Author's note: Please remember that English is not my first language and I don't have a Beta. So try to look over grammar faults, or let me know if I did make a huge mistake.
This is a Romione story in AU, in Ron's POV.
Harry still defeated Voldemort with the help of Ron and Ginny. I try to remain canon where it's possible.
I really love to read AU stories about them. I didn't find anything new to read so I decided to write my own. Hope you guys like it!
Disclaimer: I do not own anything from the Harry Potter world or anything from the hands of J.K. Rowling.
After the war, Kingsley was appointed as the new Minister of Magic and he immediately wrote to both Harry and Ron to ask them if they wanted to join the Auror Department. They accepted the offer and went to Auror Academy instead of back to Hogwarts, and they both excelled in all subjects. Not that anyone would dare to expect otherwise after what they did in the battle of Hogwarts.
It didn't take long before Ron proved himself to be an excellent auror, even better than Harry. Harry was good in his own way, but he was a bit too empathetically with his suspects and he kept struggling with his guilt for everything that had happened during the war and the aftermath. So after two years he decided to return to Hogwarts as a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, to much delight of Headmistress McGonagall and Ginny.
Ron was an auror for four years now and he was the best of the entire department, bringing all his cases to a good end. There were rumours that he was going to be the next Head Auror, but Ron didn't want to be stuck behind a desk. At least not yet.
He loved to be outside, where the action was. To shadow someone, until he found something for the trial, or to plan something so he could capture multiple suspects in one intervention. He woke with his job and he went back to sleep with it. He didn't have a girlfriend or a family that would await him at home.
He lived with Harry and Ginny in Grimmauld Place, after Harry and Kreacher had it completely renovated.
At first, they lived there alone, because Ginny needed to complete her 7th year at Hogwarts. But after she graduated – and after they could persuade Molly – Ginny moved in with them.
Ron didn't need to see all the snogging and stuff, so he worked late and apparated straight to his room most of the time, to avoid the two lovebirds.
When he woke up this morning, he already felt off. It wasn't going to be his day, Harry and Ginny were on their honeymoon and he was all by himself in Grimmauld Place. He couldn't stand the silence. Kreacher was staying at Hogwarts, to help the other house elves in the kitchens. Ron was fine with it, he was at work most of the time and went to dinner at the Burrow whenever he could so he wouldn't starve. But he missed the conversations or just someone to talk to. Sure, he could drop in at the Burrow or Shell Cottage to talk to his parents or his brothers Bill or George, or even Percy, but they all had their own families to worry about and the Burrow was overflowing with children these days. It was all getting a bit too loud for him and it wasn't pleasant to be reminded of the fact that he was the only one left that wasn't married or had a girlfriend.
Sure, he got enough attention from the birds when he went out to the Leaky for some drinks. He was the best friend of Harry Potter after all. And that's what bothered him every single time, he could never be sure that they fancied him, Ron Weasley, and not with the thought of being with him, Ron Weasley, the best friend of Harry Potter. So every time a girl started to talk with him or showed even the slightest hint of interest, he emptied his butterbeer and excused himself. After all these years, he still felt insecure. How could he live up against the Chosen One? He was just his sidekick, wasn't he?
That's why he loved his job so much. There he was auror Ron Weasley, he did that all by himself. No Chosen One, no family to live up to. And he was bloody proud of it.
He went downstairs to make himself some breakfast, dropped his entire plate of eggs and bacon on the floor, made a second breakfast, ate it while ignoring today's edition of The Daily Prophet – it didn't contain anything worth reading – and took the Floo to work in a worse mood than when he woke up.
The minute he arrived in his office he noticed there was something off. His fellow aurors who were not out on a mission were trying real hard to avoid him. He got glares, but no "Good morning Weasley." He checked if he managed to put on some clothes this morning, felt relieved when he saw he did, but got no wiser than before that.
"Weasley!" yelled Head Auror Jollins from his office. "Mission briefing immediately!"
Ron looked towards the Head Auror's office and frowned. Why would they wait for his arrival to brief him for an oncoming mission? Most of the time they send a patronus or gave him a Floo call. That was part of being an auror, you never knew when your day would end, nor when he would start to begin with.
He noticed that his colleagues were a little jumpy today, all seeming very busy with whatever they were doing, but also keeping an eye on his every move. He had the reputation to be tense and hot-tempered, especially when he got a mission that wasn't his first choice, or when he was stuck in an investigation.
Since he wasn't on a mission right now, he guessed he was assigned to one he was not going to like.
He sat down and looked at Jollins. "What's the assignment, sir?"
"Weasley, I'm going to be honest with you. You're the best we've got. But you already know that, right?" said Jollins.
Ron was surprised. It was not Jollins' habit to do small talk, most of the time he was straight to the point. He felt less comfortable by the minute.
"Thank you, sir. Appreciate the acknowledgement of my actions. But that's not why I'm here, am I?" Ron sat a bit straighter into his seat. He could take it. Any assignment or mission would be a perfect distraction of the empty house, maybe if he was lucky it would take long enough to wrap it up for Harry and Ginny to come back from Greece. Then he could concentrate on his mission instead of the deafening silence of Grimmauld Place.
Jollins cleared his throat and went on. "No, you're right. As usual. Did you hear about Olson's case? The attack on the Virelli family?"
