Harry had skimmed over his Mother’s Diary many times and had made notice of the fact that she talked more about her friends than she did herself. He had not had time to actually sit and read as of late. Mrs. Weasley was working them to the bone. He looked at the pictures more than anything.
He would watch his mother and father smile at him for hours, it felt like he was back in first year looking at the Mirror and he liked it. The only other photos he had seen were the ones in the photoalbum Hagrid had given him, he knew each and every one by memory. Looking at these new ones was like seeing their faces for the first time all over again. He would look through them and find faces or gestures that Harry found on his own face and body.
He also liked looking at the pictures of her with her friends, he wondered what happened to Tara and Willow and why exactly his mother was friends with the blond pure blood, more importantly why a Weasley was friends with a Malfoy, the families were notorious rivals.
He had resolved to ask Sirius about the matter, and after dinner he had the perfect opportunity to do so. Mrs. Weasley had finally given them a night to do as they pleased. Sirius was in his room tending to Buckbeak. Harry walked up to the door and knocked.
“The door is open!” The man shouted. Harry turned the knob and pushed it open slowly. “Harry! What brings you to my room tonight?” His godfather was always happy to see Harry.
“Well it’s about these pictures I found in the attic.” Harry spoke quietly hoping Sirius wasn’t angry with him for snooping through his things.
“Ah, the ones of your mother and father?” Sirius asked. “I had a feeling you would find those while cleaning.” He smiled as he patted Buckbeak. “What about them? You want to know if you can have them?”
Harry nodded. “But there is something else.”
“Go on.” Sirius looked troubled.
“You see, there are some pictures of two women I don’t recognize.” Harry was finally able to say. “It seems they were good friends with my mother.”
“You’re talking about Willow and Tara.” Sirius’ demeanor had changed from one of happiness to one that Harry had never seen on the man and for the first time he was surprised that Sirius was acting just as his name would suggest he would. The look made the man look much older and much more tired. “You’re wondering how a Weasley and a Malfoy could’ve been friends with your mother.”
“I am, but also how they could be friends with each other? And who exactly they are? And what happened to them?” Harry questioned.
His godfather sighed deeply. “Willow and Tara are complicated, and what happened to them, no one really knows. It is hard to speak about those times Harry, they were so difficult, many people disappeared and many people died and many people turned on their friends. It was a different time, a time I hope you never have to experience.”
“Did they what?” Sirius asked.
“Do any of those things?” A silence filled the room while Sirius thought it over.
“I know they aren’t dead, it would be impossible to kill Willow Weasley, Voldemort has tried many times. There have only ever been two people Voldemort feared Dumbledore is one and Willow is the other. It depends on who you ask when it comes to betrayal. And I guess you could say they disappeared. I’ve heard rumors that Willow lives in America now, which would make sense. Many people fled to America during the first war.” The man finished and looked to the boy.
This only created more questions than answers. “Ron says he’s never heard of Willow Weasley before and Hermione says that the name sounds familiar.”
“Yes, Hermione would probably have heard the name in a book or something, she was pretty famous back in the day, almost like you, everyone expected her to be the one to kill Voldemort. And it would make sense that Ron has never heard of her, Molly doesn’t speak of her ever, she is one of the people if asked about betrayal her answer would undoubtedly be yes.”
“And if I asked you?” Another moment was spent in silence.
“I don’t know anymore, but I think betrayal is a harsh word for what happened. I think Willow just got too wrapped up in fighting the war that she forgot that life was not about fighting to stay alive, and she made some wrong decisions. People expected too much from her, herself more than anyone. Sometimes people make the wrong choices when they lose sight of what is right and wrong.” His godfather said as if he were speaking of himself.
Thoughts began to fester in his mind, thoughts of what exactly did he mean by wrong decisions. “What about Tara? You loved her didn’t you?”
Another sigh escaped Sirius’ mouth. “Once upon a time I loved a lot of people. Most of them are dead, insane, or lost. I was in love with her, I still am. She was the most amazing person I’ve ever met. She could be the kindest person in the world one moment, and a harsh cold person the next if you did something she didn’t agree with. Her temper was the hottest I’ve ever seen.” A smile began to rise in his lips.
“She loved another, though,” the smile began to fall “and while I did hate her for it for the longest time, I learned to let it go. No one can control who they love. In Azkaban you have to forgive in order to live, if you hold hatred in your heart it will eat away at you and make you think things you never thought possible.”
