"You know Willow, I would have thought you'd be thrilled to be getting a chance to attend a school like Hogworts." Gritting her teeth, Willow turned to stare out the train's window. "So is this how we're going to spend the last few hours together before we reach the school?"
"Is there a particular subject you'd like to talk about...Mother?" Willow clipped.
"Well your attitude for one."
Turning quickly to stare at the woman sitting next to her, Willow could honestly say she'd never felt so betrayed in her entire life. "My attitude? How did you think I'd react? You've lied to me for the last seventeen years. After looking back I should've known there was something off about our family. We've never really been normal. But this? Everything in my life has been a lie. I have cousins I've never met. Six years behind in some magical school -."
"It's not as though you don't have the summer to catch up." Her mother interrupted. Leaving Willow to gape at her.
"Six years in two and a half months? Don't expect much, do you? This is supposed to be my summer vacation. I had plans!"
"What? Patrolling the streets of Sunnydale? Fighting demons with Xander and Cordelia?" Sheila lowered her brows. "Not that I don't admire what the three of you are trying to do. But you'll never get rid of the evil that lurks that town. Plus with Bunny gone -."
"Right. I'd think you'd welcome the change."
"That's another thing." Willow cried. "For two years you let me sneak around. Listened to my lies. Not once did you tell me you knew what was going on. You and Dad knew Sunnydale was smack dab on top of the Hellmouth. It was the reason you moved there. Don't you think there's something a little off about wanting to move to some demon infested town?"
"We've already told you. The magical convergence was a perfect shield."
Covering her face with her hands, Willow let out a frustrated growl. No matter how many times she'd been through this with her mother, she could never make her understand why she was so upset. With every valid point she spoke, her mother always had something to counter with. To her parents she should just suck it up and deal. But Willow hated being lied to. Apparently her entire life had been one bog whooping lie.
It wasn't like her life hadn't already been in one big ole downward spiral already. Oz had left just days after summer vacation had started. She'd gotten 'the call' almost a week to the day after that. He'd excitedly told her in his mellow Oz way, how well the band was doing. So well they'd decided to extend their trip. It was what he wasn't saying that Willow could hear. It was over.
Then there was Buffy. No one had seen or heard from her since her confrontation with Angelus. Her clothes were gone. The only sign she was still alive. But it didn't answer the questions Willow really wanted to know. What about Angelus? Did the curse work? Was he Angel now and if so where was he? Perhaps they had decided for some time away. Or maybe Angel had been torn over what he'd done as Angelus. His brooding taking even a darker turn.
Now it looked like she'd never know.
Feeling the weight of her mother's stare, Willow turned to stare out the window. It didn't matter what was said. Sheila Rosenberg would never see that she was in the wrong. It was something stamped into her genetic make-up or something. As long as she'd been alive, she'd never heard her mother outright say she'd done something in error. She seriously doubted this would be the historic first.
"Aren't you at least a little anxious to meet your cousins?"
"You mean the ones I never knew existed. The ones who I won't get to see until school starts because I'm a 'special' student now." Turning on the bench, Willow little pert nose wrinkled. "Do you think they'll make me use those really fat ink quills? Ride the short broom? Hide the paste from me?"
"That's not funny." Her mother frowned.
"Well at least there's one thing we can agree on. None of this is funny. Or fair. I didn't even get to say good-bye to Xander." Watching her mother roll her eyes. Willow felt a drastic need to slap the exasperated expression off the woman's face.
"You can send him a post."
"Right." Willow said dryly. "You said there was the owl express. I can't see Xander freaking out too much on that."
"He's grown up on the Hellmouth. I'm sure some innocent owl won't phase him." Sheila shrugged.
Knowing the discussion could go on like this forever, Willow snapped her mouth shut and turned back to the window again. If she didn't stop now, any ounce of respect she possessed for her mother would vanish. After a few minutes, Willow was bored.
Might as well get some studying done, she thought darkly. Reaching for the bag her mother had already packed for her, Willow grabbed a book on top and opened the cover. Her mother's neat writing was on the first page.
Willow Rowan Potter.
She blinked an read it again.
Willow Rowan Potter.
"You lied to me about my name?" Slamming the book in disgust. Willow gave her mother, what she hoped, was the darkest. Angriest. Most hostile glance she could conjure. "That's just...just....it's sick. That's what it is. Do you understand how twisted this is? Are you really my mother? Or is there something else you're keeping from me?"
"You're upset about that?" Clearly amused, Sheila shook her head. "Of everything that has happened in the last few days, I thought this would be the smallest of your worries. Really Willow. I thought you to be more mature than this."
