Disclaimer: I do not own anyone from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the X-Men.
set in s1 BtVS, post X-men the movie (the first one)
Willow had started her notes already. She had her parents names, along with the location and dates of their birth. She had the names of her mother's parents and two siblings, and her mother had suggested that she call her aunt Diane to ask her some questions, 'due to her interest in what everyone in the family is doing and has ever done before'. She had started with a mostly blank paper with a few names on it. She was prepared with a list of suggested questions and her aunt's phone number. Approaching the phone, Willow took a deep breath, and reminded herself 'First, it's thirty percent of my grade this quarter. Second, Aunt Diane lives in San Diego, she can't hurt me over the phone. She's family, there is no danger...'
'Hello, can I talk to Diane Meyer please?" Willow almost managed a steady voice when she called. She was so nervous talking to people. She really had to work on that.
Four hours later, she managed to convince her aunt Diane that she really did have to get to bed, as this was a school night. She had pages and pages of things about her mother's side of the family... names, birth dates and locations - sometimes accompanied by 'there was an interesting story to that, really...'. She had the educational and romantic history of all her cousins from her mom's side. She had learned that her uncle David had been killed ten years ago by 'a disgruntled gang member'. Willow found herself hoping that it had actually been a gang member and not a vampire.
She had a cousin who had recently joined a law firm. She had another who was an accountant for an actor, and one of Diane's daughters was now in college planning to be a psychologist, while the other was simply dating some mechanic, to Diane's dismay. She now knew exactly how her mother's parents had died, more medical details than she had ever wanted to know about dying from cancer, and exactly where they had been buried and how the funeral services had gone.
Her head was spinning from all the information. Fortunately, she had taken notes, lots and lots of notes. Willow suspected that Aunt Diane might have an interest in genealogy too, she certainly had all the information for it. Diane had also mentioned that there was a website with 'her family tree, and her husband's also, although his mother did most of that one and it goes back to the seventeen hundreds...' Willow had dutifully noted the web address. Her ear was overheated and numb.
Trembling slightly with exhaustion, Willow changed into her nightgown. Willow was very grateful to just fall into bed and go to sleep. Staying up until midnight listening to somebody on the phone was exhausting. Her last waking thought was that at least she would have some information beyond names and dates for her mother's side of the family.
Willow slipped into her bedroom and flopped onto her bed. She wasn't looking forward to her history project. Actually, she was fairly certain the whole project was part of a plot on behalf of Mrs. Cullen. Her history teacher had a passion for genealogy, the study of family trees. She had assigned all her students to trace their family trees, and submit a report on them as the major project for the grading period. There had even been an informative handout on where to look for the information and what she wanted them to have in it. Allegedly, it was to help them study the melting pot effect of America on immigrants.
Willow fully expected nothing pleasantly surprising from this paper. She knew that her great grandfather had emigrated from Germany, along with his wife and three of his children, one of which had grown up to be her grandfather. She wasn't certain of all the details behind it because her mother had always shoo'd her away when her Opa Rosenberg had tried to talk about it at family reunions. Something about she was too little to hear about things like that.
Maybe she would have to talk to him about it when she made her weekly visit to him in the nursing home. He lived at Rustling Pines Care Facility now, as his health wasn't good enough to allow him to live alone. He could barely walk, even with his cane, and had lost most of his sight, and some of his hearing. He was the only member of Willow's family that was willing to let her be Willow, not a statistic.
By the time Thursday rolled around, Willow had come to the conclusion that she could write this report. She could write about where her family had come from, and explain about their Jewish heritage. She was anticipating some unhappy events around World War 2, but unfortunately, that wasn't a surprise.
Willow rose her bicycle over to Rustling Pines, where her great grandfather now lived. He was very old now, and his health was gradually failing. His mind was as clear as it had ever been. Willow also knew that she was the only relative that visited him regularly. He saw some of the other relatives on the holidays, and some of the older men from the temple visited him, but Willow still thought it must be rather lonely for him. That was one of the reasons she visited him every Thursday.
