shadowfiction (shadowfiction) wrote,

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Title: Doing Everything He Can
Author: iamshadow.
Ship: Ron/Kingsley, but fairly gen, really. Ship is secondary to plot.
Word Count: 2,400
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: AU. EWE. Bittersweetness. Mistakes. Little bit of swearing.
Summary: Ron is doing everything he can to keep his head above water. Kingsley is doing everything he can to catch Ron's attention.
A/N: Written for Helmet Fest '08 on ronsexuals for the prompt 'the back room of the Leaky Cauldron'.

This is sort of a sequel to my other Leaky Cauldron story, Take Me Somewhere, but there are big differences. Whereas Take Me Somewhere could conceivably fit within canon, Doing Everything He Can is definately AU. It does take some major elements from DH, but blatantly ignores others, and completely disregards the epilogue and post-DH revelations by JKR.

Ron wiped down the bar for what felt like the thousandth time that evening. The day had gone slowly; indescribably, miserably slowly. It felt like every grain of sand in the hourglass over the bar took an impossibly long amount of time to fall. Though the lower bulb was nearly two thirds full, Ron knew that mean he still had at least an hour to go before he could mop the floor, wash the glasses and stumble into the Floo.

It was all Fred and George’s fault. He was convinced of it. If those bastards would just give him a raise, he wouldn’t have to work two jobs, back to back, from eight in the morning until nearly midnight. In January, they said, his wage would go up by a miserable six Sickles an hour, but Ron had been doing his homework. Those six Sickles would be enough. It would be tight, but he’d be able to cut down his shifts at the Leaky to four days a week, rather than every night.

Then again, it wasn’t really the twins’ fault that the British Wizarding Economy was in a slump, and he knew it. He suspected the only reason they still kept him on was because he was family, and because they knew he desperately needed the money. They’d already had to let Verity go, and streamlined their range down to best-selling items.

“Another, please.”

Ron tucked the rag he was holding into the waistband of his trousers, and took the empty glass.

“Dumnonii Old, wasn’t it?” he asked, flipping the tap expertly. “There you go. Eight Sickles.”

“Thank you,” Kinglsey Shacklebolt said, smiling warmly. He placed the coins straight into Ron’s outstretched hand, fingertips brushing Ron’s palm.

Ron dropped the money into the battered, antique till which had opened itself in anticipation behind him. A lot of magical objects developed sentience of a kind over time. Fortunately, the Leaky’s till was good natured and eager to please. The third toilet from the door in the men’s room was another matter, and Ron inevitably ended up on the receiving end of complaints from guests about it at least once a shift. The regulars knew to avoid it.

“Your brother converted me to this, you know,” Kingsley said, pointing at his pint, after taking an appreciative mouthful.

“Which one?” Ron asked, rolling his eyes, good-humouredly. He wasn’t really in the mood to talk, but he knew it came with the job, and Kingsley was nice enough. He was better than the older wizards who berated him about the failings of magical youth today as though he were personally responsible, or the interfering witches who clucked over his scars, and asked him if he had a girlfriend yet.

“Bill,” said Kingsley, with a reminiscent smile. “We spent a fair bit of time together, not long after he started work at Gringotts.”

Ron nodded, unsurprised. He’d noticed Bill and Kingsley seemed to get on quite well, from the way they interacted at Order meetings. He’d presumed at the time that it was the mutual respect between an Auror and a Curse Breaker - both did dangerous, highly skilled work, after all – but a history of friendship from years ago could account for it just as easily.

“You remind me a lot of him, you know, at that age. What are you? Nineteen?”

“Twenty,” Ron answered, then added, “in March.” He took an empty glass as it was being put down, refilled it, and handed it back to the regular. Ron looked back at Kingsley, who was watching him with a quizzical expression.

“I’ll tip you a Galleon,” Kingsley said slowly, “if you can tell me what that man there is drinking, how many he’s had, and when he’ll want a refill.”

It was an odd request, but Ron had heard stranger, and a Galleon wasn’t to be sneezed at. He peered over at the wizard in question. He wasn’t a regular; in fact, he’d only checked in last night. “Curonian Triple-Distilled Brandy. That’s the same glass I poured him an hour ago. He sips it now and again, but I don’t think he’ll want a refill when he finishes it.”

“And that witch?”

“Black and Orange,” Ron said immediately, after a cursory glance. “She’s had four, and she had trouble counting out the money for the last one. She’s nearly finished, but I already told her she’s had enough.”

“And that wizard in the corner?”

“Hasn’t ordered yet,” Ron said promptly. “He’s been sitting in that corner all evening.”

“Waiting for someone? Fencing?” Kingsley asked.

Ron snorted. “Neither. He’s a novelist. Comes here every now and then to absorb the ‘character’ of the place, whatever that means. He eats here when he does, so we leave him be.” Sure enough, as if on cue, the unobtrusive little man pulled out a scrap of parchment and a bent quill and scribbled something down, feverishly, a satisfied smile on his face.

