A Proposal (Oneshot)
Of all the things she thought Ron was going to say, this was notwhat she had expected. Certainly, she had noticed his lingering gaze over the past few months. Certainly, she had noticed the little smiles he threw her way, as though they shared some sort of secret. But she had never so much as given an indication that she was interested in him as well. If anything, she had made an effort to avoid him.
So how had she ended up here?
"Hermione Jean Granger," said the freckled redhead loudly, his ears red from nerves and excitement, which only made Hermione feel more like throwing herself from the roof of the Burrow.
She cast a desperate look around. Harry and Ginny had their heads buried in their hands, and she thought she heard Ginny mutter, "Lord, no." Mr and Mrs Weasley stared at their son and her with shining, hopeful eyes. Bill and Charlie had their lips pursed together, their expressions caught between a desire to laugh and pity for their youngest brother. George cast furtive glances at his twin and Hermione. And Fred only stared intensely at her, his lips set in a slight frown.
Ron cleared his throat and continued speaking, drawing Hermione's attention back to the kneeling Weasley in front of her. "We've been friends for twelve amazing years, and I've loved you for seven of them. I know we've had our arguments, and I know we haven't really dated, but I know how I feel about you, and I know how you feel about me. So," he paused to take a breath, during which Hermione cut in.
"Ronald," she started, but he shook his head.
"Let me finish, sweetie," he said, closing his eyes. He pulled a little box out of his pocket. Hermione gritted her teeth at the term of endearment. Fine, she thought. If he wants to embarrass himself in front of his whole family, he can go for it. "Would you do me the honour of making me the happiest man on earth by being my beautiful, kind and generous wife?" He opened his eyes at the end of his proposal, grinning widely, only to see the livid expression on his soon-to-be fiancée's face.
"Please?" he added, his voice an octave higher than usual.
"Ronald Weasley," she said slowly, trying to remain as calm as possible while acutely aware of the Weasley matriarch's piercing gaze. "I am sorry, but I have not held you in a romantic light in a long time." She watched his face fall at her words. There was a long silence, as Mr and Mrs Weasley stared at her in disbelief, and everyone else in the room busied themselves by studying the plates of food heaped in front of them.
"But… you love me," Ron said.
Hermione took a deep breath. "As a friend, yes," she tried to sound as gentle as possible. "I do not, however, believe I have given you any indication of being interested in a romantic relationship with you." God, she sounded more like she was rejecting a business proposal.
"There was the… the moment at the Hogwarts battle. I-I mean, you kissed me."
"That was years ago, Ron. After the battle, you never talked about it, even when I asked you, and you started dating Romilda Vane. I took that to mean you weren't interested, and I moved on."
Ron stuttered and blushed a deeper shade of scarlet. Finally, he stood up. "The… the bonfire last year?" Hermione saw Fred twitch from the corner of her eye.
She sighed. "What happened at the bonfire?"
"I heard you talking to Ginny. About a guy you were in love with. Y-you said he was Ginny's brother… you were talking about how you hoped Mum wouldn't be upset," his tone got increasingly more desperate. "I thought… I thought you were talking about me. I mean, who else could it be?"
"Ron, you have five brothers."
"Brothers," he repeated, trailing off as he turned and glared at each one of his siblings. It couldn't be Bill or Charlie – they were both happily married. George was dating Katie Bell, but maybe he wasn't anymore. Fred wasn't dating anyone, but Hermione Granger and Fred Weasley? The idea was laughable. And Percy…
"Percy?" he said, disgusted.
"Ron, it's not about there being someone else, it's the fact that I don't love you that way. I used to like you, but not anymore. I am not in love with you, and I won't ever be in love with you."
"How can you know?" he demanded. "How can you know if you won't even give me a chance?"
Ginny got up and walked over to her brother, putting a hand on his arm. "Ron," she said sternly. "That's enough. It's Hermione's decision. She doesn't want to date you."
"And what about me? What about what I want? I want to date her. I want to marry her!"
