Upside down Felllytoning
There was a piece of paper, written in eight different languages, in tiny writing. There was also a piece of paper that was square and yellow and had something sticky on the top, along the back of it, that Harry had stuck on his head while he was sleeping. He really hoped that the reason there was sticky stuff on the back wasn't from something Harry did in his bed.
Harry's sheets are terrifying…and Ron had grown up with Percy.
He never thought he'd meet a bigger wanker than Percy, then Harry discovered masturbation.
The suspiciously sticky yellow note he had peeled off his forehead had a very long number written on it.
"And he made a fuss about Floo-calling," Ron muttered as he tried to work out how that number could possibly make sense to anybody.
Harry said there were billions of numbers and he knew that this one was the right one. How did he know that? Was it in code? Is this a Muggle language? Did it spell a funny word when you typed it into one of his dad's solar powered calculator machine and turn it upside down?
Ron gathered the papers that spread all over his bed covers and arranged them on the floor. He then lay on his back and flopped his head back, off the mattress, and tried to read them. He huffed and got up to turn then all around the other way, then tried again.
He looked at the paper that had clocks and times written all over it, then glanced at his watch. He squinted and then frowned before sitting up and looking at his watch more closely. For some reason he wasn't able to tell the time upside down, even when the watch was being upside down too.
Did watches not work upside down?
Was that why the referees for all the Cannons matches that season had given so much extra time to the opposition for time outs and injuries every time the Cannons had started to pull together a string of decent passes?
Or was the ref just crooked?
Nobody was fair to the Cannons, the referee's a wanker.
He looked at his watch again, then lay back across the bed and looked down at the paper.
"At eight in the morning it's five in the evening…so that means," Ron counted backwards on his fingers, "seven, six, five, four, three in the morning is noon…so three in the afternoon is midnight."
Ron fumbled around for the little black rectangle of heavy plastic and then pushed lots of buttons until it lit up and made him jump.
"Shit, what's that about? Enter PIN?"
Ron scanned his papers and then rolled over onto his front to look at them properly, with a clear and not bright red head. Then he looked at the glowing black rectangle and turned it over in his hands.
Harry hadn't told him anything about a pin.
"Oh for fuck's sake!" Ron huffed and rolled off the bed.
He ran down the stairs and wobbled into the living room, where his mother was knitting. She immediately looked concerned.
"Ronnie dear, are you feeling all right?"
Ron stood still for a moment and then shook his head clear.
"All the blood's rushing out of my head," he said, in a daze.
His mother's face brightened.
"Oh! How did it go?"
"I haven't done it yet, I need a pin."
"A pin?" She looked confused.
"The mow bile doesn't work, it has to have a pin in it. Have you still got that hedgehog pin cushion?"
"Of course," she said with a fond smile. Ron had made it or her for mother's day when he was four years old and she'd used it ever since. "Here."
Ron took a pin and thanked her, before bounding back up the stairs, all the way to the top of the house and his bedroom.
He picked up the mow bile and looked for a place to stick the pin. There was a hole but it was far bigger than the needle. He tried it anyway. Nothing happened.
"Fucking 'ell!" Ron whined and threw himself across the bed to grab for the paper that told him how the mow bile worked.
"Enter PIN when prompted, then press the green button. Ah!"
Ron shoved the pin into the hole at the bottom of the mow bile and then pressed the green button. Nothing happened. That was a lie. The words 'Enter PIN' appeared in the glowing area again.
"I bloody well have!" Ron withdrew and re entered the pin before looking at it to see if it was a faulty pin.
"Ron," Harry's voice was panting, as if he'd just run up the stairs, "your mum said you hadn't phoned yet. It's gonna be gone midnight now!"
Harry pushed open the door to Ron's room to find him stabbing the mow bile all over with a metal pin.
"What's this? Phone voodoo?"
"You didn't say anything about a fucking pin!" Ron exclaimed in exasperation.
"Oh," Harry looked as if he was part amused and partly scared of the wrath of separated love birds.
