Chapter 4: Of Werewolves Blood and Death Eaters
At precisely 8:45 the next morning, Professor Minerva McGonagall showed up at Willow's portrait entrance.
She was dressed as usual in her flowing robes and had a jaunty hat perched on her head.
Knocking twice on the portrait, the woman didn't have to wait long before it opened.
Willow stepped out of the entrance and smiled timidly at the stern looking woman in front of her. McGonagall was surveying the redhead's outfit. Willow was wearing black leather, knee high boots which zipped up the sides, white stockings and a black leather mini skirt that ended about 2 inches above her kneecaps.
McGonagall's expression lightened considerably though when she saw the redhead's shirt.
She wore a white tank top with the words 'Hello Kitty' written in black above a picture of a cute little cartoon kitten. McGonagall couldn't help but smile a little at the shirt.
"Well, Ms. Rosenberg. Are you ready to go get your supplies?"
"Sure thing, Professor McGonagall." Willow replied, relaxing now that the woman didn't look quite so stern.
"Good. We have a very busy day ahead of us, my dear. We have to get all of your supplies and robes. Along with books and a wand. Oh, and I suggest that you get an owl as well."
"A-an owl?" Willow looked at the woman questioningly.
"Yes, an owl. That is the way we communicate across great distances here in the wizarding world. I assume you have friends that you would like to write to?"
Willow wasn't sure how to answer that question.
*I don't think any of the Scoobies would be too keen on hearing from me just now. But I could always write to Giles I suppose. At least it would keep me busy.*
That decided, Willow nodded to the woman at her side and said, "Okay, that sounds good."
And they were off. The walked out of the school to the gates. Once outside the gates, McGonagall took Willow's hand and promptly apparated.
The next thing Willow knew, they were standing outside a tall, white building. Standing outside the building beside it's bronze colored doors, stood a creature that Willow had never, in all her years on the hellmouth, imagined seeing.
"Is that a..." Willow began timidly.
"A goblin." McGonagall finished for her.
With a chuckle, McGonagall began digging into the pockets of her robes, finally withdrawing a shiny silver key. She handed said key to Willow.
"Now, Mr. Giles gave this to Albus right before you left. He said that you were free to use as much of his resources as you wished. Such a nice man, your Mr. Giles."
McGonagall let out a sigh, that sounded suspiciously dreamy to Willow.
The goblin bowed to the two women and opened the doors to allow them in. Once past the bronze doors, they were faced with a set of silver ones. There were two more goblins guarding these as well. Willow noticed words were engraved on the silver doors. She read to herself.
Enter, stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn
A treasure that was never yours,
Theif, you have been warned, Beware
Of finding more than treasure there
The words of warning made Willow's whole body shiver involuntarily.
The pair of goblins bowed them through the silver doors and then they were in a huge marble hall.
There were goblins everywhere. Sitting on stools behind a long counter doing various jobs. Weighing coins on scales, examining precious jewels through eyeglasses, scribbling furiously in large ledgers. Other goblins were assisting other people in the bank. Showing them in and out of various doors leading off of the enormous hall.
McGonagall motioned for Willow to follow her to the counter. Once they reached it, a goblin, who had been writing in a ledger, looked up at them expectantly.
"Good morning, Mr. Griphook. The young lady here wishes to make a withdrawal." McGonagall stated politely.
The goblin glanced at Willow with a look of suspicion. "And does the young miss have her key?"
Willow held up the key that McGonagall had given her. "Oh, um, yeah. Right here."
The goblin nodded curtly. "Very well, then. Follow me."
With that said, the goblin hopped off his stool and preceeded the pair to one of the doors leading off of the hall.
Opening the door, the goblin allowed the two women to enter before him.
Willow then found herself in a narrow stony passageway lit only by flaming torches.
The hallway sloped downward steeply, and there were little railway tracks on the floor.
Griphook whistled once and a little cart came up the tracks to stop before them.
McGonagall, Willow and the goblin climbed into the cart and they were off.
Willow got the sensation she was on a rollercoaster they were going so fast. She got the impulse to hold her arms above her head and laugh hysterically.
