"Great Scott, Potter, This is War!"
Chapter Twenty - The Founding Mothers and Fathers
By Aaran St Vines
For those of you reading both Great Scott Potter and The Granger Defense, the unique portion of the chapter is at the bottom and appears in blue.
Thanks for reading!
My gratitude goes to my writing coaches, Pamela St Vines and Kokopelli, and to my beta readers, Ninkenate and Sparky40sw.
Author's Note - I am fascinated with what is not detailed in canon. The next 15,000 words or so explain how magic as we know it in the Potterverse made its way to the North American British Colonies. I've carefully spun actual history and Potter lore to do so. I'd love to hear what you think.
Cheers! A. St. V.
From the Last Chapter
"Yes, Ron, you and Ginny. Don't you know?"
"Know what?" asked Ginny.
Cilla Newcastle looked perplexed. "Don't you know how important your great-great-I-don't-know-how-many-greats-grandfather was to us in America? Every American school boy and girl in our world knows the name, Sir Percival Bilius Weasley."
Ron gulped and said, "He went to America to help found magic there?"
"No, Ron," said Cilla with a mischievous grin. "He came to America with a charter for the Salem Institute, and a warrant to capture or kill our founding mothers and fathers."
Cilla Newcastle was an American Squib chartered to develop a magical computer lab for the students at Hogwarts, outside of the castle proper. After showing them around, she found herself preparing to tell Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Ginny exactly why the Weasley name was famous to all American magical folk.
Once she had their full attention, she related the following history:
The year was 1692. In Muggle Great Britain discussions had been going on for years about the excitement, dangers, opportunities, and risks of sailing to the New World. As the first of England's ports of promise on the continent proper, Boston was the most prominent of the New World settlements, but New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Charles Towne were growing quickly. Each had hopes of rivaling Boston as the colonies' principal harbor.
Magical Great Britain had universally decided NOT to have anything to do with the New World. There was even an official decree from the Ministry of Magic so stating. The Minister of Magic was so convinced that going to the colonies was a bad idea, that he wrote the decree himself, without even consulting the usual scribes and solicitors who knew how such documents should be worded. Therefore, there were several loopholes in the document allowing daring or desperate wizards or witches to legally immigrate, breaking the spirit but not the letter of the law. No one bothered to rewrite the decree removing the "wiggle room" as everyone at the Ministry was convinced no one would want to travel to such a dreadful land.
In the spring of 1692 there were over one hundred students finishing their seventh year at Hogwarts. In those days, many students left that school after completing their O.W.L. years, so this number of seventh years was unusually high.
The year was unusual for several other reasons. It was not uncommon for a small group of students in a year to become the unofficial leaders of everything exciting going on at Hogwarts. For example, three students let's say, might combine their extreme magical powers, intelligence, and bravery and set off on a number of adventures that capture the minds and hearts of those in school and out - fighting Dark Lords and such.
Another group might be reckless and adventurous in their pranks and mishaps and go marauding about the school after hours. They might become the talk of Hogwarts during their years there. Almost always these unofficial focal points of Hogwarts attention came from the same house, whichever house that might be.
Of course, the thing about 'almost always' is that it is not always. The year 1692 saw the matriculation of one of those very rare, cross-house groups of students that captured the attention of all their schoolmates.
There were four students, one from each house at Hogwarts, who bonded together in an unusual way to provide gossip for the whole school. There was no great war between Light and Dark to deal with at the time, but all was not at peace either. There had been some small conflicts the year before with some Goblins, just tremors in comparison to the Goblin Wars of prior eras, particularly the major Goblin Rebellion of 1612.
It was the dubious commemoration of that eightieth anniversary by a select few that firmly fixed the fame of the Unusual Four, as they were called. Now, to understand the story properly, you need to know that 'the four' started out actually as six friends, five from magical families, and one from a very special Muggle family. They all lived in and around the small village of Ottery St. Catchpole. Their families had all served in yeoman positions in the great battles between Light and Dark, good and evil, in the era of the founders of Hogwarts. Their small but comfortably prosperous family farms had been granted as rewards for services rendered during those battles.
Matilda Hardesty, known as Mattie, was the unofficial leader of the group. Hers was the strongest of the six strong personalities. Jamie Madison's family lived on an adjacent farm to the Hardestys' and the two had grown up just knowing they would be husband and wife one day.
The Hardesty and Madison families were long-term Hufflepuff house members, and at that time Hufflepuff's designation of loyal and hardworking was still respected. The house wasn't viewed as a catchall for the none-too-bright-brash-or-bold. However, this prejudice was beginning to rear its ugly head among the British magical community, because Hufflepuff had not won either of the cups in over seventy-four years. To make matters worse they had finished dead last for both the House Cup and the Quidditch Cup for the previous twenty-two years--before the Unusual Four.
Quentin Cooper came from a long line of Gryffindors, and Portia Hamilton's family had been Ravenclaws for the most part. Johnnie Jonas' family had been Slytherins long before the emerging stridency about blood purity.
The sixth of the lifelong friends descended from one of the most revered fighters of those great battles of the Hogwarts founders. All six families were famous after the battle of the Hogwarts Founders, but the sixth was uncommonly so and for good reason.
Benedict Pringle was the last heir of Cyrus Pringle who fought in that final battle. Cyrus was a Muggle - a Muggle who, because of his great cunning, strength, and prowess with a battleaxe, had been ignored as a factor in the battle by the forces of Darkness. But Pringle was not one to be ignored. The Pringles were a Muggle family that would be uniquely intertwined with the magical world for centuries.
In that great final battle at the turn of the Millennium, Benedict Pringle's untold-number-of-greats grandfather Cyrus Pringle had led a small contingent of Muggle warriors of significant abilities into the right flank of the forces of Darkness in the battle of the Founders of Hogwarts. Rowena Ravenclaw and Helga Hufflepuff had charmed each of their huge iron embedded shields to deflect most spells and curses. Nearly one-third of the Muggle forces under Pringle were archers with longbows, a weapon deadly against all flesh at distances far greater than the ranges of accurate spell and curse fire.
Between the longbows, the battleaxes, the huge sabers, and the charmed shields, Pringle's forces decimated the right line and then turned Slytherin's right flank. When this was noticed, the wounded pride of the forces of Darkness changed its direction. The Dark wizards and witches were insulted by the success of this Muggle attack, and shifted entirely too many of their numbers to "teach the Muggles a lesson."
The resulting weakness at the center provided the opening the nearly defeated forces of Light needed. The warriors of Light forced the line, the opposing army split, the right half was annihilated, and those victorious on the right attacked the remaining half of Salazar's contingent in a pincer movement. In one hour's time, the Dark forces had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, and were routed from the field.
Though one-third of those aligned with the remaining three Hogwarts founders were killed, nearly nine in ten of those following Salazar Slytherin lay dead or seriously wounded.
Pringle's force had been the deciding factor, and they paid dearly for the privilege. Twenty-three of the just over three hundred and fifty fearless and powerful Muggle warriors lived through the ordeal. Cyrus Pringle lost his left arm just above the elbow and his left eye. He also walked with a decided limp for the rest of his life. The fact that it was Helga Hufflepuff who found him among the wounded probably saved his life.
After the battle that saved Hogwarts and routed the Dark forces of Salazar Slytherin for good, these six families were rewarded with the lands where these six young friends grew up nearly seven hundred years later. All of them except Johnnie Jonas openly accepted the Muggle Benedict Pringle as an equal. Johnnie's behavior reflected the ebbs and flows of his father's on again, off again tirades about blood purity and legalizing Muggle hunting. Rather than follow his father's agenda, Johnnie really wanted much more to be friends with all of the others, including Benedict, but he had to be circumspect in his public behavior or risk openly defying his father.
All six were the same age, and all six spent most of their time prior to Hogwarts being true friends for the most part. Their families had all agreed on one thing - the value of a good education prior to going to Hogwarts. The Jonas family was the poorest, the Pringle family the best off though not wealthy, so the six families pooled their resources and hired excellent tutors for all six. This joint education further cemented their friendship - even between Johnson and Pringle.
In February of their eleventh year, Matilda, the oldest by several months, received her Hogwarts letter. By Jamie Madison's birthday on June one, the other three magical children had received their letters, and Benedict had been accepted at Eton College, already one of England's most famous public schools in 1685. Jamie's birthday, however, came and went, yet his Hogwarts letter never arrived. It was a stunned five friends who received the pronouncement. Jamie's father had contacted the school and the assistant headmaster had traveled to Ottery St Catchpole to perform several tests that confirmed the news - Jamie was a Squib.
Accidental magic happened rarely in families that were so openly magical and loving. Though adventuresome to a degree, it had been Jamie who was the mollifying voice in the group, so none of their activities had stimulated such pre-teen wandless magical outbursts.
The six walked in silence to the small stream where they often played. Mattie held Jamie's hand fiercely, dragging him along to be with the five who were still his friends. Silently they sat, and silently they kept their own counsel, until Benedict suggested Eton for Jamie.
Squibs in the past were usually kept in dungeons, or Obliviated and abandoned in the forests near distant Muggle communities. Sometimes they were killed. Jamie's parents loved him and did not want to do any of those things. The lad, though a Squib, had made better grades than the other five, even though they were all excellent students.
The Pringle family had been longtime supporters of Eton College, and when Benedict's father quietly visited the Dean of Admissions, a special acceptance was made for their brilliant "distant cousin" Jamie. And thus, the six became four - or that's how history looks at it - but true friendship, like true love, has a way of overcoming all sorts of obstacles.
On the day of Jamie's acceptance to Eton, Mattie took him alone to their favorite spot by the stream, where they swore, Jamie hesitantly, and Mattie unswervingly, their undying love. They also made plans to marry as soon as possible.
Each of the four Hogwarts-bound friends was sorted into their traditional family houses. Hufflepuff Mattie Hardesty was truly loyal and hardworking, but she was also fearlessly brave. She was an accomplished Defense student and won the Dueling Contests her last three years in school. Rarely did a sixth year beat the seventh years in that competition, and never had a fifth year won - until Mattie arrived at Hogwarts.
But she was known for her bravery and skills in battle long before her fifth year. In her third year Mattie had defeated three small trolls who had made their way into the lower levels of the school. When the cry went out to abandon the Hufflepuff's cheery lower level rooms, the teachers found the first two Trolls unconscious, and the third trussed and shouting at Mattie, as she tried to revive two unconscious first year Slytherins who'd been given bad directions by their more senior house mates.
In her fourth year, Mattie lead her three friends in thwarting a minor attempt by vampires to enter the Hogwarts grounds.
Portia Hamilton became a Ravenclaw, but her sorting was a close thing with the hat wavering between Ravenclaw and Slytherin. She had great ambitions to be the first female Minister of Magic, and knew she needed top grades at Hogwarts to enter the Magical Law Enforcement Department. Up to that point, that department had accepted only four females since its inception, and Portia wanted that department to be her springboard to the top Ministry post. Her grades were excellent - she made Prefect and then Head Girl in her final year.
