The Little Known Importance of a Long Ago Prank and a Common Spice in Romantic Commitment
The Harry Potter universe belongs to J.K. Rowling. I'm just borrowing the characters for a while. This is for pleasure only, no profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended. This was written as a present for Duke Brymin in the HGSeasonsFest at Live Journal.
Even though it was early January and well below freezing in the back garden, Ginny Weasley kissed Harry Potter with all the ardour and vigour that she possessed before they entered the kitchen of The Burrow. As she had expected they would be, her parents were sitting at the old wooden table having a cuppa before heading up to bed.
"Sit down and have some tea before you Apparate home, Harry dear," said Molly in a voice that was both kind and firm.
Harry sat at the table while Ginny took the chair next to him but shook her head when Molly flicked her wand toward the bureau for two cups.
"'Hannah filled us to the brim with her special Holiday Blend while we were finishing pudding. I don't think I can drink any more tea tonight."
"I'm good, as well," said Harry. "I just sat down so I could ask how you've been since Christmas. Now that Kingsley has me out in the field, I don't get as much time to come by as I'd like to."
"We've missed you, son," said Arthur. "It's nice having Ginny staying with us for the Harpies' winter break, but it's pretty quiet in Devon this time of the year. I go into the Ministry weekdays and that leaves just Molly and Ginny to do whatever it is that they do all day long now that it's too cold for Quidditch matches."
"I'd come over and hang out with them if I had more time. Speaking of which, I'd better go home and get some sleep before it's time to be at work in the morning. An Auror's time is never his own." He leaned over and gave Ginny a chaste peck on the lips, stood up and bent to kiss Molly on the cheek, and shook Arthur's hand. "Ginny, I'll see you Saturday night. Ron and Hermione want to try that new Indian restaurant near their flat."
Ginny nodded and smiled. "See you Saturday next at seven straight up."
Harry waved and went out the door to the Apparition place. As the door closed, Ginny put her head on the table.
"Are you tired, dear?" asked Molly.
"Yes, I'm sick and tired of just seeing Harry once a week on our date night. What am I not doing right? I was sure he was going to propose at Christmas, but he gave me another necklace. I only have one neck, for Merlin's sake!" Ginny spread out the fingers of her left hand. "I thought sure that I'd be wearing an engagement ring by now."
"As I recall, you also thought he might ask me for your hand before our New Year party, but he didn't. I wonder what he's waiting for? You've been dating exclusively for three years now," Arthur said, looking puzzled. "It's not as though our families haven't been close and intermarried for ages. I could tell many tales about the Potters and the Weasleys…"
"Don't forget about the Pruetts and Macmillans," added Molly. "Arthur, maybe Harry would be interested in some stories about some of the things our ancestors did together. You could take him aside next Saturday when he comes over again."
"I'd like to hear some of the Potter and Weasley stories, with Pruetts and Macmillans, too."
"Tell him about the prank that Quintius Weasley, Bowman Potter, and Ignatius Pruett played that got them in such trouble with the Wizengamot. It was such a scandal."
"A scandal? I definitely want to hear about that," said Ginny, as she yawned. "I'd better go to bed now, but I am looking forward to hearing about the prank and any marriages amongst our families."
The second weekend of January was snowy. When Harry came to pick up Ginny to go to dinner with Ron and Hermione, Molly commented on how much snow was on the ground. "It's almost as much snow as the fresh snowfall in February of 1855 that led to all the problems for your great-great-grandfather, and Arthur's and my great-grandfathers. What they did caused a lot of speculation in the Muggle world."
"And therefore violated the Statute of Secrecy Act of 1692," added Arthur.
"I didn't know that our families knew each other that long ago," said Harry, clearly interested. "Can you tell me about what happened?"
"A Potter, a Weasley, and a Pruitt went out in the newly fallen snow and performed a memorable prank," said Ginny, putting her hand in Harry's. "That sounds like the start of quite a story. Maybe Dad can tell us about it when we come home."
Arthur nodded before Harry and Ginny went out the door and walked through the snow towards the Apparition point.
Hermione and Ron were interested when Ginny and Harry told them that Arthur was going to tell them a story about what their ancestors had done about a hundred and fifty years earlier. Hermione said that she'd look it up on a Muggle computer.
The four young people had a feast and decided that they'd return to the Indian restaurant that was so conveniently located in the neighbourhood that Hermione and Ron lived in. Ginny and Harry left as soon as they'd finished eating because it was beginning to snow again.