After a good while, the cart finally slowed and then stopped outside of a small door in the passage wall. Griphook got out of the cart and waited for the women to follow. Then he asked for Willow's key, which she promptly handed over.
Griphook unlocked the door. Light blue smoke billowed out of the room, and after it cleared some, Willow looked inside. And gasped.
Inside of the room, or vault as it turned out to be, was coins. Gold, silver and bronze coins. Mounds of them. Willow was speechless.
"Well child, what are you waiting for? Get what you think you will need to last you for awhile. We don't have all day, you know." Came McGonagall's no-nonsense voice.
Willow snapped out of her daze. "Okay."
McGonagall helped Willow gather up some coins into a bag, all the while explaining the currency value.
"The gold ones are Galleons. Seventeen silver Sickles to a Galleon and twenty-nine Knuts to a Sickle."
Willow picked it up immediately, of course.
Once they had gotten enough, they left the same way they had come. Once again, Willow barely containing the impulse to throw up her arms and laugh.
They stepped outside of Gringotts, blinking as the bright sunlight that met their eyes.
McGonagall once more began digging in her robe pockets, producing a peice of parchment which she handed to Willow.
"This is a list of items which you will need for the school term." McGonagall said.
Willow looked at the parchment and read aloud the contents.
"Uniform: 3 sets of plain work robes, black"
Willow looked at McGonagall.
"Do they have to be black? I mean, can't we have a little color in our robes? Cause, I don't do black very well." Willow babbled.
"I am sorry my dear, but it must be black."
Willow sighed, then went back to the list.
"1 plain pointed hat, black, for day wear."
At this Willow gave McGonagall a pained look. "Pointed?"
McGonagall just stared sternly.
"Okay, okay." Willow muttered. "Ahem, 1 pair of protective gloves...DRAGON HIDE!" Willow nearly shouted. McGonagall winced.
"1 winter cloak, black, silver fastenings." Willow's voice got more aggitated as she read. "Man, am I ever going to look like Vamp Willow. Did I just say that?" When she noticed McGonagall looking at her strangely she quickly added. "Um, never mind."
Continuing on, Willow read off her list of books and essentials she would need.
"A Beginner's Guide To Transfiguration, by Emeric Switch." Willow giggled a little at the author's name, then looked to McGonagall. "I'm going to be learning Transfiguration?"
McGonagall smiled. "Yes, Dumbledore said that is to be one of the four main classes you will attend. Transfiguration with myself, Charms with Professor Flitwick, Defense Against The Dark Arts with Remus, and Potions with Professor Snape."
"Oh great, I have to put up with Sir-Sneer-Alot on a daily basis now?" Willow muttered to herself.
Willow was confused.
>Well, he did apologize last night. That was totally out of left field. But he did sound sincere...and seductive, with that voice I bet he could make the dictionary sound good and... and... That's not the point!>
The point was Willow was confused. Confused on her feelings for one very aggravating Potions Master.
Willow was brought out of her inner debate by McGonagall's voice.
"Now, the first thing we should do is get you a wand."
"A wand? I've never had a wand before. Where do you get one?" Willow asked anxiously.
"I believe we shall pay Mr. Ollivander a visit." McGonagall replied.
The women walked along the crowded streets. There were children of various ages everywhere. Some with parents, some just in groups, some older ones just by themselves. A few waved at McGonagall. Then the next thing Willow knew they were outside another building. This one a little shop, with a wooden sign that declared it to be:
OLLIVANDERS: MAKER OF FINE WANDS since 382 B.C.
The tinkling of a bell preceeded their entrance into the little shop.
The instant Willow entered, she felt the nape of her neck prickle. She couldn't help but shiver at the feeling of pure magic she got from the place. It was like how she felt when she was at Hogwarts. It was a good kind of feeling. Willow was so intent on surveying the interior of the little shop that she was startled when a voice addressed her.
"Ah, Willow Rosenberg. I've been waiting for you to show up."
Willow made a little squeaking noice and jerked around, her eyes falling on an elderly looking man standing just behind the counter.
"You...you know me?" Willow meekly asked.
"Oh, my dear. Everyone knows who you are." Came the kind voice.