Hermione's patience was beginning to run thin. "And I don't want to date you, let alone marry you. So, unless you intend to force me to do so, I suggest you drop this now."
"Who else are you going to date, Hermione? Who else knows you like I do?"
She ran her fingers through her hair, exasperated. "Ronald, what's my favourite book?"
He smiled, the answer at the tip of his tongue. "Easy. Hogwarts: A History."
"No, actually. It's a Muggle book. The Odyssey," she said. Ron's dumbfounded expression made her feel a little guilty, but she had to make it clear to him exactly how wrong he was in his deluded beliefs. "If you knew me at all, Ron, you'd know that. Hell, even Harry knows that. If you knew me, you'd know that I don't like making a scene, so I wouldn't want to be proposed to in front of your whole family. If you knew me, you'd know that I'm not the type of girl who waits around for you while you go through every single bloody witch in England. If you knew me, you'd know that I wouldn't want to get engaged right off the bat. You'd know that I like to take things slow. I like to be sure.
"You don't know me, Ron. Not really. It's more than the fact that I am in love with someone else. It's just that we're not right for each other, and you're too blinded by your desire for Hermione Granger, the witch who you expect me to be, to see that."
Ginny was smiling as Hermione ended her speech. Nice,her best friend mouthed.
"It's Percy, isn't it?" said Ron suddenly. Oh, for heaven's sake.
"Un-fucking-believable," came a loud voice.
"Fred Weasley, language!" snapped Mrs Weasley.
Hermione turned, and watched as the Weasley twin rose and came round to Hermione's side. He slipped an arm around her waist, and she smiled up at him. "She's dating me, alright?" said Fred.
Hermione saw Ron's face turned several shades of purple. She heard a choked sound, and turned to see Harry biting back a laugh. She frowned, but her other best friend only shook his head, mumbling something that sounded suspiciously like Uncle Vernon.
"I can't believe this," said Ron. "How can you stand there and talk about me not being right for you, while you're dating Fred? The bookworm and the prankster? Yeah, that makes a bleeding lot of sense!"
"I don't expect you to understand, ickle Ronniekins," Fred snarled. "Since your perception of us is superficial, at best. Bookworm and prankster – honestly, Ronald, we aren't just that, you know."
Now it was Hermione who was biting back a laugh. She didn't manage to, however, and collapsed to the floor, laughing. Ginny dissolved into giggles as well, and soon, the whole family – except for Ron and Fred – was chuckling right alongside them. Fred looked around, confused. "What?"
"Honestly – Ronald – at best," choked out Hermione.
"You… you sounded exactly like Hermione!" Ginny managed to say before letting out another roar of laughter.
Fred paled. "No, I didn't."
Bill grinned. "It was uncanny."
"No, I'm – no – I can't -"
Even Ron cracked a smile at the look of horror on Fred's face.
The twin looked at his girlfriend, who was practically rolling on the floor, clutching at her sides. "But… I'm Fred. Fred Weasley!"
Hermione looked up at him, her hands resting on her hips. "Is it such a bad thing to sound like me?" she questioned, eyes narrowing. Fred gulped, looking around for help.
Ron shrugged, looking as though he was already reconsidering his proposal as he watched his brother cower before the terrifying force that was Hermione Granger. "She's your girlfriend, mate."
"Er… Of course not, Mya," he mumbled. "Just… you fell in love with Fred Weasley. I don't want to become someone who isn't the person you fell in love with."
Hermione smirked. "Nice save."
"Well, I am the amazing Fred, after all," he returned, earning a slap on his head. Which was fine, since it was followed by a quick, but passionate kiss. The room clapped and wolf-whistled at that.
"Frederick Weasley," interrupted a deadly quiet voice. The atmosphere turned chilling in less than a heartbeat. Fred swallowed, shifting so that Hermione stood in front of him. She rolled her eyes, but privately thought that it was a justified act, considering the look on Mrs Weasley's face. "How long have you been dating?"
Hermione nudged Fred slightly. "Er… two years," muttered Fred, his voice so low that it was almost inaudible. Almost.