Although Quentin Cooper's family had been Gryffindors for generations, the Sorting Hat wanted to put him in Ravenclaw. The normally easy going Quentin convinced the hat to place him in his family house. He never scored anything but perfect in theoretical classes, and did well enough in the practicals to make Head Boy. One could always find Quentin in the library--when it was open--unless he was in class, eating, or on the pitch.
All four of the friends were taller than usual for the days in which they lived. All four were also well above average in strength both physically and magically, and they had all become their team's Keepers in their second year. Though all four would have made fine Beaters or Chasers, playing Keeper kept them from facing each other in the heat of a Quidditch match.
Their friendship kept the Quidditch matches cleaner than they'd ever been. Keepers have always been a favorite target for unsportsmanlike conduct, but during those years, the teams learned that if a Beater were to attack one of the other team's Keepers wrongly, their own team's Keeper would come after them, threatening bodily harm.
Johnnie Jonas was brave, loyal, intelligent, and ambitious, but not to the degree of his more famous classmates. His Slytherin housemates berated him for not spouting the growing pure-blood rant of the day. There was fear in the magical communities of the Muggle population that had grown alarmingly since the increased availability of clean water, better sewage control, and basic medical knowledge had all but ended the plagues.
Two major political camps in the magical world argued the best course of action to deal with the increasing Muggle population. Most magical folk wanted to isolate themselves from the Muggle world and supported the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. Only a small but vocal and influential minority supported any hostile actions towards Muggles.
British magical diplomats had participated in the International Convocation to draft this statute that all in the Wizarding world would live by, but there was a battle in the Wizengamot over whether the British Minister of Magic should sign on behalf of his constituency.
Basically the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy was an extreme move to increase the secrecy and invisibility of the magical community. Seclusion was the watchword, and the decree for magical folk to avoid the New World colonies found one of its roots in this movement.
With this debate the pure-blood anti-Muggle faction rose up to oppose ratification. This faction was united in believing magicals should infiltrate the Muggle world and dominate from behind the scenes all Muggle governing bodies, causing them to pass legislation harmful in the long-term to Muggle advancements. - A small potion of this anti-Muggle group advocated a far more radical solution to the Muggle issues - the reinstitution of Muggle hunting to 'thin the herds' while they developed a means of destroying whole Muggle communities and cities to decrease the surplus population. Of course the wizard population would then assert its dominance by ruling over the Muggles.
"Their "solution" was based upon the premise that Muggles were sub-human. Therefore, these pure-bloods began to campaign against Half-bloods and Muggle-born being allowed to practice magic. They wanted none of them at Hogwarts.
This resulted in Johnnie being verbally bludgeoned by his housemates - no one would dare physically assault him because he was very powerful, and he did have three very powerful friends. Johnnie would listen and try to argue with them, but the smartest Slytherin was also the worst of the pure-blood advocates, Castor Weasley.
"What?" exclaimed Harry, Hermione, Ginny, and Ron. They were shocked by this revelation.
"A Weasley, in Slytherin?" said Ron. "That can't possibly be. You're wrong. We've been all Gryffindors for sixteen generations, I think it is."
"Ron," said Cilla Newcastle. "In what house was the Weasley seventeen generations ago?"
Harry glanced at Ginny to see how she was taking this revelation. Although she remained silent, it was clear that she shared her brother's distress. Not knowing what to say, Harry placed his hand on Ginny's shoulder to comfort her.
When neither Ron nor Ginny answered her question, Newcastle said, "Ron, Ginny, all of you. I think you will like this story a lot. Remember, I was excited most about meeting you, Ron Weasley, not Harry Potter. No offense, Harry, I'm really glad to meet you, too. Just give me a little more time--please--and you will see the happy ending to this. I promise."
Castor Weasley came from a long line of Slytherin Weasleys, the next to the last of the Slytherin Weasleys. Castor was erudite, logical, and determined to win the battle for the minds of the magical world. He was determined that they would all embrace the righteous cause of Pure-blood Wizarding dominance and Muggle restriction as the proper means of keeping the Muggle population at acceptable limits.
Do not misunderstand - Castor Weasley did not advocate Muggle-hunting or overt actions to kill off Muggles. He was for developing methods to slow Muggle advancements and curbing overpopulation.
Castor was a deadly debater, using dazzling logic and an impressive vocabulary to conceal the questionable foundation of his arguments--the unexamined false assumptions common to pure-blood thought. His opponents would find themselves agreeing with him before they could spot the errors in his arguments.
Castor's father Pontifax Weasley was the leader of those arguing in the Wizengamot for Wizarding world dominance. They were the minority faction, and there was no Dark Lord currently active in the British magical world to lead in a violent attempt to force the issue. This was a purely parliamentary battle, and law and order would win out.
In January 1692, the final school year of the Unusual Four, the Wizengamot ratified the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy as law in the British Isles. Those countries that had hesitated, quickly followed the example of the British magical government, and this statute became international law.
By that time Matilda Hardesty had become Matilda Madison. Since back then many students left school after their O.W.L.s, Hogwarts allowed its continuing students to marry after that year, with the understanding that they could only see their spouses during Hogsmeade weekends and Christmas holidays.
So, on Friday, February fourteenth, 1692, Jamie Madison traveled by Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade to join his wife for the weekend. Jamie was joined on the trip by his Eton roommate Benedict Pringle who went along to see his friends, Mattie Madison, Portia Hamilton, Quentin Cooper, and even Johnnie Jonas.
Johnnie and Benedict had left each other's company on bad terms at Christmas time. Johnnie had thoughtlessly commented positively on the Pure-blood notion of Muggle population control within Benedict's hearing, and what began as a shouting match ended with fists. Johnnie was flat on his back with a black eye, and Benedict stormed out of the Hamilton home where they'd met on the last day of the holiday.
Mattie and Jamie had arranged this particular Hogsmeade Weekend visit in hopes of mending the broken friendship.
Trains were a new idea back then, and even with the help of magic the trip was an all day affair.
Mattie was allowed to meet Jamie at the station that night, and Benedict had his own room at the Inn in Hogsmeade, at the opposite end of the hall from the newlyweds. The couple slept in or whatever, and Benedict breakfasted by himself. He then stepped out into the streets of Hogsmeade in anticipation of his other three friends arriving from the school directly for a traditional Hogsmeade Weekend. Sure enough, he soon saw the three walking his way, and quickened his steps to meet them.
To commemorate the eightieth anniversary of the last Goblin Rebellion that had been planned and executed right there in Hogsmeade, and to remind the Wizarding world not to take the goblins for granted, a splinter group of goblins decided to replay the revolt from four score years prior.
Before Portia, Quentin, and Johnnie had reached Benedict Pringle, the goblins attacked from various hiding places. They'd timed the attack to catch the flow of Hogwarts students. Portia Hamilton and Quentin Cooper were knocked over and unconscious immediately. Johnnie Jonas had been missed in the initial barrage of goblin spells and curses. However, he was so startled by the unexpected assault that he did not act. For several long moments he simply stood there. Just as he finally pulled his wand, a goblin knocked him over with a Paralysis spell. At that point Johnnie could only watch the goblins prepare to kill him and those around him, but he could do nothing to prevent it. His opportunity had come and gone; Johnnie knew that he and his friends were now going to die because of his indecision - but he was wrong.
Benedict Pringle was after all a Pringle, and like his fathers before him, Benedict was a warrior. He always carried a sword in a cane as was the fashion of many Muggles of the day, and he was very good with it - fierce, ruthless, and effective. Benedict charged forward yelling and distracting the goblins from their intention of killing their captives. He fought like a demon, killing the three goblins who were about to kill his friends. This drew the attention of other goblins. The Madisons arrived on the scene--Mattie with her wand and Jamie with his sword--just in time to see Benedict Pringle, the last of the long line of wizard-trusted Muggle warriors, die painfully in a hail of Goblin cutting curses. Pringle had saved his three bound friends' lives, and Johnny Jonas had watched the whole fight, tears coursing down his cheeks because he'd failed to do anything when he'd been given the chance.
Johnnie Jonas would never be the same - and that would be a good thing.
Jamie Madison was the second most devastated of the five friends left - all of whom had never imagined such despair. Jamie had been Benedict's roommate for the past six and a half years. He'd been there when Benedict had received the news that his father had died. Benedict was the very last Pringle, and with Benedict's death, a noble family and name expired.
It would take Johnnie Jonas many years to overcome his depression and self-loathing from what was, after all, an event that took his measure in seconds.
In late March of 1692, Thaddeus Thurkell died. He was the father of seven squib sons. The Weekly Prophet which was published twice weekly at this point, had followed the Thurkell family over the years as if it were an ongoing joke. Every year or two, something would befall one of the seven or the father. The paper would print the story and then the subsequent derogatory letters to the editor.
With the death of the father every story was re-run from over the years, and along with assorted Squib jokes, stories of Squib baiting, and many forms of ribaldry pointed at the few public Squibs, as well as Half-bloods and Muggle-born magical folk.
The Unusual Four had pooled their resources to subscribe to the magical newspaper, but they were all dismayed, and occasionally appalled by the intolerant stances, editorials, and slant to events that should have been objectively reported.
They each took turns being the first to read the paper. Quentin Cooper read the first few sentences of the purported obituary on Thurkell, and immediately left his place at the Gryffindor table to find Portia and Johnnie. Their initial plan was to hide the issue all together from Mattie, but they realized that if they did, Mattie would still find out eventually and be mad at the Prophet and them.
In a way, it could have been worse. It took a lot to rile Mattie, but attacking her husband was a good way to get hurt. Mattie also had an uncle by marriage who was a Muggle. All four knew her uncle and liked him, and there was concern about whether the child of this union, who was already showing signs of magical abilities, would receive her Hogwarts letter or not.
Three of the famous Hogwarts four of that era finished their seventh year with excellent records. Cooper and Hamilton received ten N.E.W.T.s each, all with Outstanding marks. Mattie Madison - her academic record and other accomplishments now listed under her married name, received ten NEWTs with mostly Os, and Johnnie Jonas received six, with one O, two EEs and the rest As.
Johnnie had gone into a self-loathing depression after the death of Pringle. The only emotions, all negative, that he spared for anyone but himself were pointed at the Ministry of Magic. Because only one person was killed and the goblins of Gringotts moved quickly to make amends and severely punish their own, the government hushed up this 'unfortunate event.' The Ministry considered the death of a Muggle to be basically inconsequential, even if it was the last heir of Cyrus Pringle. Revisionist history of Pringle's role in the battle of the Hogwarts Founders had for the past few decades succeeded in downplaying his importance for the purpose of political correctness.
None of the Unusual Four liked that, but their letters to the Ministry and the editors of the Weekly Prophet produced no positive results and went unpublished - but not unnoticed.
