|SIYE Time:14:10 on 16th June 2021|
Category: Alternate Universe, The Noble and Most Ancient House Challenge (2012-1), The Noble And Most Ancient House Challenge (2012-1)
Story is Complete
Summary: The Noble and Ancient House of Black? Says who? Just how noble and just how ancient is it exactly? One extremely inquisitive seven-year-old is about to find out. One extremely wicked Wizard is about to get into all sorts of trouble telling him.
Hitcount: Story Total: 3146
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
Yes, Spenser is going to burn for this one.
Abra Cadabba Doo?
“The recollection of how, when and where it all happened became vague as the lingering strains hung in the rafters of the studio. I wanted to shout back at it, ‘Maybe I didn’t write you, but I found you’,”---Hoagy Carmichael
“Aunt Ginny, what does this mean here on your wall?”
If she did hear the small child’s question, Ginny couldn’t allow herself to answer just then. Her oldest grandchild was demonstrating how, even without the Weasley red hair, she could still evoke the family’s stubborn streak.
“Minerva sweetheart, why don’t you want to go to school today with your friends and cousins? I thought you were so excited about it.”
As the woman studied the eleven-year-old’s taunt face, she imagined that she already knew the answer. Harry’s nice Muggle biographer’s seventh volume had taken enormous fictional liberties for the sake of Potter family privacy (and reader entertainment). However, the epilogue’s retelling of Albus’ departure for Hogwarts was an accurate exception. In fact, any one of her extended family at that age could have been interchanged with her then-apprehensive son when it was their respective turn to go.
“Aunt Ginny, what does this mean here on your wall?” came the question again. The boy was tall for his seven years, with Harry’s and Lily’s need for glasses, his Grandma Tonk’s talent for hair colors, and his Aunt Hermione’s intense inquisitiveness.
“Just a moment Liam.” Ginny shifted her glance to him, but just for a quick second to see the child studying an ancient wall engraving there. She had to concentrate her attention just then back on her granddaughter’s mini-crisis. “Minerva, you’re not worried about the sorting ceremony are you?”
“James! Marty’s escaped from his playpen again!” the infant’s mother called down the stairs. Her light Australian accent actually sounded more amused than worried.
“I’ve got him Becca. He was making a beeline for the icebox again. Rose, where’s Uncle Ron? He was supposed to help me get the last of the luggage down to the cars.”
“He’s with Hugo Junior Jimbo. They’re battling his school tie again,” she told her cousin, passing by him with her own children’s suitcases. The girl was hoping to get a reaction to his hated nickname. She did.
“Don’t call me…”
“Has anyone seen my autographed copy of Obscure Jackelope Subspecies of Saskatchewan? I promised Mr. Hagrid that I would loan it to him. I hope those heffiwinkles I heard under our bed last night didn’t carry it off. I hate it when that happens.”
“It’s already packed in Minerva’s trunk Aunt Luna,” Theodore told her as he moved past the very girl standing there with his still concerned godmother. His Liam wouldn’t be ready for their old academy for a few more years yet, but the Lupin family car was a very large one, and each September he volunteered to help transport this enormous group.
“Dad, what does this mean here on their wall?” Liam asked for a third time. A scream from the far kitchen, followed by the sound of crashing plates had everyone running in that direction. Teddy didn’t have the chance to ask his son what he meant. It again left just his adopted aunt, cousin and Liam in the large parlor area.
“Minerva, I’m very certain that you won’t have to worry about being placed into Slytherin House.” Ginny was intentionally willing herself to tune out the bedlam taking place all about them, concentrating instead on this more important matter at hand. “You’re a smart, talented, studious…”
“Oh that’s not it at all Grandma. Grandma Luna has already told me that I’ll be sorted to her Ravenclaw House. She’s never, never wrong about things like that. You know she isn’t.”
Ginny nodded and smiled at the accurate opinion, but was all the more curious for it. “Then what is it sweetie?”
“It’s just… Grandma Ginny, why do we have to come all the way to London each year? Your Broom Farm is just a couple miles from Hogwarts. We could almost crawl to school from there.” The normally courageous girl was choking on her words, and her face betrayed…embarrassment?
“Well…Minerva …Hogwarts does like to have all the students arrive at one time together. It’s for a number of reasons. Just as important to all of our families, I suppose, is simply the tradition of everyone riding the Express together to school. We all gather together here at Grimmauld Place each fall, and it’s almost like a holiday isn’t it?” Another crash in the distance caused Ginny to close her eyes and tighten her jaw for a quick moment. Despite the annual pandemonium at their London residence, she…everyone really did look forward to the yearly ritual. “Hasn’t it been fun these past few days with everyone here in this silly old house?”
“Yes…I suppose it has been. I mean yes, it has been... Grandma Ginny, couldn’t we just Floo to Hogsmeade, or even just to anywhere in Scotland? I wouldn’t mind going the last bit on foot. Two hundred miles to Hogsmeade sounds like a nice leisurely walk. Don’t you think so? No one will know. I won’t tell anyone. I promise.”
