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Interlude – Porpentina

September 3, 1992, 8:30 AM, Rivington Street, New York City

Porpentina Goldstein

This place has truly changed. Porpentina Goldstein thought, not for the first time that morning. Even though she visited quite often, it never ceased to amaze her just how rapidly the No-majes were developing.

The present-day hustle and bustle seemed to fade away as she delved into memories of what this place once was. In the depths of her mind, she could still see the old cityscape, unburdened by the towering skyscrapers that now dominated the skyline.

Instead, the buildings stood at more modest heights, their facades adorned with intricate details and rich architectural styles. The streets were alive with a different energy, a palpable sense of excitement and possibility.

She meandered along the sidewalks, her eyes scanning the surroundings, seeking remnants of the past. The echoes of more primitive automobiles, peppered with the horse cries from the few remaining carriages reverberated through her memory, reminding her of a time when the sound of clacking on cobblestone used to be far more common.

The air carried a different aroma back then—an amalgamation of coal smoke, the scent of freshly baked bread from corner bakeries, and the tantalizing fragrance of roasted nuts sold by street vendors. The city streets had been alive with activity, teeming with people from all walks of life, each with their own stories to tell.

That much, at least, hasn’t changed. Tina thought to herself as she was brought back to reality, seeing a group of young men engaging in some strange, acrobatic dance in front of what seemed to be a portable music box. She smiled; the more things changed, the more they stayed the same.

She spent the remainder of the trip in this manner, enjoying the ambiance of the new atmosphere of an old place before stopping in front of her destination. She entered the building, going up a few flights of stairs, and finally stood in front of a door. Then, she knocked twice and waited.

“Just a second!” A familiar sound came from the other side, and Tina smiled slightly at her sister’s ever-present cheer.

Soon enough, the door opened, revealing the woman in question. 

“Teenie!” Queenie greeted with a wide smile that never failed to warm Tina’s heart. The two embraced, holding each other tight for a few seconds before they separated. Queenie nodded for her to go inside. “Come in, you’re just in time.”

“Oh?” Tina said as she made her way inside, settling into the living room.

The mid-morning sunlight streamed through the lace curtains, casting a gentle glow on the cozy living room. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafted through the air, enveloping the room in its warm embrace. In the corner, Tina saw three cups of steaming coffee in front of a pair of worn, well used armchairs.

“Please.” Queenie said, and the two women sat down. “Sit!”

“I don’t see Jacob anywhere?” Tina asked as she took her seat, looking around for the man in question.

Queenie, her silver hair as elegantly coiffed as ever, leaned forward slightly, her eyes twinkling with mirth. Her delicate, weathered hands held the cup with a sense of familiarity that came from years of shared moments like these. “Oh, he’s down at the bakery for a bit. He should be here soon.”

“Oh, yes; his morning baking routine.” Tina traced the intricate patterns on her cup.

“Even though he no longer needs to work there.” Queenie said, smiling again. “He still can’t stop himself from making his own breakfast. I think he’s making something for you, too.”

“I could definitely use something sweet right now.” Tina said. The two laughed, filling the air with their warmth and love, their voices carrying the weight of countless memories.

Time seemed to stand still in that moment, as if the world outside ceased to exist. They were cocooned in their own little universe, bound by the unbreakable bond of sisterhood. 

“You should have seen little Tony— though I suppose he’s not so little, anymore.” Tina said, smiling in remembrance. She shook her head. “Where does the time go?”

“I’ll let you know when I get an answer.” She heard Jacob’s voice from the entrance. A few seconds later, he popped into the living room, carrying bread and pastries, fresh from the oven.

The aged man, though weathered by time, walked into the living room with a graceful stride that belied his years. Each step he took was deliberate, a testament to his enduring strength and vitality, as well as the reward he’d received for his heroic actions in the past. His white hair, neatly combed back, hinted at a lifetime of wisdom and experience.

“Hey, Tina.”

Tina gave the man a wide smile as she got up to greet him. Waiting until after he put what he was carrying on the table, she gave him a big hug.

“Jacob, looking as spry as ever, I see.” Tina said with a happy smile. She broke the hug and gestured for him to go sit in her previous spot. “Sorry to take your seat.”

“It’s all good; you’re family.” Jacob said, shaking his head. “Besides, I could use the exercise.”

That got a small laugh out of the woman, who took her seat again.

“Tina was telling me all about seeing Tony.” Queenie said, and the two shared a smile. “He’s changed so much that you wouldn’t believe it.”