“Why was she friends with Willow and my mother? Malfoys and Weasleys hate each other on instinct.”
“Tara wasn’t like other Malfoys. Her mother had ran away when she was born and raised her in secret until she died when Tara was eleven leaving her to her father and her brother you know Lucius, and like me she was sorted into Gryffindor.’
“It was difficult for us, until I befriended your father and Tara befriended Willow we were the only friends each other had. She had it worse off because back then the Malfoys were pretty much the biggest supporters of Voldemort, so not only did her family hate her, so did most everyone in Gryffindor. I think it took a toll on her, and who she chose to love did not make it any easier and I think that is why they ran.’
“I wouldn’t know I was already in Azkaban when they ran away. That is all I can say, there are things that are not my place to tell you. You will meet them one day, I know it, and when you do, do not judge them on their mistakes. The first war was different, no one knew who to trust and no one knew who was going to die next.”
Harry didn’t know what to think. They had clearly done something awful and he didn’t know if he could ever befriend a Malfoy, especially one that had betrayed Mrs. Weasley.
Harry left the room and returned to his and Ron’s room. Ron and Hermione were talking about things when Harry came in.
“How’d it go? What did he say?” Hermione was the first to speak.
“A lot of things.” Harry told them everything that his Godfather had told him about the mystery people.
Ron sighed. “If my Mum thinks someone betrayed her I’m going to trust her. Maybe they ended up being Death Eaters.”
“I don’t think so.” Hermione thoughtfully added. “It wouldn’t make sense. Everyone who fled to America did so because they didn’t agree with The Ministry’s lax stance on what the Death Eaters did. I mean it was common knowledge that Tara’s family was a huge supporter of You-Know-Who, and yet they got off because of their connections.”
Harry looked to both of them. “Well Sirius did say that Willow was practically me, that everyone expected her to be the one to kill Voldemort.”
“I do remember reading her name somewhere now, but I can’t remember where. If she was so powerful to scare He-Who-Mustn’t-Be-Named then maybe she was recruited and after he was stopped The Ministry didn’t want to risk her attacking them or taking up where he left off so they allowed her to stay free, but she had to go to America. It would explain why no one knows where she is exactly. I mean the way Sirius said it, he made it sound like they had done some horrible evil. Not as bad as Peter, but something that he can’t talk about.”
“Mrs. Weasley likes everyone so if someone did something bad enough to make her distrust them then they must be pretty bad.” Harry concluded.
“Especially if it’s family. My Mum forgives family for anything, because family is worth more than money.” Ron mocked the last part.
“Willow, I will go anywhere you want to.” Tara told the red head.
“I know you will, but sweetie it is not a question of whether I want to or not, it is not even a question. I do not want to go at all. We have a place here. A place where we don’t need to hide, if we go back we will lose all of that again.” They had had this argument many times in the past few days. They kept switching sides. If one decided to go the other decided not to go.
Someone knocked on the door. Tara was cooking lunch so Willow went to go get it. She pulled the door open to reveal the tweed covered Brit Giles, the principal of their school. “Hey! Just thought I would pop over for lunch instead of making my own.” This happened often with many members of staff and students because Tara was such a great cook.
“Sure, sure come on in.” Willow pushed the door open to allow the man to enter.
“It sounded as though you two were having a debate, I hope I wasn’t interrupting something important.” He said as he sat to read the paper. “That’s not it the pictures are moving. Don’t you have any newspapers that don’t have moving pictures?” Trying to read while something is moving just above the area he was reading gave Giles a headache, and he didn’t like it.
The headline on the paper read “Elitist Ministry Cover-Up” and beneath in smaller print it read “Has Voldemort Really Returned? Is The Ministry Trying to Cover it Up?”
“Yeah, Tara uses them sometimes when we need to make a fire.” She handed him one off of the counter.
He took it and began to read. “This is four months old!”
“Oh well, Wizarding World news is actually pretty important lately.” Willow tried to say it as if it weren’t important.
“What do you mean?” Giles was reading the muggle paper anyways as Tara set a cup of tea down in front of him.
“Dumbledore came by a few days ago.” The blond gave Willow an angry look for trying to keep the news from Giles. She knew why, she knew Willow just wasn’t ready to accept that the man who had killed their friends was back from the dead just yet.
“Oh really what did he have to say?” He was still reading the paper.
Willow looked to Tara as if she were wishing it wasn’t true. “Voldemort has really returned. Harry Potter fought him in the flesh, and he killed one of Harry’s friends.”