The negative results of their letter writing showed up when the job applications sent to the Ministry by Mattie, Quentin, and Portia failed to produce employment or even interviews. Other students leaving Hogwarts, all with lower grades, were being granted interviews and positions in the administration. Quentin and Portia, head boy and girl and tops in their classes, weren't even asked to interview.
Mattie was vocal in her lack of surprise. Quentin was stoic. Portia was bitter. Johnnie cared little for anything but sitting and staring at walls. They finished their schooling at the end of June and went back to their homes in Ottery St. Catchpole.
The Weekly Prophet had glossed over unrest in the colonies in a small back page article, and the Muggle press had printed reports on the subject. However, in July of 1692, a small supply brig sailed into the port of Falmouth with news that made the front page in both Wizarding and Muggle papers. The story was below the fold in the Muggle press, but in the Weekly Prophet, the headline read:
Stupid Muggles Kill Their Own
The article went on to congratulate the Ministry of Magic for its prescience in forbidding magical folk from going to the New World. The stupidity of Muggles in killing their own who were accused of witchcraft in the village of Salem in the Massachusetts colony became a running joke for several months to come.
Mattie and Jamie Madison invited Quentin, Portia, and Johnnie to dinner at their small cottage on the Madison farm. Jamie and Mattie forced the hiding Johnnie to attend, as it would not be a purely social occasion.
Mattie and Jamie had figured that where there was smoke there was fire. No known witch or wizard had gone to the New World, but what was there to stop Muggle-born magical folk from being born there? British citizens had lived in the Colonies since the Jamestown settlement in 1607. Now much of the eastern seaboard of that land had Muggles on it. In England Muggle-born magical folk were detected and guided to some sort of understanding of their powers. Who was doing that in the New World?
Jamie Madison had studied law and finance at Eton. He knew what opportunities were available in the colonies. Mattie saw going to the New World as a great crusade to address what she knew was an egregious wrong. The professorial Quentin thought of it as a wonderful intellectual adventure, and he definitely agreed with the need for action to protect the innocent - magical and Muggle alike.
Ambitious Portia, not well endowed with patience or tact, had spent a horrific three days in London at the Ministry of Magic, divining--even though she considered Divination a worthless, wooly subject,that she had no future there.
The Unusual Four, soon to be known as the Founding Mothers and Fathers of Magical America, began to plan. Finally they told their families about it and eventually convinced their parents to give their blessings. The four sold a number of possessions and some small properties, and set sail for Boston harbor in early August. No one from the Ministry of Magic was there to stop them for they foolishly believed the efficacy of their decree against immigration. In reality its only real power was as an example of a poorly written farce of law.
Upon docking in Boston, the four gathered their possessions and wits, and bought what supplies they felt they needed. They finally arrived in Salem on the afternoon of September 22, 1692, to learn that the local residents had hanged eight more people for witchcraft that very morning. The total came to twenty now, but there would be no more. The Four Founders and a good man named Increase Mather helped put the trials and executions to an end.
Mather stated that, "It were better that Ten Suspected Witches should escape, than that the Innocent Person should be Condemned."
As the most feared and hated of the accused having already been killed, the public took his words to heart. There was an immediate cessation of the trials.
Jamie immediately became friends with the leading men of the day in Salem, and Mattie and her magical friends started hunting for any who might be unknowingly magical.
There was one timid but bright girl who made the mistake of starting a fire in front of Quentin one afternoon. The fifteen year old had been very careful about doing this where she couldn't be seen, but Quentin was under his Invisibility Cloak, an inheritance from a great uncle.
Quentin observed her for several more hours. Then the four magical friends confronted the girl, and after several minutes of panic on her part, Lizzie Mae Pritchett calmed down enough to really listen. Mattie, who towered over the girl, seemed to be the one the frightened teen gravitated to.
In the time of Harry Potter, the average height for grown men was 5' 9", and the average for women was 5' 6". In the late sixteen hundreds the average heights were 5' 5" and 5' 3". Mattie stood 5' 9", and each of her friends was three or four inches taller than average. Jamie was the same height as his wife. Lizzie Mae was still to fill out a bit, but she was as tall as she would ever be at 5' 0" even.
After a day of talking, telling stories, and meeting the young girl's parents, Lizzie Mae and her folks were convinced that the four were trustworthy. She agreed to try to talk to the others that she knew of in Salem that were "strange."
The four she knew of were all children, Lizzie Mae was the oldest. Two were brother and sister at ten and eleven years of age.
As time went on the interesting thing was that Jamie the Squib was best able to look at a group of folk and detect that one of them might be magical. Jamie was also the one who legitimized their presence in the community. He had studied law and finance and came to the New World flush with the proceeds of several small inheritances. He invested in local business and practiced law. The New World was too small to support both barristers and solicitors, so he was merely a colonial lawyer who steered work to his friends.
The four discovered that they all had heads for commerce, and soon were in competition with, and then outshining the other local businesses. Success breeds envy in those you've bested, and the friends found themselves under a great deal of scrutiny. The solution was to move to the much larger town of Boston as it was not too far away, taking their young pupils with them. There they were small fish in a big pond, and they determined to remain so.
In Boston Jamie found himself drawn to a small child one day who was being beaten by his drunken father. As the inebriated man paused and raised his fist, muttering something like, 'devil's child,' the boy looked up above the man, and a sign immediately fell on his father's head. In two days the lad had been investigated and approached, and they began looking through the growing port of Boston for other Muggle-borns.
Now, what to do with those they'd found?
It was only natural that they would find themselves teaching magic. The Four were all natural born teachers, and so was Jamie. They were teaching the basics of magic and the fundamental elements of keeping magic secret before they knew it. All four of them were good at it. They'd always been asked to explain things to their housemates at Hogwarts as soon as it became known that they made good grades. Jamie also turned out to be a great coach about what to do and not do in public, and how much could go unnoticed in front of Muggles.
The word Muggle was abandoned at this time. The four had never liked the term because it had rankled Benedict Pringle. To honor him, they spent a great deal of time discussing a new name for those not magical, but it was Lizzie Mae who had the brainstorm.
Lizzie Mae could never understand why primary schools in England weren't the first schools children went to; after all, 'primary' meant first, didn't it?
Lizzie Mae said, "Which came first, the magical or the non-magical?"
It was a question that none of them had considered, but they agreed that non-magicals had probably been around first.
With the wisdom and ignorance of youth, and not being imprinted with traditional thinking, Lizzie Mae said, "Well, then why not call non-magical folks 'Primaries'?"
She went back to darning a sock, and the five decided to ask her and the other children what they thought more often.
The parents of Muggle-born, no, Primary-born magicals were not all like the drunken lout Jamie had encountered shortly after they moved to Boston. Most were hardworking men and women of above average intelligence who loved their children. Jamie also found the mostly poor parents of their magical students to be a ready source of hard workers. Many of them also proved to have eyes for opportunity, bringing him methods and ideas for improving the specific businesses they worked in. These loyal employees also proposed new products and services to offer, and occasionally one would suggest an idea for an entirely new business.
In Boston the four plus Jamie intentionally kept their businesses small or sold them to Primaries who could grow the businesses to their full potential without fear of the scrutiny of success. The intent was to not draw attention to themselves by being too successful.
However, no good deed goes unpunished.
By 1702, the four were spending most of their time finding or teaching the Primary-born magical children. Mattie was pregnant with what would be her third son. Portia was unmarried and declared in a huff quite often that she never intended to marry. Quentin had gone back to visit England in a circuitous route, hitting Newfoundland, Iceland, Greenland, and the northwestern most tip of Ireland. He'd hired a boat all for himself, and played the part of the eccentric naturalist, trying to discover any previously unknown species of flora or fauna he could name for himself. In truth he was exploring the possibilities of an Apparation or Portkey route back and forth between the two continents. Once in England, he chanced upon Fryda Glant, a former Gryffindor housemate who had been three years behind Quentin. Quentin was the well-dressed former Head Boy and star Quidditch Keeper. Fryda had played Chaser on the team for the last three years he'd played, and they knew each other better than most with such age differences.
She was not a great beauty, but very, VERY pretty; and when she smiled the room needed no torches, or so Quentin believed. Fryda Glant became Fryda Cooper in a small service at St. Simon's Parish. Three days later they set sail for the New World. Quentin didn't know that a bungling brother-in-law of one of the assistants to the Minister of Magic had been given the useless job of watching ship departures. Though he could not do anything about it, the brother-in-law's report of two magicals leaving for Boston did cause a stir.
Upon his father's death, Castor Weasley held a position of prominence and power at the ministry. One of the useless things he was paid for was administration of Wizarding Immigration Prevention. The missing Mattie and Jamie Madison, Quentin (and now Fryda) Cooper, Portia Hamilton, and Johnnie Jonas were thorns in Castor's side. That they were no longer around did not bother him. He just wanted to know what they were up to. He felt he couldn't be so lucky that they had died somehow in a Lethifold attack or some such happy bit of nastiness.
The useless brother-in-law recognized both Quentin and Fryda, but could not remember which ship they'd sailed on. Eighteen possible ships, capable of carrying passengers, had left that particular port that day for Boston, Bombay, British Guiana, South Africa, Goa, Sumatra, Singapore, and eleven other points of the globe.
With such faulty intelligence it was impossible to follow them, but Castor Weasley was finally given sufficient staff to set a watch at all the major ports for the Unusual Four and their assorted spouses. Portia Hamilton did come back to England two years later and returned to the Colonies shortly thereafter with a husband. Portia married a distant cousin who also bore the name of Hamilton with whom she'd been corresponding for several years. Now all the remaining members of the proud old English magical families of Madison, Hamilton, Jonas, and Cooper were no longer in Great Britain.
In addition to her groom Perkins Hamilton, Portia took back to Boston all of the books, devices, and equipment unavailable in the New World that were needed to start a first class school of witchcraft and wizardry.
She also unknowingly brought with her a spy for the Ministry - Glyphco Malfoy.
All four students gasped at Pricilla Newcastle's latest bombshell.
In 1704, Glyphco Malfoy covertly followed the newly wed Perkins and Portia Hamilton back to America. They were on a larger boat to hide themselves in the numbers, and the couple occupied a modest but comfortable private room above the water line.
Glyphco survived the sickness of the lower decks in the most squalid of shared accommodations. He had little funds advanced to him for the trip, and no personal funds to improve his creature comforts. He was also under the strictest of orders to do nothing to draw attention to himself as a wizard. He wanted to kill those in the tiny cabin with him near the bilge pumps, but he merely used a light Confundus charm to be left alone.
The Malfoy family traced its line back to the purest of French Wizarding blood traveling to England after the Norman invasion. They had their bloodlines and their ambitions, and not two Knuts to rub together, even after six hundreds years. The Malfoys were a Three-Thirty-Three Family and they had their founding vote in the Wizengamot, but they barely made it onto the list, having made the cut only because the Ollivander family refused to join.
