Disclaimer: I own neither the Buffy characters or the X-men. I don't 100%
own this story idea either - the idea of Willow being related to Magneto
was one I read in a series called Family Ties, by Lucinda. (thanks to
everyone who told me!)
Author's Note: This take place in the summer between seasons four and five on Buffy. It uses the X-men movie for its base (the first one happened; I borrow some ideas from the second). As for the characters, it will be a mixture of comic books/ movie, according to what I think fits.
Willow looked down at the letter in her hand. It was from her cousin Erik.
Her cousin Erik known as Magneto who is currently in prison for some
unknown really bad thing that happened on Ellis Island. Something that had
to do with mutants. Willow didn't really understand it. In senior year,
she had researched her family tree and discovered that Erik was a distant
cousin. With this trip to a technology convention in New York, Willow had
decided it was high time to meet her infamous relative.
They had been exchanging letters for the past three months or so. Willow felt like her cousin was at the very least a man who was devoted to his beliefs. His letters never elaborated on his crime and the events at Ellis Island. She thought that he didn't want to scare this new relation away.
Which was kind of funny, given that she never told him about her own extra special activities. You know, the demon slaying and all. Well the helping with the demon slaying, not like she was the Slayer, she was just a Scooby (and a witch, that counted for something, didn't it?) but the idea was kind of similar.
Okay, getting into HyperPanic Mode. Calm down. Breathe. Just going to visit your cousin. Ignore all mutant/demon details. Hyperventilating will scare the nice men with the big guns. BIG SCARY GUNS.
Back into HyperPanic Mode. Crap.
Breathe. You're a witch, you should be able to calm your mind under stress. Otherwise all those lovely spells won't be useful in a fight, now would they?
"Um, Hi! I'm Willow Rosenberg. I'm here to visit my cousin of course, he's not really my cousin cousin, he's like a second cousin once removed or something, but, heh, family still. And I'm here. To visit him."
This room was so sterile looking. White on white on white, with touches of gray here and there. It looked like everything in the vicinity was plastic, a clear whitish material. Willow felt like she was on the set for some black and white sci-fi movie. If the intent was to intimidate, it sure was succeeding. Willow felt like a tiny little insect. Especially with the security guard looking at her like she was a bug he could crush without breaking a sweat.
"So, um, is it okay if I, y'know, visit him?"
The guard looked at her. He seemed to decide that she was a 100% tiny insect non-threat.
"Everything's in order. You will have to remove all metal objects from your person, submit to a scan, then be escorted to the prisoner's cell."
Magneto looked up at his visitor. Ever since he had first learned of her existence, he had wanted to meet her. He wondered idly if any of his own more unique traits were present in her.
She stepped into his plastic cell, unsure of herself, every inch of her body signaling discomfort. Yet despite her overt vulnerability, she seemed to possess an aura of confidence, as if she was once uncertain and confident at the same time. She looked up at him, bright green eyes meeting his.
"I'm Willow. It's, um, nice to meet you. In person, that is. I mean, we've written letters and all, but that's not really meeting somebody. You don't really meet somebody until you see them. Unless you're blind, then I guess you have to wait until you hear them. Except not on the phone, I'm sorry, I tend to babble when I'm nervous."
"That is quite all right. This situation is rather unorthodox. Please, sit, Willow. It is a pleasant surprise to meet a surviving member of my family."
She seemed like a nice girl. Magneto wondered why she bothered to come, and why she was allowed to visit.
Unfortunately, the answer to the last question came all too soon.
They had managed to have an awkward conversation for the past ten minutes, exchanging basic pleasantries - "How is your family?" "They are fine, thank you. How are you?" "As well as can be expected." "Do you like your school?" "Yes, I've learned a lot there."
Then Magneto noticed the gas that was creeping slowly into the room. It had happened to him before, as his captors liked him as docile as possible when they tried to pry as much information from him about the "mutant situation" as they could. He had not expected them to try and take Willow, too.
By then he had learned a little more about Willow. He discovered an intense young women who cared dearly about her friends, sounding closer to them than her own family. She was a devoted student who took pride in her grades. All of this barely scratched the surface of her.
Now he was going to learn even more than he had dreamed could be true about young Willow Rosenberg.
Moments after he had seen the gas, Willow saw it too. She had no idea what it was used for, but it couldn't be good. Rule Number 65 of the Hellmouth - when confronted with the unexplained, run until further notice. Especially since she was starting to feel groggy.
What to do? Cousin Erik was starting to look alarmed, but also a little resigned. Ergo, this had happened before. And he was supposed to be some way powerful mutant!
But he wasn't a moderately powerful witch.
"Purify!" The spell erupted from her lips without a second thought. Willow felt the power surge through her. The gas responded, dissipating into nothingness.
Okay, problem one solved. Problem two was either explaining this to her cousin, or the guards over in the anteroom who were now noticing that something was NOT HAPPENING ACCORDING TO PLAN. Skipping explanations. Running now.
Running will involve breaking cousin out of prison. TOP SECURITY prison. But this whole situation was obviously not of the good. In fact, it seemed positively Initiativey. Therefore, helping cousin break out of prison = good. Gotta love rationalization.