“Dear lord, how long has he known?”
“Since the end of term.” Tara told him.
The greying man took off his glasses and cleaned them, then put them back on. Tara returned to the kitchen to finish making the grill cheese sandwiches Dawn had explained the basic idea of how to make them, but adding peanut butter and ketchup did not seem like it would taste good, so Tara had bought a cookbook on American Delicacies and had made Dawn some, ever since she makes them almost once a week. “We will take the same stance as last time, you know we must. We cannot help them until they are willing to admit that their laws are unjust.”
“We know.” Willow informed him. “That isn’t why he came.”
Giles began reading the paper again. “Then why was he here? To play a game of chess?”
“No, he wanted… well he wanted to see if Tara and I would be willing to go back to England, to teach at Hogwarts.” Willow was looking everywhere but at Giles.
He just continued reading. “And what have you two decided?”
“We can’t make up our minds. One moment Tara wants to go and I want to stay, the next she wants to stay and I want to go. It is a conundrum.” Willow threw her hands up in surrender.
He finally set the paper down as Tara returned with lunch. “It is up to you. If you want to go, we would never stop you from returning, and if you want to stay you are always welcome here. If you do decide to leave, I hope you continue to call Sunnydale home and return once the war is over, but it is all up to you.”
“Thank you Giles.” Willow said.
“Why are you so opposed to going though?” He looked to both of them as he took a bite of the grill cheese sandwich.
“Because we do not want to have to go back into hiding what we are to each other.” Tara told him. “It took me so long to get Willow to admit that who she was, was not something to be ashamed of, that our love isn’t some huge betrayal to her family.”
“I’m scared that if we go back all of those feelings will come back to me. That if we go back I’ll start to hate myself again.” She told him.
“And you’re scared that old habits will come back.” Giles pointed out.
“That most of all.” Willow admitted.
Giles set his grill cheese down. “Fear is healthy, it is an instinct used to tell us when to run and when to fight. Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to go on when fear overtakes you. If I am not mistaken Gryffindors are known for possessing this such trait.” He smiled at the two. “You have to face your family at some point.”
“I know.” Willow said. “I just don’t think I’m ready.”
“It’s been fifteen years Willow, I think you are more than ready.” The blond reached for her lovers hand and squeezed it. “And if you are not I will be there with you one hundred percent of the way.”
“You know as well as I that if we are discovered we risk Azkaban.”
“I think not. If they try, they will start a war with The Republic of Magical Beings.” Giles got angry. He remembered how Buffy had reacted when she heard that you could be arrested for being gay in The British Wizarding World.
“Anyways, The Ministry already knows about us, and they didn’t arrest us before.
“I will go Tara, you should stay here.” Willow told the other woman. “I can’t risk losing you. I don’t think I could live if you died. We’ve already lost Lily and James and Alice and Frank and so many more. I couldn’t protect them.”
“I’m not going to lie, I am not looking forward to returning. I don’t want to watch people die. But if I don’t go how will I know you won’t start using again?”
“You still don’t trust me?” Willow frowned.
The blond witch looked to her lover. “With my life, but not with Dark Magic. I can’t watch you destroy yourself again, and I can’t clean up the mess afterwards either. No, I’m going with you or we aren’t going at all.”
Willow was smiling at Tara, she turned to Giles. “What about our students? Do you think without me here Voldemort will attack?”
“Even if he tries he couldn’t succeed. There is magic protecting these grounds that is older than even the birth of humans, and way older than wizards. Anyways, there is someone who needs more protection than our students. Harry Potter, if it is as you say then this fifteen year old boy is the key to everything, he has more riding on his shoulders than you did at his age, maybe even more than Buffy did. He is your godson, he is family, he needs you more than we do.”
“Oh alright ya ol’ Brit you’ve convinced us.” Willow spoke. “We’ll go.”
“Expecto Patronous!” Tara pulled out her wand a small bird appeared “To Dumbledore!” She waited to feel Dumbledore’s presence, once she knew her Patronous was there she spoke. “We have decided to take you up on your offer.” She felt the Patronous spell end, and within seconds Dumbledore was knocking on their door.
Harry had been sleeping when a squeal from Ron woke him. He looked over to see that Ron was having a nightmare, light was pooring in through the window, and he layed there for awhile until he realized sleep was not going to come. He decided to go see if anyone else was awake yet, and discovered that the Order was having a meeting.
“What do you mean American witches are coming to teach at Hogwarts and they’re joining The Order? Does this mean The Republic is planning on helping this time round?” He heard Tonks ask.