The love birds Ron's had to put up with are vicious angry things that can claw your face off. Thankfully Harry had never had them directed at him…yet.
"It's another number, you're supposed to type it in, they must tell you what it is in the instructions booklet." Harry started flipping through the tiny words in many languages.
"Another fucking number? How many numbers do I need?" Ron was raising his voice now. "I could have set up a Floo easier. I could have flown by broom quicker. I could have Disapparated the nineteen times required faster tha-"
"You wouldn't have had any body parts left if you'd done that," Harry snorted.
"Your brilliant idea!" Ron snapped at him, waving more papers, a mow bile and a pin in his face. "Easy fucking peasy, you said. A sodding idiot could do it, you said!"
"Calm down mate, I'll sort it and all you need to do is hold the phone and talk."
"She'll know," Ron said, grumpily, slapping his hand to his left cheek and propping his head up as he slumped over. "She'll know I couldn't do it. She'll be able to tell."
"She's not psychic, she won't know."
"She's Ron psychic, she knows when I cheat. She knows when I fail. She knows when I lie…"
"She had to learn things about your world, you didn't judge her did you?" Harry huffed and pushed the instructions into Ron's hand. "There, on that page it says the default PIN is 5555."
"That's means nothing to me!" Ron groaned.
"You put the number 5555 into the phone when it asks for the PIN, that's the PIN number to unlock it."
Ron looked and felt as if he was about to cry. He hated being so frustrated. He hated being thwarted by Muggle technology even more.
"This phone needs you to put 5555 into the number button bit, here, and it does an unlocking charm, only the Muggle way. This is what they do without magic."
Ron pulled himself together and swallowed, giving Harry a nod and then jabbing at the phone with his finger until it glowed again. He pushed the number 5 four times and then glanced at Harry. Harry opened his mouth to help when Ron remembered that he was supposed to push a green button too, so he did.
The phone made a noise and then displayed every word in the Muggle language at once.
Well, not every word, but a lot of them.
"Oh, I give up, you do it," Ron said, throwing the phone into Harry's lap.
It struck Harry a little unkindly and Ron paled and cringed.
"Ron," Harry squeaked, eyes watering, "you have it all written down. You practiced. We just forgot to cover PIN numbers, that's all. You can do it."
He watched Harry as he shuffled, cupping his bollocks, out of the room. He could hear him swearing under his breath. Ron kicked the bedroom door closed, looked at the mow bile, and then sprawled across the bed, on his back. He dropped his head back over the side and read the stupidly long number from the yellow square of sticky paper.
The mow bile made noises every time he pushed a number. Finally he looked back at the handwritten prompt sheet and then back at the phone to push the green button again. More noises emanated from the tiny holes at the top of the black rectangle. He put it to his ear like Harry had done when he was showing him what to do and the noises were louder.
Ron tried to work out if the noises meant he'd done something wrong or right. It sounded different to the noises he'd listened to when he had practiced on Seamus and Dean at their Muggle houses.
"You're late," a familiar voice stopped the noises and made him jump.
There was silence, then he heard laughter and gripped the phone tighter.
"This is the first word I get from you? Typical."
"Can you hear me?" Ron said, remembering not to shout like he did last time he'd used a phone.
The mow bile was quiet again and Ron concentrated hard and pressed the mow bile right against the side of his head.
"Yes, very much so," Hermione said, giggling.
"Why do you keep being so quiet? Are you pissed off with me? I was ready at the right time but then I didn't know the Muggle 'Alohomora' an-"
"I'm not bei-" She began and then suddenly stopped.
"I'm not…Muggle 'Alohomora'?"
She was quiet again, Ron was baffled.
They spoke at the same time and stopped at the same time.
"Okay, I'm just going to talk so this doesn't go on forever," Hermione huffed. "An England to Australia connection has a delay and I might take a couple of seconds before I reply and my reply bounces back off the satellite and come through to you."
Ron slumped into the mattress and heaved a weary sigh.
"You and Harry speak a different language to me. I don't get any of this at all."
There was a pause, longer than the previous ones, and then Hermione's voice was back. She was speaking softer than before.
