Based upon the story of Richard and Mindy Hammond. The plot and some dialogue is quoted from their book On the Edge. I want to give full credit to the portions of the book that I adapted.
My Ron-aThon fic for the winning bidder, my old friend, Jedipabst. I hope he feels he got his money's worth!
There was a Chaser called Beardsley who used to play for the Chudley Cannons. He was my hero. I used to listen to different teams on the wireless with my Dad and most of my brothers and just used to enjoy myself.
My brother, Charlie, was the biggest Quidditch fan of us all back then and, because of my swayability, would sit me on his knee and tell me that 'This afternoon, Ronnie, you want the Wasps to win, all right?' and I would get excited because I had a team to cheer. Charlie and I would sit and cheer together and Mum or Percy would complain that we were making too much noise, but soon enough, Dad would pop in to ask for updates and Bill would jeer that the Wasps had no chance.
Fred and George would re-enact the game as the commentator announced it and everybody would end up delighted when Charlie's pick for the day was successful and rant about bad refereeing when they weren't.
One of Dad's friends from work was good for freebies every now and then. We got to use his cottage by the seaside for a week long holiday in the summer and sometimes Dad would get a good deal on things like chessmen and toys at Christmas.
Bill tended to get lumbered with babysitting, so he'd prefer to leave us younger ones be when he didn't have to be in charge; I can't blame him really. Charlie was getting too old to indulge me and Percy didn't want to play the fun stuff I wanted to play, although he did like to play chess with me and would help me with difficult words when I was learning to read. So I was left with the twins and Ginny.
My twin brothers were the bane of my young life for many years. They got me into so much trouble and when I wasn't in trouble, it was because they were usually for doing some mean spirited thing to me. Basically, it was your typical sibling relationship.
Why did I put up with it? Well, little kids are idiots, great, big, gullible idiots, and Fred and George were devious beyond measure. While they got me into trouble and upset me more times than I can count, they were enormous fun and they always let me play with them. Yes, there were usually ulterior motives and half the time I knew it, but I still went along with them because there was somebody who wanted to play with me, and that's all little boys want, isn't it?
Ginny would sometimes play, too, but she had a habit of telling on the twins, so the real mischief was boys only. Poor Gin, she was always there for me when they upset me or were angry with me for getting them scolded by Mum. Ginny was my friend as well as my sister and she would play with me because she liked me and thought I was funny. She was also a girl, though, and sometimes she wanted to play with tea sets and dollies and I couldn't be seen playing like that!
Notice I said I couldn't be seen playing like that, not that I never did -- and that is the last I will ever speak of that.
Now Dad's friend got him two tickets to a Quidditch match and gave them to Dad. The Burrow was buzzing with excitement until it was revealed what match the tickets were for.
"Cannons versus Hornets!" Dad had declared and Charlie's excited face had fallen like a lead Quaffle.
"Dad, a match between Fred and George would be better than that," he humphed.
The twins beamed with pride and Bill snorted before declining the tickets to the 'Dud game of the season.' Percy wasn't interested and taking one twin without the other wasn't an option, so I was next in line.
Dad had barely drawn in the breath he needed to ask me when I started bouncing around the kitchen with delight.
I was going to see a real Quidditch match. I was going to watch a game for myself and not listen to somebody else telling me what was happening. I had never been so excited in my life.
After badgering Charlie for instructions on who I should support, I was told that there was only one decent player on either team and that was Beardsley.
"Beardsley," I said, chuffed to bits that I knew one of the players' names, a player I was going to see flying around for real, and followed Charlie around asking question after question until he dumped an armful of old Quidditch magazines into my arms and told me to look up the old Puddlemere match reports.
"Beardo used to play for a decent team when he was younger, 'past it' now, that's why the Cannons have got him." Charlie helped me back out of his bedroom with my arms full and then wished me luck before closing the door with a shake of the head.
