January 10, 1982

Calderon Castle, Spain

When Alejandro Calderon first met his future wife at a ball intended to raise money for international Charms research in 1932, he had thought her perfect: perfect pedigree, perfect mind, and certainly a perfect-


It was a year later, when he saw her again by chance at a New Years Eve party in Ibiza, that he decided he absolutely had to have her. There was something about watching a beautiful woman rip the men around her to shreds when they dared ask her to dance that he, personally, found absolutely irresistible. He had been determined to court her at once- had sent the owl to her father at 2 am, as a matter of fact. (It remained, to this day, the worst first impression he ever made.)

But the most memorable moment of Alejandro's life, the moment he had realized that no other woman would ever appeal to him in light of the absolutely overwhelming love he felt for one Isla Fawley, came in 1933 when said woman brought the wards around his home absolutely shattering down around him over tea just to prove a very minor point about potential weak points.

It was this moment, this awe-and-adoration-filled single moment of time before he had breathlessly dropped to one knee and proposed, that Alejandro had to remind himself of when he woke up to a painfully chipper Cassiopeia Black climbing into his bed on the other side of his wife.

"Por el amor de Merlin! Cassiopeia Black, how do you keep appearing in our bedroom?" he demanded, pulling the sheets up over his chest and scooting closer to the edge of the bed. "Honestly woman, aren't you the least bit concerned about catching one of us in our all together?"

Isla and Cassiopeia exchanged a particularly smug look and burst into terribly unladylike giggles.

Alejandro groaned.

"Solo podrías desear, mi amor," Isla murmured, reaching out to brush a hand over Alejandro's rather disastrous mane. "I did tell you that I built Cassiopeia a pass directly into our bedchambers in case of emergency."

"And Merlin help us all when it comes to Cassiopeia Black's version of an emergency," Alejandro grumbled. "Well, Madam Black? What is it this time? Rampaging brothers? Homicide? Kidnappings? Blowing up the Ministry? Infiltrating Hogwarts?"

"All very good ideas!" Cassiopeia said cheerfully, fumbling with a small towel wrapped parcel. "Unfortunately, none of the above that I know of. Actually, emergency is in this case an incredibly loose term. Biscuit?"

"Why on earth would I want a- actually, Madam, what sort do you have there?"

Cassiopeia appraised the pile on her lap carefully. "Ginger snaps, shortbread, and sugar biscuits I believe."

"Pass a ginger snap, then- but next time you invade at an ungodly hour, at least do the courtesy of bringing coffee to go along with it."

"Of course, Lord Calderon- I'm thrilled we could come to this accord."


"Isla, darling, I have a three part to-do-list today following the events of this family council. Would you care to join for a quick jaunt around the isles?"

"Certainly, darling, if needs must- I wanted to pick up my new robes in London anyways, and I'm sure I'll enjoy seeing what House Black has jumped headfirst into this time. I needed to make a quick stop in London, anyways."

"Mi amore, were we not to watch Blaise for the day?"

Isla smiled, her teeth sharp despite the early morning lack of her customary bloody red lipstick, and Alejandro felt his heart pounding faster in his chest. "I'm sure you boys will be able to find something to do. And when I get back…."

She brushed a single hand over his cheek, and he reached up to grasp it before pressing a kiss to her fingertips. "When I get back, the three of us shall go out for dinner. Have we taken Blaise dancing with us before?"

"I don't believe we have," Alejandro grinned, throwing the covers off and ignoring Cassiopeia's presence as he strode across the room in his underthings. "Ladies, I leave you to it then. Do try not to take over the world too completely. I doubt it would leave time for dinner and dancing."

January 10, 1982

Tonks Residence, Salisbury

Andromeda Tonks opened the front door and froze, her welcoming smile sliding into a pensive frown. "Oh, dear."

"Madam Tonks, I do so hope now isn't a poor time." Isla Calderon smiled broadly from beneath her creamy wool fascinator. "We would hate to interrupt your day."