Kingsley reached into his pocket and pulled out three heavy Galleons, which he laid out in a neat line on the countertop. Ron blanched white.

“I can’t… that’s too much…” Ron gabbled. He itched to pick up the coins, though. They meant a good bit of steak for dinner, a couple of bottles of Butterbeer to wash it down with and maybe a small bar of chocolate from Honeydukes for dessert.

“Take them,” Kingsley insisted.

Ron didn’t need any more encouragement. With a stab of guilt at his transparent need, he swiped them up and tucked them in the pouch he reserved for tips. “Thank you,” he mumbled.

‘You’re welcome,” Kingsley replied with a grin.

Ron refilled Kingsley’s pint again, and caught the Galleon Kingsley tossed him for payment, neatly, with his left hand.


“Ever think of being an Auror?” Kingsley asked him, the next day.

Ron shrugged. “Doesn’t everyone? Auror, Quidditch star, big damn hero.” He tried hard to keep the bitterness out of his tone.

“Why don’t you try out, then?” Kingsley asked casually.

“Not got any NEWTs, do I?” Ron said, pouring a Firewhiskey for a goblin, deliberately not meeting Kingsley’s eyes.

“NEWTs aren’t everything,” Kingsley said. “What you did the other day; that’s a gift. It takes some Aurors years to learn to think that way.”

Ron blushed a brilliant crimson.

“Well?” Kingsley asked.

Ron shook his head.

“Why not?” Kingsley asked, looking slightly crestfallen.

“Too dangerous,” Ron said.

“Training minimises the danger of –” Kingsley began.

“I can’t afford to get injured,” Ron said in a tone that brooked no argument. “I have responsibilities.” He flipped a tap off harder than was strictly necessary. His face was stony, but Kingsley decided to push just that little bit more.

“After the first six months, the Senior Aurors recommend the divisions the trainees are best suited for. I think you’d be good out in the field, but with your observation skills, I’d be pushing for you to go into forensics.”

Ron paused, almost comically, in the act of wiping out a glass. “But I’m not clever enough.”

“You’re plenty clever enough,” Kingsley countered, “and you’d be a real asset to the Department. Forensics is a low-risk option. You only go into a scene once the field Aurors have declared it clear. Most of your work is done back at the office.”

Ron looked stricken, as though he were wrestling with indecision.

“Think about it,” Kingsley urged, before leaving Ron alone.


“Saw you at work, today,” Kingsley teased. “Changed your mind, did you?”

The tips of Ron’s ears pinked a little as he set the pint in front of Kingsley. “Might have,” he admitted.

“Who’s supervising your entry examination?” Kingsley asked, taking a deep swallow.

“Auror Campester, I think they said.”

Kingsley nodded, approvingly. “Are you nervous?”

Ron laughed. “Petrified.”

“Don’t be. He’s a good man. Fair.”

Ron caught a glimpse of Tom gesturing out of the corner of his eye. He walked the length of the bar to find out what he wanted.

“Check the levels in the back room for me, would you? There’s a good lad,” Tom said.

“Just going out back for a bit,” Ron told Kingsley, giving him a smile and a nod to let him know that they could keep talking once he returned. Kingsley’s answering smile made him blush a little, though he didn’t know why.

Ron didn’t bother lighting his wand. He knew every obstacle and bump on the floor like the back of his hand. He was in here at least once a day for some reason or another. He honed in on the barrel with the indicator charm glowing orange. He tapped the wood smartly with his wand to see the level more accurately. As he’d suspected, the spirit was getting low, but not critically so. They shouldn’t need to fast track the delivery.

Ron was humming to himself tunelessly as he reset the charm, so he didn’t hear somebody sidle up behind him with the noiseless, prowling step of a cat. A gentle caress across his lower back made him yelp, and nearly leap out of his skin.

“Sorry!” said a familiar voice. “Didn’t mean to startle you!”

That was when Ron realised he was holding one of the Ministry’s leading Aurors at wandpoint, and lowered his arm hastily, releasing an unsteady breath.

“Bloody hell! Knock something over to give me some warning, next time, would you?” Ron snapped, buzzing with defused fright.

Through the half-light, Kingsley looked sheepish. “Sorry,” he repeated.

Ron shifted uncomfortably. Kingsley was standing rather close to him. “You know, you’re not supposed to be in here,” he said, as politely as he could when his heart was still pounding erratically.

“I know,” Kingsley said, leaning down and planting a kiss on Ron’s lips.

An exclamation mark of panic shot through Ron’s brain. He stumbled backwards, and then he just stared at Kingsley in shock.

“Fuck! I thought you...and you’re not...” Kingsley trailed off.