I read all about Puddlemere and 'Beardo.' I tried and failed to find any report on the Cannons that wasn't a joke or a cartoon of a pair of blind Beaters clubbing the Snitch to pieces, with absolutely no success, and I then learned all about every team in the league.
I had some old paint sets, and so did Ginny, and the two of us set about painting my bedroom walls with orange splodges that were supposed to be players and a yellow splodge to represent the Golden Snitch.
Mum went spare about that and threatened to punish me by not letting me go to the match but I cried and she's always been a sap for me crying. I admit now that I am totally at fault for the 'baby boy' treatment she gave me because I played up on it when I needed to. Anyway, the big day came and Dad took me by Floo to the Cannons' clubhouse.
That was it for me. I was gone. It didn't matter that the Keeper fumbled the Quaffle, the Beaters swung and missed the Bludgers, or that the Seeker was watching the other Seeker rather than looking for the Snitch. All that mattered to me was that I recognised the face of Beardsley and I cheered for him as he managed to score the only goals of the afternoon.
He had a face like a bull terrier chewing a bee and he was my hero.
Neither of the two Seekers was anywhere close to catching the Snitch and the score was even. It was dark and very late, so Dad picked me up and carried me back to the Floo, me tiredly grizzling the whole way that I wanted to stay to the end, and I don't even remember being put to bed that night. I do remember dreaming about flying around on a broom and playing Quidditch and how fantastic I thought the Cannons were.
That was how they became my team and how I dedicated my whole life to inevitable sporting disappointment.
My wife, Hermione, used to tell me I was going into 'Muggins mode' whenever I got into my despondent state of resignation to failure. I just let her read what I have written so far and she rolled her eyes at me and said, "And there you go into Muggins mode."
Well, yes, I did have a problem with nerves and confidence when I started playing competitive Quidditch at school, but with a best friend like Harry being devious and a certain future wife like Hermione throwing her scruples out the window and helping me out, I was soon growing in self- assurance until I could step onto the pitch on the day of a match having not once vomited.
So back to the point of this trip down memory lane; I was, from that moment onward, an obsessive about the game of Quidditch.
When you find your obsession so early in life, you feed your passion through play and daydreams of the fantastic. I would mock up a mini indoor Quidditch pitch in the house and bat brussel sprouts through homemade hoops until something got broken and I was told to play outside.
When outside, I would put a fallen branch between my legs and run around pretending to fly. I'd re-enact dramatic incidents from past Cannons games but change the outcomes so my team would win. All this fantasy play led to two infamous events in Weasley family history: the breaking of my brother Fred's toy broomstick and the loss of my beloved teddy bear, Beardo.
I straddled the broomstick.
My course was set up precisely and I had every twist and turn memorised. I had even done two dry runs with a branch between legs to make sure I was ready to lean into the hairpin around the cherry tree and pull out at speed.
This had been prepared for days and now, finally, Fred was busy gluing my other brother, Percy's bedroom door closed with him still in it. Now was my chance.
I passed by Fred's bedroom door, open as always, and casually grabbed the handle of his toy broomstick, without breaking my stride, and carried on down the stairs, nobody noticing me or what I had in my hand.
The reason nobody noticed me was because I wasn't running. It took years for me to understand this, but running is the one thing that will get you stopped and questioned in my family. Walking quietly makes you invisible.
I was invisible and in possession of a broom!
I stood astride the miniature broomstick and felt it begin to rise beneath me to support my weight. I stroked my palm down the smooth handle with reverence for the craftsmanship, just as I'd seen Charlie doing on his adult- sized broom.
I focused on my course and kicked off from the ground.
Hairpins can be difficult.
Fred wasn't happy. My teddy bear was even less happy. Despite the grazed knees, bent-back finger, and bloody mouth, I wasn't deterred from flying. I could have developed a phobia, only there was something worse to happen that day that overpowered any fear of flying.
The only way my true phobia could interfere with me flying would be if a spider was crawling along the handle of my broom. Arachnophobia is terrible, but easily avoidable when hundreds of feet in the air. Flying was always the perfect escape, and not just from spiders.