“Changed?” Jacob said. “Changed how? I know there was some kind of danger at the school— hope it’s not that kind of change.”

“The change itself isn’t bad, but, well… What happened at the school was worse than we thought.” Tina said and started explaining the story as best as Tony had described it to her.

“Always said that kid was a special one.” Jacob said. “Helping to save the school, looks like he’s adopted the Goldstein and Kowalski traditions of being dragged into impossible situations, huh?”

“It would seem to be that way, yes.” Tina said, shaking her head in amusement. Even now, Jacob just had a way about him that made everything brighter.

“And that other kid— Adam?” Jacob said curiously. “What’s he like?”

At that, Tina hesitated. She wasn’t sure what to think of the boy, just yet.

“I met him only once.” Tina said. “He seemed like a quiet, thoughtful boy.”

“I can feel it, Teenie.” Queenie said, leaning forward in concern. “You think something’s up with him?”

“Is he a danger to Tony?” Jacob’s jovial demeanor fell away, replaced by the face of a man who’d gone through trials and tribulations only a few No-majes could even dream of, and come out on top.

Tina shook her head. “No, he isn’t— that much I know for sure. As far as I could tell, he treats all of his friends with the sort of attitude one would give a little brother or sister. But it’s weird, it’s like he’s always…”

“Holding something back?” Queenie finished for her. “Teen, you mind?”

“I suppose it would be easier to just show you, I suppose.” Tina said, looking her sister in the eye and opening her mind wide open. “Go ahead.”

Tina felt her sister’s presence in her mind almost instantly; it was a comforting thing, radiating happiness, curiosity and concern. Tina let her sort through her recent memories, reliving the time she met Adam.

After what felt like a moment but was likely to be minutes, Tina blinked and was forced to roll her neck. “Easy to convey information like this, but damn if it doesn’t make me feel all stiff afterwards.”

“Sorry, sis.”

“It’s fine.” Tina shook her head as she waved it away, with Jacob handing them both something sweet to bite on.

“Thanks, hun.” Queenie said, enjoying the pastry for a moment before stopping. “Adam, his eyes…”

“Yes, they were like… his.” Tina said, nodding. “Right?”

“His? Who?” Jacob said in a moment of confusion, but the sudden shift in atmosphere allowed him to figure it out. “Oh… him. What, is this kid in cahoots with him? Why can’t he just leave us alone, for once?”

No one had an answer to that.

“What did you think?” Tina said, looking at her sister. “I’m sorry to ask, but—”

“I know, and it’s fine.” Queenie said. “I’m one of the few people remaining in this world that was in close proximity to that man for an extended period of time. And there’s a disturbing resemblance between that young man and Grindelwald.”

“The eyes.”

Queenie shook her head, however. “It’s more than that, hun. Yes, the young man has eyes like Grindelwald, but did you notice how he would always look above people, like he was seeing something else?”

“Yes, now that you mention it…” Tina said before swallowing. “Wait, are you saying Grindelwald did something like that?”

“Oh, yes. He did it quite often. He was careful about it, but I could tell.” Queenie said. “I’m not sure what it was that he was seeing— his mind was always shielded, even from those loyal to him. But what I do know is that it allowed him to easily maneuver his way through every conversation he took part in, like he could see people’s essence to the core— in a different way.”

“Some form of high level Legilimency, then.” Tina said. “But one that even you couldn’t detect?”

“No, no.” Queenie said, shaking her head. “I wouldn’t call it Legilimency. This is… Something different. Like nothing I ever heard of, even after years of study, I could never figure it out.”

Tina stared down at the half-eaten pastry in her hand for a moment, not saying anything. Just what could this be? How could a child of twelve years of age possess the abilities of someone like Grindelwald?

“But a single encounter isn’t really proof.” Queenie said, gesturing for her to continue eating. “I also don’t think the boy will be a problem— from what little I saw, he seemed to treasure his friends.”

“We should meet him.” Jacob said, surprising the two women. “Get a good look at him.”

“The new world tournament is taking place at Hogwarts, isn’t it?” Queenie said, looking between the two. “We could go there.”

“That’s great.” Jacob said, perking up. “I’d love a chance to go there again.”

Tina, however, shook her head. “You should go. I wish I could come with you, but I won’t be able to, I fear.”


“I’ve been requested to oversee the affairs of the Aurors here.” Tina said, gesticulating. “There’s been news of altercations with rogue factions of wizards here— both familiar and unknown.”

“I remember those from back when you worked in law enforcement…” Queenie said, frowning in confusion. “But, I thought you said those people were barely more than a few squabbling bands?”