The Malfoys had always considered "working" to be beneath them, so they had never in the four hundred or so years since the charter of the Wizengamot bothered to seek honest emplyment for their family's advancement. They scurried around currying favors and participating at instant-wealth schemes that occasionally added to their coffers only to be spent all too quickly.
So Glyphco decided spying for the Ministry would be his method of making a living until his father died and Glyphco could take his seat in the Wizarding assembly. In the meantime he'd develop a suitable blackmail list to live off of.
Not far from the docks in Boston Portia Hamilton spotted a little girl doing accidental magical. She stopped the wagon sent to bring them to their magical community just outside the city, and spent over an hour investigating. Glyphco heard it all from underneath his Invisibility Cloak, the one truly valuable tool the Ministry had provided him.
Over a week later, Glyphco Malfoy entered their settlement and waited until Perkins Hamilton was passing by. When he was sure Perkins would see him, Glyphco faked struggling with a butter churn that he'd stolen that morning, and then slyly Reducto-ed it with his wand hidden up his sleeve. He had spent the week practicing casting a Reductor with only the tip sticking out of his balled fist.
Perkins was delighted to have "found" his first Primary-born wizard, and had little trouble convincing Malfoy to go with him. Glyphco played his part well, feigning ignorance and surprise, and within two weeks he was helping with the creation of their school of witchcraft and wizardry.
On the fifteenth day that Glyphco awoke as a part of the new magical educational community, he walked outside, only to be punched in the nose and knocked down. Johnnie Jonas had arrived back from his honeymoon, and upon seeing his old Slytherin school chum, had rendered the proper salute. Johnnie had remembered Glyphco's boasts of raping a young Muggle-born witch - a memory that still enraged him when he'd knocked Malfoy to the ground that morning.
In addition to being four years older than the Unusual Four, Glyphco had left Hogwarts after his O.W.L. year, but in their one year as housemates he had treated Johnnie unmercifully for the friends he'd kept, and Glyphco had bragged incessantly of the joys he'd taken in illegal Muggle hunting over the summer with his father.
Johnnie knew Glyphco for what he was -- a spy, and a threat to all they'd accomplished.
Johnnie Jonas was a very different man from the one who left England. He'd come to enjoy helping people, especially those who could not help themselves in the magical world they did not understand.
At fifteen Lizzie Mae Pritchett had gone to Mattie Madison that first day for solace, but it was Johnnie she'd had her eyes on. He and the others had helped her learn control over her magic, and she'd proven to be a bright student and a naturally gifted witch. Lizzie Mae now helped teach the newly found magical ones, and she was particularly gifted at helping them through the transition she'd experienced herself.
On her twenty-fourth birthday, Johnnie looked at her as if he'd never seen her before. Their courtship was a sweet and innocent affair, something no traditional Slytherin male would admit to, but Johnnie could not be happier.
Perkins Hamilton was horrified at his mistake, but Johnnie and Quentin let him help take Malfoy to the harbor, and send him bound and gagged on his way back to England. The captain got a pathetic amount of work out of the wandless Malfoy on the trip eastward.
Six months later, Glyphco and sixteen Aurors arrived in Boston and made their way in force towards the magical settlement just outside of the port. They had with them the approved teachers for a school that would many years later eventually be known as the Salem Institute. At this point Malfoy's initial commission from the British Ministry of Magic was to start a simple trade school to make servants out of the Muggle-born wizards and witches they found in the colonies.
The British Ministry forces found no trace of anyone in the abandoned compound. Glyphco knew nothing about Jamie Madison from his brief time at the settlement, because Mattie had been away most of the time scouting out the country to see if there were any magicals among the native populations. When she was gone, Jamie tended to stay in Boston proper and concentrate on his commercial enterprises.
Though there was shamanism in the uncharted reaches of the new continent, there was nothing magical as was known to them at the time. Mattie had traveled by broom, which was particularly painful since the Cushioning charm for brooms had not yet been invented. She had nailed a board to her old broom, and placed a small pillow on it for comfort. When she was tired of that she'd line of sight Apparate across open plain areas, going several hundred yards at a time. Tiring of that, she'd remount her broom and fly along until her power was sufficient to Apparate again. However, it would be a one-way trip by broom and Apparation, because of a new technology called the Portkey.
Apparation was only a few hundred years old in 1704, but Portkeys were a brand new development of the Department of Mysteries. Apparation was thought to only work when one knew the landing place very well, and it was not more than twenty-five to thirty miles away. Unknowingly many were Apparating longer distances, but the general consensus was that thirty miles at best was the limit.
The Portkey held the promise of going much greater distances, hundreds of miles, and it did not rely on the magical power of the one traveling to make the jump. The power came from the caster of the Portkey, and his or her understanding of the location and the power needed to go the distances.
All of this was hush-hush, but a truly brilliant but bashful Ravenclaw lad, two years older than Portia, had shown her the scrolls recording the procedures for Portkey making. Two minutes of mostly innocent flirting on her part one day when she fruitlessly waited for an employment interview had yielded a visit to his office.
It was the most fortuitous thing that could have occurred. Portia did not see all of the warnings and admonitions on the second page of the document. When any new Wizarding technology was developed, the standard procedure was to imagine everything that can go wrong and then slowly and methodically work to disprove or control these possible mishaps. Then and only then would the farthest reach capability of that technology be explored, with great safety factors engaged. It wasn't until 1759 that the limits were reached by the Unspeakables as to where one could not Portkey. Because continents could be spanned and oceans crossed, the Ministry of Magic locked down Portkey manufacture as tightly as possible. It is still highly regulated today in most of Europe.
But in 1704, three days after Glyphco Malfoy found himself shanghaied out of the New World, Mattie Madison Portkeyed from the middle of the continent, back to their home just outside of Boston. They just didn't know they weren't supposed to be able to do that. Even more important, now that Mattie had been there, she knew just how to Portkey back to her starting destination on the upper plains.
It wasn't until 1924 that the English attempted transporting a Muggle by Portkey technology, but after several experiments in a nearby field, Mattie proceeded to portkey her Squib husband back to the beautiful lakes she'd discovered. They soon established a new magical community just west and south of the five Great Lakes in the middle of the continent.
At first they only called it 'the school.' It would be known in later years by a different name, but the first true school of magical learning in the Americas started with thirty-two students on September first, 1704.
There were four houses, Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin, of course. But they differed from their British counterparts.
Johnnie Jonas headed a different version of Slytherin house. Because of Benedict Pringle, Johnnie never stopped striving for understanding and acceptance of all humans, regardless of position or abilities. Helpfulness was highly prized in his house and a desire to serve, but Johnnie also encouraged ambition and the desire to do great things for the betterment of all mankind. He urged his students to study hard in hopes of accomplishing brave and daring goals of service.
Portia Hamilton, ably assisted by her husband Perkins, populated Ravenclaw with the smartest and most ambitious students. No goal was too lofty, and nothing would stand in their way. Her Ravenclaws studied hard, worked hard, and bravely and adamantly took on anything standing in their way.
Mattie Madison, the head of Hufflepuff house, opened her arms to all. But before they would choose it, she would deliver a rousing speech of bravery and daring do, that captured the imagination of all of those brave enough to go to extremes to loyally help others. She imagined her house members finishing school and going out to rescue all of those lost magical souls who didn't know what that meant. Her husband would deliver the means and methods for them to move among the populations and immigrants arriving on those huge shores, and find those who might need to be brought into the magical fold. She envisioned Hufflepuffs smart enough to exist in two worlds, ambitious enough to daringly succeed, and helpful enough to bravely and selflessly serve in this rescue mission roles.
Quentin Cooper inspired those in his house to be the truly brave Gryffindors. Brave enough to study and know whatever needed to be known to succeed. Brave enough to work hard to serve the others with brilliant scholarship, outstanding practical experience, and training in dueling so that they would be equipped to fight for justice and freedom.
Glyphco Malfoy saw his mission in America as his stepping-stone to power. Subdue the magical aberrations in the local populous, set up the school for a servant class of magicals, and go home the conquering hero.
He did all this--or at least he did in his reports -and he did accomplish some of it in a very limited way. The trade school was a harsh and cruel two-year program teaching household magic, Lifting and Banishing spells for domestics and farm hands, and the importance of subservience to their pure-blood masters. Glyphco had few students, but his requests for budget increases proclaimed that he was gaining a strong grip on the rowdy locals.
Magic can be a great equalizer, and it had already become clear to the Founding Mothers and Fathers that Primary-born witches and wizards were on average more powerful than the rank and file pure-bloods. Glyphco had this fact pounded home when he hit a young girl with the Cruciatus curse, and her older brother used his wand to Banish Malfoy into a wall, knocking him unconscious. The huge lad was bound by one of Glyphco's associates, and the crazed blond-haired spy-turned-educator tortured the boy to death before taking further revenge upon the sister.
If Glyphco had gained any real skills from Hogwarts, it was his brewing abilities. Shortly after the assault, the students in the two-year program became significantly more docile and compliant, and basically useless as servants-which proved the point of Muggleborns being inferior rather nicely Glyphco thought. The daily potion saw to that.
His success and potions-induced "proof" of Muggleborn inferiorities stimulated rapidly increasing funding from the Wizengamot - most of which went into Glyphco's own purse.
With the Wizengamot's money Glyphco hired the lowest of poor magicals in Great Britain, secretly and illegally brought them to the colonies, and placed them in permanent indenture in his personal empire. He siphoned off funds to feather his vault in Gringotts and continued to appease the Ministry with false reports. He blackmailed any magicals returning to England to support his elaborate fabrications, and if they refused to cooperate, they disappeared--or died.
A few of the Muggleborn witches and wizards born in the colonies and trained in what Malfoy called "the trade school" made it back to England as servants, but they were those who were too intimidated to be enticed away by the agents of the Unusual Four.
In 1734, Glyphco Malfoy returned triumphantly to the Ministry in London, fairly wealthy and clamoring for a bigger post. He had his eyes on Minster of Magic, but there was enough skepticism about him in the Wizengamot to ensure that would never happen. Glyphco, embittered but pragmatic, decided the post would go to his son, Apollyon Malfoy. Glyphco had married well according to bloodlines, but not according to inheritance. His wife was Lucretia Fudge, who came from the poor branch of that old family. She was beautiful and blond, and everyone knew that their children would inherit her pale blond hair.
Castor Weasley, married late in life, after his fortieth birthday. His bride was a beautiful red headed girl he'd known since he was seventeen. Illisa Crinald was only nine years old when she met Castor, but she was already gorgeous. People would stop the family in Diagon Alley to comment on her beauty. Illisa attended a Ministry event the summer she met Castor. The nine year old told the Hogwarts seventh year that day that she planned on marrying him, and though he laughed along with the rest of her family, Castor never forgot it and Illisa never doubted it.
Castor did not see the girl or her family again for decades. But in the lonely years after that meeting no woman he ever met was as beautiful, and none had her verve for life.