On Wednesday 19th February 2007, I was crapping myself.
Strange to think that, having been an Auror for nine years, I was still capable of being petrified of harmless things like failure and rejection.
Ask me to storm a Death Eater stronghold blind and I would do it before I'd finished tying my bootlaces. But ask me to talk to a group of young trainees about how to be a good Auror and I'd feel like a second look at my breakfast was coming upon me.
I got home from work one evening, took baby Rosie off her mother's hands and listened to everything she had to tell me about her day before answering all her questions about mine, and once my little girl had been fed and put down to sleep, I dealt with my post.
One of the letters was an official-looking thing from the department and Hermione began jumping to conclusions about all the different promotions or desk jobs I could be being offered. I broke through the wax seal with the stamp of the head of the Auror department on it and frowned.
Harry was the head of the Auror department. Why was he writing to me instead of nudging me in the side as we changed back into our civvies at the end of the day? I was just voicing this to Hermione when my nosey little sister's head appeared in the fireplace and looked from me to my wife, expectantly.
"Well?" she demanded.
"Well, what?" I shrugged.
Ginny looked at Hermione again and then huffed.
"Come over and help me kill him. I told him you'd kill him -- you've got a baby, for goodness sake. I don't know what he was thinking."
And with that, my sister's head was gone and the flames were orange once again.
Hermione sat down and waited for me to open the letter.
"Come on then, Ginny knows, we might as well know."
I could see that all her hopes for me sitting behind a desk, wearing a tie and filing things, were gone and now she was anxious to find out why she was due to murder her best friend.
I opened the letter and read.
Me and my wife are an odd match, there's no denying it, and yes, she does get excited when I dress up smartly or sit at the table until the early hours doing my paperwork, but she likes it when I'm enjoying myself, too. I can't ever say she doesn't worry about what happens to me while I'm enjoying myself; that would be a lie, but she still encourages me to follow my own aspirations rather than her aspirations for me.
I love her for that.
I love any woman who will clean blood out of my lucky Cannons' t-shirt so I can wear it to the game on Saturday, without ever once asking me how or why the blood got there. All she says is 'Do I need to worry?' and I show her where I'd got hurt and she sees that it's fine and then gives me a crying child to deal with as penance. I sometimes think it's also her reminder to me to be more careful: 'Here, look what you have now, don't let her down'.
So it was with a heavy heart that I handed her the letter and watched her read, ready for her to dismiss my even applying for the position that had become open on the grounds that I was a father, a husband and a clumsy git.
"Go for it," she said as she put the letter down on the table and looked me in the eye.
"You do get what the Aerial Combat Division is, right?" I asked her, thinking maybe she'd read the acronym and thought I was being invited to try-out for a job involving Muggle CDs.
"Yes, I've seen their displays at important functions, they're like the Red Arrows, only on brooms instead of in planes," she smiled, airily.
"Yeah but," I changed seats to move around the table closer to her, taking her hand with mine, "this isn't a broomstick display team, this is an air combat division. This is fighting in the air, while riding a broom, dueling on brooms, love."
She gave me the most glowing smile and loving kiss on the lips since she told me she was expecting Rosie and said that she knew what the job involved and that she thought I would be perfect for it.
"I still remember what Tonks said about you when we were smuggling Harry out of his aunt and uncle's house," she said, as she reminded me of the gushing praise bestowed upon me by a great Auror and friend, Nymphadora Tonks, after I was paired up with her to divert the mid-air ambush away from Harry. "She was a professional and you were a seventeen-year-old student who hadn't taken his NEWTs yet and she thought you were fantastic."
"Well, I still haven't taken my NEWTs," I said, bashfully.
She laughed at me before reassuring me that I should at least try.
"Dueling on a broom involves talent and skill and isn't something to practice and learn," she assured me. "You have the talent and skill already, you're a natural in the air and a fantastic flyer."