Willow focused on the extendable bridge that brought her to the cell. It was relatively light, the devotion to the clear plastic working in her favor. She was able to drag it far enough to jump on and run to the door, forcing it open with another burst of magic. She skidded to a halt in the anteroom where she had been given the final (of many) scans. Erik followed close behind.
Magneto was confused. It wasn't an experience he liked very much. It seemed that Willow was a mutant, but he couldn't identify the precise nature of her powers. Some sort of telekinesis? At least this meant he would have some assistance until they were far enough out of the complex that his own powers would be useful.
The guards in the anteroom were now attempting to shoot them. Magneto erected a barrier around the two of them, to protect them from the taser guns (no bullets in the vicinity, for obvious reasons).
He was about to freeze the movement of the iron in their blood (to either incapacitate or kill, he didn't really care which happened) when Willow stared at the attackers and uttered one word.
Something uncanny flashed through her eyes as she said that, similar to when she had cleared the knockout gas moments before. The guards slumped to the ground, unconscious.
Willow looked down at them.
"Wow, I didn't realize I could take out so many with that spell. Of course, being supremely pissed off at the moment probably helped. Ooh! Computer terminal. That will help."
Willow looked up from the terminal.
"I recognize the system - I can shut down enough of the equipment to get us out of here. But it will only work for fifteen minutes or so. We'll have to hurry."
How does a nineteen year old girl know about classified computer operating systems?
"Erik, are you with me?"
Magneto shook himself out of his stupor. Willow was correct, they needed to move and move quickly if this impromptu escape was to succeed. Questions could be answered after they left this hellhole.
He expressed that sentiment to Willow.
"You think this is a hellhole?"
"How long will those guards be out?"
"Not much longer. Wait, you can't kill them! They're human! That's wrong!"
Willow glared at her fellow escapee.
"Requiescat! They'll be out a little longer, now let's GO!"
Magneto decided that the finer points between right and wrong could be bothered with later.
They ran through the hallways, relying on Willow's memories of being led through them earlier. However, by then an alarm had been sounded. Willow felt like the Wicked Witch was chasing them through the castle, as they met troop after troop intent on recapture. Magneto would protect them from the tasers and stun guns while Willow's eyes flashed and forced her attackers into sleep. The two worked in an unspoken agreement - the name of the game was to GET OUT.
After they had managed to get clear of the prison (leaving the front entrance in a twisted mess, courtesy of the Master of Magnetism), Willow turned around, drawing a symbol on the ground with her pen.
"Obscure and hide. Cloak us from prying eyes. May the Guardian of the Lost watch over us. Obscure."
She looked up at him.
"That should give us a little more time to run. Without the right supplies, I can't do any more."
Magneto decided that the instant they were in the clear, he was going to get an explanation.
They took Willow's rental, drove into a town, ditched it, stole a car off the street, and then continued on their way.
A few hours later, Willow stared ahead at the road, her face a mask of concern. This was all very BAD!
The day had started with (a) visit cousin in prison, moved quickly to (b) break cousin out of prison, (c) steal car (THIEF!) and (d) follow said cousin to unknown destination, presumably to hook up with his fellow mutants. And while she liked her cousin, she was pretty clear on the fact he wasn't up to Scooby standards of right and wrong.
If the military and police caught up with them, Willow was fairly certain he wouldn't follow the killing humans = WRONG philosophy. That would be a mess unto itself.
She stole a glance at her companion. He was gripping the steering wheel tightly, having remained silent ever since they had been clear of the prison.
At least he was severely wigged, too. She felt better.
Wait - exactly why was she in this situation in the first place? It was not like she had planned to help Erik escape, it had just sort of happened. Willow was very grateful she was a witch. Because whatever she had just escaped, it could not have been good.
"What do you think all that back there was about?"
Magneto jerked, surprised by the voice breaking the silence.
"I could ask the same question myself, young lady."
"If it's about the spells and stuff, that can wait. What I want to know, was why the HELL did they try to gas me?" Willow paused, calming slightly, "I mean, gas us."
"I believe that little incident is because, no matter how distant, you are a relation of mine. As such, the opportunity to..examine..you would be difficult for men such as them to pass up." Magneto cocked his head thoughtfully for a moment. "It appears that you would have indeed made an interesting subject, based on what I saw. What kind of mutant traits do you possess, Willow?"
Wait a second. Mutant? Willow was not against mutants or anything (driving in a car with one now, thank you) but she was 100% positive her powers came from training in the magic arts, not a genetic quirk of fate. Magical quirk of fate maybe, but not genetic.
"I'm not a mutant. I'm a witch. Y'know, with the practicing of magic and learning obscure Latin phrases and being a Sister to the Dark Ones. Not like the evil dark ones, more like the power of the night. Or moon. Or something. So, yeah, I'm a witch. A wicca witch." Willow smiled a little at the pun.
"It is not uncommon for new mutants to perceive their powers as being magical in nature."
"Hey! I cast my first spell when I was seventeen - "
"An age when many mutants are beginning to use their powers - "
" - and that spell was written long before people had even knew about genetics, forget mutation. So there."