" Hello Willow. Oris is sitting outside, by the oak tree. Please tell him he should have somebody help him inside at dinner time, okay?" Eileen was the receptionist and secretary for this shift. She knew Willow by name, as did the rest of the staff. Eileen also had the habit of referring to all the residents by their names, which made some of the residents happy.
Willow smiled at Eileen and gave a little wave. The door to the little courtyard with the oak tree was a bit down the hall, and she turned, and went to see her Opa Rosenberg.
Oris Rosenberg was sitting on a slightly worn stone bench in the shade of an enormous oak tree. He wasn't a tall man, only a bit taller than Willow if he was standing up strait. His hair was thinning and white, and had receded a bit along his temples. He had round wire rim glasses, and the lenses were very thick in an effort to keep what he could of his fading sight. He had been a slender man in his youth, and was now frail. A cane rested on the bench beside him.
He was delighted to see Willow, as always. They talked a bit about how their weeks had gone, and Willow learned that he suspected Charlie, one of the other residents was cheating at the Friday poker games. Willow mentioned that Xander was still clueless that she liked him, and about her assigned project to make a family tree and report.
He had chuckled, and said that Sarah Cullen was one of the nosy women who belonged to the county genealogy society, and they occasionally came around asking some of the residents about their ancestors 'because your memories of them are irreplaceable.' He thought Willow's suspicion about trying to get her student's hooked on genealogy was very reasonable, and probably wouldn't have much success. He had also promised that he would talk about his relatives after dinner - the ones your mother hasn't got a little notebook on. He found it somewhat amusing that Sheila kept trying to analyze her relatives and put them into statistical categories.
* * * * *
Willow was quite glad that she had brought some food with her. Dinner as served at Rustling Pines looked bland. It was probably very easy on the digestion, and carefully planned to avoid allergies or reactions with medication in any of the residents. It looked about as appetizing as the food at her school cafeteria. She had also brought some fresh fruit in for her great grandfather. Willow had cleared it with his doctor, so she knew that it would be okay for him.
He started with telling Willow about his grandfather, who had been a furniture maker in Germany. It had been the family business. He told her the family stories about how his parents had met, and eventually gotten married and started their own family. He told her how he had met his wife - the most temperamental and argumentative girl he'd ever met. The one young lady in town he couldn't stay calm and polite when talking to. He had eventually realized how they felt about each other, and surrendered. They had been married that fall. What Willow found interesting was that he had pictures of all the relatives he was talking about.
They were sitting there, looking at the pictures in the heavy leather bound photo album. Willow turned the page, and saw a picture of her great grandfather and his wife, along with three small children. A later family photo showed four children. Willow was thoughtful. She knew her great grandpa and his wife had come to America with three children.
"Opa, who is that?" she pointed at the oldest child, a girl with dark mostly straight hair and serious eyes.
He looked thoughtful, and a bit sad. He turned the page again, and there was a picture of the girl, now grown up to maybe twenty, a man slightly older beside her, and a small boy. " That was my daughter Rachel. This is her and her husband Frederick Lenscherr and their son Eric. They had quarreled with my Greta, your great grandmother, and moved away. I had tried to convince them to reconcile, but they were both very stubborn women."
"I had heard rumors about changes in policy in my old country. I worried a great deal about what they could lead to, and that is why Greta and I packed up what we could and came to America. I wish that Rachel and Frederick had done so as well. I later learned that their family had been sent to one of the camps. Rachel and her husband were killed there. I never learned what happened to Erik. He was just a little boy then..." Her Opa's voice faded into sorrowful reflection.
Now Willow felt guilty for bringing up her Opa's past. She hadn't meant to make him sad. She tried to help him feel a bit better by talking about what had been going on at the temple. He was feeling somewhat better when Willow eventually left to go home.
As Willow rode her bicycle home, she wondered. What had happened to little Eric Lenscherr?
