A day in the life of Ron, the Muggle.
"Honestly Ron. You should have taken Muggle studies. I mean, you know nothing about them!"
"And why should I? I'm a wizard!"
"Ronald Bilius Weasley!" Hermione stamped her feet in frustration, "If you want our relationship to be succesfull, you MUST learn about MY world, where I come from…where Harry comes from, for that matter. If you care about us, you will do that!"
She stamped off in a huff, leaving a perplexed Ron behind. He looked at Harry.
"I don't get it. I AM interested in her world," he said. Harry snorted.
"Ron, you never even bothered to find out how to pronounce, let alone use a telephone, not fellytone, and you still think muggle Aurors are polite because you believe they are called 'please-men'. No, you do not know our world."
Ron pouted. "So what do I do?"
Harry grabbed his trunk, sighing. "I don't know, Ron. Do what Hermione does: read a few books. Just…don't forget to write me while I'm at the Dursleys."
"'Course not, mate," Ron assured him, "I'll write every day."
"Thanks, Ron. Glad it's gonna be the last time."
"Cheer up, mate. At least Dumbledore got you special permission to be allowed to use magic a month early. Just turn that cousin of yours in a cute little piglet if he annoys you."
During the trainride to London, Hermione lectured Ron endlessly on the virtues of the muggle world.
"…there are libraries and bookstores in the muggle world as well, Ron, you could go there and get some…"
"I don't have money, let alone muggle money," Ron said morosely.
Harry sighed. "Ron…ok. Let's make a deal. I will inform Gringotts that you are allowed to make one withdrawal from my vault for whatever amount you need to get properly acquainted with the muggle world this summer. If you wish you can pay me back after we graduate and get jobs, or I'll just stop giving you birthday and Christmas presents for a while."
Ron hesitated, but a very pointy look from Hermione made him nod.
"Very well, I'll get some books and maybe visit a muggle town."
Walking through the bookshops in muggle London, Ron sighed.
"This is worse then the library at Hogwarts," he thought. Fortunately, a salesperson approached him.
"Can I help you, young man?" the woman asked friendly.
"Well, yes, I think so," Ron replied, "A friend of mine told me I should read more books on…" he stopped.
"On what, dear?" the woman asked.
Ron thought for a second. Hermione hadn't specified anything. Though he remembered her mentioning…
The voice of Hermione rang through his head.
"…and there are many famous muggle classics, too, Ron, people who have written on philosophy, principles that apply to both our worlds! You should look for the similarities, not the differences. Plato applies to both worlds, you know!"
"She said I should read some classics," Ron said with what he hoped was a confident air, "she said I would enjoy Plato."
The woman appeared slightly surprised, but she nodded.
"Very well, dear. Our classics shelves are this way. I'm afraid we sold our last copy of Plato earlier, but I've ordered more. If you want, you could come back next week…"
"Thank you," Ron said, "Maybe I will. I'd still like to browse, though, see if there's anything else I might like to read."
"Of course, dear. Take your time. I'll be over by the counter if you need anything."
Ron checked the cash he had exchanged at Gringotts earlier. He hadn't withdrawn anything from Harry's vault yet, not liking the feeling of borrowing from his friend, but his parents had been quite pleased with his grades this term and had given him some pocket money for the summer. He looked at the prices of the books and discovered they were less expensive then he had feared.
He scanned the titles. "The Prince," he snorted, "Sounds like something Snape would read."
He tried very hard to pronounce the name of the author.
"Mach…Mac…Machiavelli. Hmm…Hermione would be impressed by the name alone," he thought, pleased. He decided this would be a good one to start with. This must be one of those paperbacks Hermione kept talking about when she got tired of carrying the heavy spellbooks around. It didn't weigh much at all. Maybe that's why it was so much cheaper.
He went to the woman and paid for the book.
"It's a very good book, dear," the woman said, "you'll enjoy it, I'm sure."
Two days later Ron sat on his bed, having just finished his new book. He had started out with little expectations, then read on with mouth open wide, and finally he became extremely thoughtful. Hermione would have been proud.