Mrs. Weasley had grown still she never liked talking about America it brought up bad memories. “I don’t like the sound of that.” She said. “How do we know we can trust these Americans?”
Dumbledore knew this was going to be difficult, he was having trouble not telling them who exactly was coming. “Because I have known them for quite some time and I trust them.”
“Well if you trust them Dumbledore then so will I.” Lupin added, he had a feeling he knew exactly who Dumbledore was referring to.
“They will be arriving later tonight, and with your permission, Sirius, will remain here until term starts.”
“Does The Ministry know that you are bringing in foreigners to teach? Will they even be able to teach wand magic?” Kingsley asked. “The Minister is not going to like it.”
“I can handle Cornelius. Their knowledge of our ways is more than adequate.” Dumbledore said.
Harry walked past the door and into the kitchen to get a glass of water alerting the members to his presence.
“That is all for now.” Dumbledore told them all. “I have arrangements to make.”
“Happy Birthday Harry! What do you want for breakfast? Your favorite?” Mrs. Weasley left the room and went into the kitchen. She asked him as he drank from the cup.
“Thanks, anything sounds good to me Mrs. Weasley.” He smiled at her.
“Were you eavesdropping earlier?”
“It was kind of hard not to. So Americans?” He could tell she was getting uncomfortable with his question.
“Yes, please try to keep that information to yourself. The others will know by tonight anyways.”
Mad-Eye walked into the kitchen. “What’s for breakfast Molly?”
“It’s Harry’s birthday so I am making pancakes, they are his favorite.” She grabbed a pan from the hook and put some butter in it.
“Ah! Happy Birthday!” He patted Harry on the back.
“There’s something I’ve been meaning to give you, and since it’s your Birthday I think nows a good time. Best not do it in here though. Let’s go into the parlor.” His eye was looking straight at Molly when he said it. Once they were in the parlor he pulled an old photograph out of his coat pocket and handed it to Harry. He recognized a few faces, his mother’s and father’s being the first he noticed. Sirius, Peter, and Lupin next and then finally in the back he noticed Willow and Tara standing close together.
“What is it?” He looked at it in wonder.
“A picture of the original Order of The Phoenix.” He pointed to a couple “That’s Frank and Alice Longbottom, and there…” Harry stopped listening entranced by the two in the back. They were smiling at each other and whoever was taking the picture. “They died a few days after this was taken. Willow Weasley and Tara Malfoy, no one knows where they are anymore, but I refuse to think they’re dead. Willow was one of my proteges, she’s probably just in hiding somewhere. She was the most powerful witch ever born.” He was proud of her, clearly he was not someone who believed she betrayed The Order.
“There was a Malfoy in The Order?” He asked.
“Oh yes, I don’t really know what she did, but I do know whatever it was, was very dangerous she would often come to meetings with horrible wounds that not even your mother could fix. I think she was a spy of some sort. Her family was of course very close to Voldemort she was a brave woman.” He beamed with pride, Harry had never seen the man look so proud.
“Who is this Willow Weasley?” Harry pretended not to know.
Mad-Eye looked angry. “No ones told you about her? Not even Arthur?” Harry shook his head. “Lupin?” Harry shook his head again. Mad-Eye looked furious. “She was great! She, Tara, and your mother were the best of friends, almost better than you father and Sirius and Lupin.” No one ever included Peter when they spoke about his father’s friends. “She was Arthur’s sister. After your parents died something happened to her and Tara, I don’t know what, but some of the rumors are… well despicable lies. Willow Weasley was one of the best Aurors there ever was she made mistakes, but someone with that much power is bound to make mistakes. Sometimes people don’t realize what it feels like to have the power to change the world, it can be corruptible. But that doesn’t mean she was on Voldemort's side.”
Harry was surprised he knew she had been a Weasley, he had suspected she would be Mr. Weasley’s sister. Why hadn’t they told him about her? He was a little upset, but maybe they did it to protect him, maybe they knew more than Mad-Eye about what happened. It seemed like Sirius did and he forgave them. Harry decided he would ask Mr. Weasley about it.
After breakfast Harry decided to ask Mr. Weasley about it. Since it was a Saturday he didn’t have work. He was sitting in the parlor where he and Mad-Eye had discussed the photograph. He pulled it out. “Mr. Weasley I have a question for you.” It had always been easy for him to talk to his best-friend’s dad.
“And what might it be?”