“But Minerva why wouldn’t you want…?”
It hit her then. Ginny could see the fear in the eleven-year-old’s eyes. Her granddaughter was scared of the Hogwarts’s Express. The big, noisy, smoky old contraption scared the pumpkin pulp out of the girl. Thinking back to past years, Minerva always was more than a little apprehensive when the families saw the other children off at Kings Cross. It wasn’t funny, but still the woman found herself smiling at the thought of it. After a second, the girl offered a slight one of her own back. Ginny breathed then. They understood each other.
“Aunt Ginny, this carved thing here says something about…”
“I’m sorry. Not now Liam. Minerva, why don’t we go find your grandfather?”
“You called?” I asked, poking my head into the parlor just then.
“Your Grandpa Harry, he’s a very good friend of the locomotive engineer Mr. Trackworthy. I think that if we arrive at the platform early enough he might be able to arrange a special tour of his train before it leaves. I’m sure that it really will help to… Uhm, Spenser, are you covered with remnants of my good dishes? What did that china hutch ever do to you?”
“Nothing really…not exactly…well maybe I had a little difficulty in there.”
“Grandpa Spenser, you do have a teacup handle sticking out of your ear.”
“And you don’t kiddo? Ginny, I’ve sort of…kind of…been banished from the kitchen until…”
She wouldn’t allow me to finish. Ginny rolled her eyes the way only she and Hermione have perfected, took the grandkid’s hand, and led her off in search of my counterpart Harry. He was the wise, understanding grandfather, while all too often I just played the comic relief one.
Well, I think you understand at this point what a war zone Grimmauld Place was that morning; albeit just as much fun as Ginny had described. Once the sendoff ritual was over, we would again hear her long comments about Molly Weasley having the patience of a saint to have survived her own versions for so long. At the moment, however, there was just last minute packing, reminiscing about school years past, and a whole range of predictions about the one yet to come. Unfortunately, until my kitchen accident was forgiven or forgotten, I was relegated to the sidelines to just watch.
I moved to plop down in a somewhat comfortable-looking chair, pulled out my handkerchief, and attempted to wipe the last of the pancake batter from my face. It had been an early, early morning. Shutting my eyes felt good, and I was in no hurry to reopen them.
“Uncle Spenser, what’s that over on Uncle Harry’s wall?”
I opened my eyes again slowly. There stood the youngster, sincerely puzzled at the biscuit dough still caked to my eyebrows, but then, quick as a wink, back to the wall that had grabbed his attention. The way he cocked his head as he examined the carving had me interested then as well. Well why not. I didn’t have anything else to do for another half an hour. Joining him there, I began my own study. It really wasn’t anything special. It was just an old family coat of arms–Sirius’ family.
“What does Noble and Most Ancient House of Black mean Uncle Spenser? Do you know what it means?”
I closed my eyes again. Yes I did know. Not many people in Wizardry did, at least not completely, and certainly not outside of Pureblood circles. I remembered from our school days, when Hermione’s interest had been piqued by someone mentioning the title in passing, and her initial frustration with how the only reference she could find was how it was really ancient. It was not a topic for light conversation she would later…finally discover. Unfortunately, it was me who opened the genie’s bottle.
“Please tell me what it means Uncle Spenser. I really want to know. Why won’t you tell me?”
I looked down at him again. I gave the boy my best grin, knowing that I’d have to give up something. He and Hermione had absolutely no blood ties. Still, he could have been her clone when an inquisitive and studious nature was considered. Also, the Blacks were in fact his family. He did have the right to know about this designation in his ancestral home. He would find out. Be that as it may, he was still only seven. It was time for me to do what I do best.
“Okay munchkin; have I got a story for you!” Oh, I’m going to burn for this one.
All right Liam; first tell me if you’ve read many of my books about Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny. How many?! None of them?! Your folks use them for…doorstops?! Oh brother! I guess we’ll give them a fondue set next Christmas in lieu of a new story. I’ll have to go right back to the basics for this one.
Now I know for a fact that you’ve read Deathly Hallows. I’m also fully aware that you know that your Aunt Hermione, Uncles Ron and Harry really did go back to Hogwarts for their seventh year in our reality, and yes there are alternative universes out there. There are a lot of them. For one thing, show me in any of the Muggle books where a crazy American comes to Hogwarts, meets a pretty girl, and decides to stick around to write about it. You also know that your grandparents and Uncle Fred weren’t killed.
There are infinite possibilities pal, and there is one constant in all of them. Well, there are two if you want me to include some real mushy stuff. Sure kid. I’ll keep it to a minimum for you, but girls really don’t have cooties. Just give it a few years. They’re better than Quidditch.
