#11 - Ron being asked to help round up the surviving Death Eaters.
When Kingsley Shacklebolt offers him a position on the Aurors, Ron needs to decide if being an Auror is what he truly wants for himself.
, this was a great prompt! I hope you like what I've done with it.
As it usually did on a Hogsmeade weekend, the new Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes shop was a flurry of activity. It was even busier than normal because it was the final Hogsmeade weekend of the school term for Hogwarts students. To Ron, it seemed they were buying up everything in sight, and all he had done all day was race back and forth between the shop floor and the back room to replenish the stock on the shelves; it was disappearing faster than he could replace it. Ron put it down to the fact that George had made the decision to hold off on reopening the Diagon Alley shop until August, so the students were stocking up for their summer holidays.
The Diagon Alley shop had been damaged and looted badly during the war. The stock was stolen and the shop vandalized and burnt until all that remained were the walls. Instead of repairing it immediately, George had decided to buy a shop in Hogsmeade and open it in time for the school year. Ron thought the sudden rush to open a Hogsmeade store was more of a distraction to George rather than a well-planned business expansion, but after seeing him mourning Fred for months, Ron hadn’t had the heart to suggest it. He was just content to see George happy again.
Stifling a yawn, Ron made his way to the front of the shop to check on the Pygmy Puffs. One had escaped the enclosure and was climbing up the shelves. He reached for it and was rewarded with a painful bite on the end of his finger.
“Oh, you little bastard,” he hissed, dropping it into its rightful place and turning abruptly away. His lack of concentration had made him unaware of his surroundings though and he barreled into the customer who had just walked in the door. “I’m sorry,” he said, placing a steadying hand on his victim’s shoulder. He looked up to see who he had run into and came face to face with the Minister for Magic himself, Kingsley Shacklebolt.
“Busy day, Ron?” asked the Minister, who was one of the few people that could still look down on Ron.
“Sorry, Kings- I mean Minister Shacklebolt,” replied Ron sheepishly. Kingsley let out a chuckle.
“You don’t call me Minister, Ron. I’ve known you since you were born. Kingsley is fine,” he said in his low soothing voice. Ron nodded and batted his hand, knocking another escaping Pygmy Puff back into its enclosure.
“What can I do for you, Sir?” Ron asked, leading him through the store.
“A word, if you don’t mind?” replied Kingsley. “Perhaps somewhere more quiet?” he asked, gesturing to the curtain that separated the shop from the back room. Ron looked at the taller man curiously and then nodded slowly.
“I’ll just tell Gina I’m going on break. Go on through.”
“Did you want some tea or something?” asked Ron as he walked into the back room, having told Gina he would be back shortly. Kingsley shook his head.
“You’re busy, so I’ll get right to the point. I’ve come to ask you to join the Auror Department.” He said it with reluctance, and Ron’s senses were put on alert.
“Does Harry know you’re here?” Ron asked, clasping his hands together nervously. Harry had been in Auror training for the better part of a year now, having been recruited right after the war. Ron, on the other hand, had placed his application on hold to help George get the shop running again. He’d completely intended to join the Aurors after George was back on his feet, but now, as the offer was in front of him, he didn’t know what he wanted to say.
“Why now? I deferred two years on my application…” Ron trailed off after realizing his voice had begun to rise and he sounded panicky.
“We don’t have the manpower to finish the job. There are still fifty-four known Death Eaters out there, and I don’t want them out there anymore. Most of them are really low-profile, but there are a few I’m concerned about, who have the intelligence and contacts to start something up again. I’d rather they didn’t get that far.” Kingsley leaned forward and peered at Ron. “You don’t have to do this. You’re someone I would love to have in the department, but I’m not going to force or pressure you into doing anything. Have a think about it. Talk to your family, Harry, and your girlfriend. You know where to find me, Ron.”
