Chapter 2: April 2006 - Ron and Fiona at Work
Feeling his skin already turning red after only two hours at the park, Ron cursed his lot as a ginger.
"Fi, do you have any sun potion in your bag?"
"Ron, we are supposed to be muggles out here enjoying this park. So – instead of a potion, how about I give you some good old muggle sunscreen, which I do happen to have in my bag."
"You brought a whole screen with you?"
"No you twat, I packed muggle sunscreen with looks sort of like lotion for your skin. Here. It's like I can see the freckles just popping out onto your skin while we sit here."
"I know. And in another hour I will be as red as a tomato."
"You're just jealous because I never burn."
"Damn right I am. It's terribly unfair you know."
"Alright. I'll add it to the long list of injustices you have faced in your life. Voldemort and pasty ginger skin."
"You're a doll, Fi."
"Don't mock me or I will take my muggle lotion back and you will be burnt to a crisp. Don't think I wouldn't."
"Of course I know you would do it. I've been your partner for two years. I probably know you better than you know yourself at this point."
"No you don't."
"You're distracting me. We're supposed to be looking like a muggle picnic at the park while watching to see if Johnson and his cronies come out of that restaurant."
"We have four eyes between us. One should be able to do the job while the other relax," sighed Ron as he lay back on the picnic blanket though keeping the restaurant in his peripheral vision. "OK – tell me what I have wrong. You love your work, but you worry about how much time it has you away from Dennis. You started as an auror after you graduated as a place to put all that energy & anger from the war. After your parents' killers were sent to Azkaban you thought you'd quit and do something else, but it turns out you are a lot more addicted to justice than you thought. You love it when we prove someone guilty, but you love it even more when we learn our theory was wrong and prove someone innocent. Your least favorite part of the work is the paperwork crap, but you're better at it than any auror in the department because you saw with the Smyrna case how incomplete paperwork can let a arsehole go free and you could never let that happen. You like your tea with milk and one sugar, except for when you have your period and then you want three sugars. You wonder how you will do this job as a mum, but wonder how you could still be you and not do this job. Am I close?"
"You figured out when I have my period?" she gawked as she smacked him upside the back of his head.
"I'm an auror, Fi. I spent a month watching you before Harry told you we would be partners to be sure I could work with you. Not many people change how they take their tea, so it was throwing me off. So – I decided to track it for a while to see what I could piece together. Then I noticed it was every 28 days or so."
"You are ridiculous. And a bit creepy. And you need a hobby. And you need a girlfriend."
"All probably true. I played in one of the quidditch rec leagues for a while, but they always wanted me to play beater, and I am bollocks at that position. Keeper was always my position. So, I finally just stopped signing up. But I still get to play some out at The Burrow at the weekly Sunday meals with my plethora of siblings, in laws, nieces and nephews."
"There are quite a few of them by now, aren't there."
"Yes. Seems to grow exponentially I'd say."
"So, when are you finally going to put your mum's heart at ease and bring home Ms. Right and add your own litter of redheaded grandchildren to the mix."
"I don't know," Ron sighed as he was quiet for a minute. "You know – I used to think it would just happen for me like it happened for everyone else I knew. Hell – even Charlie managed to find the right bloke for him at a bloody dragon reserve in Romania. I guess I figured if it was that easy for everyone else, it would be that easy for me too. But, it just hasn't ever happened. There was the whole Lavendar debacle in school. And then of course, I had to be stupid enough to not let that alone, and let her manipulate me back into dating after the war which turned into an even bigger fiasco. I thought she had grown up and had realized how she really felt about me during my year on the run. Turns out all she had realized was that she wanted to date someone famous and get her picture in the bloody papers. It hurt at the time, but I now realize how lucky I was to have overheard her talking to Rita Skeeter when I did just arranging for paparazzi to 'happen' upon us. Ugh! How awful would my life have been if I had married her? Or worse – had kids with her? After that, I promised myself I would never settle for less than my parents had, or Harry and Ginny have. It's just not worth it. I love my job. I love my family. I would love to find the right woman, get married and have kids. But, I am starting to think that just isn't in the cards for me. I'm not quite ok with it yet, but I am a lot closer than I used to be."
"Are you giving up? That doesn't seem like the Ron I know. And don't give me that look. I know you just as well as you know me, and you know it."
"I guess I don't think of it as giving up. Maybe it is just coming to be content with the life I actually have instead of being upset that I don't have a different life. If it happens – then it happens, and I will cherish my wife and kids more than I would have if I had met her at twenty and been a dad by 22. But, maybe I just have to realize that isn't going to be my life and find a way to be excited about the life that I am really living."
"Life is full of surprises, Ron. I admit I was crap at divination, but I just have a real sense you are going to have a happy life with a family someday, but maybe your route to get there is just a bit more circuitous. And I think you are right – you will be ever so much more grateful for it when you do have it. And for what it's worth – I think you are doing the right thing. Wait for the right person. Marriage is hard enough when you love the person. I can't imagine it if you were not that taken with the other to begin with."
"You know – people always say that about it being hard. In all earnestness – what is part do you find hard?"
"I don't know that the institution of marriage is hard per se, but committing to being a couple as more important that doing what you want on your own is tough. You are putting another person equal to you in your head. And even when they do something that pisses you off to no end, you love them anyway. Even if they do something that hurts you, you love them anyway. And you learn to compromise and meet in the middle and swallow your pride. And trust me, it is ever so much more aggravating to discover the other person is right. And I can only imagine that parenthood just adds to the complexity of all of that. It's easy to be the center of your own universe. It is very challenging to let someone else hold that position."
"Huh. Thanks. No one has ever put it quite that clearly before."
"But you still want it don't you?"
"Yeah. I do. But only with the right witch."
"You'll find her, I just – Hey – shite! It's Johnson and those two idiots. They're leaving the pub. Play time's over. Let's move… We can't lose them..."