Fingers and Thumbs

Ron had been quiet for days.

She knew it was a ridiculous thing to worry about, her mute boyfriend being quiet, but it was true. Ron wasn't a quiet man. Even when he signed he was noisy, hands slapping and rubbing together banging on table tops to get attention, clicking his fingers or whistling at his dog – Ron wasn't usually this quiet.

She had been fretful enough to ask Harry if anything was wrong but Harry had immediately collapsed into a chair and began a desperate confession about noticing the same thing but not being sure if it was just a problem between the two of them or not.

Now that she knew it wasn't personal and that Ron was becoming introverted for some reason she made it her mission to crack his physiological shell.

"Ron, love, I'm feeling restless today. Can I come and walk the dog with you this morning?"

Ron looked as if her presence would mean he had to put off something he'd been planning to do but he nodded and told her she was welcome.

After Ron unhooked Marmalade's lead and let him bound around the park after the birds they sat down on a bench and Hermione took his hand and gave a squeeze.

"What would you do if I was unhappy about something?"

Ron looked at her with alarm. He twirled both index fingers beside his head and gave a shrug.

"Nothing's wrong," she placed a hand upon his leg to reassure him, "it's a theoretical question. If I was upset would you leave me to work through it or would you want me to talk to you about it?"

Ron moved his finger from his lips and away.

"I thought so. So why don't you tell me what's troubling you?"

Ron drew in a deep sigh and let it out, shoulders falling, the resignation of the man who had been rumbled by his other half.

He made circles with both hands, fingers touching thumb, and then moved them in unison together in a separate circular motion.

"It's not nothing when both Harry and I notice something's bothering you."

Ron rubbed at his palms briskly, like he was brushing them clear of something unwanted, and shook his head in dismissal.

"Ronald Weasley, tell me now or I'll tickle you!"

He rolled his eyes and folded his arms, grumpily. Hermione cracked her knuckles and sat forward in a way that let him know she meant business with her tickle threat. Ron clicked his tongue and huffed before jabbing himself in the chest with his finger and then holding both hands flat before him, palms down turned, and moved them forwards and backwards so his index fingers rubbed against each other.

"You were practicing? Practicing what?"

He looked at her, eyes full of anxiety, and then slid off the bench, onto one knee, and held his left hand forward before sliding the finger and thumb of his right hand up his ring finger and then placing his right palm flat over the back of his left hand.

"Marry?" Hermione said, voice nothing but a squeak.

Ron took a deep breath and seemed to internally chastise himself for messing the moment up. He took her left hand, moved his right thumb and index finger down her ring finger, and then placed his hand flat over hers, looking her in the eye and raising his eyebrows expectantly.

"Yes," she whispered, eyes flooding with tears.

Ron smiled, mostly with relief by the looks of it and rummaged in his pocket for a small box, which when opened revealed a perfect little diamond on a white gold band.

As Ron slid it onto her finger she grabbed his face with her free hand, then with both, and kissed him all over until he blushed.

"I love you," she said, and Ron pressed his hand to his chest and nodded to her, "and, just so you know, you did that beautifully."

For the first time in days, and to her utter delight, she saw her boyfriend's...her fiancé's illuminating grin.