Sighing, Andromeda glanced from her great Aunt to her increasingly notorious companion. She'd quite enjoyed working with Cassiopeia on the Longbottom project, but Andromeda had yet to forget the rather patronizing approach this particular pair had taken with Narcissa and herself the night of Orion's funeral.

"I'm sure," she murmured wryly, and stepped out of their way. "Do come in. I'll have Ted put on a spot of tea.

January 10, 1982

4 Privet Drive, Surrey

"I remain convinced that this isn't entirely consciousable, Aunt." Andromeda tapped fingers rapidly against her perfectly muggle green and blue plaid skirt, the urge to pull out her wand and apparate away nearly overpowering.

"My dear, we did vote on this yesterday afternoon."

"Yes, but Aunt, this was only the majority vote because Sirius wouldn't stop grumbling about vengeance, and Father about his politics, and Lysandra about forgiveness, and-,"

"Well, yes- but in this case, my dear, four votes was a majority, and the family magic seems to have approved. At least there haven't been any nasty side effects of my declaring House Black's intent for this… family." Cassiopeia peered at the Dursley residence over their recently painted white picket fence, stormy eyes bright. "I really should read the manual."

Andromeda groaned. Behind her, Madam Calderon produced a much more delicate sigh of exasperation.

"Regardless, niece, I assure you that this is perfectly legal. And most likely, they would appreciate it if they knew what we were doing. Which they must absolutely not by the time we leave. Which is, of course, the entire reason you are here."

"Yes, Aunt Cass." Andromeda sighed, intentionally holding her fingers still for a brief moment before reaching out and opening the gate. "We'd best continue, then."

Petunia Dursley had been in the middle of a perfectly ordinary- perfectly normal- Sunday when the doorbell rang just after lunch.

"Should I get the door, Pet?" Vernon called from his spot in the living room, where he had taken Dudley to play once they'd finished eating.

Petunia flicked her fingers clean of dish soap and turned away from the sink, a very tiny smile turning up the corners of her lips.

Vernon had been inordinately helpful since her brief brush with the flu the week before. She couldn't lift a finger without him worriedly peering after her, or asking if she was sure she was quite alright.

Petunia loved it.

"No Vernon, love, I'll get it- you and Dudders continue your fun."

The doorbell rang again, and Petunia's brow furrowed. Visitors on a Sunday- pushy visitors at that! Who would imagine?

Dropping her apron on its hook, Petunia hurried to the front door. "Can I help you?"

The three women on her front stoop were not particularly familiar, but there was something about their mere presence that sent tingles up the oldest Evans sister's spine.

"Our deepest apologies for disturbing you, Mrs. Durley." The youngest of the trio, an inordinately pretty woman not much older than Petunia herself, inclined her head gracefully. "We've come to discuss your nephew."

Petunia went white.

"I'm afraid that I have no nephew- Vernon's sister is unwed."

"Not Vernon's nephew, Mrs. Dursley. Yours."

The bubble of hatred that boiled up in Petunia's chest was instantaneous. Her vision turned red, her forehead began to throb, and her hands flexed automatically. "Leave at once- I have no nephew!"

One of the older women, practically featureless through Petunia's rage, heaved a deep sigh. "Don't worry, Madam. By the time we leave, as far as we're concerned, you actually won't."

In the end, they had to stun Vernon- had they not, he would have tried to bodily throttle them for reducing his wife to a quivering, sobbing pile of rage at the front door.

"At least the baby's cooperating," Isla murmured, settling onto the couch beside Cassiopeia and bouncing an increasingly sleepy Dudley Dursley on her lap.

"Good thing- he's like a tiny Panda. Is it abuse to overfeed a child to this degree?"

"Yes," Andromeda called, "Now would you both pipe down? Mrs. Dursley is going to be the hardest one, considering you have me rooting around in her memories all the way back to early childhood. I'd really rather not lose my focus."

"Deepest apologies, niece- pray tell if we need to leave the room completely," Cassiopeia murmured (she knew first hand how annoying background babbling was when one wanted to focus on their project). Lowering her voice further, she quirked her lips in Isla's direction. "I am rather relieved that this was the majority vote."