Now where was I? It was the fall of our seventh year at Hogwarts. It was our reality. The Ministry had not fallen. The government was not out rounding up Muggle-borns. Alastor Moody certainly hadn’t been killed in some mad escape involving a bunch of fake Harrys. Harry had actually arrived at the Burrow in a flying bathtub not on Hagrid’s motorcycle. Professor Snape was not the school’s headmaster. Harry and Ginny had not broken up, but they were as big a secret as the location of Seamus’ firewhisky still (at least before the explosion). Do you see what I mean about a different universe than the biography? Don’t get ahead of me though.
I think I’ll start this the night of November the Seventh. That was the night your Aunt Hermione died.
T he girl was in the south tower. The corridor was just a floor below the ghosts’ hidden billiard room, but that wasn’t where she was heading. In fact, Hermione neither knew nor cared where she was going just then. She simply had to get away from him. How did he keep finding her in the twisting, turning castle passageways? Up one staircase, and then down another; ducking into a classroom, but then doubling back hoping to trap her pursuer in one. He seemed to know what Hermione was thinking; staying one step ahead; toying with her like a mouse.
“Which way leads to the central staircase?!” Hermione wondered aloud. “Where am I? I can’t be lost! I know this school!” she screamed to the now-empty school. No…not empty. There he stood in front of her.
“Filthy little mudblood!” Draco shouted back at her. “No one here to protect you now is there?! No Harry Potter…lord and heir to the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black!” Malfoy spit at the floor, but then locked eyes with the terrified Witch. “That title should apply to my family’s house! I should be able to use it! My ancestors are just as…” Draco paused here, and actually seemed to rise into the air as he sought to break Hermione with his fierce glare.
“Your ancestors are what? What does the title mean?” Hermione found herself asking, in barely a whisper, and despite her efforts not to.
The girl couldn’t move. Draco hadn’t initiated any spell to bind her…or had he? Hermione couldn’t raise her arms, or bring her wand to bear to defend herself. All time stopped. She didn’t see Draco raise his own wand. She didn’t hear him utter the unforgivable curse. Hermione couldn’t feel a thing until the bright green light slammed into her body. That was when she woke up screaming.
“It’s all right Hermione. You were just dreaming,” Ginny told her in what she hoped was a calming voice. “Luna, could you bring me that wet rag please. She’s still burning with fever. Here, drink this all down. It will help.”
Hermione quickly did so, gulping the last of it. She had never been a fan of medicine draughts. This one confirmed the fear. As her face went red and then forming white stripes, blue smoke poured out of her ears, nose and mouth. It was all very patriotic everyone thought. After a few seconds it did seem to help.
“I purchased that at the Hogsmeade apothecary,” Luna explained, not the least bit embarrassed about the effects. “Hmm…? Should I spend the extra five Sickles for the pickled seaweed flavor next time? Boiled alder bark doesn’t seem to agree with you.”
Luna handed Ginny the cloth, and then moved to the opposite side of Hermione’s bed waiting to help further. She was fully aware of the hard look the roommates gave her when their attention wasn’t on their sick companion. Ravenclaw Luna, after her participation in the battle at the Ministry a year and a half before, had earned the right to visit her Gryffindor friends in the Tower whenever she liked. Many, however, still held her in contempt, and further wondered how she easily bypassed the Fat Lady so often. Too many students still called her Loony, and only I meant it in an affectionate manner.
“Was it the same dream again?” Ginny asked. She already knew the answer.
“Yes,” was all Hermione could say until she forced herself to calm her nerves, slow her breathing, and wash out the tree bark with some water she accepted. “Where are Harry and Ron right now?” she finally asked.
“They’re downstairs with Spenser and Neville. They’re all very worried too,” Luna told her. She glanced back to Hermione’s three roommates, and softly smiled at how concern for their friend had finally trumped any distaste for her.
“Please hand me my robe. We need to all talk…now.” Hermione gently pushed Ginny away, rose to her feet, and walked for the door donning the robe as she went.
“Th e Noble and Most Ancient House of Black? What does that mean?” Harry asked for everyone.
“Maybe it just means that someone thinks the Black family is noble and old,” Ron offered. His attention was set firmly and solely on Hermione however.
“No, there has to be more to it than that. I’ve had the dream six times now. Only I have, as far as I know. It becomes more intense each time as well.” Hermione looked over to Ron, smiled and squeezed his hand. He seemed to appreciate it. “It was almost as if the title held a magical distinction. Draco seems to be extremely vexed that his family cannot utilize it. We have to find an explanation! It’s exceptionally frustrating! I’ve actually exhausted every source our library has to offer–Hogwarts a History naturally, Magical Genealogy of Great Britain, British Wizarding Families, A Short History of Magic Nobility, A Wizard’s Guide to Ancient Coats of Arms. There are easily two dozen other volumes that I’ve examined as well.”
“Is there anything in the library about Harry yet?” Neville asked. His grin told everyone how he had asked simply to help lighten the mood. Harry decided to humor his friend…to a point.