"Harry's a fantastic flyer," I corrected. "Seekers are the best flyers in the world."
"True, but a Seeker is gifted at speed and turning on a sixpence. Ask a Seeker to fly at full tilt, catch something and throw it at a specific target while avoiding attacks from all sides, and they wouldn't be able to do it. Seekers excel when they are focused upon one task but it takes a remarkable Keeper to multi-task and excel at every one of them."
"So, what you're saying is...Harry's nowhere near as good as me at Quidditch?" I grinned.
"I didn't say that!"
"Well, you're going to," I insisted. "Get in the Floo now, go over there and tell him what you just told me. Tell Ginny, too! I want to piss her off as well!"
So, I was, as I said before, crapping myself.
I had a preliminary interview with, awkwardly enough, Harry and with the Division Leader, a stout man called Bigglesworth. It turned out to be more of a relaxed, informal chat rather than an interview and Harry kept me comfortable enough to say one or two things to make Division Leader Bigglesworth laugh, and not long afterwards, I was told to change into flying gear and meet them out on the field for an airborne trial.
I went to my locker and looked at the brand new black leather riding boots that Hermione had bought me for the trial, and moved them to one side to reach for my battered and worn brown, leather lace-ups.
The new boots were pull-ons and there was something about the moment of enforced sitting down to lace them up that always relaxed me. It was the mixture of concentration, rhythm, and routine that helped me focus without winding me up into a bundle of nerves.
I wound the laces up the hooks, tightening the soft leather around my shin, and past my calf. It was while lacing up boots once that I finally understood what it was my mother found so relaxing about knitting. The fluid repetitive motion, the laces sliding through my fingers, it was all strangely calming.
I closed my locker and took a couple of deep breaths before grabbing my broom and striding out to the field behind the Auror training facility.
It was a bright, fresh day and I felt totally calm. I was going for a fly, after all, and I loved flying. Harry nodded at me before pointing upwards at the sky and twirling his finger around in an oval shape twice.
"Fast as you can, please mate," he said before looking to the Division leader and listening to something. "And after that, can you do a vertical figure eight and keep the loops as narrow as you can?"
"Righty-ho," I said, blinking in shock at saying that for the first time at such a moment, and then swung my leg over my broom. "So, did you want that at high speed as well?"
"Yes, please," Bigglesworth called back.
I kicked off from the ground and shot into the air like a dart.
I had the utmost confidence in my broom and braked cleanly in mid-air before leaning to shoot off and begin my first oval.
I could afford the highest quality boom on the market by now; days of customising Harry's hand-me-downs every time he upgraded were long gone, but I'd discovered another therapeutic pleasure to do with flying. I was quite adept at rebuilding old broomsticks from scratch.
I'd started off by taking Tonks' old broomstick from her mother and making it safe for Teddy to ride. I could identify the wood used for the bristles and gathered enough to replace the broken and loose ones that caused a drag and hampered the handling on sharp turns. I cut them all to the right length and fixed them in place before stripping the varnish from the handle and then treating it with linseed oil and re-varnishing it to a smooth finish.
Andromeda was really pleased with it and soon enough, word got around and people were bringing me their old favourite brooms that they'd had to replace years back, and paying me a little something to restore them to the standards of the present day.
George soon caught on and we went into business together, him taking one order per month for a restoration, and me sanding and clipping away in the back room on my days off. It helped out with extra money during Hermione's pregnancy and the first year of Rosie's very expensive life I can tell you, but it also brought in a lot of extra business for George.
People would book months in advance to get their broom remodelled or restored and George soon had the idea that advance bookings could only be made if you had a full book of stamps from any of the Wheezes shops across the country. Every time you made a purchase over a Galleon, you would get a stamp and there were twelve stamps to a book.
Crafty one, my brother. He guaranteed himself twelve separate visits and at least twelve Galleons just to make an advance booking.