“Yes; that’s what I remember them being.” Tina said with a nod. “But now they’ve organized and are hitting multiple places, coordinating their attacks to do the most damage with the least risk. It is completely different to anything I remember. I’ll be on my way to the Woolworth building after I’m done here.”

“So you’ll be busy and can’t come.”

“Afraid not.”

“Then, we’ll go.” Queenie said.

“Yeah.” Jacob said, nodding. “You can count on us.”

Tina could only smile in response. “I missed you two.”

“Aww.” Queenie said and moved over to Tina to give her a hug. “Come here.”

“You’re always welcome here, Tina.”

“Thank you.”


September 3, 1992, 12:30 PM, Woolworth Building, New York

It has been quite some time. Tina thought to herself as she stood in front of the tall building. Thirty years, or so, hasn’t it?

She stared at the many people walking around her, with some entering through the revolving doors, completely unaware of the presence of wizards among them.

Exhaling through her nose, Tina moved towards the side entrance, nodding to the plainclothes wizard there. “Section 3A, please.”

With a nod, he surreptitiously waved the wand in his coat pocket and opened the door for her.

“Thank you.” She said, entering the grand foyer of the Woolworth Building, her footsteps echoing against the marble floor. The soaring ceiling stretched high above her, adorned with intricate golden details that glimmered under the warm glow of chandeliers.

She couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe at the grandeur of the place even though she’d practically lived here for some time.

The air was filled with a hushed ambiance, as if the very walls held their secrets close. Portraits of distinguished figures lined the walls, their watchful eyes following everyone’s moves.

As she made her way towards the elevators, she couldn’t help but notice the hustle and bustle of the busy lobby. Wizards and witches hurried past, their briefcases clutched tightly in their hands. The distinct click-clack of high heels mingled with the low murmur of conversation, creating a symphony of business and purpose.

The polished bronze doors of the elevator slid open, revealing a mirrored interior that seemed to multiply the grandeur of the building. Taking a steadying breath, Porpentina stepped inside, adjusting her coat and straightening her posture. She pressed the button for the designated floor, anticipation coursing through her veins.

As the elevator ascended, the cityscape unfolded before her eyes through the glass walls. Skyscrapers reached for the heavens, their windows reflecting the golden rays of the sun. The bustling streets below seemed miniature, a tapestry of cars and people going to and fro.

When the elevator doors opened on her destination, Tina found herself in a well-appointed hallway, adorned with polished wood paneling and soft, muted lighting. She walked with purpose, her steps measured and confident.

At the end of the hall, a pair of imposing double doors awaited her arrival.

She paused for a moment, composed herself, and then pushed the doors open. Once inside, she was greeted by faces both familiar and unfamiliar.

The room was adorned with velvet drapes and portraits of past MACUSA presidents lining the walls. The air felt charged with an unspoken tension, hinting at the weight of the upcoming meeting.

At the head of the room, a large oak table dominated the space, surrounded by high-backed chairs. President Damules Andres stood tall with an air of authority. His sharp features and piercing gaze commanded attention as he welcomed Tina into the room.

“Mrs. Goldstein, thank you for coming all this way.” President Andres said, his voice resonating with a hint of formality. “Please, have a seat.”

Here goes. Tina nodded politely and took her place. She briefly scanned her surroundings, exchanging nods and small smiles with her previous colleagues.

“Thank you, Mr. President.” Tina responded, her voice steady.

“Is that everyone, Robert?” President Andres asked his assistant and got a nod for his trouble. “Very well. Seal the room.”

Everyone waited quietly as the man went to work, waving his wand as he murmured under his breath. Windows were obscured, doors were closed. The portraits disappeared into the walls.

“Apologies for the delay.” Andres said after all was said and done. “But I trust you all understand the urgency of the matter we’re here to discuss.”

“Of course, sir.” One said.

“The Outsiders.” Tina said.

President Andres’ eyes narrowed, a brief flicker of concern crossing his face before he composed himself.

“Indeed, Mrs. Goldstein.” He replied, his tone measured. “The reports being brought to my attention are troubling, to say the least.”

Ms. Everhart, the current Head of the Auror Office and a witch Porpentina had trained, herself, leaned forward, her expression a mix of determination and unease. “These incidents point to a growing threat, one that could endanger the Wizarding community as we know it.”

She spoke softly, but everyone felt the weight of urgency being held back by the woman. President Andres gestured for her to continue. “You sound like you have further news.”

