Title: Ring in the New Year
Prompt: 19. Harry wants to propose to Hermione, but he can't find the ring. What happened to it?
Other pairings: Mentions of past R/Hr and H/G and Ron/Luna.
Warnings: Some sexual content, profanity
Notes: Feedback is always appreciated but never required.
Hermione Granger could not concentrate. Normally at work she was involved in each project that came her way but today was quite the exception. Looking at her watch, she realised it was time to meet her friends Lavender Brown and Luna Lovegood for lunch- their last lunch of that year, as it was New Year's Eve.
It could have been just any other day, really. As far as she knew, she had no plans with her boyfriend and he had been impossibly vague about what he was going to do that day. She'd had such high hopes for this holiday season but they'd been dashed Christmas morning.
She had been so excited to see the tiny box under the tree all the week before Christmas and had fully expected to find a ring inside it. Hermione had not quite been disappointed to see the beautiful ruby earrings, and had given Harry a decent reaction to his lovely gift.
But, they'd been together as a couple for four years now and had lived together for the past three. Not only that, they'd been best friends since they were 11 years old. He knew she loved him and she knew he loved her, but she couldn't help but think what was he waiting for? This was the next logical step.
Sighing, she closed her book and left the office, heading towards Diagon Alley to the restaurant she and her friends always met at.
As if her day couldn't get any worse, it was bitterly cold and snow was just starting to fall. She slipped on an icy patch just outside the restaurant. Hermione groaned as she heard a few snickers from the passers-by.
"Bastards," she glared at them as she pulled herself up. "Thanks for the bloody help."
Lavender and Luna were already seated at a corner booth and talking animatedly about something. They looked all warm and cosy and happy.
"Hi," Hermione said shortly, throwing her bag into the seat.
"Hello, Little Miss Sunshine," Lavender said with a laugh. "Having a bad day?"
"It's been horrible," Hermione rubbed her forehead.
"You sound like you need a nice cup of hot chocolate," Luna said softly. "Or a cup of tea. That always makes me feel better."
"I'd rather have Firewhisky," Hermione replied sourly.
Lavender and Luna exchanged a look. Hermione wasn't the type to drink in the middle of the day.
"Um, you could get that," Lavender said. "But it's not going to change the fact that the Boy Who Lived turned out to be the Boy Who Can't Propose, Hermione."
Hermione glared at her friend. "Thanks for rubbing it in."
"I'm sorry," Lavender said hastily. "Forget I said anything."
"Maybe he's just waiting for the right time," Luna said thoughtfully. She cupped her hands around her mug of hot chocolate. "You know there's a woman in my village who's been seeing the same bloke for ten years. He's never proposed. And they seem quite happy."
"TEN YEARS?" Hermione asked, much louder than she'd intended. "Oh Merlin, I'm going to be a spinster..."
"You're not going to be a spinster," Lavender reassured her. "But you know what your problem is? That ungrateful git has had you at his side almost since the moment he set foot on the Hogwarts grounds. You were the one who stood by him when no one else would. You were the one who helped him through the guilt after the war. It's always been you. If you ask me, he's taken you for granted."
"Don't call him an ungrateful git," Hermione replied in a softer tone.
"And you are the one who always takes up for him," Lavender said motioning for the waiter.
Luna smiled. "He does love you, Hermione. You know that."
Hermione leaned back in her seat. She did know that. But she couldn’t help but wonder if he loved her enough to marry her? She listened half-heartedly as her two friends discussed their plans for New Year's Eve.
"Ronald's taking me to a lovely Bed and Breakfast," Luna was saying dreamily. "It's in
"Ronald's turned into quite the romantic," Hermione commented. She wondered what kind of parallel universe had she stumbled into where Ronald Weasley, who for all intents and purposes, pretty much kept his foot in his mouth at all times, was considered romantic. Luna obviously brought out that side to him, Hermione thought. She wished she could do the same for Harry.
"Well," Lavender leaned in. "I'd tell you what John's doing for me, but he's keeping mum on the subject. I'm sure it'll be something amazing though."
"I'm sure it will be," Luna said smiling at her. She turned her attention to Hermione. "What about you and Harry? Any big plans for tonight?"
Hermione shrugged. "Probably not."
"Maybe he'll surprise you," Luna said reassuringly.
