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 cou