Snap. There ladies and gents, Willow thought bitterly, was the last shred of respect I had for my Mother.
"The Deatheaters number is growing." Professor Snape followed the tall proud figure that strolled a few feet ahead of him down the stairs leading to the lower part of the dungeon. "Some because of their blind loyalty. Others because of the terror of what could happen to them and their families if they don't."
"I have no doubt." Dumbledore acknowledged. "What time is it?"
"Quarter to twelve." Snape replied. "Some students may not be returning this fall. I suspect Draco Malfoy will be among them."
"A pity. To have one's future decided by someone's who's judgement is clouded." Sighing, Dumbledore turned down the corridor to their right. The sound of dripping water somewhere in the lower regions of the school the only sound until the wizened wizard spoke again. "Do you feel safe returning as a teacher this year?"
"It should be no problem. It may even convince some of the parents reconsider not having their children return."
"Very good." Stopping outside a thick oak door. Pulling out a large ring of keys from his robe, he found the one he was searching for. "Are you ready to great our guest?"
"I thought you said Hagrid would be here with the chains." Snape's curt reply had Dumbledore chuckling. "Don't fret. He will be here." Opening the door, the two men walked into the large empty chamber. Dark wet stones covered the floor. Unlit torches hung from the walls.
With a quick swipe of his wand, Dumbledore had the wicks lit. Creating a mild light. "There will be a new addition this year."
"Oh yes." Snape growled. His displeasure evident. "Another Potter."
"I was relieved to hear that Ira and Sheila Potter and their young daughter had survived. Harry will be so pleased to hear he has relatives still living."
"Joy." Snape smirked.
"Yes." The older wizard's mouth twitched. "She'll be arriving soon. Professor McGonagall will be catching her up before the school year."
"Isn't she six years behind?" Snape's mouth twisted. "She will never be able to get through the first two years let alone six before fall."
"I don't imagine she will. Though I am sure she'll be capable of four." Seeing the look of disbelief on his fellow colleague's face Dumbledore continued. "As you well aware, Willow Potter has been residing on the Hellmouth for the last seventeen years. She's even befriended the slayer."
"I admit the slayer may be a powerful Muggle, by no means does this make Miss Potter spectacular." Crossing his arms over his chest in boredom, Snape couldn't keep his displeasure from his face."
As though he hadn't heard the glowering man, Dumbledore checked the round clock hanging from his belt before saying. "She's been studying wandless magic for almost two years now..."
"And when performed correctly just as powerful. She successfully performed the re-cursing of Angelus." Dumbledore answered with pride.
"Which is the best kind of magic at times. Luck, if one possess it. Can sometimes prove to be the greatest leverage." The atmosphere in the room thickened. A steady humming noise, followed by what sounded to be electrical popping. "Ah. It seems Professor Donnelly has decided to join us at last."
Nodding silently, Snape took a small step back. His eyes on the center of the room, he waited. A loud clap out thunder sounded through the underground chamber. Causing the thick walls to tremble. Soon a large flash of light lit up the room. And out of no where a well muscled man fell to the floor.
Neither man blinked. To them it seemed it was the most natural thing in the world to see naked men appearing out of no where.
Soon the form on the floor twitched. A low growl emerged from his chest.
"You said something about Hagrid bringing the chains?" Not sounding the least bit pulsed, Snape still wasn't dumb enough not to keep one eye of their new arrival.
"Ah, yes. I'm sure he'll be along soon." Dumbledore replied.
"Let's hope he hasn't gotten caught up with one of those little creatures he calls pets."
The man on the floor lurched suddenly to his feet. Chocolate brown eyes darting around frantically. His nose in the air as he sniffed, almost like an animal would, trying to sense a predator. Soon his eyes settled on the two men standing nearby.
With sharp pointed teeth bared, the man sprang forward without warning.
"Impedimental!" Both wizards had there wands out in seconds.
"Sorry I'm late." Hagrid's voice boomed off the walls. "Train was early. Miss Potter is waiting in your office Dumbledore sir."
"The chains Hagrid?" Snape asked dryly.
"What?" Hadrid looked puzzled for only a moment. "Oh, yeah right." Holding up the burlap sack in his right hand, the large man ambled into the room and shook his head at the frozen man. "He looks a little beaten up."
"I imagine the hell dimension could do that to a person." Over seeing the grounds keeper securing the vampire, Snape's expression was sour.
"Is he gonna be fit to teach next term?"
"They let you teach." Snape replyed giving the large man a look before turning his gaze back to the new teacher. "I don't see why they wouldn't let him."