“Of course there are. The Muggles are planning to make films about my life as well.” Harry gave Ginny a quick hug then. With any other group of people he wouldn’t have risked revealing their relationship. It would have made her an instant target. “I’m sorry Neville. They’d never write a book about me. Who would read it?” Don’t say it Liam. “Hermione, can you think of any other…?”
“Spenser knows the way to explain the dreams,” Luna told everyone then. Hermione, who really didn’t like me in those days (to put it lightly), gave her a killing look that must have matched Draco’s. “Tell them Spenser.”
Okay Liam, this is where I got myself into trouble. I could have kept my mouth shut. Maybe I should have. I knew I wouldn’t, and so did your Aunt Luna. This is where we get back to those alternative universes kid. No, you’re getting ahead of me again.
“Uhm…you probably know what I have in mind don’t you?” I asked my friends, but looking at Hermione as I did. The remaining color left her face. Ron didn’t look too good either. “We need to go upstairs.” Harry, Ginny and Luna rose to join me. Hermione no longer had the strength, and Ron wouldn’t leave her. Neville was still undecided, not really understanding it. He alone, in fact, did not know about what I was suggesting.
“Neville, we don’t know if something wants to hurt Hermione, and if so, what. Ron could use some help watching out for her,” Harry suggested. He returned Neville’s appreciative smile. Then he darted for the portal still holding Ginny’s hand despite the danger.
Fortunately, the late hour permitted easier movement through the castle. Harry led the way then, utilizing his Marauder’s Map to watch for instructors. It was not yet time for curfew, but stopping to explain ourselves would have seriously limited our time outside the Tower. Up staircases, down hallways, darting behind pillars or suits of armor to avoid detection; it took us at least a half an hour to reach our destination, and then to begin our reciting request. We needed the Room to once again reveal a very old and very, very powerful artifact. It took a full five minutes for the door to appear.
Time for an explanation now about what was in there. You’ll remember from the fifth volume about how Sirius Black passed on, falling through an arch in the Department of Mysteries. Someday, when it’s your turn to attend Hogwarts, you’ll learn that there is indeed any number of magical arches out there. None is more powerful or more dangerous than the one called B’kur’s Arch.
Liam, I’m really not trying to confuse you here so much buddy. Your world probably still involves coloring books, tricycles and Teddy bears. By the way, those were named for President Roosevelt not your father. Let’s play a little pretending game. Imagine a world where the sky is purple. Can you do that? Now imagine another one where the ocean is all chocolate and the mountains are ice cream and every other day is Christmas. One more–pretend that this one arch allows you to really see all these places, and lots more, and to even visit them. That’s what B’kur’s Arch can do. It exists in every possibility. It’s the one constant I mentioned.
Harry and Ginny once again took each other’s hands. It had to make them feel better. Sorry kid–mushy stuff again. When you’re older I’ll be able to explain why it’s so nice. I’ll also go over why the Arch is dangerous enough to scare all of us that way. It has to do with temporal interference, time paradoxes, and… Okay, someone will really need to explain it to me first I guess. I’ve really confused you, haven’t I?
Anyhow, Harry opened the door to the Room of Requirement then and led the way inside. Luna and I were so close behind those two that I could smell Ginny’s favorite perfume; Cauldron Number Five. The interior of the room wasn’t that large, perhaps thirty feet by thirty, with a gray stone floor and matching wainscot, dark brown paneling above that, and a ceiling like the Great Hall’s showing a dark cloudy sky. Thomas Edison really wasn’t a Wizard, so the Room was torch lit for us. In the center, carved of rough black stone, perhaps twelve feet high, stood the Arch. No, this one didn’t have ghostly voices emanating from it.
Liam, I’m not going to tell you that any of us knew how the big thing got into our school, except it probably came there with Professor Spinner, the Defense instructor for that year. At least he was the one who revealed it to us, told us it was dangerous, and how we should all forget it was even there. I never suspected that I would be using someday to learn about something like the House of Black. We couldn’t risk Hermione though. We had to learn the truth, especially about how it involved Harry…if it did.
“Show us the origin of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black,” Harry shouted at it, “…please!” Always remember to include good manners when doing magic Liam.
In less time than it takes for me to destroy a retaining wall with a power saw, the Arch began to simmer and glow revealing the very last thing any of us expected. I, for one, was more surprised than I was scared at what I saw, but I did finally notice that I was holding Aunt Luna’s hand then. What do you mean yucky? I’m going to remind you about this in eight or nine years.
“What do the Blacks have to do with Jurassic Park?” Harry asked, although he had to know the girls wouldn’t understand the reference.
Harry moved toward B’kur’s Arch, maybe without thinking. He still held Ginny’s hand, and she grabbed Luna’s who was still clutching mine, pulling me through with them.
“ Look out below!” someone yelled, but the boulder landed before the four of us could ever possibly react. Fortunately it missed us by several feet. All we received was a dusting of dust and small rock chips. “Holy cowasaurus! If Mr. Slate saw that I’m a goner!”