“I do, Mr. President.” Everhart said. “You’ve already been briefed on the actions of the Redbrands, Greenbloods and Blackjays so far.”

“Yes.” Andres said, his voice tinged with just a little impatience. “Incursions on our borders. Smuggling rings, coordinated raids.”

“Among other things.” Everhart nodded, moving the conversation along. “However, we’ve had absolutely no information on either Blueclaws or Whitewings. At least until now.”

“You’ve found something?”

“Yes, sir.” She said, tapping her wand on the table and distributing the reports to all attendees with a quick spell. “I invite you to read the contents.”

Tina took the papers with a murmur of thanks, going through them one by one.

“Salem’s Stake.” One of the unfamiliar wizards said, aghast. “Is this true?”

“As far as we can tell, yes. I’d received similar reports from other, less reputable sources.” Everhart said, flipping towards the later pages. “Submitted them as corroborating witness testimony, but the main source of information is from trusted operatives in the Force.”

A murmur of unease descended onto the table, and how could Porpentina blame any of them?

To think that the Blueclaw and Whitewing tribes have reinstated the old ways of mass blood sacrifice… Tina thought in sheer revulsion and fear. Children dismembered and left to die to fuel the Blackest of magics.

“This cannot be allowed to continue.” Tina heard someone say and belatedly realized that it was herself speaking. She powered through, keeping her voice steady despite the tempest of outrage within her. “If they are engaging in the old ways, then it’s only a matter of time until…”

“Until what?” A young wizard asked, sounding uneasy.

Tina looked at him; the poor lad was likely one of the new recruits.

Everhart patted him on the shoulder, though her voice was grim. “Until they lead a full blown invasion, like they did in the early days of our institution, rookie. We cannot let the events of the Day of Blood repeat themselves. We must not.

“Agreed. We will not let this stand.” President Andres said, though his voice was tinged with caution. “However, we must exercise prudence in our actions. We cannot afford to create panic or disrupt the delicate balance between the magical and non-magical worlds. It was only recently that we began to cooperate with the No-Maj government, and it hasn’t been a particularly stable relationship, so far.”

A murmur of agreement swept through the table. The No-Maj United States President had not been pleased to learn of the existence of an entirely hidden society.

Tina’s grip on the armrest of her chair tightened, her knuckles turning white. She understood the delicate nature of the situation, but her instincts urged her to push for more decisive action.

“I understand the need for caution, Mr. President, but we cannot ignore the signs.” She asserted, her tone one of determination. “We need to act swiftly and decisively— before it’s too late.”

President Andres’ gaze locked with Tina’s, a moment of silent tension passing between them. The weight of responsibility seemed to hang heavy in the air, each of them right in their own way, but neither was willing to back down.

Finally, the President spoke, his voice softened but resolute.

“Mrs. Goldstein, I appreciate your dedication and your passion, and I agree with you completely.” He said, his tone carrying a mix of understanding and authority. “Rest assured, we will take these matters seriously and explore all possible avenues to ensure the safety of our community. But we must also proceed with caution, weighing the risks against the actions we take.”

Tina nodded, her expression a blend of mild relief and determination.

I suppose that’s the best I can hope for, right now.  She thought in no small measure of disappointment. She understood this song and dance, of course. The stakes were high, and the path forward to victory would require both patience and vigilance.

“Very well, sir.” She said, backing down with a nod.

“For what it’s worth, Mrs. Goldstein, I am of the same mind as you.” Andres said, tone full of regret. “I’ve worked the Outsider cases, myself, once upon a time. I see the coming danger. I want nothing more than to take our Aurors and ‘lead the charge’, so to speak.”

“But your hands are tied.”

“Much as I would like to deny it, I cannot. However dangerous The Outsiders are, there are currently threats on a higher scale.” Andres said, though his eyes glittered with mirth. “So, when I was contacted by none other than Albus Dumbledore himself, offering the services of one of his colleagues— and a well-respected one to us— I took him up on it.”

Tina stayed quiet, even as Andres continued. “Mrs. Goldstein, your dedication to upholding the integrity of our Wizarding World is the stuff of history. Your achievements regarding the past great war with Grindelwald are not ones we take lightly. We’re glad to have you here.”

Tina’s cheeks flushed with pride, though she maintained a professional composure. “Thank you, Mr. President. It has been an honor to serve the MACUSA and protect our fellow wizards.”

“Then I hope to honor you again.” Andres said. “Will you help us with this burden as you have done in the past?”

“It would be my pleasure, sir.”

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