Arthur and Molly were again sitting at the old wooden table in the kitchen when Ginny and Harry came back from dinner.
"Let's go into the lounge and enjoy the fire while Arthur tells us the story," suggested Molly as she stood to lead the way.
Ginny and Harry settled on the couch together, Arthur leaned back in his recliner, and Molly sat in the rocking chair next to her knitting basket.
"It was a dark and stormy night," began Arthur. "I think that's how all the Muggle mystery stories begin."
"I thought this was a story about wizards," said Ginny, snuggling closer to Harry.
'It is, it is," replied Arthur. "It's about wizards with too much time on their hands and an Invisibility Cloak to conceal themselves. Hogwarts was forced to close for a week in early February of 1855 because of some sort of Freezing Charm or Hex that proved impossible to lift. All the students were sent off with copious homework until the castle could be warmed up again."
"Not that Hogwarts is ever warm in the winter," muttered Molly as she counted stitches.
"At that time, Quintius Weasley, Bowman Potter, and Ignatious Prewett had been roommates for nearly seven years and were as close as brothers. They decided to spend their unexpected week off from classes at the Prewett house, which was not too far from where The Burrow is now. They finished their assigned homework early in the week and began to brag about pranks that they had pulled off during their years at Hogwarts. They became so loud and boisterous on Tuesday that Mrs Prewett arranged for her daughter Guinevere to Floo over to visit her roommates and best friends, the Potter twins."
"Bernice Prewett, nee Potter, was my great-great-grandmother," said Molly.
"Beatrice Weasley, my great-great-grandmother, was her twin sister."
"So Ginny's and my great-great-great-grandmothers were twins?" asked Harry, hugging Ginny close.
"That's true. Most wizarding families intermarried over the years. However, to get back to the story, the three young wizards became increasingly inventive about a prank that they wanted to pull. They spent all day Wednesday conjuring special boots and practicing spells to speed up motion. They had decided that when it next snowed deep enough that they would make trails that looked as though a strange creature had run through buildings and haystacks and the like for a hundred miles in one night."
"Why would they want to do that?'" asked Ginny.
"Ah, that's the problem," replied Arthur. "They wanted the Muggles to notice the tracks. And they did. But alas, so did all the wizards in Devon."
"What exactly did our mischievous ancestors do?" asked Harry.
"They went out in the early morning of Thursday, February 8, 1855 and ran through fields and gardens of villages wearing the special boots that they had conjured. They left tracks that looked rather like the hoof prints of a goat. Since they had also cast speed enhancing charms, the three of them were able to run for nearly a hundred miles in every direction. Then they ate some breakfast and slept the day away."
"What happened next?" asked Ginny.
"The Muggles were terrified. They thought the marks were the footprints of the devil. There were all sorts of studies by professors and articles written. However, wizards figured out that it must have been some sort of prank and suspicion soon fell on the three Hogwarts students who were in Devon during the week in which the tracks appeared. There was a trial before the Wizengamot but the boys were acquitted because some tracks appeared again that weekend after they returned to school."
"How could that be?" asked Harry.
"It was probably some Muggle boys copying what the wizards had done," said Arthur, shaking his head. "Acquittal or not, Quintius, Bowman, and Ignatius were haunted by the shadow of suspicion. They had a hard time getting good jobs even though they all earned many NEWT s."
"What did they do?" asked Harry.
"Bowman became a master broom maker, as some of his forefathers had been. He married Genevieve Prewett, the little sister of his friend Ignatious, and had four children, one of whom was your great-great-grandfather Harold. Genevieve would be Ginny's great-great-great-aunt. Our families are all tangled up."
"When did the Potter men start marrying women with red hair?" asked Molly.
"Even though the Potter twins had black hair like their father, Bowman had auburn hair like his ancestor Godric Gryffindor. I think it was his son Harold who married a redhead and so did his son James and grandson Harold. And of course, your father."
"All of the Prewetts had red hair."
Arthur nodded. "So did all of my family. However, Weasley girls are quite rare. My great-great-aunts Martha and Mary were the last ones until our Ginny. Mary died when she was young and Martha married John Hathaway "
"What happened to Quintius and Ignatius?" asked Ginny.
Molly supplied the answer to her daughter's question as she stood up. "Quintius became a very respected builder of wizarding homes while Ignatius worked with him as a master plumber. Some of the Weasley work is still being used at this time. As we mentioned earlier, the two of them married Bowman's little sisters. All three couples remained friends their whole lives. Come on, Arthur. It's time we leave the distant cousins alone, so they can talk about those who came before them."
