DISCLAIMER: I own nothing of Harry Potter just the plot and the original characters in my story.
The Shafiqs are part of the Sacred Twenty Eight based on canon.
Two middle aged men wearing long, velvet dark cloaks over their heads, were observed to be hunched in a table at a corner of the Three Broomsticks. The two seemed to be engaged in a heated argument which mildly alarmed the owner of the pub, Madame Rosmerta, as she continued to steal glances at the pair ever so often.
One of the men in the hooded cloak saw her and sighed, gesturing to his companion to wait one moment and to control his temper, as he left to approach the bar.
"Madam Rosmerta, I do apologize for my companion's … unusual behavior." The older man spoke calmly, his blue eyes twinkling.
"Dumbledore, goodness gracious!" The woman placed a hand to her heart. "I didn't know it was you, scared me a good lot now, didn't you? See, I don't want to pry to any of your business, but would you mind not scaring some of my customers?"
Dumbledore quirked a brow at her, then his eyes travelled around the pub. He gave a soft chuckle to himself and smiled at the woman before heading back to his companion.
He casted a silent Muffliato and transfigured themselves to look less inconspicuous.
"What was that about?" The man in front of Dumbledore said, meekly irritated while taking a swig of firewhiskey and slamming it on the table.
"Now, Raphael. It is best if we discuss this matter calmly and collectively. As you know, I do not have all day and I do like to keep intelligent conversations with my guests," Dumbledore said, eyeing Raphael as he took his fourth shot of firewhiskey.
"Fine." Raphael drained his last shot and ran his fingers through his tangled, graying hair.
"Honestly, Albus. I don't know what to do." His forehead creased. Lines and wrinkles probably caused by the war etched on his face, making him a decade older than he was supposed to be.
"Then tell me, what you are hiding?" Dumbledore looked him in the eye and casted a strong spell, making sure no one but the two of them, would know or hear of this conversation.
Raphael tensed under Dumbledore's penetrating gaze. He was not sure if he could trust this man but there was nothing left. His older brother trusted him. So therefore, he must try, he owed him that much.
"Leonardo." The word died on Raphael's lips but Dumbledore understood. Leonardo was a good friend of his.
Dumbledore did not utter a word, trying to recover his composure after hearing the name after such a long time.
Raphael watched his expression and understood Dumbledore's private mourning. "Leonardo and Dione, his wife, died years ago but managed to conceive a child. I was able to flee Italy before Voldemort and his followers would have found out about my niece."
"Niece? Impossible! It is known that you are the last remaining descendant of the House of Shafiq." Dumbledore's voice rose slightly in disbelief. He did everything in his power to protect his friend from the pureblooded families who were recruiting him as a death eater, but one day, Leonardo simply vanished without a trace. The Shafiqs were part of the Sacred Twenty-Eight, one of the only, truly, pureblooded families of Britain.
"I had to hide her, Albus! You wouldn't understand!" Raphael was starting to lose his temper again but managed to control himself. "Leonardo cut you out of his life because he did not want you involved with his personal ghosts. He didn't want to continue being a burden and cause you more damage. He went to Italy and met a woman. They fell in love and had a child."
"This child, where is she?" Dumbledore's expression was unreadable. Too much information in a span of minutes was already overwhelming him.
Raphael exhaled loudly. "Safe in the place only you and Leonardo know about."
Dumbledore nodded, Leonardo was still a clever man. But Voldemort's power at this point was limitless, and sooner or later they will find her.
"She won't be safe there for long." He gravely admitted.
"I know that!" Raphael was almost enraged. "Look, there isn't much time. I – I need you to keep her safe. Protect her. If not for me or for her, do it for Leonardo." Frustration and despair molded together in the black of his irises.
Dumbledore stared straight into his eyes and then observed how similar his face was and yet all the while still different from Leonardo. "Leonardo will always be a good friend of mine, Raphael. Using his name against me is not necessary for I will not hesitate to lend my assistance to his daughter even to you as well."
"It's hard to remember kindness when you're on the brink of the war, no one will extend a hand without expecting something in return," Raphael replied bluntly, but it was clear on his face how deeply grateful he was of Dumbledore at that moment.
Dumbledore quietly agreed at the truthfulness of Raphael's words. "Well, expect my visitation in the coming days. I'll collect you both to Hogwarts; it is much safer there -"
But before he could continue, Raphael snapped again. "You of all people should know that there are soon-to-be bloody death eaters in your school! Bringing her there would only cause more harm!" He knew it. It was a mistake; he should not have contacted Dumbledore.