"Maybe with a bracelet this time," Hermione rolled her eyes. "I shouldn't be so hard on him..."
"You love each other," Luna said. "That's the important thing, Hermione. Just remember that."
"I will," Hermione nodded. "He does try."
"And he is hot," Lavender said helpfully. "In a goofy sort of way..."
Hermione couldn't help but smile as she thought of him. "Yeah..."
"No more gloominess, Hermione," Lavender said firmly. "This is our last lunch of the year. Just forget old what's his name for the next hour."
"I'll try," Hermione replied wryly.
She honestly did try, but her thoughts kept returning to her boyfriend. She wondered if he did have plans for them for New Year's Eve.
Harry in fact, did have plans for them. He had taken the day off work, unbeknownst to his girlfriend, and was making them an elaborate meal.
He'd thought about taking her out, but the weather was awful and he thought it might be a good idea to stay in, especially with what he had planned for them.
For dinner, he'd made them a special rosemary chicken dish he knew she adored. And for dessert, he'd made cream puffs- which had taken him a good deal of the day.
He pulled a small box from his pocket and smiled to himself.
"This will go right in here," Harry pulled the diamond engagement ring from the box. Picking up one of the puffs, he pushed the ring into it from the bottom.
"What smells so good?" someone asked from behind him.
Harry turned and glared at his best friend. "Ron, what are you doing here? I thought you were going out of town?"
"Not until later," Ron replied. "Damn Harry, why don't you ever cook like this for me?"
"Because you don't put out," Harry said sarcastically. "And don't get any ideas. This is for Hermione."
"But I'm sure you need a taste tester," Ron pleaded. "Come on mate, I'm starving!"
"There are some biscuits in the cabinet over there," Harry said motioning over his shoulder.
"I know that," Ron replied with a glare. "But I'd rather try what you've got."
"No," Harry said firmly, grabbing some plates and setting them on the table. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Ron make a move for the cream puffs.
"Don't even think about it!" he snapped. "Ron!"
"I was going to put them on the table for you," Ron said defensively.
"Sure you were," Harry muttered sarcastically.
Ron opened one of the cabinets and pulled out a package of biscuits. "So what have you and Hermy got planned for tonight?"
"I'm going to surprise her," Harry didn't tell his friend about the imminent proposal. "Dinner, champagne, all the good stuff."
"Someone's getting shagged tonight," Ron said before popping a biscuit into his mouth.
"Fuck off," Harry replied, checking on his meal.
"You know you could be nicer to me considering that you stole my girlfriend and all," Ron pointed out with a cheeky grin.
"You and Hermione were not together at that point," Harry returned.
"Yes, but you remember the guy code, right?" Ron asked him. "You should never go out with your best mate's ex."
"For that matter then, you shouldn't be with Luna," Harry said with a wry smile. "I did ask her to that party back in sixth year you know..."
"And you did date my little sister after
Harry didn't like when people reminded him of his past relationship with Ginny. It had come at such a strange time in his life, and looking back on it, it had come about so oddly as well. "I'm almost done here," he changed the subject. "And Hermione will be home soon so..."
"You trying to kick me out then?" Ron asked. "Okay, I can take a hint---"
"Harry!" a gruff voice bellowed from the sitting room.
"What the--" Harry followed the voice.
Ron heard the familiar voice of Kingsley Shacklebolt and figured Harry would be in there for awhile. It wasn't as if Harry could kick his boss out of the house. And, since Harry was going to be distracted anyway, Ron thought now would be the perfect opportunity to nick one of those cream puffs.
"Say what you want about the bloke," Ron intoned as he stuffed one into his mouth. "But he can cook!"
There were six cream puffs on the plate and Ron couldn't help himself from taking one more. Hermione didn't really like sweets anyway, he reasoned.
"Good," he said. He still had a mouthful when Harry walked back into the kitchen.
"Guess who gets to work tomorrow?" Harry grumbled throwing a dish towel across the room. "I was supposed to have the bloody day off!"
"That sucks," Ron spoke as he stuffed the last of the puff in his mouth.
"You still eating those biscuits?" Harry asked looking in one of the drawers for the candles.
"Uh..." Ron looked at the plate. "Yeah. Great biscuits those are... well you two crazy kids have fun tonight and I'll see you--"
Harry looked up and saw the tray of cream puffs beside Ron. The tray that now contained four cream puffs instead of the six he'd made. "Hang on---"
"I'm running late," Ron backed towards the sitting room.