Ron nodded. Of course he heard about that one. A couple of days ago there was a brutal attack on the Virelli's, all murdered, some of them even tortured. No one survived, and no one knew why it had happened. There wasn't even a clue on who had done it. Except for the fact that he or she was magical, but Ron guessed it was not the work of a single witch or wizard. The Virelli family was half-blood, had no bad reputation or known connections with any death eaters. Nothing suspicious about them. So Olson didn't know what to do. He'd come to Ron and ask for advice. With no witnesses or any evidence, there wasn't much to work with. Ron had told him about his presumption that this could be the work of multiple wizards or witches, maybe even death eaters. Not that there were many of them left. Not after those months after the battle where Harry and Ron and many other aurors hunted most of them down. But they could never be sure that they were all gone.
"Yeah, I know that case. Though one." He shrugged.
"Not exactly. They found a witness." Jollins took out some papers and handed them to Ron. Inside were a couple of muggle photos – they didn't move, Ron noticed – of a girl with bushy brown hair, brown eyes and pale skin. There was something about the girl, Ron thought. But he couldn't say what exactly.
"A witness would help the case tremendously. That's fantastic, but what has that to do with me? Do you want me to take things over? Olson is a great auror, he can handle it." Ron said.
"No, Olson will stay assigned to the murder case. But the witness, miss Hermione Granger needs to be protected. When Olson's team found out about her, they noticed her house was jinxed. It would inform whoever cast the spell when she was home. Never a good sign, that is. So we took her in. She's in one of the interrogation rooms down the hall. But she can't stay here of course. Did I tell you she's a muggle?" Jollins pointed towards her photo.
Ron gasped. "Muggle? And you brought her here? Why didn't they obliviate her after they took her statement? That's the normal procedure."
"It's not that simple, Weasley. She's in quite a shock actually. Not surprising if you consider what she saw the last couple of hours. We know she witnessed it all, but she won't tell anything. We already let a healer and a mind healer from St Mungos with her, and they think she suffers from a temporary memory loss due to the shock. We can extract the memories, but we don't have the guarantee that they will be accurate. We really need her statement about this. The Wizengamot wouldn't accept otherwise." Jollins sighed and took in a deep breath. "We want you to accompany her back to her house and stay with her until she gets her memory back. Your mission is a witness protection case."
Ron couldn't believe what he just heard. Those were cases that usually were given to Junior Aurors and even then, they would switch between two or three aurors to take turns. Protection programs were boring, witnesses were demanding lots of attention and those missions easily took a couple of weeks, even months to finish.
"Did I do something wrong, sir?" Ron asked. There's got to be a reason why he was punished. He grimaced, remembering how he felt off this morning and dropped his breakfast. He should've just stayed in bed today.
"Weasley! There is nothing wrong with witness protection assignments!" Jollins bellowed. "This is going to take a long time, I'm well aware of that. I'm also aware that miss Granger is quite attractive, to be frank. And there's the problem." He continued.
Ron frowned. Jollins was right, the girl was pretty in her own way, but pretty girls were mostly not that bright or were just plain mean. He remembered that well enough from his days at Hogwarts. So he didn't see the problem. He told Jollins that.
"Of course not. You don't have a girlfriend or a wife! Don't you think I didn't ask someone else first? What if you had a girlfriend, how would she react if she found out you spent lots of time alone with such a pretty girl? I know you're not supposed to talk about ongoing cases at home, but they still know afterwards. You of all people should know that." Jollins waved his hand towards him. Ron stood up so he could walk around the office. Of course he knew that. He witnessed Ginny's outburst when she found out Harry spend a whole week with that girl Sophie Hampton, who got assaulted. Harry was supposed to watch her during her stay in the ministry, while the trial was up in the Wizengamot, when Ginny dropped by in the office to ask Ron if he was free for lunch. Harry made the mistake to take his break at that exact moment, and needed to explain himself why he was in the Auror Office instead of out on a mission. When he tried to explain he was currently on a mission, Sophie called for him. Ron didn't dare to return home to Grimmauld Place afterwards, until he heard from Harry again. It wasn't pretty.
"But still, you can't tell me there isn't a single Junior Auror that isn't available to do this? What about Ilkins or Rogers?" Ron tried, while he went through his hair with his hand.
"No, Weasley. We don't want a Junior Auror to take this one. It's too risky. Her house was already jinxed after a couple of hours so we expect more actions. We need someone with more experience. And you're the best one, as I already told you."
"But why at her house? Why not here, she's already here? Or in one of our safe houses?" Heck, she could even stay with him in Grimmauld Place. Harry wouldn't mind. Ginny was another story, but he could talk to her.
"No, the healers think she would be best at her own place. In a well-known environment. Maybe her memory will come back faster. That's the whole purpose of this mission, you still know that, right? She needs to restore her memory so she can give her statements in the investigation. The Virelli family was well known, Weasley. We could not afford to cover this up. You go and take her home, seal the house, you know the drill. Try to narrow the magic though, she's still a muggle. She does know of our existence, but it's temporary. She'll be obliviated as soon the trial's over. Here's her file, she's down in room 3. You know what to do." Jollins handed the file with the photo's to Ron.
Ron took it with a heavy sigh. He turned and closed the door to Jollins' office with more force than necessary.
He searched for Olson with his eyes, but noticed that his desk was empty. Lucky bastard, he thought.
He turned around and left the office, on his way to investigation room number three, where miss Granger would wait for his arrival.