Castor Weasley, who was known as the confirmed old bachelor of the Wizengamot, was walking through the Ministry of Magic one day soon after his thirty-seventh birthday, when he stopped dead in his tracks. Standing before him was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen - even more beautiful than the stunning little girl he had never forgotten. Her hair was as red as Illisa's. She was tall--as he imagined Illisa would be--and as vivacious as the precocious little girl had been.
There was a good reason for this - the woman before him was Illisa Crinald.
She had been the Head Girl at Hogwarts her seventh year, and was now a rising star in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
But alas she had been a Gryffindor!
On his forty-first birthday, Castor Weasley happily swallowed his pride and married Illisa, the love of his life. He'd spent three foolish years not letting her have what she wanted - him as a husband. She'd given up her promising career to transfer to the secretarial office of the Wizengamot. She then made it to the position of his personal assistant in less than a year. Castor had tried in vain to have her replaced, but Illisa had charmed the office manager into resisting his rants on the subject. Of course, his protests were half-hearted at best and Castor never made good on his threats to that manager.
Castor Weasley still struck a dashing figure, even though a good bit of his red hair was grey now. Illisa had a few barely noticeable lines on her forehead, and a strand or two of grey herself. Regardless, the Daily Prophet called it the most fashionable wedding of the season. He was forty-one; she was thirty-three. Eleven months after the wedding, Percival Bilius Weasley was born. Their one and only child, for Illisa had a terrible time in labor and delivery.
Papa Castor had wanted a true Slytherin, but his Gryffindor wife had softened his heart. While father Castor had told him of the merits of pure blood, Percival's mother told him of her Muggleborn friend who'd achieved the highest scores at Hogwarts in Potions and Charms their senior year.
Following tradition, the Sorting Hat placed Percival Weasley in Slytherin. As a Slytherin he managed to say all of the right things and made all of the right connections. But he never forgot that the Hat said that he could have been a Gryffindor, if he'd wanted.
Percival Weasley became Sir Percival as a last act of the last royal witch in England. Magical royalty had no say in the government of the magical world in that country, but it was still respected. Knighthoods on Wizardkind were bestowed for services to the Queen - magic had nothing necessarily to do with it. There were no royal witches or wizards per se, only witches or wizard who happened to be royal.
Duchess Clarinda of Hondstooth was of noble birth and a Muggleborn witch. She was as childless as she was toothless and unpleasant, but she read the papers. One day she was drawn to an article about a young wizard - in his late thirties though that was young to the one hundred and forty seven year old spinster - and she decided he should be knighted. She petitioned her cousin-by-marriage, the King, to invest Percival Bilius Weasley, and he became Sir Percival.
In 1756, Apollyon Malfoy went back to the colonies because his father thought there might be powerful advancement in subduing the rebellious native magical community that insisted on a say in their government.
By this time the existence of magical folk in America was commonly known, but the Ministry of Magic would only recognize those who had attended and completed their trade school.
In 1767 Mattie Madison came back to England as spokesperson for the other school and assumed her Hogwarts education and distinguished awards in school would validate her worthiness. All it did was make her a target, along with the other four, her Squib husband included.
The arguments and actions of those in the Malfoy faction on behalf of the trade school became more outlandish, particularly when one considers that his dubious organization was no longer much of a school at all. It had become the British Ministry of Magic's base of operations in the New World as it sought to bring the colonial magical population under its control. In correspondence to the Ministry the Unusual Four became more vocal in their advocacy for an independent local governing body in America that only loosely answered to the Ministry of Magic in Great Britain. The Four still considered themselves British, but like their Muggle counterparts, the mother country was making it difficult.
It didn't help their cause in Britain that the American born witches and wizards-- along with their families--were calling the Unusual Four, the 'Founding Mothers and Fathers.'
Of course the use of the term 'Primaries' became a rallying cry against the American Founding Four and all they stood for in the colonies. Apollyon Malfoy funneled information to his devious father, who was now in charge of the Information Office of the Ministry in London. The Daily Prophet was filled with story after story for years smearing the work of the Four in America. They were called the 'Rebellious Four' in the press and even in governmental documents.
No one was protecting their image, interests, or reputation back home in England. The Malfoys continued to spread innumerable lies about the Rebellious Four, and the Weasleys believed their smear campaign along with everyone else. Even those classmates who knew the four well were influenced by the misleading drivel year after year.
It was inevitable that the spies of the Ministry-backed trade school would eventually uncover a business with connections to Jamie Madison's efforts to support their school.
In 1773, a Malfoy spy overheard Boston dock workers mention "moonstone," followed by "hellebore" a few sentences later. Recognizing these as commonly used potions ingredients, the spy knew he was on to something. One of the first businesses Jamie had begun--and the first to reach outside of the colony of Massachusetts--was a tea importing company. Of course, it imported more than tea, as it was also the perfect cover for importing those potions ingredients that were heretofore unavailable in the colonies. The precautions required to protect tea from moisture and other contaminants during shipping also protected the precious potions ingredients, and the strong fragrance of the tea helped hide them from inspectors.
While the East India Company was frustrated in the competitive American market--even with its royal charter--other import/export companies were doing well, and Jamie's company was a strong contender within the second tier of those firms.
After Malfoy's spy uncovered this operation, his men boarded a ship by night and dumped its entire cargo overboard, believing it to be the shipment of potions components. In reality they had attacked the wrong ship and dumped an entire shipment of tea into Boston Harbor, which caused a transatlantic political crisis within the Muggle community. Upon realizing their mistake, the agents of the trade school tried to hide their tracks with a ridiculous cover story blaming the native Indians for the attack.
Mattie Madison traveled back to England in 1774 to appeal to the Wizengamot and the Ministry for a calming of tensions and a normalization of relationships between what she referred to a "two existing nations." Thinking of herself as a traveling diplomat without portfolio, she was greeted by protests on the docks and was accused of everything from attempting to overthrow the government to carrying the plague.
After five months of fruitless frustration, Mattie returned to America just before she was to have been arrested on charges of stealing state secrets. The proof of this according to the Malfoy factionaries was Mattie's use of a self-made Portkey to safely travel within Great Britain. Because Mattie had made her way by ship to America following the route taken by Quentin Cooper much earlier, she now knew her way around the Great Magical Circle Route as they called it. Therefore, she was able to Portkey from London to Boston in just less than three days including the rest breaks they believed were necessary at that time.
In governmental circles, any decision worth making is worth putting off. So, the call for immediate action by the louder--read pro-Malfoy--factions of the Wizengamot finally resulted in the decision to send an independent investigative team to the Americas in 1776. The man all sides finally agreed upon to head the team was Sir Percival Weasley. His father Castor was initially considered, but he declined the honor, citing a reluctance to make the journey. The truth was that his health was failing due to a disease that the healers at St. Mungo's would not be able to cure at this time. However, Castor and his wife hid the seriousness of this from their son, so he would not miss this opportunity.
As a result of both genetics and conscious imitation , Sir Percival appeared and sounded like his father Castor. But his heart had inherited the sensibilities and kindheartedness of his mother Illisa.
Sir Percival was widely respected not only for his passionate commitment to justice, but also for his calm deliberation and coolly detached objectivity when considering the facts of a matter. In essentials he believed like his father did about blood issues. Both men believed in the superiority of pure blood, but frowned upon magicals harming Muggles. Of course, Percival had spent his formative years at his mother's knee, and Castor had been her husband for decades, so the reality was that neither man was now as adamant as he sounded.
Behind the scenes father and son Malfoys were plotting ways to make Sir Percival see the light and adopt their more extreme position.
Also, unknown to even Glyphco Malfoy, his son, Apollyon, was now deeply immersed in the Dark Arts. It was the reason Apollyon had never returned to Britain. He was actually being changed physically by entering deeper and deeper into such loathsome reaches. Apollyon had sent some of his more trusted--that is despicable--associates back to England to recruit more disreputables to their cause, so by 1776 there was a small army of Dark Arts trained wizards ready to fight for control of the magical community of the British colonies--maybe the whole New World.
The Founding Mothers and Fathers had all feared that action, rather than just words might be needed. When Mattie returned from England with the story of her treatment there, they began training for the seemingly inevitable fight in earnest.
Sir Percival arrived in Boston in late 1776. In addition to being the Ministry's emissary to investigate the accusations against the Rebellious Four, he carried the charter to convert the trade school into the Salem Institute.
After the school of the Founding Four had been established in the nortern Great Plains, France and Spain had started proper schools of magic in Martinique and San Juan, and the British Foreign Office of the Ministry of Magic had received great ribbing about their colonial trade school. That would theoretically change now. In addition to expanding the curriculum, the charter specified that an impressive new structure be built to house the school.
The Salem Institute was built and used as a school for only a couple of years. Today it serves as a museum and culture center.
Under Glamours so his Dark-changed appearance would be unrecognized, Apollyon Malfoy and his functionaries showed Sir Percy only what they wanted him to see. Weasley even reported back by post what appeared to be the facts: the Rebellious Four were ruining America and pushing for a break from the mother country--or so everyone Sir Percival met said. And that alone caused him to wonder. Not everyone hated the worst tyrants in history.
Sir Percival Weasley bided his time and watched for any opportunity that would allow him to discover what was so obviously being hidden from him. That opportunity knocked when he was walking along the street one day with Jenkins Philby, one of Malfoy's flunkies dogging his every step. They were passing by a small shop when Jenkins made a derogatory remark about Muggles. To Percival's surprise the lad watering the flowers in the window box looked up sharply. The dislike on his face was unmistakable, if fleeting. The boy sadly shook his head as he returned to his task. Fortunately Philby was too full of his own importance to notice.
It took several days--and a bit of deceit--to get rid of Philby but the Weasleys were never stupid. Like his father, Percival could assume a benign facial expression when it suited his to mislead others into thinking him shallow.
After Sir Percival had lain down for a nap the third day in a row, saying "Headache you know. Can't abide the potions to stop them," his minder left to have a cuppa. As soon as his footsteps had faded down the hall, Sir Percival Apparated to an alleyway he'd been studying for this very attempt, and then made his way to the business where he'd seen the boy frowning at unkind words about Muggles.
He marched in, looked around until approached, and then said in the friendliest of manner, "I'm Sir Percival Weasley, Plenipotentiary Investigator for the British Ministry of Magic, and I want to speak to Mattie Madison."
The young clerk's gasp confirmed that he knew of what the visitor spoke, and Jamie Madison stepped into the room with a wand pointed at his guest.
In a flash, Sir Percival drew his own wand, called "Expelliarmus," and then handed both wands to the clerk.
"My good man, I know you are Jamie Madison and a Squib, something I am prepared to overlook, and take into consideration in my report if you will show me the customary courtesy of my diplomatic status, and help me in my investigation. No one from the so-called trade school knows my whereabouts. I want to know your side of all this. You can't be as bad as your opponents say; you've not bitten the head off of a single puppy since I entered this establishment."