He nearly made it but just as he made a step over the threshold, his body froze. "Harry!"
"YOU ATE THE PUFFS!" Harry shouted angrily.
"No, no, no," Ron said trying to move, but unable to do so. "Harry!"
Harry ignored him while he inspected the four that were left. "I can't fucking believe this..."
"It's just cream puffs," Ron tried to reason with him. "I don't see what the big deal is. And that's not even Hermione's favourite dessert. She likes that lemon sorbet...."
"I put an engagement ring in one of them!" Harry nearly exploded. "And you just ate it!"
Ron was speechless.
"Really nice Ron," Harry glared at him. "Hermione already thinks I can't do anything romantic for her. This just bloody proves it."
"Are you sure I ate the one that had the ring in it?" Ron asked. "What if it was one of the others---oh, wait...what if it does something to my system? Eating a ring can't be good for you..."
"I wouldn't know," Harry said furiously.
"I'm sorry," Ron said quietly. "I didn't know..."
"This is just great," Harry rubbed his forehead.
"Can you let me out of this?" Ron asked after a few moments. "I'm sorry, Harry. I didn't know!"
Harry waved his hand at Ron, who stumbled into the doorway.
Ron rubbed his shoulder. "Look, maybe I can do something---"
"No," Harry shook his head. "Just... don't do anything else, okay?"
Ron nodded and looked over at his friend. "When is she due home?"
"Soon," Harry stood back up. "And I'm not ready yet."
"It shouldn't take long for me to you know....," Ron stammered. "You know...get it out..."
"Don't talk to me about it anymore," Harry snapped. He knew Ron felt bad about it, but he wished his friend could control his appetite. "I've got too much to do now."
"Maybe I should just go," Ron said quietly. "Luna and I are leaving soon anyway. Look, mate. I really am sorry..."
"I'll see you later," Harry banged the stove shut.
Ron didn't say anything else as he left the house. Anything he would have said probably would have set Harry off and for good reason.
Once Ron was gone, Harry angrily threw his oven mitt across the room. "Of all six, he had to eat THAT ONE!"
He couldn't believe this. He'd seen the look on Hermione's face when she'd opened up his present on Christmas Eve. He'd known what she was expecting.
Harry spent the rest of the afternoon listlessly preparing the rest of their meal for that evening. He couldn't propose now though, not without the ring.
They could still have a nice, romantic dinner, though. He just wished that everything could have gone to plan. He'd wanted tonight to be perfect.
Hermione came in a few minutes later. She sniffed as she hung up her cloak. "Harry? What smells so delicious?"
"Come and see," Harry called out to her from the kitchen.
She appeared in the doorway, smiling as she saw him. Her earlier misgivings about him flew out of her head as Harry looked over at her.
"Happy New Year," he said smiling back at her.
"You too," Hermione looked over at the stove. "You've been busy today..."
"Well, I had the day off," Harry said with a shrug. "And I thought I'd do something special for you."
She put her arms around him. "You're so sweet," Hermione replied affectionately.
Harry leaned in and gave her a kiss. "How was your day?"
"Long," Hermione answered, leaning against him. "I did get to have lunch with Lavender and Luna though."
Harry smiled at her. "I hope you didn't eat too much because I have quite the meal planned for you."
"Even if I was stuffed, this makes me hungry all over again," Hermione kissed him.
Harry's arms snaked around her waist and pulled her even closer. He tried not to think about the ring, but he hated to know that he was going to disappoint her yet again.
"What did you make?" Hermione asked, her eyes closed as he held her closely.
"Rosemary chicken," Harry replied.
"My favourite!" she beamed at him.
"I know," Harry whispered giving her one last kiss. "Now you sit down and I'll get you a glass of champagne."
"Sounds good," Hermione pulled off her shoes as she sat down at their kitchen table.
Harry looked longingly at the tray of cream puffs. "Bloody Ron," he muttered under his breath.
"What?" Hermione asked.
"Nothing," Harry said sending her a smile. He wondered what he could do to get back at his supposed best friend for ruining things so badly tonight. This called for a visit to Fred and George for ideas.
"Are those cream puffs?" Hermione asked, looking past him.
