Author's Notes: Written for ceitfianna in the ineedmyfics Gift Exchange on Livejournal, with the following request:
Preferred characters: Ron, Hermione, various Weasley family, Harry, Ginny
Prompt: Where I fit? I love Ron and Hermione for the complexity of their relationship and would love a look into either post-canon as they try to figure out what them looks like or even some missing moments. What makes them work and what doesn't? How do they fight and how they make up?
Oh my God. Gamma wrote Ron/Hermione.
Hermione was reading.
Of course she was.
It shouldn't have come as any sort of surprise to Ron that Hermione would choose that night to bury herself in some thick history book that was so old the title had worn off the spine. There were some nights when she was able to pull her head out of a book and carry on a conversation with Ron and he had been hoping that this would be one of those nights.
But of course not. That would be too easy.
Harry had probably never had this problem with Ginny.
Ginny had probably proposed to Harry instead of the other way around. She had probably shoved the ring onto his finger before Harry had even been able to get the word "yes" out of his mouth.
Why hadn't Ron gone to Harry for advice?
Ron sat down beside Hermione on the sofa, very much aware of the weight of the small box in his pocket. It dug uncomfortably into his thigh and he shifted restlessly.
"Are you all right, Ron?" Hermione said. She sounded more than a touch irritated and there was a small frown on her lips when she raised her head.
"Yeah," Ron said quickly. "Yes, I'm fine–"
"Then it would be ever so nice if you'd stop squirming around. It's a bit distracting." Hermione turned away from him, focussing on her book again, and Ron immediately stilled himself.
His heart was beating so quickly that he thought it was going to burst right out of his chest and his palms were damp with perspiration – he couldn't remember the last time that he had been so mind-meltingly nervous. Fighting Voldemort had been nothing in comparison to this.
"Hermione?" he said at last.
"Yes?" She looked up, closing the book over one finger and looking up at him. Her eyebrows were drawn together slightly and a small frown was turning down the corners of her mouth. Ron immediately wondered whether it had been a mistake to draw her away from her book – he knew from experience, after all, that Hermione did not take kindly to being interrupted when in the middle of reading something important.
"Er… I wanted to ask you something…"
"Can it wait, Ron?" She glanced back down at the book almost longingly. "I'm almost done this chapter and I don't want to lose my train of thought. I wonder if you'd mind waiting just a few minutes until I'm done?"
"Right," Ron said quickly, aware of his ears heating up. "Of course. Yeah. Enjoy it. I'm just going to go… make a pot of tea." He stood up and headed into the kitchen in the hopes that tea would soothe his nerves. That was what his mother had always done when there was a fight.
Not that there was going to be a fight, he told himself, shuddering a bit. At worst, Hermione would turn him down.
No, at worst, Hermione would throw him out and tell him that she never wanted to see him again. That would definitely be the worst-case scenario…
Don't think about that, you idiot!
Ron quickly pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes and massaged them until stars popped before his vision.
Hermione was not going to throw him out. Hermione wasn't going to hate him just because he suggested that they ought to get married – that would be stupid. If she didn't want to, she would just say so and that would be the end of it. Hermione could hold a grudge, of course, but she wouldn't hold it over something stupid like Ron trying to tell her in the best way he knew how that he loved her.
"Would you pour me a cup of tea too, Ron?" Hermione called from the parlour, jolting Ron out of his mental paralysis. He shook himself quickly, wiping his forehead and tapping his wand against his kettle, which immediately started to hiss. Ron poured two cups of tea and headed out to the parlour again with a small, hopeful smile on his face.
"Thanks…" Hermione took the cup from him and smiled. "Sorry I didn't talk before – the book was just so interesting and I was just at the most important part… you aren't offended, are you?"
"Nah, of course not." Ron shrugged slightly, doing his best to appear calm and collected. "I'm fine. There's just… well…"
"Is everything all right, Ron?" Hermione looked concerned – so charmingly and sweetly concerned, and Ron shifted a little, his cheeks going hot again.
"Because you don't look very well. Are you feeling a bit sick?" Hermione reached out and pressed her hand against Ron's forehead, clearly checking to see if he had a fever. Her touch was soft but firm, tender but not weak.
As was everything about her…
"I'm not sick," Ron said. "It isn't anything like that – nothing… bad like that." He sank onto the sofa beside her, straining to keep his expression neutral. "It's just… well, Hermione, there's… there's something I'd like to ask you."
"Oh, of course." Hermione shifted a little and took a sip of her tea. "What is it?"
Ron was finding it extremely difficult to remember how to talk. Every single word that flitted through his mind was either entirely wrong or failed to make it all the way to his mouth. He took a gulp of tea in the hopes that it would give him an excuse not to speak right away and winced as the hot liquid burned his throat.
"Ron, is everything all right?" Hermione asked, grabbing the cup away so that he didn't spill it while he coughed and spluttered. "You don't seem very well… you seem a bit… nervous…"
"Well, then, spit it out, Ron," Hermione said. "If something's making you nervous, then you ought to tell me – especially if you're going to keep choking on tea unless you do."
"Right…" Ron reached into his pocket, closing his fingers around the jewellery box. He tried to picture himself whipping it out and sliding the ring gracefully onto Hermione's finger, but his hands were numb and sweaty and he could barely even take the box out. Hermione glanced down at it questioningly.
"Hermione…" he said. His voice was gravelly and he cleared his throat before starting again. "Hermione, we've been together for a while…"
"And… I love you…" he continued, glad that they had long since become comfortable with saying that.
"I love you too, Ron," Hermione said with a bright smile. "That's really lovely…"
"I'm not done," he interrupted. "Hermione, I- I want to…"
"You want to what?"
Words were failing him again. Ron tried to get the word marry out of his mouth, but it wouldn't come.
So he just opened the box and held it out to her. The ring glistened slightly and Hermione's eyes widened as she looked down at it and then back up at him.
"Ron…" she said slowly. "Is this… is this an engagement ring?"
Ron nodded mutely. His ears must have been positively crimson and his hands were shaking as Hermione looked slowly from the ring to him and back down at the ring with an expression of perplexed surprise on her face.
"Are you asking me to marry you?"
Ron swallowed hard. His mouth was extremely dry and the way Hermione was looking at him – as though he was a particularly strange and intriguing magical plant or creature – made him want to crawl away and hide.
"Oh, Ron…" Hermione said slowly, and for a moment, Ron was positive that she was going to say something typically Hermione-ish – thank you, but no.
"I thought you'd never ask," she said, then flung her arms around his neck and kissed him.