The latest Cirrus Supremacy was on the market, and yet the Seekers for England, Scotland and Ireland were all riding Weasley-remodelled brooms. Wales didn't just have their Seeker riding a Nimbostratus which I had reshaped the handle and replaced the brush of, but the whole team were using their favourite classic brooms that I'd brought up to competitive standard.
Being the first name in Broomstick restoration, Harry had me rebuild his Firebolt from the fragments we retrieved from Death Eaters who'd kept pieces of it as trophies after he'd lost it in the ambush. I hadn't much to work with, but I found the right kind of wood and twigs. I even rewove the frayed rope strands with newer strands when fastening the bristles in place. I clipped everything cleanly, used all the splinters in the core of the handle and pressed and varnished the willow around it.
Harry had something of his broom back. It meant a lot to him because of Sirius and because of what he'd accomplished on it. I didn't have a special connection to any broom, so I bought a wreck of a one at a Quidditch auction; it was Beardsley's broom from my first-ever Quidditch match, and it was a beautiful one from way back when Quidditch players all rode brooms that had been made for them personally.
It took me a year-and-a-half but I restored it and remodelled it so that it cut through the air as clean as if it had been custom-made for a Seeker, but kept it as strong as it had been for its former owner, the Cannons' Chaser. I added extra bristles to make the brush thicker, but shaped the brush into an 'S' shaped curve to streamline it. It added the extra heft so I could use the broom as a club if I spun it around fast enough.
Anyway, I know I'm going off track. I could talk about restoring classic brooms all day and this isn't the story of broomstick maintenance. This is all leading up to explain how I ended up in hospital with brain damage.
Oh, did I spoil it for you? Did you not read the Prophet at all last year? Oops!
Back to my big day -- dazzling the man whose job I was to take over when he retired a year later, and I was whistling through the air on my second oval. I decided to change direction upwards with my favourite corkscrew manoeuvre, twisting so the wind worked against the curved tail of the broom like a propeller beneath the water and I burst upwards with extra thrust.
I was already leaning backwards to go back on myself and cross over to make the lower half of my figure eight and the turn was so tight I wondered if my loops were going to be too narrow to see. I sped downwards to the ground as if I was racing gravity and leaned back, pulling up on the handle, and kicked out the tail so Harry and Bigglesworth had their robes blown back with the force.
I burst back up and into the sky, soaring to my starting position before flicking one heel and spinning the broom one hundred and eighty degrees to a dead stop.
There were other tests, but I could tell from the animated way the division leader was talking to Harry, that I was now a front-runner.
Later, I found out he was actually asking Harry, 'When can he start?' and could I bump him up the waiting list so his son's broom could be upgraded by his seventeenth birthday. I went home to find Hermione glowing with happiness and quite tearful.
"Did they owl already?" I asked her, excitedly.
She shook her head and walked towards me, unable to find words, took my hand and placed it on her belly. An owl did come that day, offering me the job, but we didn't notice it until the next morning. We had real celebrating to do.
So this brings us to our little family set up at the time of the accident. There was me, my two wonderful girls, and little Hugo. There was my job in aerial combat, which sometimes involved being important with Harry in meetings and sometimes taking part in acrobatic displays of close formation flying, along with my paid hobby of tinkering with broomsticks.
All in all, I had a really good life.
I often find people, especially people who have young families of their own, asking me why I would have participated in such a foolish stunt. I don't deny that I get a kick out of pushing my limits, the buzz of flying, and activities that get my heat racing, but I must point out that I've never been reckless. I won't let the stunt team do a display unless I am sure that safety measures are properly implemented and stewards are positioned beneath the airspace in case of unforeseen circumstances. I won't let a customer take their broom away after I've worked on it unless I flew on it myself and made sure it was air-worthy. I do everything I can to keep everybody I'm responsible for as safe as possible.
I am responsible for myself, too.
