Resolutions With Resolve
Ron was not a deep thinker.
In the last five years of Hogwarts, that much had been made abundantly clear. Hermione was the brains and Harry was the hero and Ron was… Well, he was the sidekick.
It would not be an understatement to say that the thought galled him. Sidekick? Him? But it was better than being invisible or being the stupid Weasley. And Willow? She was nice, so beyond nice that it had ramped up his automatic reaction of suspicion. Dumbledore hiring her as the next Defense Against the Dark Arts professor only exacerbated the response. From Quirrell to Umbridge, the DADA position had been filled by evil and dangerously oblivious teachers alike.
Well, there was Lupin. But he was still silently agitated that the older man had kept his werewolf status from them for a whole year… and almost killed them.
“But that’s not the point,” Ron muttered to himself, glaring at the ceiling in his room – that was to say, the attic’s slanted ceiling. “The point is that my sister left because we apparently left Percy – of all people! – out in the cold.”
“She’s got a point, don’t you think?” one of the twins asked from the doorway.
Ron pulled himself into a sitting position, eyes pinning Fred and George in his doorway. He could never tell them apart and, unlike his mother, never bothered to try. “What’re you talking about?”
“We may not understand him,” one of them remarked.
“But Willow made an excellent point,” the other added.
“And she hates bullies.”
“Hates ‘em,” one of the twins stressed.
“Wait a second!” Ron said suddenly, stopping the ginger trainwreck in its tracks. “She thinks… she thinks we bully him?”
“Took Snape’s side over ours,” one of the twins commented.
call him Snivellus,” the other said as an aside.
“But she’s our sister.”
“A sister that fights vampires.”
“Because the Slayer apparently can’t be bothered.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!” Ron’s voice escalated in volume as he tried to make himself heard over the back-and-forth of his admittedly strange older brothers. “She does what now?”
“Fights the forces of darkness,” one of the twins answered with a glint in his eyes and a smirk on his lips that obviously meant he was amused.
“So, me and Harry and ‘Mione fight the forces of darkness…” Even as the words left his mouth, Ron could feel the weakness of the argument echo around his ears and it left a stale taste in his mouth.
One of the twins snorted indelicately. “No, you fight the forces of You-Know-Who. Will fights vampires and demons and apocalypses. And didn’t she say…?”
“The boyfriend, I believe.”
“He’s a werewolf.”
a wolf-boy?” Ron queried in a numb voice.
One of the twins smirked mischievously. “Maybe even a wolf-man
.” They both knew he was averse to the thought of Ginny dating and probably assumed the same reaction would be pinned to his older sister.
They were not wrong.
“Though, I can’t imagine that going on for much longer,” one of the twins commented.
“What with her moving somewhat permanently to the UK.”
“Long distance relationships never work out.”
Hopping off his bed, Ron walked up to his brothers. “What are you talking about? She made her opinion of us pretty clear.”
One of the twins reached out to ruffle his hair while the other smirked at the sight. “Aww, ickle Ronniekins is so… adorable
when he’s confused.”
Rolling his eyes, the other twin decided to tell Ron exactly what was what. “No matter how… disappointed in us she may be, she’s still been offered a teaching position at one of the best wizarding schools in the world. She’d be daft to refuse.”
“Besides, I heard her and Xander talking earlier. As mad as she might be, we’re still her family. I get the feeling that she would forgive us anything.” The twin sighed, the exhalation of air shifting his hair slightly. “It’s not her fault, Ron.”
The younger Weasley twisted his lips and nodded grudgingly. “I know.” He passed a hand through his haphazard hair. “So, are we going to the Hellmouth or not?”
“What makes you think we were going to let you come with us?”
“But—You—” Ron sputtered, attempting to form a response that was both coherent and involved the fact that they came into his
room to begin with.
However, the twins merely laughed and placed their hands on his shoulders before promptly disappearing.
As in, high-pitched, like a girl, fearing for his life shrieking. He wasn’t so unaware of his own sexuality that such a sound erupting from his mouth bothered him. It just… surprised him, was all.
The exploding cloud of vampire ash followed by the sound of Willow’s and Xander’s laughter was enough to bring a smile back to his face. At first, making his little sister smile was a novelty in itself and it wasn’t hard to figure out why. Percy was very serious, almost enough to put Professor Snape to shame, and he had definitely never been known as someone that made members of his own family smile or laugh.
Upon returning to Sunnydale following a very brief trip to the very large world map in his office, Willow had pretty much broken down momentarily. Xander had been quick to assure him that it was temporary, that it was merely a side effect of being a “mean poop-head” to her family.
Willow’s words, not his.
Grins shining their faces with innocent light but the exhaustion clear on the lines found there, Percy’s smiled slipped away to be replaced with concern for Willow. He had no clue how long it had been since they slept but he didn’t want to have to return to his dark and lonely flat in London just yet, so he settled for the first compromise that came to mind.
“Why don’t we head back to the library?”
Xander chuckled. “I think Percy here has a thing for books, Will.”
She giggled briefly and began leading them back to the high school, a rather short walk considering they were in the cemetery that was closest to the school. Percy knew from his sister’s short time on that Muggle contraption that there was supposedly only the one fledgling due to rise that night. He silently thanked his lucky stars for that. One vampire was enough to keep him on the straight and narrow – well, straighter and narrower – for quite a while.
Willow rotated her wrist slowly, her face twisting momentarily into a pained expression. “Well, I’ve got to be like one of them. None of them really struck me as the bookish type.”