"If magic is real, then why have I not met other spell casters? I have seen a great deal of the world and have yet to meet anyone else who claims to practice 'true' magic."
"I'm from Sunnydale. A person's ability to delude himself knows no bounds."
Magneto paused, considering Willow's words. He was obviously perturbed by Willow's referring to him as "deluded". Apparently he decided to ignore the presumed insult to his intellect and forged onward with his next question.
"Why were you so familiar with the computers in the prison?"
Not-so-good question. Willow had no love at all the Initiative, but in the end she viewed them as misguided fools. Blabbing about that little adventure seemed wrong; especially since former Initiative guy Riley was her best friend's boyfriend. Betraying that confidence was not the best idea. She opted for a white lie.
"I'm a hacker. I know a lot about computery type stuff."
She had a feeling he knew she was lying, but he wasn't going to push it. Not yet, anyway.
They drove along in silence for a little while longer. Willow counted six different species of trees, three types of wildflowers, and two billboards. When the continued silence grew unbearable, Willow decided to ask her other burning question.
"What happens next?"
Magneto did not respond. Willow tried again, a little louder.
"What happens next?"
"I locate some of my old comrades and go about my business. You come along until we've determined what needs to be done about this situation."
That didn't sound good. Spending time with his "old friends" twiddling her thumbs while, in all likelihood, every single government organization in the country tried to find them, sounded like a ticket into trouble.
Of course, she had already bought the ticket. Now was time to pay the price. But what about everyone in Sunnydale? What about Tara? Tara had to be so worried. This would hit the news and Tara would hear and everyone would wonder what had happened and why she was now on the run. And why she helped Magneto break out of prison. It wasn't like secrety government guys were going to say, "Well, see, we tried to capture her for nefarious purposes and it is not our fault it turned out she could actually defend herself." No, it would be more like, "Dangerous prisoner aided in escape. We must find them before they wreak unmentionable havok!"
Bad bad bad bad! This was all kinds of bad! She had stuff to do, important Scooby stuff to do!
But bringing the Scooby card up meant bringing the demon and Slayer cards up. Willow wasn't sure she wanted to. He seemed to be having issues with the witch thing. The rest of the truth might REALLY muck things up.
She idly wondered if the Powers That Be were out to get her.
What to do. This was not a particularly fixable situation. She needed to come up with a plan. Let's see... First, remind Erik that she did, in fact, have a life. He might have forgotten that tiny detail with well, everything that had happened. Second, try to figure out a way to return to said life, without being caught and thrown into prison.
Easier said than done. Well, might as well start with step one. No time like the present.
"How long do you think it will be before I can go home? It's not like I can disappear indefinitely. I need to go home. I have someone waiting for me. And there's my friends. And my responsibilities. And parents. And classes start soon. And - "
"WILL YOU BE SILENT! I know that this is not a situation that benefits you, but - "
"Of course it doesn't benefit me! My to-do list did not contain orchestrating a prison break out. All I was going to do was visit some family. Now you're telling me I can't go home again? 'Cause I'm thinking, you don't really care if I ever can. This whole jail break thing? Perfect for YOU. Not hearing much sympathy for the one whose life is now screwed up."
"Stop acting like a child. You have no knowledge of the importance of my work - "
THAT was it. Willow had not considered herself a child since her best friend had gone off to die to save the world. And the importance of HIS work. She had helped prevent at least four apocalypses, maybe more. What was more important than that?
The car halted on the road, a surge of magic on Willow's part impeding its continued travel. A tiny part of her mind noted this was one of those uncontrolled magic bursts that Tara chided her about.
"DO NOT talk to me about the importance of your work. Did you think I was a witch for the sheer fun of it?" Time to play all the cards. "Witches aren't the only supernatural thing out there. There are demons and vampires and other nasties who would like to wreak hell on earth or the next best alternative. My friends and I have spent the last four years fighting them. My graduation? Sixteen dead, all students, trying to stop a demon snake from eating the entire town. I am not a mere child. I have things to do as well. IMPORTANT things."
Magneto stared at his young cousin. How old was she? Nineteen? The resolve and righteous anger which emanated from her stopped him from doubting her. She was telling the truth. This whole situation was destroying his view of the world. It was a very uncomfortable feeling. Normally he was the one forcing people to look outside their tiny little boxes. It was unpleasant to realize he himself had a box.
But that did not matter at the moment. What mattered was ensuring that Willow did not interfere with his escape (which, as she had pointed out, was working out very nicely for him). He would deal with these revelations once he (and her, too) were cleared of any pursuit. Until then, she had to understand his plan of action was best, for the both of them.
"I was unaware of this. However, it does not change the fact that my plan is the best at this moment. We need to find a safe location, monitor our pursuers, and then determine a course of action. Then we can see if it is possible for you to return home."
Willow's eyes narrowed. It wasn't what she wanted, but her reasonable voice told her it was the most sensible plan. Listening to reasonable voices sucked.
She nodded. The car restarted. They continued on to their destination.
The two of them, mutant and witch, sat in silence, contemplating what had just happened, what had just been revealed.
Both knew that this was not over.