I remember once pointing out that Ginny had less safety precautions when she played for the Harpies than I did during a twelve person display over very pointy rocks. Strangely enough, Ginny retired soon after and spent a solid month glaring at me, when she wasn't glaring at Harry, and Hermione found herself torn between feeling glad that Ginny was giving up her injury-prone career to be a full-time mother of three and defending my sister's right to be in just as dangerous a job as her brother was.
"I've got a great idea!"
George's participation in the aerial display planning meetings always resulted in this exclamation, followed by weeks of preparation and safety precautions that he found boring and didn't want to be a part of.
"It's a belter, the best!"
"Go on, then," I said, adopting my best crotchety old man pose to indulge him.
"Why don't you just go really fast?" he said, pausing to wait for the explosion of enthusiasm that never came. "The fastest you've ever gone. I'm not talking about a race or anything complicated. I just mean a demonstration of just how fast a broom can go, straight-line speed."
"I've flown at two hundred miles an hour," I said with a shrug, "and have you seen the sky, George? The Muggles take up a lot of room up there with their machines. Go too fast to navigate and I'll plough right into a hairyplane."
"I'm not talking stupid distance fast," George said with a tut. "It's not like you'll be setting a record. Well, maybe you could be the fastest Weasley ever, or the fastest aerial display team. How about that?"
He'd caught me. The team perked up on seeing my brother winning me over, and I leaned forward to listen to the rest of George's idea.
Someone had once challenged me to make their broom sub-aquatic, so they could fly it underwater as well as in the air, and after a mass proclamation that it couldn't be done, I built the thing and several others. Then, with the aid of lots of Gillyweed, me and the team performed one of our easier routines underwater while a massed crowd watched from Quidditch-style stands all around the lake.
I have to admit I was quite impressed with myself on that one; an aerial display where everybody had to look down to see it, and Hermione was full of pride at the logistics behind it all.
In the four years since I'd got the job, I'd made a name for myself as a celebrity daredevil. Because I could tweak a broom to do specific things that brooms can't ordinarily do, it always appeared as if I was taking a bigger risk than I actually was.
I flew a loop, one mile in diameter, with the brush of my broom on fire for a night-time display once. Everybody screamed and my mum whacked me around the back of the head. I pointed out that a burnt broom wouldn't fly and it was a specially-made broom with some of Hermione and George's expertise so that I could ignite heatless ornamental flames on the tail and fly for as long as I liked with no danger of being burned whatsoever.
I got another swat from my mother before George and Hermione were praised for being so clever. Sometimes, I just can't win.
I did get credit for my idea to show the Hogwarts students, and everybody who came to the annual fund-raiser for the war-widows and orphans of the Battle of Hogwarts, what to do to if your broom gets struck by lightning. It was a very thorough and informative demonstration that me and George thought would end fantastically well with me being hit with his artificial lightning and going into a nose dive into the crowd before stopping just short of them and showering them with a confetti of safety leaflets.
The kids loved it. Teddy and Victoire thought I was the most impressive person they knew, but Hermione practically beat me unconscious with rage because I'd neglected to inform her about the big finish being a stunt and not for real at all.
Like I said, it always looked like I was in more danger than I actually was. Safety is the key with us nutters in Aerial Combat and it always will be while I'm in charge.
So now, I was on my way back to Hermione with news of another stunt I was to undertake in the name of entertainment, fund-raising, and drumming up free publicity for the broom side of the business at Wheezes.
I arrived home and was, as usual, mobbed by animals and children as soon as I pushed the front door open. We had bought a house in the country when I had got the promotion as Division leader and had filled it with Rosie, who was now five, and Hugo, three, a turquoise Pygmy Puff, a beagle called Jeremy Beagle (a name which made every Muggle who heard it quite hysterical for reasons I will never understand) who was the Division mascot, the seemingly-immortal Crookshanks the cat and two owls called Hogwarts and Ahistory (now that was my idea of a comical pet name).
Within twenty-four hours, I would be deep in a coma, my brain expanded dangerously within my skull, but right now I was sitting in the back garden of my little house, picking bits of Exploding Snap cards out of Jeremy Beagle's fur. It was strangely soothing work and I let my mind wander to the high-speed broom I would be flying the following day.
