A/N: This is for Season 5 of the Quidditch League Fanfiction Competition. I'm Chaser 1 for the Caerphilly Catapults. Unfortunately, we didn't get our optional prompts in in time this round, but the prompt for my position was to write about a witch or wizard trying to explain to a magical child how muggle technology works.
Ron was terrified. He'd suggested the Ford Anglia as a last resort. He hadn't actually expected Harry to agree to it. Now he actually had to drive the Muggle contraption. He took a deep breath, and tried hard to remember what his father had told them about the car.
Arthur Weasley was ecstatic—more so than anyone who was lying on their back trying to fix a broken car had any right to be. His children did not quite share his enthusiasm, but they were immensely curious. They gathered around the Muggle vehicle, staring down at their father's knees and legs, which were the only parts of him they could see. He would kick wildly at odd intervals, usually when a bang, or a sizzle, or a loud thump came from the car itself.
Finally, there came a triumphant cry from under the car: "Aha!" Ginny, who was only five, screamed in terror, clutching her teddy bear to her chest. However, a second later her father re-emerged, apparently unharmed even though it had appeared to her that the car was devouring him.
"It's all right, Ginny," her father said, patting her on the head. She smiled for a moment, then screamed again when she saw her father's face covered with blotches of something black that seemed to be oozing out of his skin. That was when she decided that she had had enough. She clutched her teddy bear tightly and ran into the house to find her mother.
Personally, Ron felt much the same as his younger sister, but he didn't dare run after her. The twins would have made fun of him, and that idea was worse than whatever end he might meet if he stayed.
Fred and George had identical mischievous grins on their faces. "Come on, dad!" said one, "Turn 'er on!"
"The correct term," Arthur told his sons authoritatively, "Is 'start 'er up'! And I'm just about to. Hold on to your hats, everyone!"
"But we haven't got any hats," grumbled Percy.
"Figure of speech, Percy. Figure of speech."
Percy scowled. He did not like figures of speech. They seemed very much like lies to him. To make matters worse, Bill leaned over and mussed his hair, laughing with the air of someone who knows much more than you because they are older. Percy scowled harder.
Arthur Weasley climbed into the driver's seat of the blue Ford Anglia 105E. He turned the key in the little hole next to the big wheel.
The car sputtered. It sounded like a dragon! And then…
Ron stared at the key in his hand, the stick used to toggle the gears, and finally, the pedals underneath the wheel for turning. Which order did they go in?
Arthur Weasley spent several days trying unsuccessfully to start the car before he got his hands on a manual.
His children saw very little of him for several weeks after acquiring the manual. He was present for meals, of course, and he went to work, but otherwise, he was quite occupied. He would sit in the light blue car, reading the manual intently.
The Weasley children all remembered being woken up in the middle of the night when their father discovered the horn, and no one who lived in the Burrow would ever forget the time they had all been sitting down to dinner, when there was a bump to the side of the house, as though a spell had been leveled at the Burrow, except it had done absolutely nothing.
Molly had shushed the children quickly, giving them a look that told them if they made even the smallest sound, they would regret it for the rest of their lives. She then grabbed her wand and made her way slowly to the door, holding her wand at the ready. She had pulled the door open, wincing at the squeak it produced, when a muffled voice reached their ears.
"I'm fine! I'm fine! I've just crashed the car!" Arthur yelled, and shortly appeared in the doorway looking terribly proud of himself.
"Arthur!" Molly had shouted, and the proud grin was wiped off their father's face, replaced by a sheepish look. Arthur hung his head and reported, "I'm sorry, my dears, I've just crashed the car."
But Arthur Weasley did not give up, and one morning, he drove smoothly by the kitchen window.
Of course, it was several years later, after enchanting the car to fly and become invisible, that Mr. Weasley finally taught the twins how to drive the car, a lesson Ron observed from the sidelines. Unfortunately, he wasn't quite able to see into the car, so while he remembered the verbal instructions, their meaning was somewhat of a mystery.
"All right, George. First, you step on that pedal there, with your left foot. That's called the clutch. Very good! Now, engage the brake pedal—not too much! Ok, turn the key… now!"
The car sputtered to life.
George did something with his feet excitedly.
The car made a screeching noise and then went silent.
"Now, what you did wrong was you let go of the clutch. Try again. Fred, your turn next!"
By the time they launched their rescue mission from Harry's aunt and uncle's house, the twins were pros at starting the car.
They were not as skilled at driving it, but they were really good at starting it up!
Ron watched intently each time they did.
Ok, he thought to himself, Here we go!
He stepped down on the clutch. He put a bit of pressure on the brake pedal. He turned the key, put the vehicle in 1.
He stared down at his feet as he very carefully picked up the foot that was on the brake, and transferred it over to the "go" pedal. Then he looked up at one of the dials, watching the little pointer move. This was the part he was least confident of. He guessed at when the dial was in the right place, and slowly took his foot off the clutch.
They were moving!