It seemed that everyone was quite pleased with Audrey. Percy had, after the Gala praised her to the skies which while been quite nice, was hardly unheard of from him. He had passed along Kingsley's thanks and praise, and she had received a knowing nod and smile from Tonks as they had made their farewells the night of the event in question.

Apparently, being able to hold a polite and civil conversation was something to be praised.

In fairness, Audrey knew that it was more than that. The Spanish Ambassador's apparent willingness to remain in Britain and hash out the details of the trade deal had been heavily desired but barely hoped-for outcome. An outcome that would possibly not have come off if Audrey hadn't been able to hold a polite and civil conversation with his wife. The Ambassador was obviously quite in tune with his wife's happiness and treatment by the magical world. For all that she had been born into it, her lack of magic had set her apart. An apartness that Audrey could understand.

And anyway, Elena was perfectly nice and quite interesting to talk to, so it had hardly been a chore.

Perfectly nice, interesting to talk to, an important figure in Magical Britian's ongoing dealings with Magical Spain despite her squib status, and due to arrive at the front door of Audrey and Percy's perfectly- well mostly, muggle home in half an hour.

Audrey was quietly panicking.

Percy had been of no help. Honestly, she could usually rely on him to help navigate the political waters she stood on the edge of due to his role. She was so little involved that it wasn't as if she had needed a lot of instruction. But in this, he was utterly useless, he had shrugged and merely offered she should do as she would when entertaining any other acquaintance.

There was a whole underlying concern she could read in the slight furrow between his brows as he read the note she had received with the date and time of Elena's visit. Nominally, it was understood that Elena had her husband's ear, and Percy was unsure as to the extent of her influence and thus how much could ride on this informal meeting. He had, to Audrey's pleasure and distinct alarm, decided to trust her with it. Audrey had never entertained a foreign dignitary before. Certainly not in her own home with a toddler underfoot.

He had tried, and he had reassured her that as it was a private visit she would not be required to follow any of the procedures and protocol an official visit would entail.

This had not been reassuring.

Audrey was thoroughly uneducated in the protocol and etiquette of entertaining dignitaries, foreign or domestic. She'd even resorted to getting on the internet and putting it into one of the search engines. The veritable flood of information had not helped in the slightest.

Resolved to not panic, she decided to follow Elena's lead and basically wing it. If she mucked something up, she was going to blame it on being a muggle. It was slightly galling that the excuse would probably be acceptable.

It would have been something if she could have gotten the best china out and made sure there was a supply of dainty sandwiches and cakes on a pretty stand.

They didn't own any best china, and Audrey didn't have time between work and the children to make pretty cakes even if she had the skill, which she was certain she did not. She could whip up a Victoria sponge, but it wouldn't be anything like high tea down at the Ritz. She'd sent Percy out to the local better-than-average supermarket to get a cake, to assuage some inbred British hospitality that she didn't know she possessed, that made her want to serve tea and cake. He'd obliged despite the late last-minute hour of her request and forbore to mention that she might be being daft.

The knock at the door brought her out of her mental ruminations. Quickly checking that in her distraction Lucy hadn't done anything terrible and thankful that she was still engrossed in her toys Audrey headed to the front door.

Elena stood on the step in a smart trench coat and long boots in deference to the terrible weather. Audrey smiled welcoming her in. She closed the door on the weather outside and took her coat.

"Are you alone?" she asked in surprise. "You don't have any security or your version of Aurors?"

"Oh no," Elena said in understanding. "If we were to remain in the magical part then Sebastian would be with me, and we would have his. I value my independence."

Audrey showed her into the sitting room where Lucy glanced up from her toy box. "This is Lucy," Audrey offered. "Lucy, could you come here and say hello to Elena?"

Lucy obligingly rose to her feet and toddled over to her mother, then in the way of young children became inexplicably shy. Refusing to speak she thrust her hand out offering the plastic dinosaur she was holding.

Elena accepted the dinosaur and reached into her handbag pulling forth a gaily wrapped present and offered it to Lucy.

"Go on," Audrey encouraged softly.

Lucy took it and with only a slight prompt, made her thanks before tearing the paper off. It revealed a plush bear which she hugged in a strangling motion while staring up at Elena.

"She is quite adorable," Elena commented. "With very pretty manners. I have another for your other daughter in here," she handed over another present.

"Thank you," Audrey said lifting the present out of Lucy's reach.

"It is no trouble I assure you."