Kingsley stood and held out his hand. Ron shook it and after meeting Kingsley’s piercing stare, found the courage to ask the question that had been burning on his mind from the moment Kingsley had voiced his intentions.
“Who are you worried about, Sir?” Kingsley sighed.
“I was afraid you’d ask that. I didn’t want this to affect your decision. I know you have a history with a couple of them. It’s Lestrange, Dolohov, and Rookwood. We’ve had some reasons to believe they are holed up together in Scandinavia, biding their time.” Kingsley rested his hand on Ron’s shoulder. “Make your decision like I’d never told you that. You need to do this because it’s what you want, not because you want revenge.” Ron watched Kingsley leave as if he was in a trance. He couldn’t stop watching the Minister weave through the crowd of shelves and students and out the door, the jingle of the bell the only indication that he’d been there.
Ron was snapped out of his trance by Gina, who stuck her head around the corner.
“Ron, I really hate to bother you but it’s getting crazy out here. We need more Fantastic Fireworks and Skiving Snackboxes, and a few Pygmy Puffs have escaped again.” Ron nodded and gave her a tense smile.
“I’ll get those now,” he said, his eyes still on the door that Kingsley had exited moments before. He ran a hand through his hair and turned around, Kingsley’s words still at the front of his mind.
It wasn’t until hours later that he had a chance to really sit down and think about what he wanted to do. He and Gina had been run off their feet all afternoon, stopping only when the clock ticked over to four o’clock and all the younger students had to be back at school. He’d been so busy he’d only had time to say a quick hello to Hermione, Ginny, Dean, and Luna, who had come to see if he could take a break and go for a drink with them.
He’d told them he’d meet them later, and until Hermione’s gaze had lingered on him and she’d quirked her eyebrow in question, he thought he’d had her convinced that there was nothing more on his mind than the craziness of the shop that day. He waved goodbye to Gina, who had finished counting up the register and cleaning the bench and was going home for the night. He waited until she was out the door before locking it, lying down on the floor, and staring at the ceiling.
Ever since he could remember, he’d wanted to be an Auror. Even before Harry had expressed his desire, Ron had always thought it was something he could do. He remembered telling his mother of his plans when he was younger and her elation that he wanted to do something so honourable and well-renowned. After fifth year, he’d been even more determined because it was something that he and Harry could do together, something he knew they’d do well.
After the war had ended the year before, he’d wanted to join the Aurors with Harry, but family came first. George had needed his help, so Ron had deferred his application, intending to come back to it at a later date. Now, though, with the offer right in front of him, waiting for him to accept, Ron didn’t think he could. He didn’t think it was because he was still concerned about George. George had all but said that it was time for Ron to go back to the Aurors, but Ron had been putting it off for months, making excuses and changing the subject.
As he lay on the floor thinking, he heard Hermione’s voice from outside the door at the front of the shop, murmuring the series of complex spells to unlock it. He waited until he heard the bell on the door sound before sitting up and looking over the top of the bench.
“Hi,” he said, causing Hermione to shriek and slam the door closed. Ron laughed.
“Ron, you scared me half to death! Everything was off and the door was locked so I thought you must have been upstairs having a shower,” she said, eyeing him curiously.
“If I was in the shower, were you going to come in and get me?” he said suggestively. Hermione raised her eyebrows.
“No, I wasn’t. I was going to wait on your couch…” She trailed off and walked over to him, holding her hand out to him. He took her hand and pushed himself up, careful not to pull too hard on her arm.
“And then we were going to talk?” He sighed. “I can’t get anything by you, can I?” She stood on her toes and pressed her lips against his firmly.
“Nope. You’re an open book. So what’s wrong?” she asked. They walked through the back room and to the stairs that led to Ron and Harry’s flat above the shop. Once inside, Hermione sat on the couch and looked at him expectantly. Ron didn’t know where to start.
“I saw Kingsley leave the shop today,” Hermione said. “Did he come to buy some Skiving Snackboxes?”