"These muggles write books on how to rule the world!" he thought, amazed. "Why? I mean…without magic? Imagine what you could do with a book like this AND magic…"
Arthur Weasley was a muggle enthusiast, but the poor man was still dreadfully uninformed. This proved to be his downfall when his youngest son approached him in the second week of the holidays.
"Can I ask you something?"
Arthur looked up. "Does your mother agree?"
"Possibly not, Dad, that's why I need your help. See, Hermione and Harry got me interested in Muggles."
Arthur beamed happily. "That is great, son."
Ron blushed. "Well…yeah. Hermione recommended I buy a muggle book and I did, last week, but now I thought…you know, now that I'm of age, I wondered…I'd like to spend a few weeks this summer travelling in the Muggle world, Dad, to get to know that world. Harry and Hermione were right when they said that as my best friends, I should be interested in where they are coming from."
Arthur nearly exploded with pride. "I'm so glad to hear you say that, son. I'll talk to your mother, don't worry. But where do you want to go? We may not have the money to get you very far…"
Ron blushed fiercely. "Well, you see, Harry offered to lend me some money for this..project. I'm going to pay it back to him by working for Fred and George during the Christmas holidays."
Arthur nodded. "Normally I wouldn't approve, but as it's only for a few months and for a good cause…I think I can talk your mother into this."
"Let's see," Ron said, "the first steps on my way to greatness. Nick says it's easier if you go somewhere where people speak the same language. England wouldn't do, I don't want You Know Who on my back. So that leaves…Australia? New Zealand? Naaaah…somehow I don't think that would do. Unless I want to start ruling sheep, of course. Aberforth Dumbledore might like it there…that leaves the United States."
He searched the map. "It's a bit big to begin with. Maybe just one state. Hey, there seems to be a small country inside the USA. Maybe I can start there."
Smiling to himself, he started packing his bag, careful to put his book safely in there, and sat down to write letters to Harry and Hermione.
The phone rang in the Dursley House.
"Harry! It's for you!" Dudley yelled, afraid to call his cousin names now that he could use magic legally.
"Thanks Dudders." Harry took the horn. "Hermione?"
"Oh Harry, you're not going to believe this!"
"You got a letter from Ron too?" Harry snickered.
"YES! I can't believe it! I don't know if I should be angry or happy. Did you really let him borrow money for THIS?"
"Well, he IS trying to do what you wanted," Harry chuckled, "And maybe it's a good place to start, you know, in between. If he does accidentally do magic in front of Muggles, no one will notice there."
"Yes, but Harry! It's not exactly representative for Muggle society!"
"I don't know. If he wants to meet Muggles in a nice relaxed atmosphere, that's not such a bad place to start. We should at least be glad he's trying…even if it is in Disney Land!"
Ron sat down his suitcase. His father had arranged for a Portkey to Florida, and he had arrived safely at the country of his destination, Disney Land. So this would be his future empire. He looked out of his hotel room and nodded contently.
Not too big, not too small, speaking the same language…he should really find out about the nobility that resided there, he decided, rereading the chapter on how to deal with them.
"Let's see…should I get rid of them…I'm not going to kill them, but that's probably just old fashioned. It's an old book after all. Well, it seems to depend on how the population sees them and how much threat they are to me personally. And I should take up residence here permanently, but after I established dominance, that shouldn't be a problem."
A knock on the door disturbed his strategical planning for the overtaking of Disney Land. He opened the door and found a young man, of about Charlie's age, in uniform.
"Hello Sir, we hope your stay here will be pleasant. I have brought you your free pass to enter the park, and some folders for you to read."
"Ah," Ron said, "Thank you very much. I'm sorry, this is my first time here," he admitted, "so I don't really know what to expect."
"Well," the young man said, "You will probably enjoy the park a great deal. Of course, my little sister adores the princes and princesses, but hey, that's kids for ya."
"You have many princes and princesses here?" Ron asked innocently.
"Well yes, quite a few. All are very nice though."
"So everyone likes them?"
"Basically, yes. Boys of course pretend to dislike them, but I know I thought them very pretty even though I demolished my sisters posters of them."