“Harry…is that a dragon? Where are we?” Ginny asked before Luna or I could.
“I’ve never heard of a pink dragon with violet polka dots before. He is cute though. May we pet him sir?” Luna asked the man running up to us wearing a hardhat made from a turtle shell.
“Loony…no!” I almost shouted at her. “That’s not a dragon, it’s a dinosaur! Holy…” I couldn’t finish my observation when I saw the wooden contraption sitting atop the beastie with some manner of crank harness extending from there down the bronto’s neck. An extremely large man was climbing from it, and then running as best he could down the thing’s tail.
“We’re in some form of quarry operation,” Harry accurately pointed out. He was spinning back and forth, wand out, clearly worried about what he had gotten us into. We all were.
“Bedrock Gravel kid. You shouldn’t be down here,” the same gentleman, perhaps a foreman, accurately pointed out. “Hey Fred, get over here! What’s the big idea dropping the rock on a bunch of kids that way?! The boss is going to…”
A loud horn blared just then. Well, horn is a relative term. It looked more like someone on the pit’s upper rim pulling on a strange bird’s tail to make him squawk. Regardless, it seemed to make Fred extremely happy about it.
“Yabba dabba doo! Quitting time! Come on kids, let’s get out of here! Rockhead can’t chew me out now without it costing him overtime!”
The barefoot man was moving then, and at a speed that contradicted his enormous size. Naturally, with nowhere else to go until we could find the Arch again, we followed him up the pit’s ramp. At the top we entered into a stampede of other workers, just as glad to have the day shift behind them. We lost sight of Fred once, but just for a second, finally spotting him in the most outrageous contraption you could possibly imagine. Picture in your head two giant rolling pins, attached to a large wooden frame, the top draped with animal skins matching our new friend’s work clothes.
“Hop in kids. After almost killing you back there, the least I can do is give you a lift home.”
“Actually sir, I think we’re much too far from home for you to do that,” Ginny accurately pointed out.
“We’re just visiting your town,” Harry added.
“It’s Bedrock, and call me Fred.”
“Yes, Bedrock. My name is Harry Potter. This is my girlfriend Ginny Weasley.” This open admission caused her eyebrows to go up, but then a smile. Voldemort wasn’t around during the Stone Age…we hoped. “This is Spenser Hemmingway, and this is his girlfriend Luna Lovegood.”
“She’s not my girl…ouch! Please watch the elbow Loony.” Yes, I was pretty dense in those days Liam.
“Anyway, I’m afraid we got lost and ended up in your gravel pit,” Harry added as he climbed into Fred’s…car. We had joined him inside it before he finished his thought. “Uhm, what exactly makes this move Mr. Fred?”
“Flintstone, but like I said, just call me Fred. We get it going through the courtesy of our two feet. You must not have cars like this where you come from.” With that, Fred stepped off, propelling his luxury sedan with him and us. After a few feet we felt compelled to join in and help out with the run. “Hey, now you have it. I need to find me a set of those things you have on your feet there. What are they called?”
“Shoes Mr. Flintstone, but I don’t know if you can find them here yet,” Ginny explained.
“Shoes huh? Where exactly are you kids from? It must be quite a ways off judging by the way you dress.”
“We go to school in Scotland,” Ginny continued for us.
“It’s a country north of England in the British Isles,” I tried.
“Never heard of it.”
“England is where Stonehenge is Mr. Flintstone.” Luna finally hit a note with him.
“Oh right! I bet that’s the thing they’re building over there for the One Million B.C. World’s Fair next year. Boy, you kids really are a long ways from home. Hold up everyone. Time for the brakes. I need to pick up my neighbor at the corner there. Hey Barney!”
Through our joint efforts, and the loss of maybe a quarter inch off the bottom of our tennis shoes, we managed to get the giant stone contraption slowed and stopped just in time. In climbed a diminutive blond man toting a gigantic bag of groceries topped with eight inch long spotted eggs.”
“Hello there Freddy old buddy. I see that we have a car pool now.”
“Yeah, they’re from out of town. I’m giving them a lift. Hey Barn, Betty’s going to be steamed. You know she doesn’t like the small size petrified dodo bird eggs. Didn’t they have the jumbos?”
“Sorry Fred; they were all out of season. I did get you a fresh box of Fruity Pebbles though, and a large bottle of your vitamins. Hey back there; I’m Barney Rubble by the way. Where are we dropping all of you tonight?”
Harry repeated the introductions, and Luna repeated her friendly elbow to my ribs, before he explained how we didn’t have a place to stay yet.
“Will your…do you have hotels here? Will they accept our currency do you think? They are gold coins. We call them Galleons.” Harry seemed a bit confused when the two locals started laughing at his comment that way.