Sir Percival sounded snobbish, but he was no fool, and Jamie knew it immediately. Jamie called for a young man from the back, and whispered in his ear. The tall youth took out a silver Knut, rubbed it with his finger, and Portkeyed away.
Less than one minute later, Mattie Madison Apparated into the shop. Meanwhile the doors had been locked and the curtains drawn. She looked outside through a slit in the curtains, consulted with her husband, and stared at her dubious visitor for several long moments.
"Sir Percival, why shouldn't I kill you where you stand?"
The stuffy man replied immediately, "Three reasons. First, you are a killer, but not a murderer. A distinction the press in England has failed to note. Second, you've not breathed fire, drowned a baby, or even pulled the wings off of a fly in the two minutes you've been here, so you are not as cruel or evil as you are portrayed. Finally, while I definitely do not believe in what you are reported to want, what little you were allowed to say in England a few years back holds sway with me. I want to understand your position and I do believe you're the proper one to educate me.
"And here is a fourth reason: if you entertain any hope of your message reaching the decision makers back in England, then I am your best hope of making your thoughts known with any objectivity. The others here representing the Ministry couldn't make you appear more evil without stating you have horns on your head.
"I promise you this. I will take your message to the Wizengamot. I will present it fully. What enthusiasm I employ in delivering that message, and what recommendations I make will be up to your powers of persuasion to sway me that you have a just cause.
"Sir and Madam, I am not your judge or jury. But I am the only ear you will be given a chance to convince. I have one hour until I am missed. Any additional time will cost me to give you. Make it good. And I suggest we go in yon office and have your man bring tea. You are tea importers here, right?"
The next morning after breakfast, Apollyon Malfoy broached the subject with Sir Percival that there was little else for the Plenipotentiary Investigator to see. He then asked if accommodations for a return voyage should be secured.
Sir Percival replied, "I have accepted an invitation to see the countryside, and will make my own arrangements for my return voyage. Mr. Malfoy, I appreciate your hospitality, but I must deliver an objective report. My next few weeks with the Madisons should ensure that."
Malfoy speedily drew his wand, but Weasley triggered the Portkey handkerchief in his hand before Apollyon could cast a spell.
Sir Percival landed in an empty barn, and the young man, who had greeted him in the shop the day before, led him outside and to the farmhouse next door.
Jamie met him at the door, and drew him into the main room. "Welcome to what we call the farm for no reason in particular."
"Clever," was all Weasley replied, but his disdain of these primitive surroundings was clear. He also couldn't resist wrinkling his nose at a most unpleasant smell.
Jamie politely continued as if he had not noticed their guest's reaction, "My wife you've met. please allow me to present the rest of what you call the Rebellious Four, what we call the Founding Four. Quentin Cooper, Portia Hamilton, and Johnny Jonas."
Johnny came forward. "Welcome, fellow Slytherin. I am afraid that I am what you smell. Just had a potions experiment go bad on my wife and me a few minutes ago."
Weasley pulled his wand and was surprised to see all but Jamie had their wands pulled and pointed at him. Jamie had a pistol in his hand.
Completely unfazed, Sir Percival said, "Indeed. There's a newly developed spell. Cleans up clothing rather keenly. It should remove most of if not all of the offending odor as well."
"Let him," said Johnnie. "You can kill him later if he harms me, and if it is not a new Cleaning spell we will have a good bit of the answer as to whether or not we can trust him in a limited manner."
"Scourgify!" performed as proclaimed, and it was new to them. Sir Percival obligingly showed them the wrist and wand action, and soon they were all cleaning something. Jamie chuckled.
The mood lightened after that and they began to talk about inconsequential things. Sir Percival's face gleamed in delight as he brought out the handkerchief. "This was my first trip with a Portkey. I understand that you can take them up to a hundred miles. I've Apparated thirty miles before," he said with pride. "How far did I go just now?"
"Just over ten miles," said Mattie. She looked at the others, and their guest noticed that they all were silently agreeing to something. "Sir Percival, I do not know if you have been lied to, or just that it is unknown, but the distances a Portkey can span are much greater. We want to take you somewhere."
Mattie Madison took out what appeared to be simply a piece of rope. They all stood and grabbed hold, Jamie included, and before Sir Percival could say that Muggles could not Portkey, he felt the same tug behind his navel that he'd felt a few minutes before. As the trigger words registered in his brain, 'the school,' he found himself touching down and falling to his knees on a grassy meadow.
The first thing Weasley noticed was it was a bit darker. It had been just after 7:00 AM when he'd finished breakfast, and they had only been chatting in the farmhouse for about twenty minutes before traveling here. He looked up to see if it was about to rain.
Mattie Madison said, "Sir Percival, you've just traveled well over a thousand miles, and landed within feet of my intended destination. I've personally Apparated over a hundred miles, and Quentin has gone over a hundred and fifty."
"Mrs. Madison, Mr. Copper, I find that hard to believe."
"Look at the angle of the sun," said Quentin. "It's lower than when you came to us. If you remember the earth's rotation from Astronomy, you'll know you've gone as far as we've said. Oh. And please call me Quentin. We've become less formal here in the colonies."
They all called out their given names, but Sir Percival did not give his. He did use the names they gave him, however. He scanned the horizon, working from right to left. He took in the broad vista of the main lake, its shore just a few hundred yards away, and the smaller ones within sight. He continued to circle until he came to the most impressive white stone structure he'd seen since embarking from his ship in the Americas.
It was relatively square appearing from this distance and about the size of the Ministry of Magic in terms of footprint. He could see four roof sections with yellow, red, blue, and green flags flying, one over each of the four sections.
Mattie, said, "Welcome to the school. The students are just going to breakfast now and will be in their classes in an hour. We have nearly two hundred enrolled in our seven-year program, all set into four houses. The building will be different, but I believe much of what you'll see will be familiar to you."
Miss Newcastle," asked Hermione. Where was that school located, and is it still there?"
"It is still there although the building is in what the Primaries consider a bit of a marsh. It's on Lake Monona in the state of Wisconsin. Monona is the largest of the four lakes there at the city of Madison, the capital of Wisconsin. It took some massive landscaping to convert that small hill into a marsh to hide the school, but by then there were some construction elves in America to help. Twice since it was founded the school gained major additions, and instead of going up, they've gone down and under the lake itself. They have skylights, which let filtered sun light in through the lake water and into the building. Of course the Disillusionments ensuring the Primaries only see a muddy bottom are constantly monitored. But it's a small price to pay.
"Speaking of construction elves. I was here when the elves were clearing for this building, and they discovered an ancient chest with parchments and such. Your Professor Vector, is it? The Arithmancy instructor seemed rather excited when Dumbledore called her. Seems the top scroll was newer and she could read that it was something about a Half-blood Prince to be revealed when the chest was opened. The older parchments she could not translate, but they were much older, perhaps even from the time of Merlin himself she speculated.
"I see her at dinner in the Great Hall most nights," Newcastle continued. "She always seems excited even though I don't think she's made much headway in translations. Has her top seventh year Arithmancy student working on it with her. Seems the girl - Cho Chang's her name - seems she had been researching something at Woodhenge that make her quite the authority on these runes, but no one's made much progress. Any of you know this Chang? Pretty girl; real serious, though. Studying this bit so extra hard, and in the Paladin program to boot."
The Four Founders took Sir Percival on the tour of the school. To reduce the disruption of the ongoing lessons only one founder would escort him into a classroom to observe what was being taught and answer his subsequent questions. Mattie accompanied Sir Percival into a fifth year class in Defense Against the Dark Arts; Quentin, third year Transfiguration and sixth year Arithmancy; Portia, Charms and Astronomy; and Johnnie escorted him through a first year Potions lab.
The Four, Jamie, and Sir Percival ate in a private room off of the Dining Hall that night. There were few house elves at the school, only those who had traveled to America once the Founding Four's families died out back in England. None of the Four's parents were alive now, and they themselves were now approaching their one-hundredth birthdays. Because of the limited number of house-elves, the meals were served by each student going through a line. Detentions were served helping the house-elves in the kitchen.
Just before Sir Percival could express his outrage at the idea of a witch or wizard helping a house-elf, Johnnie, sensing the tender point, asked, "Sir, Percival, What most caught your attention in the classes today?"
"Well, you did tell me that each of these children is either Muggleborn themselves, or the children or grandchildren at most of Muggleborn witches and wizards, correct? Except of course for your own grandchildren or great grandchildren. Well, I am amazed that they are able to do so well in their classes. Naturally, I assume that the better students are your grandchildren - no Muggleborn could do so well. And of course your Hogwarts trained professorial staff has helped them tremendously. How ever did you persuade them to come?"
"Sir Percival," interrupted Mattie. "Each student that spoke out during your tour was a first generation Primary-born witch or wizard, what you call Muggleborn. They weren't our descendents or even the offspring of Primary-borns. We purposely asked that any students who are not Primary-borns refrain from answering in the classes you attended. And as to the professors - all of them are Primary-borns, trained by us, and invited on staff because of their brilliance in their subject matter."
Johnnie added, "Yes, Sir Percival, and the woman teaching Potions is my wife, the first Primary-born witch we found here in the Americas. She's far better at Potions than I am and I made all "Outstandings" on my Potions tests at Hogwarts--and O's on my Potions O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s as well."
The touch of anger in his voice was obvious, but Johnnie took a deep breath to collect himself while Weasley was recovering from his astonishment. Johnnie continued more calmly, "Now, Sir Percival, since we have created a viable Wizarding government here in the colonies, started a school that will rival Hogwarts in another hundred years or so, created a network of Watchers through out the colonies to find Primary-born magical folk and remove them from the general population until they are trained to control their magic, and created a method to finance this whole operation without one brass Knut from your Ministry of Magic, don't you think you ought to at least let us call you Percy?"
There was a long moment of silence; the other four were convinced their Slytherin friend had pushed his fellow housemate too far.
Just before Mattie intervened, Sir Percival said, "Not Percy - Bill. My middle name is Bilius, and I've always wanted to be called Bill."
Apollyon Malfoy had been busy since Sir Percival had Portkeyed away. He immediately sent a courier by packet ship to his father, outlining everything and making suggestions of how to attack the Weasleys on the various issues Sir Percival might bring up after his visit.
Glyphco Malfoy had never liked the now infirm Castor Weasley, so he relished the excuse to plan his downfall . Apollyon wanted to make himself a kingdom in America, so Glyphco had begun grooming his second son Draco years before to be his successor--and hopefully the future Minister of Magic. Because of the American prosperity of his first son, and questionable but semi-legal investments back in England, the Malfoys were now was rather well off, although they still lacked big money and the lands needed to be viewed in a few generations as the cream of magical society.
Plans within plans within plans - conniving machinations, thy name is Malfoy.