"TWO YEARS? TWO YEARS AND YOU DIDN'T EVEN THINK TO MENTION THAT YOU HAD A GIRLFRIEND? DO YOU KNOW HOW WORRIED I WAS? I WAS STARTING TO THINK YOU WOULD NEVER SETTLE DOWN – I WAS GOING TO OWL YOUR AUNT MURIEL TO SET UP A BLIND DATE FOR YOU AND HER GREAT GRANDDAUGHTER!" screeched Mrs Weasley, her face as red as her hair.
"Cassie?" yelped Fred. "But Mum, Cassie's sixteen!"
"QUIET! ABSOLUTELY OUTRAGEOUS BEHAVIOUR. UNACCEPTABLE! AND YOU KNEW RONALD HERE HAD FEELINGS FOR HERMIONE, SO WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL HIM AND SAVE HIM THIS HUMILIATION? HE WENT UP THERE AND SPILLED HIS HEART OUT AND YOU LET HIM! IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE FAMILY, TOO!"
"Thanks, Mum," said Ron bitterly. "Thanks for reminding me how humiliating this all was." But Mrs Weasley only continued her tirade.
"Molly, perhaps we can save the yelling for later. Dinner is getting cold," said Mr Weasley mildly when she paused to take a breath. Mrs Weasley glanced around, as though just realising that dinner was still ongoing.
"Of course," huffed Mrs Weasley. "And obviously, none of this is your fault, Hermione dear," she added, glaring at Fred to emphasize her point.
Hermione nodded mutely.
Mrs Weasley took a deep breath and beamed. "Well, it's wonderful that we're all together now. I'm so glad you and Fred are dating – I expect we'll be able to officially welcome you to the family soon, won't we?" The couple both choked at that. "Now, let's enjoy dinner, shall we?" She waved her wand and more food piled themselves onto plates.
Fred and Hermione glanced at each other, then at Ron. "Listen," started Fred, as around them, the buzz of conversation restarted. But Ron shook his head.
"It's going to take a while to get used to, but… it's fine. I'll be fine," he tried for a grin, but it looked mangled on his face.
"I'm sorry. We should have told you."
"Yeah. You should have," he said with an edge of bitterness. Guilt flashed across Hermione and Fred's faces. "It's fine, alright? I love both of you, and I want the both of you to be happy. If… if you guys are happiest with each other, I can't exactly come between that, can I?"
Fred lurched forward and pulled his little brother into a hug. "Thanks, mate," he whispered. Hermione joined in on the hug, too, while Ron patted them both awkwardly on the back.
"Right. Well, I'm going to get some of that chicken before Bill and Charlie eat it all," mumbled Ron, pulling away. Hermione smiled at him, watching as he walked away from them, slipping a velvet box back into his pocket.
"He'll be fine," whispered Fred, wrapping his arms around Hermione's waist. "He just needs time."
"You think?" she said, hopefully.
"Yeah. Now, come on, let's get some food. I'm starving, and I probably won't get supper later because Mum's going to be yelling for hours."
Hermione giggled, squeezing his hand. "I toldyou so. We should have come clean ages ago."
"Merlin, if you say 'I told you so' one more time…"
"Maybe we should come clean about the other thing as well."
"Er… maybe later. I'd like to postpone my death for a bit longer, thanks," grimaced Fred. Hermione smirked at that, but nodded, her hand slipping into her jean pocket and wrapping around a small, diamond ring. Her fiancé glanced down at her. "So… the bonfire last year?" he grinned.
Hermione scowled, her cheeks reddening. "It was nothing."
"We only said 'I love you' to each other six months ago."
Now her face was heating up so much she was surprised the whole room couldn't feel the warmth radiating. "Shut up," she growled, stalking off to rejoin the Weasley family. But her hand was still wrapped tightly around Fred's, who followed her with a giddy smile on his face.
"I love you," he whispered into Hermione's ear. She mumbled a few words back, so softly he almost missed it.
"I love you, too."