"Please, Clay," he heard her say. "Please don’t drag this out any more than you already have."
Hearing her say those words, Clay couldn’t help but think about the months that had passed. He could still recall the moment that he had found out that Alex had been working with the Order of the Phoenix. No, not working with… she’d been a member. And while her cause was noble, it had put Clay in a very awkward position. He was bound by duty to arrest her. To bring her to justice because of the anti-vigilantism law that Minister von Holst had pushed through. Honestly, it had been a bill that Clay could get behind. It kept innocent citizens from putting themselves in harm’s way. Yet, some of the language was too stringent. And it clearly put people with a proper moral compass in the position of turning their back on those that needed their help.
He swallowed, amazed by how dry his mouth seemed. ”Don’t worry,” he said finally. ”I won’t.” He could still feel some of the rain drops fall from his head and onto his shoulder. Lifting his hand, he reached inside his coat and slowly pulled out a scroll. He held it in his hand for a moment as he stared at it, and then finally looked up at Alex. He could see the panicked look on her face. He hated to put her through this. He hated to be the one responsible for causing her any harm or panic, but there was no other way. It had taken him months, but he was finally doing what he should have done from the beginning.
"Consider yourself served," said Clay. He extended the scrolled document in Alex’s direction. She simply stared at it for a few moments before slowly reaching out to take it into her hand. He watched her hold it, almost as if she were waiting for it to vanish into thin air, but it didn’t. It remained in her hand a cold reminder of what had come between them. "I suppose you can think of it as a… plea deal. It was the best that I could do… and probably should have done it sooner."
There was still a look of pain on her face, as she slowly broke the seal and began to unscroll the parchment. It seemed to take ages, as if the moment were frozen in time. And as he watched her, he saw the look of pain curl into one of confusion. ”I… I don’t,” she began. Her quizzical look left the parchment and then looked up at Clay. ”Clay? This… this is….”
"A petition for adoption," he finished. Clay stood there watching Alex as her eyes returned to the parchment. "I spent a lot of time thinking the last few months. And I soon came to realize that it’s no longer about just me… but Clara as well. The decisions… the choices I make have to be in her best interest, as well as my own." Clay took a deep breath. "I made the mistake of letting you walk out of my life once before. I was foolish enough to walk away a second time. And I’ll be damned if I’m ever going to make that mistake again."
Clay’s hands reached into his pocket once more and produced a small velvet box with an embroidered B upon it. It was the traditional trademark of jewelry from Bukater’s in Hogsmeade. Clay slowly lowered himself down to one knee in front of Alex. As he stared up at her, he noticed the look of shock on her face, despite his declaration. ”Alexandria Jade Pembrooke… I met you while staring into the heavens. And everything I cherish in my life that has been touched by you has changed for the better. In my darkest hours, you’re the light that guides me. You’re the one thing that always make sense when my world turns upside down. I could list a thousand reasons why this makes sense, and probably just as many why it doesn’t, but the one constant is that I love you, Alex. From the moment you scolded me for touching your telescopes to now, and every day afterwards I know that’ll never change.” He paused a moment and sighed before continuing on. He’d put her through hell, and didn’t have the right to ask, but that did little to stop him from uttering the next words that left his mouth.
"Alex, will you marry me?"