Meanwhile, Ron was babbling. “I’m sorry! I really appreciate what you’ve done for me, I really, really do, but I don’t do that, I’m sorry.” He fumbled with his money pouch. “I don’t have it all, but here’s nine Sickles; I’ll pay the rest back, too, I promise.”

Ron held out the coins, but Kingsley didn’t reach out to take them. Instead, he looked disbelieving, and highly embarrassed.

“You thought I was trying to buy you? Like a prostitute?” Kingsley asked, his face aghast. When Ron nodded dumbly, Kingsley rubbed his face with a rough hand and swore quietly. “I’m losing my touch,” he muttered to himself.

“What?” Ron asked, completely confused.

“I was trying to pick you up,” Kingsley admitted, “but not like that. I was hoping for something a bit more... reciprocal.”

“You were trying to ask me out?” Ron asked slowly.

“That’s a rather quaint way of putting it, but essentially, yes,” Kingsley answered. “I’m sorry. I’m generally quite good at choosing people with the same tastes as myself.”

“It’s not your fault,” Ron said, irrationally feeling guilty over the whole mess. “I’m just not –”

“Gay?” Kingsley asked.

“Available,” Ron corrected.

Kingsley winced, shaking his head as if he had just realised something that should have been obvious. “I’m a fool.”

“If I was, though –” Ron began.

Kingsley waved a hand, halting Ron’s attempt to ease the situation. “Don’t worry about it, Ron. Just pour me a Firewhiskey when you finish in here, and we can talk about what you’ve got to look forward to in your entry examination.”

It was Ron’s turn to grimace, this time, and Kingsley laughed at his rueful expression.

The embarrassment between them took a while to dissipate, but by the end of the evening, it had.


The flat was cold and dark when Ron Flooed in. After the slightly stifling heat of the Leaky, it was rather like being doused in icy water, and he shivered. He peered into each room, one at a time, until reaching the bedroom and finding what he sought. The bed was piled high with blankets, and in the middle of it all, he could see the bump of someone curled up tight underneath.

Ron undressed as quickly and quietly as he could before sliding beneath the sheets and wrapping himself around the sleeping bundle.

“Y’re warm,” mumbled Harry, stirring from his slumber and nuzzling into Ron.

“You’re freezing,” said Ron in reply, rubbing Harry’s clammy skin briskly with the flat of his hands. “Why didn’t you light the fire?”

“Couldn’t find my wand,” replied Harry. “And I was too tired to go and do it by hand.”

“Why didn’t you call Kreacher to light it for you?” Ron asked, keeping his voice as level and patient as he could.

“Didn’t think of it,” Harry said, yawning hugely.

“It’s what he’s there for, love. Please try and remember, okay?”


Ron pressed his lips to Harry’s damp forehead.

After defeating Voldemort the year beforehand, Harry had fallen ill not a week later. All the initial fears of curses and magical maladies were ruled out, one by one, until nothing was left but the simplest explanation. Complete emotional, physical and magical exhaustion. His magic had returned first, initially in trickles, incidents of accidental magic, and then with increasing proficiency. It was almost back to normal, now. His physical health was taking longer. It didn’t help that Gringotts were dragging him through the courts over the break-in and resultant damage to their premises, and had frozen his assets in the mean time. Ron was sure that the stress of appearing in front of the Wizengamot time and time again was eating up the little progress Harry had made.

“Did you take your potions this evening?” he asked, finger-combing Harry’s hair back from his face. It was long again, but Harry had decided that he liked it this way, even if it did get in his eyes.

“Uh huh,” Harry confirmed. “Stayed up for about two hours, too. Listened to the Quidditch. Wimbourne won.”

Ron stopped himself from admonishing Harry for being too stubborn for his own good, and instead asked questions about the match until he heard Harry’s speech beginning to slur, then stop, and his breathing even out. Only then did he allow his own eyes to close, his own body to rest. Even if sleep was long in coming, it didn’t matter. He was home.


Author's Afterword
For the curious:

Black and Orange - I'd imagine many people would be familiar with Black and Tan, but what, pray tell, is Black and Orange?

According to Wikipedia, it is
"Stout and pumpkin ale (Also known as a "Black & Blumpkin", or a "Black-O-Blumpkin"[The Gilded Otter Brewpub in New Paltz, New York calls this mixture a Stumpkin], or a "Blackhead" (Half Guinness and half Shipyard Pumpkinhead- Portland, ME)".

From what I can see, pumpkin ale is more or less an American thing, but I figured the British Magical Population would leap at it, given their obsession with pumpkin juice.

And another thing:

Fencing - Not the sport where people dress up like beekeepers. A fence is an individual who acts as an intermediary in the transfer of stolen goods, usually between the thief and the person or shop who sells it to the public as legitimate stock. Mundungus Fletcher has worked as a fence (Ch2, OotP), but is also a thief into the bargain.

<- Take Me Somewhere {TLC}
Tags: angst, gen, leaky cauldron, pg, ron/harry, ron/kingsley
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