"Had young Sirius' suggestion of burning them at stake passed muster, I don't think we could have continued this little project," Isla agreed quietly. "I am rather surprised that your brother came up with this."

"It turns out Pollux has quite the bright mind when he isn't too nervous to speak up," Cassiopeia agreed, eyes drifting towards the ceiling. "Marius and I are at loggerheads as to whether our dear mother or Irma are to blame."

"Ghastly frights, both were."

The pair watched in companionable silence for a long moment as Andromeda, sweat slowly beginning to accumulate at her temples, focused completely on Petunia Dursley's prone form. In sharp contrast to Andromeda's incredible focus, Petunia's face was open and relaxed. The pinched lines around her eyes and mouth disappeared as Andromeda worked, leaving behind a totally fresh page.

Leaving behind a woman who had no idea that magic really did exist.

"If you don't mind, I'd… I'd like to present an idea as well." Pollux squirmed in his seat until Cassiopeia, one brow lost in her hairline, nodded. "Magic is the greatest gift we have ever been found worthy of- as a family, I mean, no offense meant to you and your wife Marius. When we p-p-punished Bellatrix and Walburga, they lost their access to that magic and to our family, and we considered that a particularly extreme punishment. Why can't we do something similar for these muggles?"

"Father, the muggles have no magic to take away- and they're barely linked to the Potter family, let alone us," Cygnus patronized. "We can't remove magic from beasts who start with none at all."

"Cygnus, enough." Arcturus' tone brooked no argument as he stared down his closest cousin's son. "You will let Pollux finish."

"Oh. Uhm." Pollux's hand wrenching intensified on his lap before he took a deep breath and continued. "The muggles may not have magic to be taken away from them, but just knowing about magic… most people would consider that a very small blessing, wouldn't they? I would propose we take away their knowledge of magic- completely. Take away this muggle woman's memories of her sister being magical, of the reason she lost her child, of her nephew's existence. Take away all of their ability to hate magic, because they have no idea it exists. Take away their magical protections, but take away the accidental curses Dumbledore bestowed on them as well, so they're just…. Just muggles."

There was stunned silence for a brief moment, then: "Grandfather, you are suggesting some serious memory modification as revenge? Are you serious?"

A very un-Pollux like sparkle filled the old man's eye before he glanced down at his tea cup and murmured, so softly that the table had to strain to hear him: "No, you are."

Petunia Dursley had been in the middle of a perfectly ordinary- perfectly normal- Sunday when the doorbell rang just after dinner.

"Should I get the door, Pet?" Vernon called from his spot in the living room, where he and Dudley had retreated for the evening cartoons.

Petunia flicked her fingers clean of dish soap and turned away from the sink, a wide smile stretching across her face.

Vernon had been hovering over her since her brief brush with the flu the week before. She couldn't lift a finger without him worriedly peering after her, or asking if she was sure she was quite alright.

Petunia loved it- loved him. Loved their little family. Was incredibly excited about the changes that were coming in the next few months.

"No Vernon, love, I'll get it- you and Dudders continue your fun."

The doorbell rang again, and Petunia hummed as she slipped the apron over her head and hurried to the front door. "Good evening! Can I help you?"

The three women on her front stoop were not familiar at all, but they seemed both polite and sensible (two of the things Petunia prized most). "Good evening, Mrs. Dursley. Our apologies for bothering you this late in the evening- we're from the local branch of the National Women's League, whose mission is to improve local communities and promote proper British values among the youth of today. You've been recommended for membership by your neighbors, and we wanted to follow up to determine your initial interest."

Petunia's eyes widened. "What a wonderful mission! I would be terribly interested under normal circumstances, but my husband and I are actually planning a move at the moment. He inherited a house in the country from his parents, and we've decided to give it a go for the sake of giving our son a bit more room to roam."

The middle woman nodded understandingly. "We're sorry to hear that, of course, but we salute your good fortune. As we are always looking for interested new members, I must ask- do you have any like-minded sisters or close friends who might be interested in participation? Your mother perhaps?"