“Gold? That cheap yellow rock? You can’t give that away here,” Fred explained, still choking on his laughter. “We use it to pave our roads. You need to have something more valuable like quartz or polished granite. Come on home with us. Barney and I have guest rooms you can use until you can convert your money.”
“Thank you…Fred, but we really don’t want to impose.”
“Ginny wasn’t it? It’s no problem. My wife Wilma loves to entertain. Say, if you don’t mind me asking, what does bring all of you to town? You’re awfully young to be traveling across the world this way.”
“Have you ever heard of a family by the name of Black Fred?” I almost said that it would be a really, old family, but then everyone’s were in this age. “We’re kind of looking for them.”
“Hey Fred, isn’t that the guy running for Grand Poobah at the lodge tonight? Black-something?”
“Yeah Barn, I think you’re right. Harry, Spenser, the girls can’t come into the lodge, and you can’t come into the actual meeting, but if you want to wait in the bar for us, we’ll introduce you to the guy. You can see if he’s the one you’re looking for.”
“Thank you, but Spenser and I aren’t old enough to go into a Muggle…I mean a bar. You probably have very strict laws about serving alcohol here.”
Fred and Barney took just a moment to share perplexed looks with each other before Fred had to ask. “What’s alcohol? Is it like cactus cola or something?”
I didn’t need to look over to Harry to know he was smiling. “When they finally invent it here Fred… Well, imagine going out on Friday night wanting to get hit with that boulder of yours.”
♫ Boy, do we know how to bust Monte Carlo
And to never be blue.
It’s a lot like prayin’.
Just keep sayin’
Yabba dabba dabba doo!
If you think your sweetie’s just left for Tahiti
We can give you a clue
No need for cryin’
Roar like a lion
Yabba dabba dabba doo! ♫
“Maybe you had better wait out here for a minute while I go in and surprise her.” We just all nodded as he walked off then toward their modest-sized stone bungalow only to be tackled at the threshold by an overly friendly purple dinosaur. Yes Liam; they do exist. “Wilma!” we all heard Fred yell next after he escaped inside. We couldn’t make out her side of the conversation.
With his front door still open, we saw someone toss out a large saber tooth cat which startled us (except for a delighted Luna), before it turned and jumped back in through a front window. Next came Barney the dinosaur’s ancestor again with two tiny children riding on his back. They fearlessly came straight up to our small group. Ginny and Harry both took turns tickling the chin of the pretty and thoroughly delighted little girl, while I made the mistake of allowing the boy to get a grip on my right index finger.
“Bam, bam! Bam, bam, bam!” he shouted with his happy, excited voice as I flew back and forth through the air.
“No Bam Bam no!” an equally animated, but also concerned, Barney (no relation to the purple guy) and a woman who must have been Betty called to the boy as they ran across the yard to him.
Luna and Ginny blocked their view as Harry applied a quick healing spell to my fractured body. At least we’d determined that our magic still worked in the Stone Age. The Rubbles, and then the Flintstones when they joined everyone, were more than a little surprised when I was able to stand up for them. They were equally startled when we laughed the incident off, citing how kids will be kids. The next time I saw Hermione though, I would need her help regrowing the tooth I spit out then.
“I really am sorry kids,” Wilma started to explain. She had an embarrassed expression, but a warm smile as well. “I wasn’t expecting Fred to bring home company tonight. I only have the one mastodon on the barbeque pit. I hope it will be enough for all of us. Can I offer you some hot tea while we wait for it to cook?”
“Well, I, uhm…” I stammered. I was really beginning to feel as if we were intruding in the families’ lives, even if they were our best hope of finding the Black family there.
“Spenser hush,” Luna admonished. “Naturally we have to have some tea. We are British after all. Please try to act civilized, American or not.” She smiled and winked at me though.
“Say Harry, I meant to ask you on the way here. Did we need to swing by somewhere for your luggage?” Fred asked as we moved toward the house.
“Actually Mr. Flintstone, Pterodactyl Airlines accidentally sent it to another airport,” Harry quickly explained.
“Yeah, they lost Wilma’s and mine when we flew to Rock Vegas last spring.”
It was a toss up as to which of the four of us were the more surprised that such an airline actually existed.
“Yabba dabba doo! What a wild meeting! Harry, Spenser I’m sorry it lasted so long. Were you able to entertain yourselves out here?”
“No worries Mr. Flintstone…I mean Fred. Spense and I’ve been watching your version of television, enjoying some grape juice, and downing these snacks they put out for us.”
“What exactly are they?” I had to ask.
“Raptor knuckles, deep fried in iguana lard,” Barney answered for him as he grabbed a handful from the wicker bowl there.
“Restroom?!” Harry and I gurgled together, before running for the side door they pointed out. Oh and Liam, they used giant banana leaves for that in those days.
Maybe fifteen minutes later, we emerged back into the lodge bar to find Fred and Barney seated at an enormous round table at one end along with nine strangers…fellow Water Buffaloes.
“Nice hats,” I had to blurt out.