Johnnie Jonas escorted Sir Percival back to the coast by Portkey, but they chose the port of Charles Towne for his departure.
The Malfoys had Aurors meeting every ship arriving from the American colonies with orders to greet and arrest Sir Percival. Time in Azkaban before he was released to present his report would make Weasley look disreputable.
But Sir Percival had acquired a love of long distance Apparating in America. Knowing that the port was less than one hundred miles from his family home and suspecting Malfoy's plotting, Sir Percival Disapparated just before his ship entered that harbor. He arrived in the Weasley Estate gardens that he knew so well.
Sir Percival was alarmed by his father's deteriorated health and the worry in his mother's face, but the three of them had a number of long talks about their son's experiences and what they knew to be lies reported in the Daily Prophet.
Castor Weasley was no longer the typical Slytherin he had been at Hogwarts, fighting for the expanding role of the magical community into the affairs of Muggles and hating Muggleborns and Half-bloods. He had been changed over the years by his wife's influence, not only by her calm, logical opposition to his bigotry, but also by her friendships--and subsequently his own--with Muggles who were aware of the magical world.
To Castor's dissatisfaction he still could not defeat Jason Benning in chess, after fourteen years of trying. It no longer disturbed him that Benning was a Muggle and professor of philosophy at a nearby university, but Castor did hate to lose.
At his wife's insistence Castor had befriended Danford McGee and they had met for years at a local Wizarding pub - in a private backroom of course, that befit the dignity of the Weasley patriarch. They both enjoyed discussing the matters of the day. Now, Danford and his wife, Helen, ate with the Weasleys on the first Thursday night of each month, and the Weasleys took evening repast with the McGees on the third Saturday of the month.
Helen was the only child and heir to the adjoining estate. Danford and Castor managed property issues together from time to time. In Illisa's timetable, the McGee's eventually revealed that Danford was a Muggleborn wizard who had been a Gryffindor at Hogwarts.
After a week of deliberations, the Weasley family agreed to support Percival in his intention to fight for the rights of Muggleborns and Half-bloods, and recommend independence for the American Wizarding nation thriving in the colonies.
Castor was in his last days. It would be only three months before he succumbed to his illnesses, but the patriarch sent post owls out to every friend he'd ever made, and helped present his son's findings and recommendations. They persuaded, pressured, and down right threatened a few to support Sir Percival's "Rights for All Wizards" legislation.
When Castor died, the conflict in the Wizengamot became even more intense. Sir Percival spent huge sums of his own money and wielded the Weasley family's forty-six votes like a scalpel one day and a battle axe the next. He compromised and voted for measures he previously would not have supported, all in an attempt to gather allies for the rights of the British Muggleborns and Half-bloods, and an independent American Wizarding nation.
Sir Percival was still truly a Slytherin. When Derford Umbridge categorically refused to ever support Weasley's agenda, Sir Percival pulled all of his support from a small measure that would have slightly aided his own financial position, but in denying its passage, Sir Percival hurt the Umbridge fortunes significantly. Glyphco and Draco invited Derford to lunch later that day.
In the end, however, it was Sir Percival's good heart and sincere commitment to doing what was right that provided ninety-five percent of the support needed to see all of his pro-Muggleborn and Pro-American legislation passed.
The last five percent was provided by the machinations of the Malfoys. Glyphco arranged for Weasley to succeed, but at the cost of Sir Percival's integrity. On that day Malfoy and Umbridge simply were not present for the vote. Without their opposition, Sir Percival's measures all passed by three votes. He'd burned all of his bridges and good will among his fellow Wizengamot members to do it, but the measure was now law.
And at that time, a law, once passed, could not be overturned for thirty-three years, unless it was repealed within thirty-three days.
The year was 1780. The vote was taken on Thursday, April 27th, just before the one month Spring break before budgetary discussions began in June. Because this legislation was not a popular subject, little was reported in the Daily Prophet.
Thirty-four days later, on Thursday June first, Glyphco Malfoy and Derford Umbridge exacted their revenge when they accused Sir Percival of bribing their personal secretaries to stop them from voting against the measures. They even produced signed receipts for the bribes. In truth, Weasley had thought he was paying for certain costs related to paperwork he had requested, but he had failed to read the detail written on the receipts. With Malfoy and Umbridge's personal secretaries agreeing to all of the accusations, there was little Sir Percival could offer in his own defense.
Since it was too late to overturn the legislation, Umbridge and Malfoy urged that the deepest and harshest damages be awarded to them from the Weasley family, since they were the ones aggrieved.
All of the Weasley lands and holdings were confiscated. Most of their liquid funds had already been used in the campaign. The Malfoys were awarded all of the wealth not taken as Ministry fines, and Derford Umbridge was given the Weasley Family's forty-six Wizengamot votes for ten generations.
"Yes, Harry, and it is Cilla."
"Er, Cilla, you have that last part wrong. The Weasleys lost the Family votes indefinitely. I've seen the actual documents."
"Oh," she said, "I was certain that I had that part right."
"Never mind that," Ron shouted. "The Malfoys became rich by stealing from us!"
"Ron," Harry said. "I assure you after my time in the Wizengamot this summer and reading the rules, they didn't actually steal it. It was completely rotten and dishonest, but not illegal. It was malicious and despicable, but it was all within the laws of the day."
Ron silently fumed, and Ginny's fair skin grew even paler. Harry took her hand to comfort her, and Hermione leaned from her chair to hug her boyfriend.
"There is some good news from all of this," Newcastle said.
Ron looked up, snorted at no one in particular, and resumed glaring at his feet.
Cilla continued, "The Madison, Jonas, Cooper, and Hamilton lands had all been confiscated, but everyone forgot that Matilda was born a Hardesty. After two months of living in a tiny inn near what had been named the Weasley Manor, and now is the Malfoy Manor, Sir Percival was called late one night from the tiny suite he shared with is mother.
"A very tall figure completely covered in a black cloak with the hood drawn up around the face beckoned Sir Percival over to a barely lit corner of the empty dining room.
"It was Mattie Madison," Cilla revealed, "and she had three things for Sir Percival. First she offered him the undying gratitude and admiration of the American Wizarding nation, and to his credit, the journal of the first Mattie Madison recorded that those sentiments meant the most to Sir Percival. \ Knowing that he had paid a great personal price to obtain their freedom, Mattie Madison also gave Sir Percival one hundred Galleons, and the chance to buy the un-confiscated deed to the Hardesty lands in Ottery St. Catchpole for fifty Galleons, the minimum payment required by law. The remaining fifty Galleons were to fix the homestead the Burrow and despite Sir Percival's insistence otherwise, she persuaded him to keep that money."
So that's how we have the Burrow?" Ginny asked.
"Yes," Cilla said, "assuming it is still the same land.
"Oh, and I should tell you that in the main court inside the oldest building in the Madison Academy in Wisconsin, there is a statue of Sir Percival Weasley. A similar statue stands in the Department of Magic's main entrance in Langley, Virginia."
Cilla smiled and said, "See, Harry, you are well known in American, but the Weasley name is famous, even though no Weasley has ever set foot in our country since Sir Percival's brief visit in late 1776."
Hermione asked, "You said the first Mattie Madison?"
"Yes. Just because the British Ministry of Magic had granted the magical colonies their independence, didn't mean that Apollyon Malfoy had given up his desire to be magical lord of the New World. He had his Dark army, and he became our first Dark Lord.
"We had our spheres of influence in New England, and across the upper Midwest of American, all the way to the Badger state."
"The Badger state?" Hermione asked.
"Yes. Each state in the US has a nickname. Wisconsin is called the badger state in honor of Mattie Madison being a Hufflepuff. We use the same house colors and mascots Hogwarts does. Of course the Primaries in Wisconsin think it's called the Badger state because all of the miners dug their holes in the side of the mountains like badgers would, but that's just silly.
"And of course, Madison is the capital city of Wisconsin. It was named for Mattie and Jamie Madison."
Newcastle looked at them like she'd lost her place, and then said, "Oh, yes, the first Mattie Madison. All during what non-magicals the world over call the American Revolution, the Dark army of Apollyon Malfoy fought to help those Primary, er Muggle British forces that were the most brutal and sadistic. He was a mad man with all of the rituals he'd undergone and and potions taken to increase his power.
"Fourteen months after Mattie Madison sold Sir Percival the Hardesty estate for a pittance, the forces of Light and the Dark Army met not five miles from the siege taking place at Yorktown. Apollyon was determined to destroy the French fleet that was blockading General Cornwallis's army there, and preventing the British fleet from rescuing them.
"In a terrible battle Mattie Madison defeated and killed Apollyon Malfoy, saving the magical and non-magical American colonies from subjugation. Unfortunately, Mattie died of her wounds a few hours after the victory was assured.
"I said she was the first Mattie Madison. Madisons almost always have sons, who are highly intelligent Squibs. On the rare occasion a daughter is born, she is named Matilda. They have all been brilliant and powerful witches, not to mention Madison Academy head girls from Hufflepuff house.
"The great-granddaughter of the first Matilda, was such a witch and died defeating the Dark Lord Bartholomew Tryon during what is called the War of 1812.
"The third Matilda Madison died in 1865 defeating the Dark Witch, Glenda Forrest, the torturer of slaves and Primaries alike.
"Another Matilda Madison died in 1918 in the American Wizarding Expeditionary forces that brought about the Magical Armistice in June of that year.
"I understand your History of Magic professor hasn't covered the Grindelwald war, has he?"
They all shook their heads.
"Well," Newcastle continued, "a Mattie Madison died protecting Albus Dumbledore's back while he fought the final duel, defeating Grindelwald in 1945.
"And we are all excited, because there is another Mattie Madison who is a rising sixth year now. She is leading the Eagle Squadron of Madison Academy students coming to be a part of the Paladin Program this year at Hogwarts.
After the Visit
They were reluctant to leave when Hermione noticed the time; but they would be late getting back to Grimmauld Place if they didn't go soon. They all thanked Cilla Newcastle for her wonderful historical account and demonstration of computer technology.
After they left Ron said, "If all history was like that I'd pay more attention."
"Do you mean if it was all that interesting," Harry asked with a smile, "or if it all featured the Weasleys as heroes?"
"Both," Ron said with chuckle. "I want it to be interesting, exciting even, but I could stand a little droning on if a Weasley is the good guy?"
They all laughed and continued talking about the afternoon.
As they walked back into the castle, Harry asked Ginny if she had plans for the evening.
"No, Harry. Why do you ask?"
"I'd like to have another business dinner to discuss your StudyBook marketing efforts. The student edition looks brill, but I think there are even greater possibilities for different versions for the workplace."
Ron started to say something but Hermione knocked him into a wall before he could open his mouth.
Ginny's glare, which Harry missed, stopping Ron from any further misspeaks.
"I'd like that," she said. "On the condition that you let me buy tonight, Harry."
Hermione and Ron had walked away from the two, at Hermione's insistence, and Harry leaned in and said, "I won't do that, but let me explain why after they leave, all right?"