“Mad-Eye gave me this picture for my birthday, it’s of the original Order.” Harry was trying to get there.
“Well that was nice. Let me see it then.” Mr. Weasley held out his hand and Harry placed the photograph within it. Knowing that once he saw the picture, and his sister he would probably know what the question was. “I know a lot of these people, or knew, I didn’t know he was a member!” Mr. Weasley got lost in the faces, he knew it might take him awhile to get to Willow so Harry waited. As the middle aged man got to the back Harry noticed a change in his facial expression. “What was your question again Harry?”
“Well he said that this woman,” He pointed to Willow. “Was your sister and that she was best friends with my Mum.”
“That’s true.” Arthur said flatly. “But I didn’t hear a question.”
“Well I guess I was just wondering what she was like.” He used the past tense to see if Mr. Weasley would correct him.
“Ah, my sister. Sure, I’ll tell you about her. My sister was the first female Weasley ever born, some say that is why she was so powerful. You see when we took her to get a wand none of them worked for her, it was obvious she had magic, powerful magic. There are few witches and wizards able to actually control their powers before they turn eleven and get a wand, my sister was one. Which meant she had an immense amount of power, so much so that at first a wand could not contain it and it would simply not work. My parents wanted to send her to America where they teach magic without a wand, but Professor Dumbledore talked them out of it and told them he could teach her how to harness her power.’’ He continued.
“The papers got wind of it and began printing all of this stuff about how she was destined to defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and from then on everyone expected her to do so. As she grew older she began to believe it herself, and so did her friends. When she graduated she was top of her class. She had always wanted to be an Auror. So she started as an intern the summer out of school. She moved quickly through the ranks becoming one of the top Aurors second only to Moody.’
“She felt like she had to protect everyone, not much different from you, but unlike you she grew up in a war torn world, a world where not everyone came back from summer break, in fact, hardly ever was there a break everyone came back, and not because their parents wouldn’t let them, but because they had been killed. Where being muggle born meant you could be murdered at any moment. By the time she was twelve people had put so much hope into her and had made her into some hero that I think she believed she had to be that person, that it was her duty. When she couldn’t protect her friends, when she would watch them die in front of her it made her feel weak. I think that is why Albus and Molly don’t want you to have to worry about You-Know-Who, I think Molly is trying to protect you from becoming like Willow.”
“I don’t think I could be like that. Everyone believed I had already killed Voldemort when he tried to kill me, and no one ever made me out to be the person who could save them all, I already had. Not that I actually did anything.” Harry told Mr. Weasley.
Mr. Weasley nodded. “That is very true Harry. My sister had dark power within her and I think it played to her weaknesses and You-Know-Who knew exactly how to exploit her, he knew her greatest wish was to have enough power to defeat him once and for all. While she would never have knowingly aided him, her actions still allowed him to do many horrible things. People who seek out power usually don’t have a happy ending, my sister is testament to that.”
Arthur wasn’t telling the whole truth, he wasn’t saying why Molly really didn’t want him to know about his Godmothers or why she had never spoken of Willow since she left, or even why Willow left, he regretted what had happened, but he couldn’t change it anymore, and certainly Willow and Tara were off living in hiding as happy as can be.
“Willow, Tara, and your mother were very different from your father and his friends. They were like three Hermiones, always studying and never breaking rules. When your mother was made a prefect and later head girl, many people were confused.”
He had heard a rumor at work once, one he would never tell Molly, a rumor saying Willow and Tara were living as muggles in America. He nearly jinxed the guy who said some derogatory things about them, but after all no one really believed that the friends were actually lovers, it was just something people talked about when there was nothing else to say. There had been rumors before they left England, and leaving England had fed those rumors, but no one could ever believe that the great and powerful Willow Weasley was a lesbian. Not even he could accept it at first, and he had heard it from her very mouth.
He hoped his sister wouldn’t return because Voldemort was back, not because he didn’t want to see her, but because he wanted her to live out her life without being Willow Weasley the most powerful witch ever born, he wanted her to be able to love Tara openly and not have to hide or live without love. He didn’t want her to feel like she had to be who everyone else wanted her to be.
“Did she ever hurt anyone?” Harry wondered aloud.
“No, never. Except those who needed to be hurt.”
“Mr. Weasley?” Harry had another question. “Do you think she could tell me about my mother?” He asked quietly.
“If you ever get to meet her I’m sure she would be happy to. Oh, and Harry, don’t mention this conversation to Molly.”