That day marked the day Tom was sure that muggle machines hated him as much as he hated them. He had returned home from work late. The load of paperwork still blank on his desk was ridiculous, but he'd get through it eventually.
"Sebastian," Tom said, calling for his house-elf as he hung his cloak up and slipped his shoes off by the floo. He walked forward expectantly towards the dining room. "Skippy," He said this time using the infernal nickname that Harry had given the elf under Tom's nose. On the dining room table there was a note addressed to him.
My dearest husband who loves me and does not take his anger out on me,
'What did Harry do this time?' Tom thought in exasperation.
Sebastian's mother -- such lovely house-elf -- has fallen ill. I told Skippy to take a few days to tend to her. I made dinner, but you were late. You could have called, you know. What do you use that two-way mirror for if not to call people? Er. Anyway, your plate is in the mircrowave. You just have to warm it up. I warn against using magic. Magic tastes gross.
Love your one and only whom you are not upset with and will not yell at,
Tom groaned. Partially because Harry was under the impression that Tom didn't know that magic was a disgusting taste. He had gotten along several decades without him or a house-elf as a single man. He knew how to prepare food. Yeesh. The other part was because Harry expected him to use that pointless muggle machine.Couldn't he just warm it up on the stove?
Tom decided to give it a try. It didn't look particularly difficult. Surely if Harry could manage to use it -- as much as he cared for the boy, he wasn't the brightest person -- then Tom would do just fine.
Tom finally located the small white box with shiny buttons. He prodded around inside curiously before hitting the button that said "meal". There was a soft buzzing and then the plate began spinning around. Tom tapped his fingers against the counter top. Then there was a pop and a flash of light. Tom had his wand in hand before the second spark. Suddenly the entire box was filled with this white light and was shaking violently. He pushed the stop button just as the glass front shattered. The shards got launched in his hand, and he hissed and glared at the contraption.
"What in the world are you doing to the poor machine!" Harry looked disheveled with sleep. He was in green pajama pants that hung low on his hips and his hair stuck up every which way more than usual. His eyes were barely open, but he still looked severely confused.
“It tried to attack me!” Tom said defensively. Harry snorted and ran a hand through his hair. He walked up to the microwave and opened it. He looked inside before grabbing the rag from the sink. He returned and with the rag he picked up a deformed chuck of metal.
“You dropped your cufflink,” Harry sighed tiredly.
“And?” Tom inquired, his eyebrows knitting together.
“Microwave and metal make big boom,” Harry muttered tiredly. He grabbed his cell phone off the counter and tossed it to his lover. “Order a pizza or something. I’m going back to bed.”
Tom studied the slim, square-ish phone with curiosity. He had seen telephones before of course but none like this.
“There’s no cord,” He pointed out.
Harry stared at Tom for a moment before groaning and storming over to Tom. Tom held the phone out of reach.
“I can figure it out,” Tom said indignantly. “I’m not stupid.”
“Just give me the damn phone,” Harry scowled impatiently.
“No. I want to figure it out. So it doesn’t need a cord. Does it run on magic?” Tom questioned with wide eyes.
“Yes, Tom. Muggles can now harness magic, but instead of curing diseases they’ve found out a way to charge people 10 cents a minute for a phone call.” Harry rolled his eyes.
Tom scowled and huffed. He began pecking at buttons and then suddenly there was a loud alarm sound. Tom’s eyes narrowed and he hit more buttons.
“Har-har, Potter. I see what you did. Do I look like a fool? There’s not even a rotary dial on this thing,” Tom looked extremely offended.
“A rotary what?” Harry looked at him puzzled before cracking a smile. He threw his head back and began laughing. “When was the last time you used a telephone!”
“Nineteen forty-something,” Tom responded not seeing how that was relevant. Harry smiled with amusement and walked over to his lover.
“Let me see the phone, please,” Harry said, trying to hide his amusement. Tom frowned. He didn’t like not knowing something. Especially something Harry seemed to know so well. Reluctantly, he handed the phone over to Harry. Harry pressed the numbers quickly and held the phone up to Tom’s ear. To his surprise, it was ringing.
“This is not muggle-made!” Tom declared just as the pizza joint answer.
“Huh?” The woman’s voice said. “Excuse me?”
Tom grabbed the phone and hit the button that said end. He stared at the device with confusion and wonder. “Only magic could do this.”
“Sure, love. You have fun with that,” Harry chuckled and left to go back to bed. For thirty minutes Tom continued to stare at the phone. Finally he called the operator and got ahold of Severus. Severus answered groggily.
“Potter? What do you want?” He snapped.
“I want to know why you know Harry’s number for one,” Tom spoke calmly, but he was obviously perplexed. “Nevermind that for the moment. Severus, I need you to explain this muggle magic. How does it work? How are we talking right now?” The way Tom spoke: it was as if this was of crucial importance.
“Batteries and air waves, my lord,” Severus explained slowly.
“It cannot be. Since when are batteries this small?” Tom inquired.
“It is rather late, my lord…” Severus sounded impatient and tired.
“Answer me!” Tom ordered.
“The 1970s,” Severus said like he was talking to a student. “Well, for cell phones more so in the 1980s. Can Pot- Harry not explain this to you?”
“Severus, are you suggesting I allow Harry to know that I do not know everything?” Tom sounded disgusted. Severus thought he sounded a bit like a teenage girl. “Harry must never know about this. If he finds out, I shall make an example of you that Lord Voldemort is still as merciless as ever.”
“Of course, my lord,” Severus acquiesced.
Tom hung up without a goodbye as an idea occurred to him.
When Harry woke for the second time that night at 2:00 AM, Tom was sitting at the kitchen table with a toolbox and electronics bits spread out across the table. He was prodding and poking and playing with different cords.
Harry looked at the mess before announcing his presence. “I am going to bed. When I wake up, my cellphone will be in one piece. If it is not in one piece, I am going to murder you,” Harry threatened before going back to bed grumpily, both at his cellphone being slaughtered and at having to be alone in bed.
Tom’s eyes widened. He didn’t know how to put the damn thing back together. He composed himself quickly despite being alone. He grabbed his wand and tried using a repairing spell. Nothing worked. For five hours Tom sat there trying to put the machine back together. When Harry woke up for the day, Tom was grinning like the Cheshire cat at him despite having heavy bags under his eyes from sleep deprivation.
“I did it, Harry,” Tom whispered, composing himself into just having a small, content smile. “I know how it works. It’s not magic. It’s science. It works and everything. I ordered us pizza about fifteen minutes ago on the phone.”
“For breakfast?” Harry looked confused. Tom nodded confidently. Harry tilted his head and blinked slowly. “Okay, Tom.”
Harry never thought he’d see his lover so enthusiastic over muggle science, but it seemed that geeky school-boy Tom who loved to learn was still buried deep beneath the surface. Tom, as exhausted as he was, was glad that he didn’t disappoint Harry. Secretly, he had had fun learning how to put the machine back together. Pleasing Harry was more important. He was glad to no longer be ignorant of that part of Harry’s life. It put him closer to his ultimate goal: to know every part of Harry as he knew himself.