All You Need Is Love
Willow Danielle Rosenberg ran as fast as her little eleven-year old legs would carry her from Sunnydale Elementary School back to her house. The school year was almost over, but that didn’t stop Cordelia Chase and her evil band of Cordettes from making her life even more hellish than usual. Harmony Kendall had reduced Xander to tears while battering him verbally about his very un-nice parents, and kept him isolated in a corner while Cordelia herself came after Willow.
Willow knew that Xander’s parents weren’t that nice, and Jesse’s weren’t that much better. Willow’s mom and dad were okay by comparison, but they left her alone so much that sometimes she had a sneaking, nasty little feeling that they didn’t really love her. And Cordelia had teased her and preyed on those insecurities until she couldn’t take it anymore and fled as if her life depended on it.
Right now, Willow just wanted to run into her mommy’s arms and cry until she couldn’t cry anymore. Her mom was smart and knew a lot about kids. She had to know this stuff for her work, which was very important. Willow often had to be reminded just how important her mom and dad’s work was whenever she got uppity and tried to get them to stick around when they couldn’t.
By the time Willow got home, she was out of breath and stopped to breathe after running for so long. The adrenaline rush was gone, and now she was just a little girl on her parent’s stoop. She fumbled as she uprooted a potted plant to get the hidden spare key and put it in the door. Right now, she just needed her mom and dad to tell her that everything Cordelia said was not true at all. She just needed to hear them say, ‘We love you, Willow.’
“Mommy! Daddy!” she called at the top of her lungs. But nobody answered her. Willow sniffled as she began to investigate the house. They had been here when she’d left for school. It was a bit of a distance, but they insisted that she walk instead of being driven to and from school. They wanted their little girl to grow up to be an independent young woman, and even if it had been painful, Willow couldn’t deny that her parents’ hands-off approach had paid off. She knew how to cook for herself and clean up the house and keep everything in order so that when her parents got back, the house was just as they left it.
She went to the kitchen to see if there was a note on the refrigerator door. That was where her mom and dad usually left her notes when they went out. They didn’t usually go very far. The furthest they’d ever gone was New York, and they had a good long distance plan for their house phone, so Willow could always contact them.
But there was no note on the door this time. Panicking, Willow looked on the kitchen table, in the living room, and finally in her parents’ bedroom, where she never entered unless it was to clean while they were away. As much as she looked, Willow could find nothing telling her where her mommy and daddy had gone.
There was one way that she could think of to find her parents, but the only way she knew about it at all was because her daddy had told her to never, ever look into such things. But being a curious girl who loved to read, Willow had snooped around until she’d found some books that dealt with diagrams and symbols and words in languages that Willow knew about but didn’t understand.
Ira Rosenberg, besides being an exceptional accountant, was very Jewish and very proud of it. He wouldn’t have his daughter exploring any sort of ‘alternative’ religious or lifestyle paths. He was very strict about it, but he was especially
tough when it came to anything resembling ‘magic.’ It went against everything that Judaism stood for, he said. By putting power in the hands of humans, or even pretending that such power could exist, it took faith away from God.
Willow wasn’t sure what to make of God, personally. She had a funny feeling that there was something out there looking out for the world, but she didn’t know if it was God or something else entirely. And even if God was real, surely He would understand Willow wanting to find her parents? Wasn’t this part of honoring her father and mother, just like the Ten Commandments told her to?
Taking a heavy atlas off the bookshelf, Willow turned to a map of the entire world, spread out flat. She then put the magic book a bit ahead of her so she could read it and do the simple spell to locate her parents. But the spell told her to talk to a different God to try to find them! Was this okay? It has to be okay! I have to know if they really love me!
“Hermes, God of Travelers: I beseech thee. Show me the treaded paths of those I seek.”
A little bead of light showed up on the atlas, starting in southwestern North America, which Willow guessed was Sunnydale. The light traveled eastward across the country until it stopped in what looked like New England. But then it continued across the Atlantic Ocean! Her parents were going out of the country! Willow didn’t know how to talk to them when they weren’t in the United States! She knew that different rules applied, and she was scared.
The bead of light stopped midway between New England and the British Isles. At first, Willow thought that there must be some mistake. The ocean was really big, and so maybe they were still in the airplane. She would keep her eyes on the map. It might take a few hours, but the plane would keep moving so that she could see where it landed.
But it didn’t move again. Willow looked back at the magic book. “Hermes: God of Travelers: I beseech thee. Show me the end of the path of those I seek.”
The bead of light shined brightly in the middle of the ocean, and Willow realized that the plane must have either landed on an island or else… No! They couldn’t be! Her mommy and daddy could not
be dead! She still needed to know that they loved her!
“No, don’t! Don’t be dead,” she whined. “Come back to me, mom! Dad! Come back! Show me where they’re going to be next!”