Willow noticed the man's features then. He had a kind smile to go with the voice. He had gray frizzy hair that stuck up on his head. It kinda made Willow think of Albert Einstien. He wore little half moon spectacles, pushed down low so they rode on the tip of his nose. And the eyes behind the glasses were bright with kindness and intelligence.
"Everyone?" Willow questioned.
"My dear, you can not attempt to bring about the apocalypse and not go unnoticed." McGonagall said mildly.
"Oh. Right." Willow replied sheepishly.
"Now, to find you a wand." Said Mr. Ollivander.
He went to the back of the shop and rummaged around for a few minutes before coming back holding a slender, black box in both hands.
"10 inches, made of willow, with a unicorn hair in the tip." He said, taking a whitish looking wand out of the box.
He handed the wand to Willow. Willow stood there looking at it for a moment before...
"Well, go on. Give it a wave." Mr. Ollivander urged.
Willow waved the wand in the air, and the next thing she knew there was a loud whooshing sound, and she was completely surrounded by a debris of papers that had blown off of Mr. Ollivander's counter like it had been caught in a hurricane.
"Yikes." Willow said, giving the wand back to Ollivander. "I don't think that's for me." She muttered.
Mr. Ollivander just chuckled. "Quite alright, my dear. This is the only way to find out for sure."
He placed the wand back in it's box and went to get another. Soon he returned.
"Here we are. 6 1/2 inches. Made of maple, with a pheonix feather."
Willow reached out for the wand and then waved it.
A wooden ladder that had been leaning against one of the many shelves in the shop abruptly exploded into splinters.
"Oh! No no no no." Willow said, hastly shoving the wand at Ollivander. "This is bad."
Ollivander just tsked. "No, no child. Believe me, when I say, it has been worse."
McGonagall simply chuckled.
Placing the offending wand away under the counter, Ollivander went to search again. Finally, he emerged from the stacks with another box. Taking out the mahogany colored wand, he held it out.
Willow very tentatively stepped forward and took hold of the wand. The instant her fingers curled around the wand, a warm breeze swirled around the shop, causing Willow's hair to billow around her face. A bright glow seemed to immenate from the tip of the wand and engulfed Willow's form for a second, before disappating.
"Curious." Mr. Ollivander muttered. "Very curious."
Willow swayed a little on her feet, but soon focused again.
Looking to Ollivander she said, "Excuse me?"
"That wand, my dear, is 7 inches, made of Ash, with a Dragon's heartstring inside. But..." His voice trailed off.
"But...?" Willow prompted.
"But... there are two other things besides the dragon heartstring inside of this particular wand." Mr. Ollivander stated.
"What's inside?" Willow whispered in wonder.
"A drop of blood from a werewolf and a reformed Death Eater." Mr. Ollivander replied.
"Werewolf? Death Eater?" Willow was confused.
"Yes, my dear. The blood is from a werewolf I believe you are in acquaintance with. As well as the Death Eater." Mr. Ollivander said.
"Huh?" Willow said. The only werewolf she knew was Oz. Surely it couldn't be his blood. And just what in the frilly heck was a Death Eater?
"I believe Mrs. McGonagall will be able to answer all your questions my dear." Mr. Ollivander said as the bell signalled another customer entering the shop. "May you have a good day in your shopping ladies. Oh, and do come by for a visit sometime Minerva. We hardly have an opportunity converse anymore these days."
"Of Course, Alexander." McGonagall's voice sounded a bit troubled.
Then the two women left the wand shop.
Once outside, Willow turned on McGonagall.
"Okay, spill it." Willow said.
McGonagall was taken aback by the girl's outburst.
"What do you want to know?" She asked.
"Werewolf? Death Eater? I know them? Hello." Willow shot out.
"Well, my dear." McGonagall started. "I am just as surprised as you are by this turn of events."
"Somehow I find that hard to believe." Willow muttered to herself. To McGonagall she asked. "So who's the werewolf. I mean, as far as I know, I've only been acquainted with one, and that was Oz. But somehow, I don't see this blood as being his."