Ginny looked up into his eyes and willed herself not to blush. By this time they'd caught up with the Ron and Hermione at the Floo fireplace.
"What time should Ron tell Mum you'll have me home, Harry?"
He looked at her. "Is 10:00 all right, Ginny? I have several things I want to show you."
"Tell, Mum I'll be back by eleven, please Ron."
"But Ginny, that's awfully late, and besides--"
Hermione took advantage of that pause in Ron's wind up to shove him in the fireplace, toss in the Floo powder, and shout the address. Then she said, "I'll tell her, Ginny. Good night, Harry. Fascinating day, wasn't it?" With that, she Floo-ed off as well.
"What's Ron's problem, Ginny?"
"Male Weasley Foot-In-Mouth disease. You remember Percy and even the twins could open their food traps and say the most idiotic things."
"Yeah, but the twins were always funny, and Percy was pompously hysterical. Ron is..."
"Ron hasn't yet found his brand of humorous tripe to spew. I blame the Paladin potions; it should have surfaced by now."
"Oh... okay, if you say so."
"So, where are we having this business dinner?"
"First, I want to show you something."
They Flooed to a magical pub outside of Windsor, west of London. Harry hailed a taxi. It was a brand new LTI model, and the cabbie was only too proud to tell of its many features. Ginny smiled and oohed and aahed, and Harry laughed. Her face showed him she didn't understand much of it, but she'd enjoyed it anyway.
"You sure you want this place, Gov?" the cabbie asked when they reached their destination.
"It's fine. I own it."
"Bit of a wreck isn't it?"
"I hope to fix that. Do you mind waiting?" Harry asked handing him a ten-pound note. "We'll only be a few minutes. Keep the meter running. That's just a tip to wait. I'll pay the full fare and appropriate tip when you take us to our next destination."
"Take your time, Gov. Bob will be right here, when you're done. Spot on right here."
Harry and Ginny entered the building. It stood on the edge between a commercial district and a warehouse district, but it backed up to a wooded area a hundred yards or so beyond a fence. Inside they found an open space over 150 feet by nearly 200 feet, with a high ceiling. To the right was another open area that was about two-thirds as large, but with a lower ceiling--about sixteen feet high.
Ginny looked around for a bit and then looked at Harry with curiosity.
He said, "The Potters own a fair bit of magical land, but much more Muggle industrial property. Most of it has long-term leases with factories on it--boring but profitable. This place was an idea a great-uncle of mine had in the twenties. I just wanted you to see it. When we go to the next place, this will make sense to you." They climbed back in the taxi and in ten minutes Bob deposited them in front of a restaurant. They entered to see the eating area, but to the right was a bar with an open area for dancing. -The bar was relatively deserted--there was no band, just soft music playing in the background.
The maitre de came forward. Harry asked for a secluded booth for two, but asked if they could look at the dance floor first and then be seated. The restaurant was only half full, so this was no problem.
After a brief tour of the nightclub area, they moved to their table in the restaurant side and ordered. Harry said the cuisine was something called "California."
"It's all the rage with the Yanks, supposedly," he added. "If you like fish or chicken let's say, and you think the way a particular meal is described appeals to you, just order it. If you don't like it, we'll ask for something else."
Ginny had the fish, and Harry ordered chicken. The meal was not like anything they had ever tasted, except for Harry's one previous visit. Bill had brought him here, at the advice of the goblins. Bill had suggested that Harry open a restaurant in the vacant Potter property. His goblin mentors had agreed with Bill that a successful restaurant could be a great business, and a goblin retail specialist in the field had suggested visiting this particular restaurant for ideas. Bill had even shown Harry a Gringotts manual printed on Muggle paper that outlined the steps of succeeding in the restaurant business.
By the time Harry and Ginny had finished eating and talking about the StudyBook professional versions, the place had filled and there were more than fifty people sitting in the dancing area.
A young man dressed oddly even for Muggles stepped behind a counter on the opposite side of the dance floor. He spoke into a microphone and invited everyone to dance.
"How did he do that without a Sonorus charm, Harry?"
"Muggles have a number of inventions to accomplish what we do with magic. You saw those computers today. I don't know much about them, only what Dudley and Vernon complain about, but once in a while they would tell of what the devices can do.
"Imagine the entire Hogwarts library in that one box. Imagine you type in Healing potions and cuts. As I understand it, if the information is in the system, you would find a list of every potion used to heal cuts, along with how to make the potion and how to use it. All in a matter of seconds. No more searching the stacks."
"It's... it's like magic, Harry."
Harry smiled. "I've been around a few Muggle devices that will completely amaze you, Ginny, and I've been kept from most of them by my relatives. Never let the fact that they can't do magic make you think Muggles aren't capable. Your dad isn't mad thinking they are fascinating. It's the same only different with Mrs. Granger's fascination with magic."
They listened to the music for a while. Harry looked at his watch, and called the waiter over.
"I want to stay in this booth for a couple of more hours, but go dance for a while. Is that all right?"
The waiter looked at him with distaste. "Wouldn't sir like to move to the dance floor?"
The service had been excellent, so far, so Harry said, "Sir wishes to do as he said." He handed the waiter a twenty-pound notes and said, "That's to keep the table. I'll pay and tip you generously for the meal in full. We'll also have pudding later, and perhaps coffee or something else. Satisfied?"
The waiter looked contrite. "My apologizes sir, it's just that this is a prime table for those not interested in dancing. It could produce several more tips for me this night. Do you want to talk to the manager to have a new waiter or waitress assigned to you?"
Harry looked at his nametag. "No, Stuart, you'll do nicely. I thought that was the way it worked with the table, but probably most young people don't. I'd planned a better tip, but you didn't know that.
"Tell you what, we want to do a taste test. In about thirty minutes bring us one of every soda you have and we'll stop to rest. Neither of us have done much of this type of dancing, so we'll take a break then and regroup."
"Very good, sir."
"Harry, I don't think I can do that type of dancing," Ginny said nervously.
"I can't either, but if you notice, no one does the same thing really. We'll just go out there and sway to the beat, trying whatever we see that we like. No one knows us here, so what if we look terrible. It's not like Draco will walk in and see us, and then go telling everyone at Hogwarts we can't Muggle dance."
He smiled at her, and she swiftly agreed.
They struggled through a few of the songs, but others were easier to dance to. They both were in great shape, so it didn't tax them at all to try steps they observed.
Harry saw the drinks arrive and steered Ginny back to their table.
He said, "None of these are anything like pumpkin juice or anything else you've had before, I don't think. They're fizzy, so put it up to you mouth carefully and drink slowly until you're used to the tiny bubbles hitting your nose."
Ginny liked the clear sodas best, with their citrus-y taste. She thought the colas were a bit strong, and the root beer reminded her of a drink her mother made on occasions, which she didn't like.
"I like this one a lot," Ginny said, pointing to one of the clear drinks. Harry smiled, and then turned a little serious.
"What do you think of this place, Ginny?"
"I like it. Do you plan to turn that building you showed me into another one like this?"
"You're too quick for me. I've thought about it, a Wizarding version of it. Before today I thought we could only do it with live music, and there are only a few Wizarding bands, and they're too expensive to have every night. This place can exist for less money per night by using that bloke playing music and running his mouth. Couldn't you see someone like Lee Jordan or Colin Creevey doing what he does?"
"Either of them or Paul White in Hufflepuff. What you saw today with those computers will help you with this?"
"Yes. All that sound equipment won't work with a room full of magicals, but if we could use the Null Void Shielding Cilla Newcastle told us about, then it becomes possible. Bill suggested making a restaurant only, but to do that would need major renovations. Like this, we only have cosmetic changes to make. The building is structurally sound.
"I can't decide whether to bring in one or two partners," he said.
"I've decided to approach Harry Greenbee, with Greenbee's restaurant. I think he could make the food a go, and I don't know a thing about that business. I thought of him after we visited his Harry's Restaurant last time we went to dinner together.
"The other partner might be Justin Finch-Fletchley. He can bring in the technology, but that's not hard to take care of. I'd like to bring him in on this just to help him make a success in the magical world so he can prove himself to his family. It spreads the risk as well."
Harry went on to explain about Justin, and their dealings beyond what she knew regarding his supplying them the blank ledgers for their StudyBooks.
The two danced some more, and had pudding. They left as the place became really crowded.
"Are we calling another taxi, Harry?" Ginny asked as they walked away from the restaurant.
"Can you keep a secret, Ginny?" She looked at him in a humorous perturbed manner. He chuckled and said, "Of course you can. But this is a secret from everyone--everyone."
They walked into an alleyway and Harry wandlessly and wordlessly Summoned a tin can. He shot his regular wand from its holster and pointed it at the can.
Ginny looked perplexed. "Harry, that's not the incantation, and the Ministry won't like it if you make Portkeys without a license."
Harry smiled. "First, that wasn't the Portkey charm, it's my own Mongered charm to enchant traveling anchors for the spell I call the Portus charm. The incantation is Portkey."
"Oh, Harry, the Arithmantic Spell Crafters will be furious. You're rubbing their noses in Flobberworm dung with that name and incantation."
He grinned. "It's completely untrackable by them. I used it all around the Ministry today and nothing happened. I didn't have the Portkey charm to mimic, so I designed this completely from scratch last night."
"You did this in a night? I read where it took the Ministry Crafters back then over fifty years to produce that spell."
"Well, I've been thinking about it for awhile. I have a weapon in mind to use with a modification of this exact spell. I'll talk to the twins later about it. In the mean time..."
Harry held out the can and she grabbed hold. He activated it and it felt nothing like Portkey travel.
He smiled as theylanded right in front of Grimmauld Place. "See, it is a totally different spell, it just accomplishes the same thing."
Harry hugged her good night at the door. It was a little late, though well before 11:00, and Harry didn't wan to disturb the household.
Ginny spoke to her Mum for a moment, and then went to the bedroom she shared.
Hermione said, "Another business dinner that looks just like a date, Ginny?"
Ginny smiled. "It looked like a date, complete with dancing--"
"Dancing? Harry took you dancing?"
"In a roundabout way. He's thinking about opening a restaurant with a dance floor for magicals--for the young crowd. It should be a smashing success. Anyway, he took me to this existing Muggle club he plans to model his place after. There was dancing so we danced."
"For just friends, Ginny, he sure is being romantic."
"He is, but that's not really important. He may or may not know he's doing that. But something more important is definitely happening."
"He's sharing his plans and future with me, Hermione. It's a level of trust I don't think Harry has ever given anyone else. Do you?"
Hermione thought for a moment. "I don't think so. I'm sure he hasn't. But is that good, Ginny? Wouldn't you rather he be romantic?"
"Oh, that would be nice, but for the long term, as long as he and I end up together, I think this couldn't be better. But ending up together is the big IF, isn't it?"
Next chapter, what you've all been waiting for!