“Harry’s got a big mouth,” said Ron. “If you already knew, why didn’t you just say something?”
“Because it was your story to tell. What I don’t understand is why it’s got you so wound up. You’ve wanted to be an Auror for years. Did Kingsley say something?” she asked, shifting in her seat. Ron sat down next to her and rested his head in her lap, his fatigue settling in.
“I don’t want to do it,” Ron blurted. He expected Hermione to burst into a myriad of questions but she didn’t. She just started running her fingers through his hair. He closed his eyes. “If I don’t though, I’m going to disappoint so many people. Kingsley obviously needs me if he wants me to come back a year early, and Mum was elated when I told her that I wanted to be an Auror. Harry’s been waiting for me to come back and--” He was cut off abruptly by Hermione’s hand over his mouth.
“If you add me to that list, Ron Weasley, you’ll regret it,” she said sharply, and Ron winced when he heard the hurt in her voice.
“I want you to be happy, and up until Kingsley came to see you today, you were,” she replied. Ron opened his eyes and looked up at her through hooded lids. He nodded.
“I am happy, but I’ve wanted this for years. It can’t just switch off, can it?” he said quietly.
“Just because you wanted it when you were fifteen, doesn’t mean you have want the same thing now. Dreams change. You’ve got to make the decision for yourself. Not for Kingsley, your Mum, or Harry … and especially not me.”
“I don’t want to do it for the wrong reasons.”
Hermione shook her head and placed her hand on his cheek. “Not you, Ron. You wouldn’t do it for the wrong reasons. I know that,” she said confidently and Ron almost didn’t want to continue. The thought of her thinking less of him tore at his mind as he tried to think of the right words.
“You’re wrong. When he told me who we’d be chasing, I wanted nothing more than to take off these stupid robes and go. I was so angry again, so ready to hunt them and make them hurt as much as they’d hurt all of us. So ready to make them pay.”
Hermione nodded again, her brown eyes never leaving his. “And now?” Her voice was shaking slightly. Ron knew she was scared. She’d seen him right after Fred died and had she not stopped him, calmed him down, he would have taken off and found Rookwood. Ron still wasn’t sure how far he would have gone and he knew Hermione was thinking about that, terrified at what his response could be.
“I still want to make them pay,” he said and then paused to compose his thoughts. “But I’m not like them.” Hermione bent down and kissed him fervently.
“What was that for?” Ron asked when she’d pulled away.
“Because you’re right. You’re nothing like them, Ron.” They looked at each other in silence.
“I don’t know what I’d do if I came face to face with Rookwood or Dolohov though. I shouldn’t put myself in that position.”
“I don’t think you need to worry about that. I think you need to worry about what you want to do, not what you think you should do. What do you want, Ron?” Ron closed his eyes and slipped into thought.
“I want this. I want to be happy and I want to come home every night and know exactly when I’m going to see you, or my family, or my friends next. I don’t want the uncertainty that being an Auror brings. I don’t want to fight anymore.”
Hermione smiled. “Then I think you know what to do.”
Ron shifted to get up, but was halted by Hermione, who pulled him back down onto the couch. He looked at her inquisitively.
“I’m coming back, Hermione; I was going to owl Kingsley.”
Hermione shook her head. “He’ll still be there tomorrow. I’m here now and I’ve just found out my boyfriend isn’t going to be taking a job that will keep him away from me. That, and Professor McGonagall thinks that you needed my help with a stock count, so she gave me a weekend pass,” Hermione said, her eyes lighting up. She leaned over and kissed him soundly, her hands working their way into his hair. Ron kissed her back, his tongue tracing her bottom lip and coaxing her mouth open. He had a thought and pulled away, eyeing her suspiciously.
“But we did the stock counts weeks
ago,” he said slowly. As he was speaking, Hermione stood up and held her hand out to him, smiling suggestively.
Ron grinned as he realized her intentions and hopped up to follow.