A flash of light and a loud pop interrupted. Fawkes hovered in the middle of the room his wings beating as he manoeuvred himself onto one of the perches in the room closest to the toybox. He had grown again and was now the size of a tawny owl. A comparison that Audrey had no trouble making as she had found him one morning, sharing his perch with one of the owls that brought the Magical newspaper and post.

"Ay Dios mio," Elena said softly.

Fawkes ignored the visitor and looked only at Lucy. He let out a trilling sound which caused her to smile and toddle over to the perch. She thrust the bear up toward him for inspection. Fawkes made a musical note to which Lucy nodded and said only "Pretty."

Used to the behaviour of both bird and daughter Audrey kept half an eye on the pair before turning back to her guest. "I'm sorry, it has become, well normal is possibly not the word, but ever since he hatched for her a few months ago, this seems to be his way of getting about the house."

"You mentioned she had a familiar, I thought perhaps a cat... but a phoenix, I never could imagine," Elena trailed off.

Audrey smiled. "I should offer you something to drink. I have tea and coffee. Fawkes will keep an eye on Lucy while we're in the kitchen." Elena stood and followed Audrey down the hall to the kitchen. While Audrey put the kettle on and got the cups down Elena glanced around the room.

"Your house is not very magical? You did not choose one of the mixed places?"

"No, we have been here, oh seven years now. When we were looking Percy said that the nearest place where there was a mix of magic and muggle was too far for me to commute. We have a floo connection and there are charms that take care of the housework and cleaning, but the house itself is muggle. Percy's family helped put the hearthstone in so perhaps it is not as muggle as it was," Audrey mused. She gestured to the tea and coffee things then at Elena's indication made up two cups. Handing over Elena's cup, she led the way back to the sitting room. Lucy was still by her toy box humming quietly to herself while Fawkes looked on with his head cocked listening to the tune.

Elena sat back down her gaze fixing on the phoenix. "Forgive me," she said, "I have never seen one before. I know of their magical properties of course. But other than phials of tears, or the occasional feather. I have never seen a living one."

Audrey smiled. "It's quite alright, Fawkes has that effect on people from the magical side of things. My parents took it all much better than Percy's family. I suppose it doesn't help that prior to coming to us Fawkes used to belong to Albus Dumbledore."

"Really!" Elena asked her eyes wide. "How did he come to be with you? I thought Mr Dumbledore had died many years ago."

Audrey related an abridged version of the tale. "Honestly, I am not sure how it will be received when it becomes public knowledge. Even if we can keep it quiet before she reaches Hogwarts, a phoenix returning to Hogwarts will be a story few would refuse. If Percy is elected," Audrey sighed softly sipping her tea.

"It may be very difficult," Elena acknowledged.

Conversation moved on and the time passed quietly before Audrey noted with some surprise that they had been chatting for over two hours. Slightly chagrin she turned to Elena who had tempted Lucy to sit beside her and show her book. "I'm so sorry, I've just noticed the time would you like some lunch? Lucy will want something and then she'll need her nap before we collect Maggie."

"If it is of no trouble," Elena answered.

Audrey shook her head. "It's just sandwiches I'm afraid. Oh, and well, there's cake too."

Elena smiled. "I am quite happy with that I assure you."

Audrey hurried off to the kitchen. As she was slicing the fruit for Lucy and Fawkes to share, she heard the mirror in the dining room chime. She carried the fruit and the last of the lunch things through then turned to find Elena led by Lucy and Fawkes coming into the room.

"Sorry," Audrey said. "Let me just see what this is. Lucy, can you let Elena help you into your chair while Mummy answers the mirror?"

Lucy dragged Elena over with the singlemindedness of a hungry toddler Audrey stifled the smile and turned to answer the mirror.

Fleur greeted her in a flurry of exasperated French aimed slightly down and out of sight. "Ah," Fleur said slipping into English when she looked up. "Apologies, I did not know you had company."

"Is something wrong?" Audrey asked.

"Non. Dominique!" Fleur cried out in frustration. She bent out of the mirror's frame then straightened hoisting the squirming child onto her hip. "Shush chérie, Mama needs to speak to Tante."

"Tante," Dominique called out excitedly.

"Dominique," Audrey replied, "Why aren't you at nursery?"

"She has the wheeze," Fleur replied. "Which is why I am calling. We have just got the results from the medi-witch."

"Wheeze?" Audrey repeated in puzzlement.