Harry nodded and walked back over to the table, handing her a glass. "Dessert."
"Those look delicious too," Hermione took the glass and sipped it. "You really went all out!"
"It's a special night," Harry said sitting down across from her.
"New Year's," Hermione nodded. "I'm so happy we're just spending the evening together."
"Me too," Harry said. "Well, tuck in...."
"Thanks," Hermione said as they began to eat. "This is really what I needed tonight."
"Me too," Harry said, preoccupied with his revenge plans on Ron. This only made him feel even more guilty. On what should be a romantic night, he was entertaining thoughts of revenge.
"I'll have to return the favour tomorrow morning," Hermione said. "Make you waffles."
"It'll have to be early," Harry replied. "Kingsley just came by and told me I had to come in by nine."
Hermione frowned. "So no lie-in then?"
"I'm sorry," Harry shook his head.
"It's okay," Hermione reassured him. "I knew what I was getting into when I fell in love with an Auror."
"And I was lucky to fall in love with a very patient, beautiful, intelligent woman." Harry replied.
Hermione blushed. "Harry...."
"It's true," Harry reached for her hand.
Hermione squeezed his hand. Luna had been right. She didn't need a ring to tell her how much Harry loved her. They'd get married when the time was right.
She still felt that flip in her stomach when he looked at her that way. She still felt breathless when he told her he loved her. That was all she needed.
They carried on an easy conversation through the dinner. They carried on an easy conversation through the dinner. But, Hermione could tell something was on his mind. Every now and then he had this far away look on his face.
"Is everything all right?" she asked him at one point.
"Hmm?" Harry asked. "Yeah, everything's....everything's just fine."
"Are you sure?" she pressed.
Harry nodded. "Absolutely. Just thinking about a case."
"Oh," Hermione nodded. "Okay then." she smiled at him.
Hermione reached for the plate of cream puffs. "What say we take these into the other room and sit by the fire?" she suggested.
"You take those and I'll meet you in there with the champagne," Harry said smiling at her.
"Deal," she gave him a kiss before heading out of the kitchen.
She set the tray of cream puffs down on the coffee table and then grabbed some pillows from the sofa.
She made a cosy little spot right on the floor as Harry appeared. "Come on, we'll turn on the wireless for the countdown and just enjoy ourselves here."
"Sounds like a plan," Harry said handing her the glasses so he could turn on the wireless.
The heat from the fire and the champagne was already making her feel warm. She unbuttoned the top few buttons of the shirt she was wearing.
Harry found some music on the wireless and turned back around. He saw his girlfriend, staring at the fire. Her skin and hair illuminated by the flames. She'd never looked so beautiful.
"What are you thinking about?" Hermione asked in a husky voice.
Harry sat down beside her. "Do you remember that New Year's party Seamus and Parvati had four years ago? The night we first kissed?"
She smiled. "I remember..."
"We were lamenting the fact that neither of us had anyone to kiss at ," Harry recalled.
"And it just sort of hit us," Hermione nodded. "I looked up at you... and there was nothing more I wanted to do in that moment than--"
"This," Harry said before kissing her.
"Mmmm..." Hermione put her arms around him.
Harry deepened the kiss and pushed her back against the pillows.
"Psst," someone called out. "Psst!"
"What's that?" Hermione asked dazedly.
Harry shook his head and started to kiss her again.
"Would you two please knock it off for one moment so I can have a word with Harry?" Ron's familiar voice called out from behind them.
Harry groaned and reluctantly pulled away from Hermione. "Ron, what the fuck do you want now? Haven't you done enough for one evening?"
"I just want a quick word," Ron said through clenched teeth. "About the...you know..."
"The what?" Hermione looked back and forth between the two men.
Harry stood up. "We'll be right back, Hermione."
Ron looked apologetically at Hermione before Harry practically yanked him in the kitchen.
"Luna and I were about to leave," Ron said before Harry could say anything. "And I just wanted you to know that I haven't...."
"WHAT?" Harry practically growled.
"Passed the ring yet," Ron said in a hushed tone.
"That's just what I wanted to bloody hear, Ron," Harry said. "And even if you did, why would I give it to her after that? I'm sure that's something she and I could tell our grandchildren about..."
"Look, I am really, really sorry," Ron replied, scuffing his feet on the floor. "And I'm going to make this up to you Harry."