"Ah, yes," Ron said, remembering he had to pretend to be a Muggle for now, "I did that too with my kid sister. Then again, SHE destroyed my Qui…soccer posters."
The boy laughed. "That sounds familiar. Anyway, I better get going. Have fun!"
For some inexplicable reason, however, he stuck around a bit. Ron quirked an eyebrow at him.
"Erm…am I suppose to say or do anything?" he asked.
"Oh sorry," the boy said, "I forgot it's your first time. See, the custom is to tip your waiter, you know, give me some money for the stuff I get you and all."
"Aha," Ron thought, "bribes." He pulled a dollar from his pocket and handed it to the boy.
"Thanks," he said, "if you need anything, pick up the phone and ask for Jay."
"Will do, thanks mate," Ron said, closing the door and picking up the folders. It was time to study the nobility of this place.
To his surprise, Hermione was right. Muggles weren't that different from Wizards. The pictures of the princes and princesses he saw suggested that at some point, wizard clothing had influenced Muggle fashion, and although he KNEW they couldn't do magic, they sure managed to imitate it fairly accurately. That would make things easier; he had been right in coming here. This place could benefit from his experience.
"Hermione will be so happy with me," he chuckled, "I'm learning loads! Who knew Muggles could be so much fun."
"It is much better to have an army of your own people instead of mercenaries or 'borrowed' soldiers from friends…now that is a problem. I don't have soldiers of my own. The book doesn't really say how to proceed if you do this for the first time; it assumes I already have a country and army. Maybe I have to be creative with it and gather an army from the local population. A coup. Yes."
So the next day, Ron went out and demonstrated his magic to the population of Disney Land. Adults and children alike were suitably impressed, and when he encouraged them to follow him to take over, a few hundred eager children, accompanied by their indulging parents, followed him. He then used his wand to seal the gates.
"Ok. Here's the deal. You are now my army, and together we are going to take over Disney Land."
The children cheered, and Ron was heartened. His plan was working so well!
Meanwhile, back in England, Harry had left the Dursleys after the Auror guard had witnessed Vernon Dursley attacking him with the garden hose for missing a spot on his car which Harry had been washing. Dumbledore had finally given in to the pressure the entire Order and specifically Molly Weasley had put on him to take Harry to a safe place. Hermione, being high on Voldemorts hit list and having muggle parents as well, had also been collected. The two of them were staying with the Weasleys at Hogwarts.
Arthur Weasley had taken Harry from the Dursleys together with Hermione, and thanked him for lending Ron the money.
"He will repay you, of course, Molly and I insist on that, but I'm glad you two stimulated him to get some insights into muggle society."
Harry and Hermione glanced at each other, holding back an amused and an annoyed smirk respectively.
Ron sighed. He had his army. He had closed the borders to Disney Land so no other army could steal it away from him. He had…lots of crying children on his hands?
It was now past closing time and the children were getting restless. The adults were downright angry.
Ron's army was defending the 20 or so gates and the trainstations, and had brought everything that Ron considered 'nobility' (though he had had his doubts about the HUGE mouse Animagus) to the Castle.
Now many angry parents were demanding he opened the gates and let them out.
He consulted Machiavelli. "Ok…so if I need to do unpopular things I have to do it all at once. And then I have to do nice things regularly for a long time to make them forgot. Ok…that makes sense."
He turned to the parents. "I'm sure you understand," he said, "you are Muggles after all, so this must happen to you frequently. I bet by the time you're my age you had already been conquered a dozen times, right?"
They stared at him blankly.
"Sorry," Ron said, followed by "STUPIFY! STUPIFY! STUPIFY!" as he stunned the perplex adults.
This however, did not tone down the children's crying. "Hush," Ron said, "You are citizens of Disney Land now. That means you can rule it. Well, I am the ultimate ruler but essentially you can do what you like."
"But…but Mommy and Daddy?" a small girl asked.
"They'll wake up soon enough," Ron assured her, "they are just out a little while. We'll put them in the trains, and I'm sure they'll come round to our way of thinking soon."
The children cheered, and went on to the Town Square to devour every bit of popcorn they could find.
Ron leaned back in contentment. His first day as a Muggle had gone very well. He wondered why not more Wizards did this.
