A/N Just a frivolous little thingI wrote for fun!
A Night In
Ron sat in front of the Muggle picture box, the television, in the dark. The flickering images lit up his face as he watched in amazement. The volume was all the way down.
He reached over and felt around at his side for the little black device Hermione had given him without tearing his eyes away from the screen. His fingers curled around something flat with raised buttons and he pressed a long number in with his thumb and put the device to his ear and waited for that shrill tweeting sound. It never came.
Ron frowned and looked down at the object and huffed as he realised that he was trying to make a phone call on the remote control. He tossed it away and grabbed up the mobile telephone. As his eyes were pulled back to the television screen he dialled the number again and waited.
Hermione was dozing off in front of the news at ten when her mobile rang, jerking her back into alertness. She grabbed it and looked at the illuminated screen. She frowned to see Ron's name flashing and sat up straight while pushing the answer button.
"Ron? It's late," she said as she stifled a yawn.
"What are you doing?" Ron said as if he hadn't really been listening to her.
"Nothing," Hermione said, growing a little annoyed now, "Ron I did tell you that the phone was for Muggle-based emergencies didn't I?"
"Are you watching telly?" Ron said, still with that distracted tone in his voice.
Hermione glanced at the end credits to the evening news.
"Well it's on," she shrugged, pointlessly.
"Put on Channel Five," Ron instructed.
Hermione was too tired for this kind of thing but she complied anyway. She had insisted that integrating Ron with Muggle life wasn't going to be a chore to her and told him that he should never feel stupid or embarrassed about asking her any questions. As the screen showed an image of a large family having some kind of celebration dinner she wondered what Ron had seen that might have confused him.
"Have you done it?" Ron asked.
"Now turn the sound right down," Ron said, he sounded as if he was shifting position as he spoke.
Hermione rolled her eyes and pressed the 'mute' button.
"What are we watching?"
"I have no idea," Ron said with awe as he stared wide eyed at the television and sat up cross-legged on the sofa, "I was watching it with the sound on and it was annoying me so I turned it down and as soon as I did it became the most fascinating thing I've ever seen!"
Hermione didn't say anything. Ron knew that meant she was pulling some kind of Ron-weary face but didn't bother trying to win her over. He knew she'd get sucked in soon enough. He stared back at the screen. Sure enough Hermione spoke up, intrigue in her voice.
"Who's that man?"
"Well there was a caption earlier but I ignored that. I've been calling him Derek," Ron said as he leaned forward and squinted at the absurd image he was now faced with in the far right hand corner of the screen.
"He does look like a Derek," Hermione was saying thoughtfully.
Ron sat back, 'Derek's' head now blocking the view of what he had been trying to get a better look at, and nodded.
"I know. He should change his name 'cause Richard doesn't suit him at all."
"Is that his name in reality then?" Hermione was saying, sounding less and less annoyed with him now.
"Yeah," Ron saw the scene changing and became very alert, "Right, this house Derek's about to go into belongs to this family who have a kid with a problem."
Ron was getting excited now. Hermione was going to get to see the thing he had seen before the commercial break and he really wanted to talk to her about it.
"Is this one of those freak show programmes Ron?" Hermione was saying, the familiar scepticism creeping back into her voice now.
"Why do you jump to that conclusion?" Ron frowned down at the phone in his hand as if Hermione was going to be able to see him in some way.
"Because it's late night Channel Five programming Ronald," she scoffed.
"Good point," Ron shrugged, "Well you can see that there's something wrong with it, I think it's ill, don't worry though this isn't like that head on a skateboard thing from last time. This is more like a terminal illness thing."
"Oh good," Hermione said with a sigh.
Did I just say 'Oh good' about a child having a terminal illness?
Hermione shook her head and blamed the late hour and the crazy best friend.
"My mum has that wallpaper," she found herself commenting aloud as the faux Derek led the camera crew through a hallway and into a tastefully decorated, well to do home.
Just as Hermione was going to ask Ron to just tell her what this show was about the camera focused upon a small boy-like figure sitting on the floor playing with building blocks. Hermione gasped and winced at the same time.
"Oh I see what you mean, there is something wrong with it isn't there?"
"You should've been watching about five minutes ago," Ron said, excitement in his voice now that she could see exactly what had caused him to reach for the phone while not being able to tear himself away from the screen, "they were shaving it."
"Shaved what? That poor child?" Hermione exclaimed.
"Yeah, they shaved it, all of it!"
She was sure she wasn't hearing this correctly.
"Hold on, do you mean they shaved its head?"
"No they shaved it bodily," Ron was saying as if he was describing a complex Quiddich manoeuvre he had just witnessed, "an all over body shaving, and they dwelled on that bit for ages. They had close ups of every angle of the shaving."
"Ugh!" she felt sorry for the little fellow having to go through humiliation by television.
"You don't normally have to shave children do you? They don't get hair until they've grown a bit. Maybe it's like a simian child," Ron was pondering aloud.