She bent to kiss both Harry and Ginny. Arthur kissed Ginny on the top of her head and clapped Harry on the arm as he followed Molly up to bed.
"Wow! That was quite a story. I had no idea that our families were so intertwined," said Harry, nuzzling Ginny's tender place on her neck. "No wonder I feel so comfortable with you and your family. We are already family."
"Distant cousins, we're what the Muggles call 'Kissing Cousins'," said Ginny with a giggle.
"What's a wizard to do?" replied Harry, kissing her in a most un-cousinly way.
Much later, Ginny went up to bed wondering if hearing about Potters marrying Weasleys and Prewetts would finally get Harry thinking about a certain Potter marrying a certain Weasley.
Arthur and Molly had finished breakfast before Ginny came down the next morning just as her father was leaving for work. "Did Harry take the hint about how close our families have always been?" asked Arthur.
"He did mention it several times," said Ginny, "but didn't act like he wanted to follow family tradition." She sighed as her mother put her arm around her.
After Arthur left for the Ministry, Molly and Ginny sat together drinking tea. "The way to a wizard's heart is through his stomach," said Molly. "Cinnamon is a very well-known aphrodisiac."
"What are you suggesting?"
"When Harry comes next weekend, I want you to make him some hot chocolate and be sure to mention the power of cinnamon when you sprinkle some in his cup." Molly smiled. "If that doesn't work, you'll have to make him some cinnamon rolls. They're a deal closer. I'll teach you how."
Molly and Ginny made Molly's special cinnamon rolls that afternoon. Arthur's eyes lit up when he smelled them as soon as he got home. Ginny thought it was unusual when her mother and father retired right after they each ate a couple of cinnamon rolls for pudding but thought that maybe they were tired. It was so quiet in the house that Ginny also went to bed early. She dreamed about Harry doing some things with her that they hadn't yet done. It was a very vivid dream.
It seemed to Ginny that her parents were feeling much better when they both bounced down the stairs early the next morning and finished off the leftover cinnamon rolls. "I think I can leave work at noon," said Arthur with a sappy look on his face.
Ginny thought that he might have pinched her mother on the bum, so she buried her face in the Daily Prophet while they kissed for a long time. Molly packed a picnic basket with some bread, cheese and champagne and put a cooling spell on them. Then she made a cinnamon apple tart, cast a warming spell on it, and placed it in the basket.
Ginny Flooed to Diagon Alley just as soon as her father came home at lunch with a gleam in his eye. She spent the afternoon in Flourish and Blotts in the restricted cookery section looking at recipes and reading about cinnamon's aphrodisiac qualities. She bought a cookbook titled Cinnamon Warms the Heart and Other Body Parts by Amoura le Fey. The assistant clerk wrapped it in plain brown paper.
Neither of her parents came down for dinner, so Ginny ate a cold supper and read recipes from the new cinnamon cookbook. She slept restlessly and woke late. When she came down, Molly was very interested in the recipes in the new book and suggested that Ginny try the recipe that used twice as much cinnamon as hers on Thursday. It also called for a mixture of honey and cinnamon as icing. "We may as well see if the addition of more of the active ingredient causes a faster and longer-lasting reaction," she said as she supervised Ginny. "The Queen of Sheba swore by generous quantities of ground cinnamon or cassia, as it was known then." Molly hummed and did a little dance as Ginny shaped the cinnamon buns. "I think I'll take a little nap and a bubble bath before your father comes home."
Ginny set the buns to rise and cleaned up the kitchen before her father arrived home. She smiled as her mother came down the stairs in a silky new blue dressing gown, kissed her husband, and led him back up the stairs. "We'll have a late supper. Will you bake your new special recipe for cinnamon buns? Your father and I love to try new recipes."
Ginny set the table and put out some cold meat and bread while the cinnamon buns were baking. When her parents came down, they didn't eat much dinner but seemed more interested in breathing in the aroma of what was in the oven. Ginny pulled the baking dish out when the oven's tinny voice announced, "The buns are done." She thought they looked delicious even without the honey and cinnamon icing.
"Cinnamon is good for digestion," said Arthur, taking a deep breath.
"And it helps make arthritis less painful."
Molly watched Ginny ice the still warm buns. "It does wonders for our circulation. My feet are toasty warm for a change."
"Yes, having good circulation helps us both," said Arthur, waggling his eyebrows while Molly blushed.