I tried to imagine unleashing the power of twelve thousand horses in one huge hit of adrenaline-bursting speed and couldn't get anywhere near. This would be a whole new experience. We'd decided to make no attempt at a target speed. I was simply to let lose and ride as fast as I felt the broom was able to go safely. Because of the G-forces involved, I would be wearing a protective helmet.
At Elfington Field, a large expanse of countryside surrounded by Muggle deterrents, a small base was set up at one end. Our Aerial Display Team were gathered around, pulling on our gear. Surrounding the field, I saw stretches of dark, green coniferous forest in the distance. The land was flat and broad with a light wind blowing across it under a pale blue sky.
Boots laced up and protective gear in place, I strolled over to a small tent serving food and drink and ordered a cup of tea and a bacon sarnie. I chatted with a couple of people who were Emergency Healers and were there, as always, as representatives of St Mungo's in case of accidents. They were looking forward to seeing what went on when the flying aces performed one of their spectacular stunts for the crowd.
With tea in hand, I sought out a man called Scott, who was the event organiser, to see where he wanted me to set up the rocket broom. Scott wasn't our usual event organiser. Andy Womble was the mug who usually got lumbered with all the thankless tasks leading up to us bunch of show-offs stealing the show.
Scott asked me what time I thought would be best to go for it. I looked at the swelling crowd on either side of the field and saw that the ones on the right were squinting into the sun.
I pointed this out and said that I could do a run right away so the people on the left could get a clear view, the festivities could begin and then, once the sun had moved around, I could go again for the people who couldn't see the first time around.
"You could make it a 'see if we can go faster' type thing," Scott suggested.
"Well, we aren't really doing a speed trial," I said, cautiously. "But just for the sake of geeing up the crowd, I suppose you could."
"No," Scott raised both hands. "Andy said to go along with whatever you're comfortable with. I tell you what, after the first run, we'll plug the one-snap cameras we're selling to raise money for the Hogwarts student fund, you know, the one for kids who can't afford the school supplies?"
"Yeah," I said, nodding with interest for this new idea.
One-snap cameras were just what the name suggested, a camera that took one picture. The gimmick was that you left the camera for a minute after clicking the shutter and then pull the print out, a fully developed moving image.
"Well, they're only a Sickle each, so parents can buy them for their kids and we can tell them that we'll give a special prize, a...a...a thing I'll work out later."
"A signed Harry Potter Chocolate Frog card," I said, knowing Harry wouldn't mind if it was for a kid and for the Hogwarts fund.
"Yes! Thank you!" Scott said, with relief. "So the best one-snap picture of you flying on your second run gets a Potter Chocolate Frog card signed to them personally. Sound better than the competitive thing?"
"Much," I nodded as we walked to the rocket broom.
George was making sure it was in prime condition, not a twig out of place, and that the special infused oil he'd created to permeate every individual twig in the brush to give it extra kick wasn't tainted by any grit.
I'd shaped the handle to have a curved nose and a thick trunk, able to withstand the impact of the G-forces, and positioned the footrests 'just so' so my body would be as streamlined as possible against the shape of the broom.
"You ready?" George asked, excitedly.
"Yeah, just need to put on the headgear and we're away. We'll be going twice, once again at the end so the people with the sun in their eyes can get a chance, too."
"Ah, so thoughtful," George said as he ruffled my hair like a git.
I took my helmet from Scott and searched the crowd for Hermione and the kids, found them, and gave them a wave. The girls waved back and Hugo tried to look through his Omnioculars the wrong way around. I laughed and pulled the helmet over my head.
I was ready to go for it.
A/N Thanks to Leviathan0999 and Deena for the beta work on this fic and to The Steppy One for all the read throughs.
For those non-Brits reading this, there was a TV personality in this country called Jeremy Beadle and that is why Muggles find Ron's dog's name so hysterical.