Willow had finished her report, including a diagram of her direct ancestry and attached diagrams for cousins, a listing of places of burial for her deceased relatives, and some copies of photographs of her assorted relatives. There were descriptions of little family traditions that were Jewish, as well as things that were German, and newer things from after her family had moved to America. She had gotten an A.
Willow figured she could relax now, and only worry about things demonic and life threatening needing researched with Mr. Giles. She could listen to Buffy talk about this mysterious guy named Angel, and listen to Xander talk about how could he get Buffy. That was annoying, but slightly better than say, Cordelia or Harmony. Having concluded that there was no life threatening demon menace, or romantic changes in the lives of Xander or her new friend Buffy, Willow at down to do her geometry homework. To have some background noise, as her parents had gone on some sort of couples retreat for the week, she turned the television on to C-Span.
She was hoping that whatever was on didn't feature that Senator Robert Kelly. He seemed to base his entire campaigning on anti mutant speeches. Willow did have to admit that sometimes mutants did scary things, but.... weren't mutants still people? Weren't they still American citizens? Therefore, they should be able to go to school, get jobs and pay taxes. Like everyone else, shouldn't mutants be able to try to live a happy life? Although, she did suppose that mutants should take responsibility for their actions. being a mutant didn't make it okay to burn down someone's store, but it didn't make it okay for someone else to burn down your house.
Looking at the screen, Willow saw that it was live coverage of the United Nations special conference to discuss the mutant question. It was being held at the base of the Statue of Liberty. hmmmm Willow thought. This might be interesting. I wonder how other countries are reacting to mutants. It is a matter of genetic mutation, so it should be occurring world wide... Maybe I'll be a doctor when I grow up, and study genetics.
The discussion was interesting. Willow had expected differing views of what to do about mutants from the different nations' representatives, and she wasn't disappointed. There were very heated debates on some suggestions. Willow observed that some countries didn't seem worried about the increasing numbers of mutants, having simply passed laws saying that mutants were responsible for the uses of their powers as if it had been the works of their hands. She noticed a trend: countries that were not highly dependent of manufacturing were more easily adapting their laws, if not the behavior of all their citizens. Countries with either large industrial bases or huge populations were moving very slowly to do something about the mutant issue. While Willow didn't agree with all the opinions spoken or shouted during the conference, it was interesting to watch. It stayed on long after her geometry was finished.
The conference was disrupted towards the end by a strange silvery light that came from the torch of the Statue of Liberty. It wavered, and rippled almost like water, but it was...something else. Nobody seemed to know what it was. Willow stayed up very late trying to find out what had happened at the conference.
Eventually, it was discovered that there had been a fight between two groups of mutants. Some security guards had been caught in the middle, and most of them had been found dead, the sole exception being found with stab wounds to the abdomen. Apparently, the leader of one group had planned to use a complicated device to do... something to the United Nations delegates, but he had been stopped by another group of mutants. The owner of the device had been identified as Magneto, and had been taken into custody. The identities of his opponents was not know at this time. Willow made the decision to watch for the trial of the mysterious Magneto. It should be.. interesting. She hoped C-Span would cover it.
When the case came to trial, it was indeed covered by C-Span, and many other stations as well. C-Span was the only one that showed the entirety of the trial instead of just little clips here and there. Magneto took the stand, bound in some sort of strange, plastic restraints. He looked different in normal clothing, old and almost fragile. The shirt he was wearing had long sleeves. He stated his name as Erik Magnus Lenscherr.
Willow watched as much of the trial as she could, and was very quiet during the whole proceedings. Xander never noticed. Jesse would have, but he had been killed by vampires recently. She had a lot to think about. At least she could tell her Opa Rosenberg what had happened to his grandson, little Erik.
As a brighter note, Senator Kelly made the public statement that he had changed his mind about his anti-mutant views, and had made an official apology to mutants everywhere for his previous views. Apparently, the events at the Statue of Liberty had shaken him a great deal. Willow was curious how America would react to the mutant question now.
end Family Tree.