Ginny decided that she'd turn in early but took a sticky cinnamon bun up to her room on a plate. It was so delicious that she decided to take a hot bubble bath. She spent a long time in the bath, reading an old Fifi le Fete romance novel. She decided that cinnamon certainly did improve one's circulation.
Ginny and Molly talked quite a lot about cinnamon and its properties the next day. Her mother told her that she and her father were going away to Brighton Beach for the weekend. She said that it was a place with many romantic memories for them
When Harry came over for supper on Saturday night, he seemed surprised that Ginny's parents were not there. Ginny explained that her parents decided to go away for a romantic weekend.
"I hope we're as much in love as your parents when we're their age," said Harry.
"Yes, they are certainly committed to each other. They've been married since the week after they left Hogwarts."
"My parents married young, too. They were only twenty when I was born."
Ginny fed Harry roast chicken with mash and a dark spicy gravy. They settled in front of the fireplace for a nice long snog. When they paused, Ginny could tell that Harry liked the way she looked with swollen lips and mussed hair. Then he surprised her by saying, "I really must go."
"Harry, it's cold outside," said Ginny. "It's snowing so hard I'm not sure you would be able to get to the Apparition Point. It's up to your knees out there. Look out the window at that storm."
"The evening has been so nice and warm. The company is delightful. Maybe just a little kiss more."
"How about a cup of hot chocolate?" asked Ginny, much later. She stood up. Harry nodded his head and followed her into the kitchen. She heated the milk, added the chocolate, and sprinkled a generous shake of cinnamon on the top of each cup. "Cinnamon is an amazing spice. It's very good for you. I just got a cookbook about all its benefits." She held up her new book.
Harry's eyes widened at the title. "This whole book is about cinnamon?"
Ginny nodded and licked her lips. "If you decide to spend the night, I will make you the world's best cinnamon rolls." She giggled a little and blushed. "They are called 'Erotic Buns'. See, here's the recipe."
Harry read the description of the cinnamon rolls, and how they improved circulation. He blushed and licked his lips. "Do they take long to make?" he asked.
"They have to rise but I am sure you will just love they way they taste." Ginny licked her lips again and smiled when Harry stared at them and nodded.
"I'll watch you make them," said Harry in a dreamy voice. He sat at the table and stared at Ginny as she gathered ingredients and began to combine them.
"You can read me the recipe and instructions,' said Ginny, opening the cookbook to the recipe for Erotic Buns. "You can look at some of the other recipes afterwards and choose some for me to make when we have some time to ourselves. Did you like the gravy we had with the chicken?"
Harry nodded and continued to stare at Ginny.
"It had chocolate and cinnamon in it. That's a very powerful, almost magical, combination."
Harry nodded again.
Ginny finished shaping the buns and put them on the Aga to rise. She led Harry back to the sofa in front of the fire and pulled a blanket over them. They began kissing and canoodling but were so comfortable that they soon fell asleep. Ginny woke with a warm body pressed to hers. It felt very natural but she disentangled herself, did her early morning necessities, and turned the oven on. As soon as the cinnamon rolls were in the oven, she went back to snuggle with Harry. He didn't wake until the sweet smell roused him. The sun was just coming up on a winter wonderland.
Ginny made some tea while he tidied up. The cinnamon buns were the best she had ever eaten. Harry smiled as she had never seen him smile before and declared that they were food for the gods. He helped clear the table as she got the dishes and pans washing.
They sat back down on the couch after their breakfast. "That was the best breakfast I've ever had,' said Harry. "I loved waking up next to you." He paused and drew Ginny closer. "I've been doing a lot of thinking about us. I know you love playing for the Holyhead Harpies and I don't want to feel you have to give that up but…"
Ginny looked at Harry. "I might not want to play for much longer," she said.
Harry looked surprised and pleased. "Our families have intermarried for ages. I wouldn't want to miss my chance to be with the only female Weasley for several generations." He waved his wand toward the cloaks hanging on pegs by the back door. "I've had this with me every time I've been with you since Christmas Eve. Accio velvet box." He caught the small box with Seeker grace and knelt at Ginny's feet. "It was my mother's but I want you to wear it if you'll have me for your husband."
By the time Arthur and Molly arrived home Sunday afternoon, Harry and Ginny had made and sampled several recipes from the new cookbook and were glowing with good health and improved circulation. When Harry and Ginny announced their engagement, Arthur chose a bottle of champagne from the cooler, opened it, and toasted the happy couple before they all ate an invigorating dinner.
A/N: I cannot possibly make up information like that about The Devil's Footprints or the Erotic Buns.