Disclaimer: JK owns Harry Potter, and Joss owns BtVS and Angel
A/n: So I actually reveal some stuff that I've been building up to for a while now. I hope you enjoy. :)
Illyria: Is there anything in this life but grief?
Wesley: There's love. There's hope... for some. There's hope that you'll find something worthy... that your life will lead you to some joy... that after everything... you can still be surprised.
- Angel, Season 5, Shells
Snape lost all sense of reason in that room with her.
He had to taste her, feel her... if he hadn't known better he would have thought he'd been slipped a love potion.
But he did know better. That desire burning at the pit of his stomach was a monster of his own making. His desires had remained buried, even to himself, until this moment when it had been forced out like an explosion.
He needed her. He wanted her to know that he needed her.
She was completely wrong for him. She was far too young, too crass... and frankly too beautiful. That she was returning his affection was startling. If he were thinking clearly he would have feared her rejection after kissing her. He would have expected it.
She'd shown nothing but contempt for him in the last several days, and nothing more than a modicum of friendship before that. Why would she return his affection? He was much older than her, an absolute mess mentally and physically, and down right cruel to most everyone he was around. What could he hope to offer her?
She had a dark history like he did, that was true. But she was still so much brighter and better than he could ever hope to be.
And she was Bellatrix's daughter, for Merlin's sake!
He shuddered to think what that woman could do to him if she ever found out about what was occurring at this very moment.
Faith pulled him closer greedily, gripping his head in her hands as she attacked his mouth. He brought his hands around her in an embrace returning the affection. Snape could feel her grinding against him and he stifled a groan into her mouth.
Just how far were they going to take this?
There was a knock on the door to the classroom and Faith shoved him away from her, his back hitting the desk with a painful thud. Her eyes were the size of saucers, as she stared at him and then the door in a panic.
Straightening her hair, nervously, "Uh, yeah?"
The door creaked open and the wizened old eyes of Albus Dumbledore peered through. He took in the sight of the two of them, and Snape did his best to look nonchalant, but he was sure that he looked as startled as Faith for the interruption.
"Ah, Faith! And Severus? Yes, good. I'm glad you're both here, I've been trying to find you the both of you. Seems there's been a spot of bother and Grimmauld Place." He took in the two of them and then eyed the kitten in the carrier, "I'm not interrupting am I?"
From the twinkle in his eye it was clear to Severus that the old wizard knew he was. Sometimes that man was insufferable.
"Uh, no. Nothing important." Faith said with a conviction that wounded Severus' pride.
Did she really view what they'd been doing as 'nothing important'? Or maybe she was just being polite with Albus?
"Oh, good, good. Now we have to get to the Black Estate post-haste." He gestured toward the hallway.
"What happened?" Faith queried, and she reached down to grab her now caged kitten.
"It would seem Spike was able to free the Groosalugg, as well as one of the Watchers that had been captured." Dumbledore explained.
Snape could see Faith's eyes snap at attention, "Wait, only one? Which one?"
"I believe that his name was Robin Wood. Spike informed me you two were close, yes? Unfortunately, I'm afraid the other Watcher, Mr. Lethbridge... was killed." The older wizard stepped out of the doorway to let them pass.
Severus felt a bit a jealousy creep up, what did Albus mean? They 'were close'? In what way, exactly?
The three of them walked on in painful silence until the reached the floo, Snape's mind racing with the implications of this mystery person, as well as what had just happened between himself and Faith mere moments before.
"Something big is happening and it's happening soon." One of the half-breeds from Daniel Osbourne's pack whispered to Illyria with a twinge of fear.
The Old One rose an eyebrow and looked in her direction, "Yes, I sensed similarly."
The Pakistani girl, whom Illyria now remembered was called Saarah, shuddered, "I hope we can stop them. Whatever it is."
Illyria blinked several times and provided no comfort to the frightened werewolf. These half-breeds and primitives kept treating her like a comrade.
It grated at her, both because they thought themselves equal to her and that... she found herself starting to enjoy
One of the Death Eaters approached them. The one that was able to turn himself into a rat. The same that betrayed Sirius Black. The Old One felt a sudden desire to rip off one of his arms and beat him into a mewling mess beneath her feet with it.
She would prefer to rip off the currently undamaged arm, to further increase his suffering.
But she could not. That was not the plan
. She was a spy. Illyria found this subterfuge difficult. Hiding one's true thoughts and motives was not something a God-King had ever had cause to do. She perceived a threat, she killed it... their was no need for such espionage before now.
Not only would revealing her true intentions mean possible death to her compatriots, she simply was no longer strong enough to take on the entire mass of Death Eaters single-handedly. How infuriating this admission of weakness was to contemplate. She despised knowing her strength was stunted thusly.