To a man, they smiled at us, but then did something totally unexpected. Each assumed a look of intense concentration. That was when they reached, or attempted to reach, into our minds. Legilimency? It was as crude as an untrained first-year trying it, and even Harry’s and my poor Occlumency easily blocked it, but, nonetheless the attempt was being made by these men. No, that wasn’t correct. Fred and Barney didn’t have a clue about the magic. It was just the rest of them doing it. Harry and I were in the presence of prehistoric Wizardry.
“Mr. Black I presume?” Harry asked walking up to the man wearing the new Poobah insignia around his neck. “How did you know?”
“It’s Blackstone actually; Emilio Blackstone, but perhaps one of my descendants will shorten it one day. Besides your incredibly obscure clothing, we knew all of you because of the prophecy that you would appear one day in Bedrock.”
“Prophecy?” Harry asked before I could, and pulling his wand as he did. “Excuse me a moment. Fred, Barney, you both need to return home, and then bring Ginny and Luna here to join us.”
“Hey there Harry, Barn and I need to run home and bring your girlfriends here to join you.”
“Luna is not my…”
“Shut up please Spenser. Fred, you need to be sure to thank Wilma for us for the wonderful barbeque.”
“And take your wives out on the town some evening,” I quickly added..
“I’ll be sure to thank Wilma for all of you for the wonderful barbeque she did. Come on Barney. We’ll be back in twenty minutes Harry. Hey Barn, I hear Stoney Carmichael’s at the Hollyrock Bowl this weekend. Why don’t we take the girls?”
After our two Muggle friends had left, “It’s a harmless spell called the Advidius Charm. Several millenniums from now a group called the Jedi will learn how to plant suggestions in the minds of non-Magics…at least in the movies. No wait, those haven’t been invented yet have they? My name is Harry Potter.”
“Ah, my wife’s maiden name,” Blackstone announced in an amused voice. “Perhaps we are distantly related?”
“It would have to be very distantly sir.” I could see the doubt and uncertainty on Harry’s face then. “Tell us about this prophecy. Who exactly are all of you gentlemen, apart from Wizards?”
“Wizards, is that what you call us? An interesting title indeed,” the man to Blackstone’s left commented. “The divination was given us by the Oracle of the Geysers, Genome Trelawneyrock. My own name is Petri Slytherinstone.” Harry’s sudden shock had to at least match my own. “This is Galen Ravenquartz, then Hematite Gryffindortite, and…”
Harry had stopped listening to the introductions. Each of the gentlemen had a prehistoric version of a pureblood Wizarding family from our time zone. These really were some of the most ancient, and I do mean the MOST ancient noblemen of the emerging Wizarding world. If Harry’s family, and others like it, were related by marriage to these men during this age, theirs would have the privilege of the same distinct title. It begged three more questions. I got to ask the first one.
“I don’t suppose any of you know, or better yet, are related to someone with a name such as Malfoy?” Harry’s jaw was clenched then just the way mine was in anticipation.
“Igneous Malfoystone perhaps? Ah yes, a most capable, albeit misguided…Wizard. Is that the word we should use now? He would have been an outstanding candidate for our small circle. Unfortunately he’s one of them.”
“One of them?” Harry and I asked together. When Blackstone began to elaborate, our astonishment was easily the match of Ginny’s and Luna’s when we repeated the explanation several minutes later.
Question two. It was Ginny’s turn. “Sir…gentlemen, I don’t suppose that anyone here has come across an enchanted stone arch here in Bedrock have they?”
“As a matter of fact young lady, we have,” the man called Ravenclaw, I mean Ravenquartz slowly replied. “No one has found a way to activate it yet however.”
“Sir, that might be the best, safest thing,” Harry told all of them in turn.
♫ So if someday the bases are loaded
And they’re counting on you
You just can’t strike out
If you up and shout
Yabba dabba dabba dabba doo! ♫
“Filthy little mudblood!” Draco shouted back at her. “No one here to protect you now is there?! No Harry Potter…lord and heir to the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black!” Malfoy spit at the floor, but when he attempted to again lock eyes with Hermione, this time he found only calm amusement. Draco had spent a great deal of time and his father’s gold developing the dream curse he’d placed on the girl. What was happening to it this time? Granger was laughing.
“Please continue Draco. It’s all very amusing now that I know what you’re doing, or trying to do to me. My friends asked just the right questions. They discovered it was you doing this. I’m prepared this time.”
“Quiet you!” It was too late. Hermione had forced a deviation from the curse’s script. Draco’s dream-self had to try to continue his revenge on the Muggle-born. “Ours should be the Noble and Most Ancient House of Malfoy! I should be…”
“Impossible.” Hermione knew that she was in complete control of the sleep state now. She was enjoying it. “Impossible and I know why. Your most…really most ancient ancestor opted to join the wrong fraternal organization. Instead of joining the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes, someone named Igneous Malfoystone approached the Free and Benevolent Order of Raccoons; the Buffaloes sworn enemies in someplace called Bedrock.”