"I'm afraid not," Petunia shook her head solemnly. "My only sister and our parents passed away shortly after she graduated from Rugby School in a terrible car accident caused by a drunk driver- I was only spared because Vernon had insisted on chauffeuring me himself that day."

"Our deepest apologies, Mrs. Dursley, for bringing up such delicate memories," the youngest woman murmured, eyes cast downward. "Thank you for your time- and good luck in the future."

Petunia's expression froze for the briefest second, a glaze settling over her eyes before she smiled broadly. "Thank you- have a wonderful evening. And good luck with your cause!"

January 10, 1982

Ferncroft Avenue, Hampstead

"Oh, no," Agnes Granger opened her front door and sighed heavily. "More House politics? Already?"

Her sister-in-law beamed. "This has nearly equal probability of being a social call, you know- I did the math."

"Did you factor in the fact that you've never been here before? Or that you are one of the least likely people in existence to make a social call?"

"Of course I did. It was that first bit that made all possible options for a visit nearly equal. Though I must admit, it's an odd probability table that tells me I'm as likely to visit you for tea as I am to visit you for a funeral."

Isla waved a gloved hand through the air dismissively. "Hardly surprising- you're a Black."

"A fair enough point," Cassiopeia conceded. "But I digress. Agnes, may we come in?"

"If you're looking for Marius, he's at the park with Hermione right now. But I can put on tea in the meantime."

"Oh, that's no issue. It's you we'd like to confer with."

It had been some time since Agnes had entertained potential clients, but she settled behind the polished pale maple of her desk and pulled a white fountain pen from its stand with practiced poise. "This is a legal matter?"

"Yes, and it's important to me- to the family, really."

Agnes shot Cassiopeia a censuring look over the tops of her glasses, as if to suggest that the family's opinion meant very little in her final decision. "What, precisely, do you need?"

"Agnes, dear, you're a better barrister than anyone else I know."


"You're succinct, you're persuasive, and you've a nearly unparalleled record. The case I have in mind is going to require a strong defense, and Isla and I are in agreement that you are the best possible solution."

Agnes felt a small bubble of dread welling up in her stomach. "And your case?"

"The defense of Sirius Black."


Cassiopeia's pleasant smile froze in place, but Isla's lips twitched upward. "A rather rapid response, don't you think Madam Granger?"

The fountain pill began tapping rapidly, Agnes' only outward sign of irritation. "Of course it was- you hardly expect me to take a case in a wizarding court, do you?"

"It would be inspired."

"It would be illegal- magical courts do not recognize muggle degrees, much to their own embarrassment I might add. It is yet another example of your ridiculously outdated doctrine-"

"You're not wrong- it is incredibly outdated. That's why Lucius Malfoy has petitioned for it to be changed."

"I beg your pardon?"

Isla nodded pleasantly, crossing one ankle over the other and leaning back into the mustard-toned tub chair that Agnes had directed her to minutes prior. "Lucius Malfoy has championed a shockingly moderate bill that will make its way directly onto the Prime Minister's desk as early as tomorrow. When news breaks that it has been signed- and let's be blunt, it will be signed- the wizarding world will see a sudden influx of muggle-educated practitioners of medicine, education, and law."

Despite herself, Agnes looked intrigued. "Papa would have been ecstatic, had he been alive to see something like that come about."

"It should have happened ages ago," Cassiopeia murmured, her eyes glazing over as she studied her hands thoughtfully. "Tradition is important, and it must be preserved- however, there are some things that we can only only understand by broadening our beliefs and understanding of one another."

"A remarkably placid statement for the Head of House Black."

"I remain first and foremost Cassiopeia Black, the researcher." Cassiopeia's lips quirked in her sister-in-law's direction, and she abruptly stood to browse through the bookcase at the opposite end of Agnes' home office. "Agnes, dear, I'm being sincere with my request- as a researcher, as the Head of House Black, and as your sister-in-marriage, I truly believe you are the best fit for this case."