“And Will is the bookiest person I know.” Xander arched an eyebrow at himself just before he caught Percy’s apparently pained expression. “I know, I know. My English could use some work.”
“If you have this much trouble with fledgling vampires, what about the masters? A convergence like this, there should be a few in town.”
Willow snorted softly. “That’s Buffy’s territory.”
“Buffy?” Percy echoed uncertainly.
“The Slayer,” Xander answered, something in his tone… off.
Percy paused, his movements stilling as his mind began to file through every mention of the Slayer he’d ever read. She was considered to be a Muggle anomaly, even though her existence was covered in the Defense Against the Dark Arts texts. There was very nearly no works that covered her origin, certainly none that he’d ever read, but he could remember very clearly that she was supposed to stand between the Muggles and evil supernatural creatures (most commonly, vampires).
“Then, where is she?”
Willow lifted one shoulder in a disconsolate shrug. “I don’t know. I just know that Sunnydale is in trouble if someone doesn’t patrol.” She looked over her shoulder to give a small smile to Xander. “So we do.”
“But…” Percy trailed off after a moment, his eyes darting between Willow and Xander. “But you’ve got to teach at Hogwarts and Xander will be taking classes.”
“I guess…” Willow sighed, closing her eyes briefly. “If we don’t find her before then, I guess we won’t be going.”
“Ugh, responsibility,” Xander muttered.
are you going to find her?”
“Well, Giles has been follow up leads,” Willow offered.
“And Brood-Man’s helping on the magic front,” Xander added.
“Brood-Man?” Percy echoed uncertainly. “Who’s that?”
However, it was then that they entered the library. “Oh, joy. Another Weasley,” a bored voice drawled lazily from the interior of the room. It took Percy a shocked moment to realized that the voice was familiar and that it belonged to the one professor that Gryffindors hated, one and all. “At least, it’s the smart one.” After a brief moment, the older man’s face twisted into a slightly more pleasant expression when he faced Willow. “Miss Rosenberg, I have news.”
Willow gasped softly. “Already? I thought you said… a week?”
“I had the ingredients on hand,” Snape explained briefly. “I would have been a bother to wait. Although, in lieu of any possessions that belonged to your friend, I had to resort to some Slayer’s blood I had in my stores.”
Xander’s face twisted into bemused disgust. “You keep stuff like that on hand?”
The professor’s head twitched slightly and he pinned the brunette teenager with a dark stare. “In the next year, you are likely to find that magic potions can contain any number of… unsavory ingredients.” Satisfied that he had cowed Xander for the moment, he turned back to the child that would soon be his coworker. “It did bring a question to mind.”
Willow had been sporting a distinctive deer-in-headlights expression but it cleared away quickly at the man’s curiosity. “What?”
“Are there two
She chuckled self-consciously. “Yeah, about that…”
Arthur stood in the family room, unmoving as he watched the family clock. His right hand held a carved tumbler with a small amount of clear liquor. It was gin and the fact that he was a moment’s notice from knocking back the rest of the Muggle drink showed his inner turmoil.
Molly was in the kitchen, scrubbing at dishes with her bare hands and a particularly bristly brush. He knew that this showed her turmoil as well, as almost every menial task within this household was completed with magic despite his preoccupation with Muggle ingenuity. His wife only did things the Muggle way when everything seemed so upside-down and backward that there was no way she could concentrate.
The worst part, he had to admit, was that Willow was correct in so many ways. It was perhaps his own cowardice that kept him from mending things with his son, despite being so physically close to him every single workday that passed. His spat with Percy was perhaps the smallest thing in his world that he wished to keep from his oldest daughter, so much so that it hadn’t even occurred to him, but now he realized that it had become maybe the most important thing. The war that was brewing underneath the noses of every witch and wizard, the danger that was Voldemort, the complicated and tenuous balance of the Order of the Phoenix – well, he knew now that it didn’t hold nearly as much weight as he thought.
While Molly was more than prepared to accept that their daughter had faced the things she’d mentioned in a secondhand capacity, Arthur was political enough to be able to read between the lines. Willow was oddly calm about those events and her place in them, making him believe that she had done much more than she said. One does not calmly the word “apocalypse” unless the things on a daily basis are enough to give a normal person nightmares. That point aside, Dumbledore had been pleased at this, apparently confident that this slip of a redhead could successfully lead the Defense Against the Dark Arts curriculum.
Mortal peril. She was continuously in something that could be described as mortal peril, which could be why both her arrow and Percy’s semi-translucent one had been pointing at that very indicator for almost an hour before shifting to “School”. It didn’t take a dimwitted twit to realize that they were likely at the high school in the States and not Hogwarts.
It worried him deeply. He had gotten used to the way that Ron and Harry seemed to find themselves in sticky situations over the years, sometimes through the latter’s connection to You-Know-Who and sometimes through bad choices. It was a hard pill to swallow to realize that his girl purposely put herself in danger, knowingly and willingly.
Bleeding hell, she had performed a soul attachment on an undead creature right out of a coma.
He would have to figure out how exactly to fix everything that was broken in his family, starting with Percy. Squaring his shoulders, he prepared to Apparate when he heard the clinking of ice in the glass in his hands. He looked down at it dumbly, remembering that it was his third half-filled glass of straight liquor.
Perhaps it would be best to approach his third-born son when he was a bit less intoxicated.