The next day, Harry got up early to fly on his broom, a luxury he didn't often get during the holidays. He went to grab some toast just as his Daily Prophet came in. He took one look at the main article and yelled for Hermione.
"HEEEEEERMIONEEEEEEE! Get down here quickly!"
The young witch flew down the stairs and promptly had the paper pushed in her hands. She looked at it and paled.
Merlin, no, the brainless, clueless, idiotic….."
Harry nodded. "What are we gonna do? Their Ministry of Magic will soon storm in there and arrest him."
Hermione bit her lip. "We have to tell someone…Dumbledore, I think. If we tell Mrs Weasley…"
They looked at each other and shivered.
Rushing up to the headmaster's office they blurted out the password to the statue and entered. Dumbledore was already up as well, answering his mail.
"Harry? Hermione? What brings you here this early?"
Harry looked at Hermione, who launched into the tale.
The children had partied all night, but Ron had to lock the adults in the trains to keep them quiet. They were most uncooperative and had not yet accepted the fact of his conquest. The local nobility hadn't taken the news very well either and they were still in the castle. Ron did have his guards bring them food, though. He spent most of the morning reading his book on how to proceed now.
It was nearly noon when he became aware of magic. Lots and lots of it. Directed at his spells at the gate.
He wondered why; it wasn't a wise thing to do, the Muggles might notice.
As he approached the gate where the magic was strongest, he saw Dumbledore, Harry and Hermione, along with a large number of the AA (American Aurors).
"Harry? Hermione? What are you doing here, did you want to live as Muggles too?" Ron asked, confused.
Dumbledore looked stern, without his usual twinkle. "Mr Weasley, if you would open the gate and release your hostages, we will discuss this further."
Ron's eyes opened wide. "But…I don't understand. I was just doing what Hermione told me to do."
All eyes turned to the witch, who went bright red. "RONALD BILIUS WEASLEY! WHEN DID I TELL YOU TO RUN OFF AND TAKE DISNEY LAND HOSTAGE!"
Ron held out his book. "You told me to read Muggle classics because they could teach me about Muggle society, and the woman in the shop told me this was a very good one," he said, handing the by now wellread copy of Machiavelli to Dumbledore through the gates.
"So I've been following the instructions in it. I thought this is what Muggles do all the time!"
The headmaster looked at the book and a very faint twinkle returned. Harry and Hermione groaned.
"Ron, you prat," Harry said, "You should have shown us what you were going to do first, we would have told you this is not the normal way for a Muggle to behave! And why on earth Disney Land?"
Ron shrugged. "It seemed the right size."
By now the American Minister of Magic, much less incompetent then his British counterpart, caught on and started to sob. "A whole day's worth of visitors to Disneyland to Obliviate…setting up a cover up story for the Muggle newspaper…sending a letter of apology to the President…" he bashed his head softly but deliberately at the gates.
Dumbledore patted his shoulder. "There, there. I will take care of this young man, Minister, and make sure nothing like this EVER happens again," he uncharacteristically glared at Ron, "First thing we are going to do, is tell your parents."
Ron nearly wetted himself on the spot.
It took hours for the Aurors to modify everyone's memories. Days before Disney Land was running normally again. And weeks and weeks before Mrs Weasley could again talk to Ron in a voice that did NOT sound like a permanent Howler.
Harry and Hermione shot daggers at Ron for the remainders of the holidays whenever they saw him, but decided to forgive him after they had seen Mrs Weasley talk to him a few times. Ron served detentions for the rest of that holiday with Argus Filch.
Dumbledore added to that a mandatory course of Muggle Studies above his normal workload for that year.
Ron threw out his copy of Machiavelli. Hermione however felt that no book should be thrown away, and that it wasn't the books fault that Ron was such an idiot (as she put it mildly).
Fred and George were in hysterics for three days after hearing their youngest brother's exploits, and as a reward, decided to give Harry back the money Ron borrowed, saying they wouldn't let him live it down in decades to come.
And Mr Weasley, after regaining his speech only two weeks later, promised his wife never to let one of his sons go on a holiday by themselves EVER AGAIN!