"You are quite right, Willow." McGonagall said in a gentle voice, calling Willow by her first name for the first time since meeting her. "You are in acquaintance with another werewolf, although you don't particularly know it yet."
"What are you getting at, lady?" Willow was tired of all the beating around the bush that was going on.
"Professor Lupin." McGonagall simply stated.
"Oh. OH!" Willow exclaimed. "THAT'S why I felt like... And then the grin that... How could I have been so stupid." She finally ended. Looking to McGonagall she said. "Okay. So Remus is a werewolf. But what's a Death Eater? Former or otherwise."
McGonagall sighed deeply. "Perhaps we should go sit somewhere before I begin this. It may take a while."
Willow nodded and let McGonagall lead her Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor. McGonagall ordered a chocolate and raspberry sundae while Willow ordered a chocolate and peanutbutter one.
"Now." Willow said as they took a seat in a nearby booth. "What is a Death Eater?"
McGonagall paled a bit and looked around to see if anyone had heard Willow's question.
"Willow, I beg you to not talk so loud." The Transfiguration teacher pleaded.
"Okay." Willow whispered.
Sighing again, McGonagall began to tell Willow everything she knew. Everything from Death Eaters and what they did to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and The Boy Who Lived. Willow listened, enthralled by the tale of a dark wizard. Of the terrible things he had done. She felt disturbingly familiar with it. With the darkness. She listened to how the great dark evil was defeated, not by a slayer, but by a one year old boy, empowered by only the love that his dead mother had gifted him.
Then came the surprising part. The reformed Death Eater's identity.
"SNAPE!?!?!?" Willow couldn't keep her voice down at this point to save her life.
"SHHH." McGonagall shushed her.
Willow promptly started blushing as she saw the other occupants of the shop staring at her.
"Snape?" Willow hissed again.
"Yes, Willow. Snape used to be a Death Eater. But he has turned against You-Know-Who. He was working as a sort of double agent for Albus for a time. But now that he has been found out, he is helping in other ways."
Willow breathed in deeply, trying to slow down her racing heart.
>Snape was a Death Eater? A reformed Death Eater, but still...he'd KILLED people. He had been trapped by the dark, just like me. He would know how I feel. He would UNDERSTAND.>
Willow's mind was in a whirl as they left the shop. Willow was staring at her wand in amazement. Snape's and Lupin's blood was in her wand. How weird was THAT?
The went up a ways and crossed the street to stand outside of the bookstore Flourish and Blott's. McGonagall put a hand on Willow's arm when the girl started to enter.
"Willow, if you don't mind too terribly, could you go on inside and begin getting the books on your list? I have some personal business that I must attend to." She asked.
"Oh, sure thing. Don't mind at all." Willow answered.
"Good. I shant be long."
And with that, McGonagall left Willow in front of the store.
Willow went through the doors and was promptly greeted by someone she assumed was the proprietor of the establishment.
"Hello. Welcome to Flourish and Blott's. What do you want?" He asked irritably.
Willow was startled into silence for a second by his rude statement.
"Ummm, yeah. Uh, I n-n-need to uh, g-get these books." Willow finally stammered out.
She handed the list over to the man who looked over the titles, then smiled, obviously more than a bit relieved.
"Oh thank goodness. No Monster Book of Monsters OR Invisible Book of Invisibility. Right this way, miss. Watch your step, there, don't want you falling down and hurting yourself."
The man's abrupt change in attitude confused Willow even more.
She followed the man to a bookcase in the back, where he showed her a section that he said should have the books she needed. Then he left her to her own devices. Willow searched through the books. Finding all sorts of interesting titles.
>A History of Magic... Hogwarts, A History, hmm, that one might be interesting... Oh, there's A Beginning to Transfiguration.>
Finally Willow found all of her books and went to the front to pay for them. Once she had done that, she stepped outside to wait on McGonagall.
She waited. And waited. And waited.
After she had been standing there for almost an hour, Willow decided to go and look for her escort.
>I mean, this place can't be THAT big.>
So, with her mind made up, Willow set off to find McGonagall. That was her first mistake, because it wasn't very long before it dawned on her.
>This place is bigger than I thought.>
"Oh, no." Willow groaned. "I'm lost."