The light shot upwards out of the atlas book and struck the ceiling with a great force that spread out to every other room in the house. Willow screamed and ducked for cover as the walls of her house began to catch fire. She couldn’t see the pillar of light shooting upwards into the infinite reaches of the sky, showing where her parents had gone. All she knew was that her parents had left her, and as much as she wanted to, she couldn’t remember them telling her that they loved her!
Willow screamed again, a primal cry of fear and rage, and the house exploded in a ball of fire and ash.
Arthur Weasley was having a most splendid day at the office. A poor Muggle woman had accidentally come into possession of a tome that she couldn’t stop reading, and Arthur and Perkins had had to set things right. They had confiscated a few other books that looked suspicious, just to be on the safe side. Careful examination showed nothing inherently magical about them, but the content was quite fascinating all the same. Why, this chapter alone was filled with instructions on how to invoke the Four Elements for protection, among other things. Utter gibberish when compared to real
magic, but it was always interesting to see how Muggles viewed such things.
“Hey, Arthur!” Perkins said from the cubicle next to his.
“Hm? Yes, what is it?”
“Just got a memo. The Minister wants to see you in his office.”
Arthur gasped. “The Minister himself? Really? Let me see that!” Arthur was well aware that his office was seen as something of a joke among many Ministry personnel, and that he himself was seen as a bit of an oddball. He didn’t understand the attitudes, personally: he served an important function, even if it wasn’t terribly glorious. His job was quite fulfilling in his own right, and he feared that the Minister was about to disband the two-person Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office.
Sighing resignedly, Arthur straightened out his robes and headed to the lift that would take him to the upper Ministerial offices. Several employees with far fancier robes looked at Arthur as though they couldn’t imagine why he was staying on the lift all the way up to Level One.
Ignoring his silent, patronizing coworkers, Arthur disembarked at the top level and headed to the Minister’s office. A secretary waited outside.
“Um, yes. Arthur Weasley. I just heard that the Minister asked to see me?”
The young witch behind the desk smiled compassionately. “Of course, sir. I’ll let him know you’re here.”Well, at least not everyone on this level is impossible to deal with.
Not that there weren’t plenty of entirely pleasant people all throughout the Ministry. But sometimes prejudices and stereotypes developed whether one wanted to or not.
The young witch at the desk tapped her wand to a small bronze device and said, “Arthur Weasley to see you, Minister.” After a few seconds, the bronze thing started to glow. “The Minister will see you now,” she said with a smile.
“Thank you very much, Miss…”
“Aerora Maclay, Mister Weasley,” the blonde woman said with a warm smile.
Smiling himself, Arthur bowed. “Thank you, Miss Maclay,” he said before heading in to see the Minister.
Cornelius Fudge had gotten up from his desk and was coming forward to greet him. “Arthur, Arthur. Please, have a seat. Would you care for some tea? Or perhaps something a bit stronger?”
Arthur was quite puzzled. “No, but thank you, Minister. I must confess, I-I’m not entirely sure as to the purpose of this meeting.”
“Hm. No, I don’t expect you would be. But my offer of a drink still stands, mind you, should this news become too much for you.”
The room seemed very cold all of a sudden. “What’s happened, Minister? Is my family in any sort of trouble?”
Fudge began to fidget with the rim of his bowler hat. “Well, I suppose that depends on how you look at it, Arthur. Let me fill you in from the beginning,” he said as he sat down at his own desk and put his hands together.
“Last afternoon, on the Pacific Coast of the Americas, the American Ministry of Magic detected a very powerful use of underage magic. A little girl burned down her home and seems to be under the impression that her parents are dead. All indications so far lead us to believe that the girl in question is a Muggle-born witch, though her family has been under the scrutiny of the American Ministry just in case of such an incident.”
Of all the things to be dragged into the Minister’s office for, the tragedy of a poor American girl was not anywhere near the top of the list. “That’s an incredibly sad tale, Minister, but I’m afraid I don’t understand what it has to do with me.”
“Ah, of course. Forgive me, Arthur. Well, it seems that the girl’s father is not exactly a Muggle, but a Squib. Well, he was
a Squib, I suppose I should say, as we have confirmed that the man and his wife did in fact die when their aeroplane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. But, that’s beside the point. The point is that the man, Ira Rosenberg, was adopted by his Muggle parents at the age of twelve, after it was clear he was a Squib, and his true family did not know how to properly care for him.
“The rest of Ira Rosenberg’s blood family in the States was slaughtered by American zealots who were planning to join You-Know-Who before he was defeated. Those deaths were from the Prewett family, Arthur.”
Now it all made sense. Arthur couldn’t help but be terrified by the prospect of an aeroplane going down over the ocean. They were supposed to hold tens if not hundreds of people. So many innocents drowning like that because of who-knows-what just seemed so random and cruel. But, as sad as he was to admit it, the Minister was right when he said that for the moment, that was beside the point.
