify memories and correct blunders which inadvertently made
aware of magic in the world around them. It seemed to Ron like a bit
a waste of Hermione's intelligence and talent, but he knew that he
turned down a teaching position at Hogwarts so they wouldn't have to
separated, and that she was still hoping to get a position in the
of Mysteries. "You can tell people your girlfriend is
she told him.
"They already know that," he teased.
When Ron arrived at her office to meet her for lunch, he found her
in conversation with his brother George.
"What brings you up here to associate with respectable
Ron said, punching his brother affectionately on the arm. George and
were the only Weasley siblings who didn't work for the Ministry,
operating their ridiculously successful joke shop in Diagon
"Oh, just harassing your girlfriend while I wait for
George replied. "Actually, I have something for you too."
pulled out a large scroll of parchment and passed it to Ron.
are the Diagon Alley merchants who paid for advertising at the World
Ol' Percy asked me to deliver it, since of course he's buried under
mountain of work." Percy worked as their father's personal
"So I left him buried and came down here."
Ron scanned the list. "Pretty run of the mill stuff," he
"Quality Quidditch Supplies, Flourish and Blotts bookstore,
Wizard Wheezes...argh, no, can't advertise them, their stuff's
His blue eyes twinkled at George, who chuckled. "What's this
tells me that you're expanding the business?"
"Just a little," said George with a shrug. "We're
giving Zonko's a run for their money, so we thought we'd annoy
right away too. We're adding a candy selection to the store. Mostly
usual stuff, nothing spectacular. Every Flavor Beans, sugar quills,
lot -- and of course, that only adds to the ease with which we can
off our candies as normal." He grinned wickedly.
Ron paused. An idea was forming in his mind. "George, tell
I'll be coming by later. I need to talk to you two about the World
advertising. Come on, Hermione, let's get some lunch."
"You're serious about this?" asked Fred hours later. Ron
George sniffed. "Ah, Fred, the years have gone by so
he said sorrowfully. "One day Mum's telling us to look after
in his first year at Hogwarts...the next thing you know, he's
ready to propose to the Head Girl of his year. Our ickle Ronniekins
a man!" He threw his arms around Ron's neck and pretended to
loudly into his shoulder.
"Geroff, George," said Ron irritably, as his brother
blowing his nose on Ron's sleeve before pulling away. "Look, it
be that much of a shock."
"But this is a bit of an elaborate scheme you've got cooked up
Ron," said Fred, sounding mildly impressed. Then his voice
evil. "Be a horrible thing if after all that she said
Ron turned white, and the twins cracked up laughing. "I wish
could see your face, you're as pale as Nearly Headless Nick,"
George, wiping his eyes.
"That's not funny," Ron whispered. The twins caught their
still chuckling a bit. "Oh, Ron, honestly," said Fred.
really reckon Hermione'll say no? She's crazy about you, for some
reason. We don't get it, personally, but to each her own."
"So are you going to help me or what?" The color was
to return to Ron's face.
"Oh, of course we will," said George.
"For a price," added Fred.
Ron glared suspiciously. "What price?"
The twins exchanged thoughtful glances. "We'll let you know
we've discussed it."
Five months later...
"You did a great job with these programs, Ginny," said
leafing through hers admiringly. She and the Weasley family were
in the top box, ready to watch Harry in action. Across the stadium,
letters kept spelling out advertisements on a large blackboard. Ron
watching intently, and Hermione looked at him, puzzled.
"Why are those ads so interesting?" she asked.
"Just making sure they got them all right, is all," he
and felt his ears burn. He'd memorized the order in which the
would be shown, and he was waiting for one in particular.
FLOURISH AND BLOTTS, PURVEYORS OF FINE LITERATURE SINCE 1306...
"Here, Hermione, hold this, will you?" He passed her a
of sugar quills. "For enjoying during the game."
"Oh, look," said Ginny, "there's the twins'
She pointed across the field, where the golden letters were spelling
WEASLEYS' WIZARD WHEEZES -- DOUBLE THE TROUBLE, DOUBLE THE FUN.
"Hermione, would you give me one of those quills?" Ron
as he heard his voice shaking. She threw him an odd look, but opened
box. Across the field, the blackboard had gone blank.
"What the -- "
From within the box of sugar quills, Hermione extracted the little
box. She turned to stare at Ron, who nodded toward the blackboard.
Hermione watched, the image of a golden quill appeared and began to
in elegant, curling script.
Hermione Granger...quill you marry me?
Ron took the velvet box from Hermione's now-trembling hand and
it so she could see the ring. She gaped soundlessly, staring from
ring to Ron's face and back again. Suddenly she seemed to regain her
"'Quill you marry me?' That might be the worst pun I've ever
she said dryly. Ron felt blood draining from his face. She didn't
it...she was going to say no...
Hermione seemed to realize the effect her remark was having on him,
she smiled and patted his hand. "I'll make you a deal,
she said. "I'll marry you if England wins the cup."
To the surprise of all of them, the blackboard went blank again,
new letters began to appear. SHE SAID 'YES' -- BUT ONLY IF ENGLAND
THE CUP! Ron could hear the crowd laughing hysterically.
"Somebody better go tell Harry that if he doesn't catch the
I'm going to kill him," he heard himself saying.
Three hours later, Harry and his teammates trudged up into the top
to accept the World Cup. Harry walked over to Ron and handed him the
Snitch. "Looks like you're stuck with him, Hermione," he
giving her a hug.
Ron clapped Harry gratefully on the shoulder, then looked around
the twins. "So have you decided what the price is going to be
your having helped me out?" he demanded.
"Are you kidding?" replied Fred. "The look on your
when Hermione said she'd accept only if England won the cup was
There's nothing you can give us that would be better than
He bowed to Hermione, grinning mischievously.
As Ron's family clustered around to congratulate him, Harry pulled
gently to one side. "I only have one question," he said.
you really have refused Ron if we'd lost?"
"All I told him," she replied, "was that I would
him if England won the cup. I never said I wouldn't marry him if we