Hermione frowned down at her phone as if trying to gage Ron's expression by nothing more then his name glowing back at her. Had Ron just used the word Simian? She realised that she was giving her mobile a questioning look and huffed. Not even Ron would look at a lump of emotionless microchips and plastic to gauge a reaction.
"Might have been bought up by wolves in the forest," Ron was speculating as she put the phone back to her ear.
"You're thinking of the Jungle Book."
"And I don't recall Mogli being all that hairy was he?" Hermione said as she leaned in closer to the screen to get a closer look at the strange looking child.
"Could it be that this kid isn't human?" Ron was saying, sounding as if he was straining his neck at an odd angle while he spoke, "Could it be that they've shaved a chimp?"
Hermione huffed and sat back again.
"Oh Ron, really, this poor...thing has clearly suffered some awful...thing and it...he doesn't need comments like that."
"He can't hear me," Ron said with annoyance, "I told you, I turned the sound down!"
Hermione stern face melted into a warm smile. It was moments like this that made it impossible to be angry with him. He was the sweetest and most naive person she had ever known while also being the cruellest and most unforgiving at times.
Ron was on his knees before the television screen peering into the electrical pensive type thing.
"The face isn't right...and the ears."
Hermione sounded as if she was getting up as she began her familiar rant against the commercial channels.
"I don't know, I've been seeing a lot more documentaries these days about so-called monkey-people on this so-called channel. You really can't take everything you see on television seriously Ron."
The door to the living room opened and Hermione walked in. Ron moved back to the sofa and Hermione sat down beside him. They both hung up their phones.
"You never know though Hermione," Ron was saying as he pointed back at the screen, "this could be the work of dark wizards Muggle-baiting couldn't it?"
Hermione tutted and snuggled into Ron's side as they both leaned back against the cushions behind them.
"Believe me Ron, Muggles do enough to bait each other with hoaxes like these, the dark wizards need not waste their time," she shook her head ruefully.
"Well what about that time Hagrid put a tail on Harry's cousin?" Ron said as he draped his arm around Hermione's shoulders, still neither of them tore their eyes away from the TV screen, "This kid had a tail but they docked it like those freaky Muggles do to their dogs."
"Not all Muggles support tail docking and it's not done to all dogs anyway," Hermione began to give Ron another lesson on the stupid things some Muggles do simply because that's the way they've always done things.
"But I'm saying that this kid...chimp...thing had a tail when it was born. They showed an old film of him when he was a baby and he was wagging it!"
"Oh really Ron, are you sure this programme isn't a spoof?"
"It's for real," Ron protested while pointing at the screen as if the evidence of the mystical box couldn't possibly lie, "and I reckon it's a normal Muggle kid that got hexed by some git of a dark wizard. It gave him a body full of hair and a tail and a monkey face and ears."
"Ronald, listen to yourself," Hermione found that she was laughing despite herself, "If that had happened don't you think the magical reversal people would have fixed it by now? They certainly wouldn't have allowed it to be shown on television!"
"Well how else do you explain that?" Ron gestured at the boy's image as it filled the screen, "Are you telling me that's happened naturally, that it's devolution or something?"
Ron finally broke his gaze from the screen to look down at Hermione for her rebuttal. Hermione was also drawn away from the screen to gaze back at Ron with amazement.
"Devolution?" she whispered breathily, "Ron that's the second time you've used a word you've never used before. Where are you getting this stuff?"
Ron shrugged while pointing casually back towards the TV set. Hermione could feel his skin burning with the blush that was creeping over him suddenly.
"That Derek bloke was talking for a bit before I turned the sound down. I told you it was annoying me."
Hermione smiled to herself; maybe these trashy documentaries weren't so bad after all if they broadened Ron's vocabulary by osmosis.
"What?" Ron said, his body tensing defensively.
"Nothing," Hermione said as she settled her head back into the crook of his shoulder and snuggled right into his side for warmth...and for other reasons, "I just think it's kind of funny how you phone me rather then just coming into my bedroom and talking to me there."
"Yeah well," Ron swallowed, "I didn't know if you were awake."
"And phoning me gave me the option not to be did it?"
Ron sniggered and she poked him in the ribs.
"Well I thought it was worth telling you about," he shrugged, "and I wanted to know if you thought it was magically done or a natural thing."
"I'm not cross with you," she said as she saw that the programme had ended now, "I just wish you didn't always drag me out of bed for monkey-people that's all. It's not as if it's even a real monkey-man documentary every time is it? Remember last time, when you got all excited and made me switch on BBC Two, and it turned out to be a biography of Robin Williams?"
Hermione's body was shaking with laughter as she spoke and Ron seemed to be trying not to break himself, choosing instead to go with indignant defensiveness despite the grin on his face.
"Well no normal person has any right to be that hairy!" he declared.
Hermione chuckled and looked into Ron's TV-strained eyes.
"If you didn't want me to call you then why don't you turn your phone off when you go to bed?" he asked, his voice tired and low.
"Because I like it when you call me."
The television was turned off, the phones were turned off, and Ron and Hermione got up from the sofa definitely not turned off.