He stood up, ready to leave the table when Dumbledore chortled. "It seems that even a few years cannot reduce your uncontrolled temper. Thankfully, it gave you a fiery passion to care so much for those you love. Seeing as you have so many options for the safety of your niece, by all means don't let me keep you." He gestured to the exit.
Raphael was in a shade of purple, struggling to keep his face neutral as he stood rigidly against the wall, but he made no sign of leaving and Dumbledore took it as a sign to continue speaking.
"I am not usually this harsh, Raphael but you must know I have no plan on compromising the wellbeing of… What is her name?" Dumbledore quirked a grey brow at him.
"Callista." Raphael tried to hold in a snarl.
"I see, Callista. I will watch over her, but I also do not plan on compromising the wellbeing of my students and fellow staff members. I cannot leave Hogwarts." Dumbledore said matter-of-factly.
Raphael's face fell and slumped himself back on the seat. He understood it perfectly well because it was something his brother had done. Leonardo stood by Dumbledore protecting Hogwarts at the time of the Global Wizarding War.
"Forgive me." He placed his palms on his face and frustratingly sighed in defeat. "I will leave Callista in your care."
As promised, Dumbledore quickly made his visitation on Mould-on-the-Wold, the current location of Raphael and Callista. This was the village in which he lived during his earlier years before his family relocated to another area, brought by the attack on his younger sister, Ariana. Nobody but Leonardo and Grindewald knew of his past.
Following Raphael's precise instructions, he was able to spot the modest cottage with less difficulty. He was clearly impressed at how advance the anti-apparition charms and the incredibly, strong wards were surrounding the cottage. He felt the raw, powerful, and juvenile magic that reminded him so much of his youth, pulsating through the area and how oblivious this place was to Muggles and other interlopers.
He knocked on the door and was greeted by Raphael. "Albus! Quickly come in."
"Would you like a beverage?" He inquired as he offered Dumbledore a seat.
"Tea would be lovely, Raphael." Dumbledore mused as he sat on the chair. It was quite odd to see Raphael behaving anything but temperamental and then he knew it was because Callista was here.
Raphael came back from the kitchen carrying a tray of biscuits while levitating a pot of tea and two tea cups. His movements were all done in a graceful, fluid motion. A clear sign that even in drastic conditions, he effortlessly carried himself like a true descendant of a rich, aristocratic, pureblooded family.
Dumbledore took a quick sip from his sweetened tea and spoke, "Lovely home you have here. I say, where is Ms. Shafiq? I would like to get acquainted with her before we apparate back to Hogwarts."
Raphael hesitated unable to form the words in his mouth. "There is something you must know about Callista." He elegantly setting his tea cup aside.
"What is it?" Dumbledore looked bemused.
"She has… trust issues. Severe trust issues." Raphael was struggling with his words, unsure if he should share this information about his niece.
"She witnessed pain and suffering impossible for a girl her age to handle. She used to be cheerful, affectionate, sharing so much of her love to her parents and me. I'm sure you're quite familiar with the turn of events for us, but her parents' death was the last straw. One day, she just gave up. The spark in her eyes was gone. She became apathetic. More so when she thought I wanted to abandon her and send her somewhere else." He shook his head.
Dumbledore observed Raphael very closely and knew he was battling something inside him. "You didn't tell her? About the curse?"
Raphael's eyes widened for a few seconds. "How did -" Then he quickly regained his composure, for it was Dumbledore, somehow the man always found out about everything. "Of course, I told her. An ancestor was cursed and these things randomly appear through generations. That's why I didn't have children. I'm going to die soon, Dumbledore. I cannot protect her."
"It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more." Dumbledore simply stated.
"I am not afraid, though. I welcome death as repentance for the crimes I've committed in the past. I just don't want to leave her like this," Raphael chuckled darkly. "Although, I do not fancy the thought of being murdered, I'm the last thing she has left of a family. It is a good thing Callista charmed this cottage very well, so I think it will be best for me to stay here for the time being."
"You mean she conjured this advanced form of magic?" Dumbledore was surprised.
"Oh yes," he nodded. "That is also the other reason why I fled Italy and hid her away from Voldemort. Her magic rivals his own and she does not even use a wand."