“So, this little orphan girl is actually a long-lost Weasley?”
“It would seem that way, Arthur. By our laws, you and your wife are now the legal guardians of one Willow Danielle Rosenberg.” Fudge picked a folder off of his desk and handed it to Arthur. “This is what we have on her at the moment. She’s currently being held at a facility in Salem. We felt that it was safer than leaving her closer to her hometown.”
“Why is that?” Arthur asked.
Fudge sighed and gave a small smile. “Unfortunately, that’s not something I’m at liberty to discuss, even if I did know anything about it. Apparently, Sunnydale, California is a matter for the Department of Mysteries. A team of Unspeakables has been dispatched to the town to make sure of, well, whatever it is they’re making sure of. Even I don’t have full authority over that particular branch.
“But in spite of this tragedy, there is one spark of good news for you and your family. It seems that Ira and Shelia Rosenberg were both quite successful in their respective careers, and lived a comfortable, if not wealthy, life in the United States. Their estate and fortunes have passed to their daughter, but only when she comes of age. Until then, the money of the Rosenbergs is now that of the Weasleys.”
Arthur was too numb to take any sort of gratification from the Minister’s half-assed attempt at reassurance. So what if he and his family didn’t have the most money? That didn’t matter one wit to him or to Molly. They got by on their own just fine. It shouldn’t take some poor girl’s tragedy to make their lives any easier. Not that Arthur had any intention of taking one knut of this girl’s inheritance away from her in any event.
“I imagine that this girl, Willow, must be scared out of her mind,” Arthur said softly. “I’ll talk to Molly and the kids and see if we can arrange a trip to Salem to meet her.”
“Of course, of course, Arthur! You have my permission to take some paid leave, and to use the intercontinental Floo for as long as it takes to settle this matter. I’m sorry it had to happen like this, but in a way, it is a good thing. Miss Rosenberg is Hogwarts age, Arthur, and given the display of magic the Americans described… Well, let’s just say that this girl needs and deserves the best magical education she can get. Isn’t one of your own children starting there in a few weeks?”
Arthur nodded dumbly. “Yes, Ron is going to be starting his first year in September. I-I don’t mean to be rude, Minister, but I think I need to go home and talk to Molly about all this. Get things settled at home.”
“Oh, by all means! Consider yourself on vacation as of right now, Arthur. The Ministry looks after its own, of course. I’m sure that you’ll do an excellent job with young Willow.”
“Hm. Yes, Minister. Thank you. Well, I must be off, but thank you for taking time out of your day, sir.”
“Oh, think nothing of it. And don’t forget her file,” Fudge said, handing the envelope to Arthur.
“Yes, thank you Minister. Good day, sir.”
Exiting the office, Arthur leaned against the wall and breathed slowly, trying to wrap his mind around everything that had changed since he entered the Minister’s office. He was going to be a father for the eighth time! Only this child knew nothing about magic, save that she’d just burned down her home after learning that her parents had died. The poor girl must be a terrible mess.
“Is everything all right, Mister Weasley?”
Arthur looked up to see Aerora Maclay looking at him with kind eyes from her desk. “No, I don’t think it is. I hope it will be, but I think I need some time.”
Maclay blushed and bowed her head. “I’m sorry, sir. I didn’t mean to pry.”
“Oh, no! No, you weren’t prying. I appreciate your concern, I really do.” Arthur paused. “Would you care to have lunch some time with my wife and I? I mean, I’d have to talk to Molly first, but I haven’t seen you around here before, and I’d hate for you to not feel at home.”
Aerora smiled. “You’re very thoughtful, Mister Weasley. I’m sure my husband and I would love to meet your family.”
He smiled. “Please, call me Arthur.”
She smiled back. “Thank you, Arthur. I’m Aerora.”
Arthur bowed to her. “Well, Aerora, I need to talk with my family, and we’ll probably be busy for the foreseeable future. But perhaps sometime in September, after the kids are off at Hogwarts?”
“That sounds quite nice,” the blonde woman said with a soft smile. “Have a good day, Arthur.”
“And you as well, Aerora,” Arthur said as he made his way to the lift. Really it was quite nice to run into someone on Level One who was as kind and well-mannered as Ms. Maclay. Did she have any children at Hogwarts, he wondered.
But thoughts of new friends could wait. Right now, there was a terrified cousin of his that needed his help. And Arthur Weasley was going to do everything in his power to help poor young Willow Rosenberg.
I own nothing from either Harry Potter or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'm making no profit from this story.
Thanks to AllenPitt for beta-reading this first chapter. If anyone is open to helping on a more permanent basis, I could use all the help I can get.
I hope you all enjoy the story. Happy New Year! ^_^