"I never should have left you alone with food," Harry said crossly.
In the sitting room, Hermione took a sip of her champagne. She was dying to know what Ron and Harry were talking about, but knowing Ron he was trying to get some leftovers or something before he left on his trip with Luna.
Speaking of food, Hermione looked at the tray of cream puffs. They really did look good. She picked one up and took a bite.
"Harry," she called. "These are absolutely delicious!"
In the kitchen, Ron grinned. "They were good."
"Just get out of here," Harry shook his head.
"Right," Ron said. "Happy New Year...."
And with that, he disapparated.
Harry rolled his eyes and started back for the sitting room. Hermione was standing in the doorway, her face pale. "Hermione?"
"Harry..." she began, holding half a cream puff in her hand, which was trembling. "What's... what is..."
"A cream puff," Harry replied. "You said they were delicious...."
"No," Hermione shook her head and pulled something from the middle.
Harry gaped at her. That couldn't be...the ring.
"Is this what I think it is?" Hermione asked in a whisper.
"This wasn't how I wanted to do this," Harry said stepping closer.
"You wanted to propose?" Hermione asked hoarsely.
"No," Harry replied.
She felt her entire body deflate. "Oh..."
"No," Harry said reaching for her. "You don't understand. I didn't want to propose like this. I had this romantic evening planned. We were going to have a nice dinner and then we'd have dessert and you'd open up the cream puff and see the ring. But then, Ron came over earlier and I thought he'd eaten the one that had the ring in it...."
"You thought he ate this?" Hermione asked in shock.
Harry nodded. "Yeah, as ridiculous as it seems."
"Is that why you've been so preoccupied all night?" Hermione asked. "Because you thought Ron ate this ring?"
"Yeah," Harry admitted. "I wanted to strangle him."
Hermione stared back down at the ring. "This is the most romantic thing anyone has ever done..." she said softly.
Harry shook his head. "It was crap, Hermione. I messed up."
"No," she shook her head. "Harry no..."
Harry thought the night was still salvageable. "Can I have the ring?"
Wordlessly, she held it out to him.
Harry took the ring and looked at it for a few moments before he got down on one knee in front of her. "Hermione Jane Granger, will you do me the honour of being my wife? Will you marry me?"
Hermione pressed her lips together as her eyes filled with tears. A huge lump in her throat prevented her from speaking so she nodded.
"That's a yes?" Harry asked looking up at her.
"Yes," she squeaked.
Harry slipped the ring on her finger. "Perfect fit."
"Harry," Hermione finally was able to speak. "It's beautiful. It's the most beautiful ring I've ever seen..."
Harry stood up and pulled her to him. "I love you so much, Hermione."
"I love you too," Hermione's tears spilled over. "We're really going to get married?"
"You said yes," Harry said laughing as he spun her around. From the sitting room, he could hear the countdown beginning.
"This has been the best night of my life," Hermione laughed too as they whirled around the kitchen.
"It's not over yet," Harry said giving her a kiss.
"Come on," Hermione tugged on his hand, leading him back into the sitting room.
Harry followed her and they sat back down in front of the fire.
"Kiss me," Hermione pulled him to her.
Harry did what she asked remembering that was exactly what she'd asked of him four years ago.
She held him to her tightly, kissing him as hard as she could.
He broke away for a moment and just looked at her. "Happy New Year, Hermione."
"Happy New Year," she whispered, running her fingers through his hair.
Harry tickled her side. "Do you have any idea how happy you've made me?"
She laughed. "As happy as you've made me?"
Harry held up her hand. "I'm sorry that it took me so long."
"It's okay," Hermione assured him, weaving their fingers together.
Harry wasn't just talking about the engagement. She'd been here all this time and he'd only realised that for himself a few years ago. She was perfect for him and he loved her with all his heart.
"It can't get much better than this," Hermione began running her fingers through his crazy hair again.
"I can think of one thing that might make it even better," Harry said his eyes darkening.
"I think I know where this is going," Hermione said softly.
Harry grinned. "I hoped you would...but you have to promise to go easy on me. I do have to work tomorrow."
"Easier said than done," Hermione teased him.
Harry stood up and held out his hand. "Come on then. Have your way with me."
"Are you going to tell Ron that I've got the ring?" Hermione asked.
Harry pulled her up. "Eventually."