"Not to mention, you'd be making history," Isla offered, jumping on the slight hesitation growing on Agnes' face. "The first muggle barrister to take up a case in front of the Wizangamot-,"

"Making history is hardly my goal," Agnes rolled her eyes when both other women glanced at her, aghast under their cool expressions. "Not all of us would be sorted into Slytherin you know."

"Then I'll appeal to your positively Gryffindor nature," Isla said dryly, glancing over her shoulder to share an expressionless look with Cassiopeia before returning her gaze to Agnes. "How badly do you want to stick it to the magical world? For what they did to your father, to your husband… to you?"

Agnes opened her mouth to respond, then closed it, brow furrowing heavily. The tap-tap-tapping of the pen on the desk increased to a rapid fire pace before stopping suddenly. She sighed. "Bloody hell, Marius is right. It is me that Patricia gets it from."

Cassiopeia turned to her and beamed, but Agnes missed it completely. Her eyes were focused far into the distance, her mind whirling with what would need to be done next.

A ridiculously hot headed young client. A trial that would change history. There was press to consider, and a full investigation, and meetings to schedule, and….

Agnes Granger, Queen's Counsel (QC), was stepping out of retirement.

January 10, 1982

Diagon Alley, London

Rita Skeeter did not receive many visitors. She, in particular, did not receive many visitors late on Sunday evenings. She, even more specifically, did not receive many visitors late on Sunday evenings who she'd never given her address too.

"Can I help- oh."

Cassiopeia Black raised a single eyebrow. "Isla, I'm starting to think Britain is the least hospitable place in the world- I've never arrived on so many doorsteps in one day and been frowned at in France."

"Darling, you've never actually visited anyone in France."

"A point- Miss Skeeter, I find myself disappointed by your lack of welcome in particular. Aren't you constantly chasing a fresh scoop? A newsworthy interview?"

Rita considered the first conversation she had ever had with this woman, in which the new Head of House Black had flawlessly dissected Rita's ambitions, tactics, and results in a few brief sentences. Then she shrugged. "The Monday paper doesn't sell particularly well- a wizarding anomaly, I assure you."

"Ah, well, if you've no interest in the Ministry's newest prerogative, or my nephew's house arrest, or Albus Dumbledore's- but I shouldn't keep you. Our deepest apologies for the… intrusion," Isla Calderon smiled, wiping her gloved hands over her robes as if to rid herself of Rita's very presence, and turned to leave.

Rita bit her lip. She desperately wanted to tell these interfering older women to send her an owl and schedule an appointment, that they were no more important than any of the other boring people whose lives she sensationalized to sell papers.

But that would be a rather sensational lie in itself.

Rita really wanted that book deal. She really wanted the galleons it would pay and the fame it would result in and-


Cassiopeia and Isla turned back to her, identical expressions of false surprise on their faces.

"I was merely surprised you'd acquired my address," Rita said quickly, oozing the fake charm that worked so well on her other subjects. "Please, do come in. I can put on the tea."

"That would be lovely, darling."

January 10, 1982

Calderon Castle, Spain

"You're late, mi amore. Blaise and I were about to raid the kitchens to avoid starvation."

Isla peered down into the rather foxhole inspired pillow fort that her husband and grandson had apparently spent their day on, lips twitching when she found Alejandro with a heavily feathered pirate hat perched on his head and little Blaise in a parrot costume that seemed quite the paradox when coupled with his solemn expression.

"Tolly tells me you've already raided the kitchens once this afternoon, so you'll get no sympathy from me." Isla dropped carefully to her knees and held her arms out to her grandson. "Little parrot, are you ready for dinner then?"

The little boy launched out of the pillow fort and into her arms to plant a dutiful kiss on each of her cheeks before squawking his best parrot impression right in Isla's face. "Nonna! Hungry birdie."

Chuckling, Isla swept him up off the ground with her. "Then we'd best get ready- we will have all the spaghetti your tummy can hold, and then Tata and Nonna are going to teach you how to dance under the moon."