"Muggle ways of doing things without magic aren't a different language. We're not trying to leave you out. Please don't think like that…again."
"No, I don't, I'm not," Ron babbled, "I'm not feeling like you and Harry… Not that crap again, but…"
He waited. She waited. They both didn't want to speak in case the other just had. Then Hermione lost patience.
"Can we just start this phone call from scra-"
"I feel a bit stupi-"
Ron had spoken at the same time and stopped talking as they heard the other start. After another brief pause they both laughed, resigned to this not going how they planned.
"So," Ron started, "I'm talking to you upside down."
A short wait.
"I suppose I am upside down, yes."
"No, I mean me, I'm upside down too. I'm being upside down with you so we're sort of together."
Silence again, followed by a meeping sound.
Ron frowned and looked at his mow bile, then shook it.
"I think something's wrong with my phone," he said as he pushed it back to the side of his head.
"I can hear you perfectly," Hermione said, sounding as if she had suddenly developed a cold.
"Have you got the sniffles?" Ron asked, before realising that she was probably crying. "Oh."
"The blood will rush to your head," she finally said.
"It already did, I nearly fell over," he said with a chuckle.
"I miss you."
"You…You got your mum and dad now, though, right?"
"Yes, and it's wonderful…but it's not stopping me missing you."
"Don't get soppy," Ron said, "you don't do that."
A longer silence.
"I do… when you're involved."
Ron was pained by this confession.
A shorter pause.
"Don't appolo… Oh, there you go. I knew you'd do that. It's not a bad thing. I just know what my life is like with you not in it and I know what my life is like with you there as my best friend. Now I know what my life is like with you as my…my… You being mine now."
Ron laughed and then bit his lip.
"I'm being yours?"
"Yeah. I'm being yours. It wasn't a question."
"Your voice went up at the end, that's a tonal inflection to indicate a question being asked."
"Oh fuck I miss you!" Ron blurted, then clamped his hand over his mouth.
After a short moment of silence he could hear her laughter.
"We're coming back soon. I'll see you as soon as I get back."
"I can…I want to meet you at the hair port. Harry's going to teach me what normal people do at hair ports and where to be and what to do and then I'll be and do and all that stuff."
Dead air and then a sigh.
"Ron, I never want you to be like normal people. Normal people are dull and bland, and commonplace. I want to be met at the airport by my extraordinary… person who's mine."
Ron's head was spinning, or maybe the room was, and he had to roll over and abandon his upside down plan. He immediately felt as if he was going to fall, despite lying on his stomach and falling not being possible.
"I can be your boyfriend if you like, rather than a person who's yours."
He saw black spots and shook his head to try to clear them.
"If you want to be my boyfriend instead of my person who is mine, that's fine. I'd like that."
"Can I be both?"
The room stopped spinning.
"I think that would be best," Hermione said with a smile in her voice.
"I think I've got my head on straight at last," Ron said as he recovered from being upside down for too long.
"Me too," Hermione said.
"And it must be worse for you because you've been upside down for weeks now!"
There was a pause, and a laugh, and then a longer laugh.
"Oh, I need to be back now!" She groaned with a chuckle.
"Yeah, you do. Nobody should be in Australia for too long. Not even the people that live there."
The silent delays seemed to be shorter now.
"I'll tell them," Hermione said, before sighing. "Ron?"
"You see, you knew that was a question because of the tone of my voice going up."
"I just thought you were doing the accent," Ron teased. "G'day cobber, when's my Sheila commin' home to Pommieland, sport?"
His laughter was joined by hers, it sounded like a laugh that she had needed to have for quite some time.
"So, Ron," she began, pausing for long enough for Ron to think he was expected to talk.
"Is that a test? That one wasn't a question."
"Correct, but this one is." Hermione paused again, but Ron waited, patiently. "Can I be your girlfriend and person who belongs to you?"
Ron sat up on his elbows and swallowed.
He held his breath for a moment and then smiled.
"Suddenly I feel dizzy," Hermione said.
"Well, you are upside down."
"That's not the reason."