Dream Draco could just stare back at the Witch in a state of growing shock. Could what she was saying be true? Could such an colossal family shame be so simple? Granger was laughing at him now. As the curse was broken, and he was violently yanked from his sleep, Draco’s screams almost drowned it out. Hermione, on the other hand, had the best night’s rest of the past week.
“ So you see Liam, that is why they call that part of your family Noble and Most Ancient. It’s all because of… Uhm, kiddo…why are you looking at me that way? Would old Uncle Spenser ever lie to you? Oh Liam, your face will stick in place if you give me an ugly smirk like that. Hey, where are you going?”
“To see if Aunt Hermione and Aunt Luna have salvaged the pancakes for our breakfast. Geez Uncle Spenser, you couldn’t do any better than the Flintstones? I’ve seen the cartoon show.”
As the young boy stomped off, I felt maybe as small as the Great Gazoo for having failed the kid. I’d wrongly assumed that he’d been completely sheltered from Muggle televisions. I heard rather than saw someone I knew was Ginny and Harry approach me then. Turning about, I saw Luna was with them as well. She was the one with the stern glare.”
“Spenser, if I’d known that you were such a poor liar, I never would have married you. Liam looks very disappointed.”
“I’ll just have to practice more with some outrageous stuff about Rolf Scamander.” That got a smile and a giggle as Loony moved back to the kitchen area. “How is the train ride coming along Harry?”
“Great. I’ll get Minerva her tour when we go to the station, but Albus is the real genius today. He knew, anticipated her reaction and set up the most incredible working model train display you can imagine upstairs in the attic. She’s as fascinated with trains now as Lily was with her first reindeer ride.”
“It really was a nice effort Spenser; I mean for little Liam. I remember when Harry and I took the time to explain the actual meaning to Theodore when no one else wanted to.” Ginny stepped up and put a sympathetic hand on my shoulder. “We also appreciated how, when you accidentally found out, you made the call to tell Harry and me the whole truth.”
“I’ll tell Liam too when he’s older. I owe him that now,” I quietly admitted.
Yes, I’ll tell him about how I’d looked through B’kur’s Arch one dark winter’s eve searching for something to help Harry with the Horcrux hunt, but instead coming face-to-face with Phineas Black, circa 1860. I watched as he gathered the oldest of the Wizarding nobles, as he called them, forming a group of extreme fanatics bent on destroying anything and everything associated with Muggle blood. As a whole, and over time, the Noble and Most Ancient families easily caused as much death and destruction as any of Voldemort’s doings. They were just much quieter about it.
I’ll also tell Liam about how the years brought sanity with them. The society dissolved, at least from that perverted form. To Wizardry in general, the title inadvertently evolved into a supposed term of respect. Hermione was exceptionally amused to hear that the Malfoys had not been invited to join the families because they were perceived to be too soft, too inept and too much in pursuit of Earthly luxuries to be an effective contribution. It also didn’t help that Phineas Black caught Draco’s great, great, great grandfather trying to cheat him at Wizard’s cribbage.
Now it was Harry and Ginny, as Sirius’ heirs, who were endowed with the title and horrible legacy of the Blacks. Neither would ever claim Noble and Most Ancient status, nor would anyone they knew (still living) associated with the founding families. The couple walked over to the wall to look at the Black coat of arms still carved there. The residual charms on Grimmauld Place still prevented its removal. Maybe they could cover it somehow to protect inquisitive future generations.
“Uncle Spenser…I’m sorry,” came a small voice from behind them. Harry and Ginny turned to see Liam had returned, and was holding a large plate of pancakes. “These are for you. Aunt Hermione sent them. Your story really was good…sort of.”
“You liked it Liam?” Ginny asked the boy. She could see Harry grinning there beside her as well. I guess I was too.
“Yeah I suppose so. I am confused about one thing though.”
“What’s that Liam?” Harry asked. His eyes darkened for just a second, maybe worried that the child was seeking the truth again too soon.
“What does yabba dabba doo really mean?”
Harry, Ginny and I almost exploded laughing at Liam’s innocent question. I already had Stoney’s answer.
“♫ B-A-D-D-A means bad; D-A-B-B-A means good. Oh what magic in a word we found by switchin’ the letters around.♫ It’s from a Mesozoic Epoch dialect, originally discovered during excavations in lower Freedonian, but there have been historical references found as far away as…”
“What does it mean Uncle Harry, Aunt Ginny?!” Liam loudly demanded of them, apparently no longer trusting my take on things.
“Mischief managed of course.”
A/N: My thanks, apologies and respect to Fred, Wilma and the rest; to Hanna Barbera productions; and most especially to the late Mr. Hoagy (Stoney) Carmichael who wrote The Yabba Dabba Doo Song in 1961. You can find the tune on Youtube, and yes it is a fun song.
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