"Oui, it is a childhood illness, I do not know where she picked it up from, but you will need to take Maggie and Lucy to be checked. It is contagious but nothing to worry about."

"What about Percy or me?"

"You, I do not know," Fleur said apologetically. "Percy will have had it when he was a child."

"Right," Audrey said nodding. "Thank you for letting me know. I assume that if either of them has it then Maggie shouldn't be at nursery."

Fleur waggled a hand back and forth. "I do not know if muggle children can get it. I will keep Victorie at home with me as she will get it from Dominique anyway."

"Oh," Audrey said as she had mentally started to run over her week. "The meeting with…"

"Oui exactement," Fleur said her frustration showing.

"How long does it last?" Audrey asked.

"Usually not more than two weeks," Fleur said.

"Ok. I should go, I'll speak to Percy, and I'll call you later tonight or tomorrow."

"Of course. My apologies for interrupting you."

Audrey smiled and reached for the mirror frame to end the call as she saw Dominique lunge for the mirror to presumably do the same on her side.

"I'm so sorry," Audrey said turning back to her guest and daughter.

"It is of no concern. I confess I was most interested; we have heard of these mirrors, but I have not yet seen one work."

"They are extremely convenient. I can't use a floo to make calls. This way I can contact any of Percy's family if I need to. I'm so sorry, the wheeze, are you inoculated against it? Or have you had it before?"

Elena held up her hand. "I had it as a child also. Before we found out I didn't have magic. I am in no danger."

"Oh, thank God." Audrey took her seat putting some fruit on Lucy's plate. Lucy promptly seized a slice of apple and held it above her head where Fawkes who was perched on the back of her chair took it gently and swallowed it greedily. "Could you tell me a little about it?"

"Of course, that was, your sister-in-law?"

"Yes, sorry that was Fleur, she's married to Percy's eldest brother. They have two girls, Victorie who is a year older than Maggie and Dominique who is a couple of months younger. She's also my business partner."

Elena nodded politely. "Well, it is called the wheeze because of the noise. The breathing is not harmed in any way, but it makes a wheezing sound. It can be quite acute in some. My brother when he caught it," she shook her head with an amused laugh. "He sounded quite terrible, like an old door. Generally, children are left to let it run its course. If the child suffers from any difficulty catching their breath or breathing normally outside of the noise, then there is a potion which can be administered which will ease the symptoms."

Audrey nodded. "That doesn't sound so bad. With Maggie at nursery, we're constantly battling all the things the children pass between themselves. I have never been so delighted with magic as when Percy told me there was a potion to stop them from picking up nits and lice from the other children. The coughs and sniffles are quite enough to be going on with."

When Elena finally rose to leave, shortly before Lucy was to have her nap Fawkes trilled once. Lucy, never far from him reached up to pet him. When she pulled her hand away, she held a single semi-plume feather in her hand. Lucy batted the feather on her nose giggling at the tickling of the fluffy golden down that faded to red as the feather formed a more rigid shape at the tip. Audrey held out her hand. "Is that for Uncle George and Uncle Fred?" she asked.

Lucy shook her head clutching the feather a little tighter. She held up the feather to Elena. "For you."

"For me?" Elena said with surprise. She hesitated, looking over at Audrey.

"If Lucy says it's for you," Audrey said lifting a shoulder.

Eleana accepted the feather dropping to her haunches. "Thank you, Lucy, and you Fawkes. This is the prettiest thing I've ever been given."

Fawkes preened smugly while Lucy nodded her head in agreement. "Pretty," she said patting the bird gently.

Elena rose putting the feather carefully in a pocket. "I shall treasure it. For a feather freely given is a gift indeed. Does Fawkes often give feathers?"

"Give? No," Audrey said leading the way to the front door holding Lucy's hand. "He moults, those feathers we collect. Percy's brothers take them, they are inventors and use them in their various experiments. Fleur took a wing feather and made it into a quill, I gifted her a metal tip so she wouldn't have to trim it. It's quite the most ostentatious thing I think I've seen anyone write with. I much prefer a pen."

"Truly you are a surprise," Elena said with a small laugh. "I do not know of many who could be so casual about something so very different to their expectations."

"Oh no, Percy has had to talk me down off the ceiling more than once. But this is their world, I want to be a part of it as much as I can. Percy has the same opinion of the muggle world. Neither of us would want to have to choose one or the other. Both is much better."