In her prime, she could have wiped out Voldemort and his followers with a flick of her wrist.
"You two come with me."
His eyes flitted between her and Saarah. They lingered longer than necessary on Illyria's form. She could not hold back her sneer.
This one was lusting after her. Eying her shell's form longingly. Revulsion seized up in her. She wanted to kill this worm for his presumption. But she could not. She needed to protect
her comrades... if she killed this man: Saarah, Daniel Osbourne, and the other werewolves would likely be in danger. She was in their company far too often not to rouse the suspicion of the Death Eaters.
Illyria did not like that she... cared
about their fates. It was absurd, but it staid her hand, nonetheless.
"Where are we going?" The girl beside her asked, trying to sound excited.
Peter Pettigrew shrugged, "You'll see when you get there."
He ushered them in front of them taking their hands in his. Several other Death Eaters were apparating other werewolves and demons to an undisclosed location, away from the hide-out. Illyria bristled when she felt the rat-man's hand trail up her arm.
She turned to glare at him icily; there was only so much one God-King could take.
"If I were to kill you wizard, would your master bat even a single eyelash?"
Peter paled and quickly brought his hand back down to her wrist and quickly apparated the three of them away.
Moments later, they found themselves in a field in the dark of night. Illyria felt an odd familiarity with this place, that she could not place.
Peter Pettigrew puffed out his chest, "Follow me."
Illyria glared at the wizard's retreating back. Illyria would have most liked to rip this one's spine from his rectum, but she refrained. Saarah and Illyria fell in step behind him.
"So, Bellatrix--" Faith tried very hard not to trip over the name, "--tortured you?"
Robin Wood lay on the bed in one of the Black Estate's many guest bedrooms. Groo was in the opposite room being attended to by Dumbledore and Madam Pomfrey. The Groosalugg hadn't yet awakened to tell them anything.
Robin accepted the healing elixir from Sirius with some trepidation before finally downing it in one gulp. He handed the vial back to the wizard, "Yes, she did. I'm pretty sure that she planned to do the same thing to me that she'd done to Lethbridge. She was brutal... so angry..."
"Yeah, so I hear." Faith crossed her arms, protectively.
"Is it true, Faith?" Robin fixed his gaze on her, "Is she really your mother?"
Faith averted her gaze from him, and they accidentally landed on Severus, who was standing at the door. She quickly looked away from him, uncomfortably.
"Faith?" Robin repeated, when she failed to give an answer.
She turned to look at him, clearly in deep emotional grief, "Yes, okay!?! Bellatrix Lestrange is my mother! My mother brutally tortured you!"
He leaned back against the pillows in surprise at her outburst, "F-Faith, I-I'm sorry, I didn't mean--"
"Sorry? You really have nothing to be sorry about, Robin! And I guess I should be happy she didn't kill you considering that she rifled around in your head. Mommy dearest probably isn't too thrilled to know that I've rolled in the sack my fair share of muggle men."
Narcissa let out a gasp and her hand went to her mouth.
Faith's eyes trailed over to her, scathingly, "Oh, I'm sorry, did I just upset you're delicate sensibilities?"
"Now, Eris... that's no way to talk to your--" Narcissa started.
"Oh, blow it out your ass, Cissy!" Faith growled, her hands tightening into fists, causing her aunt to gasp again and take a step back in frightened surprise.
Spike let out an amused chuckle from the corner of the room, to which Andromeda Tonks smacked him over the head.
..." Sirius stepped toward her and placed a hand on her shoulder, his expression clearly marred with concern.
Faith deflated, "I just need to go on patrol, blow of steam. I'll be fine
"I don't think that's a good idea with everything that's happening. It would be safer if you just stayed here." He squeezed her shoulder comfortingly.
She gave off a dark laugh, "That's funny coming for you, Sirius. Just stay in the house, Faith. It's safer. People are looking for you. It's too daaangerous..."
Sirius dropped his hand, clearly hurt by her words, "Faith, I'm just worried about you is all. I don't want you to get hurt."
"I think Faith has shown herself more than capable of fending for herself." Severus quickly interjected, seizing the opportunity to undermine Sirius and simultaneously get on Faith's good side.
Sirius bristled, "Nobody asked for your opinion, Snivellus! And after what you did to Faith, you're lucky I don't kill you where you stand!"
Faith scowled at the two of them.
"Wow, why don't you two just whip them out to see which one is bigger, already? Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go kill something."
She pushed past Severus and out the door, toward her room.
Faith had just finished putting on her patrol gear: a wife beater, jeans, Doc Martins, and her favorite leather jacket, when there was a knock at her door. She glared at the offending door.
"Whoever it is, go away."
She'd already sent Sirius away minutes before. She may have started to see Sirius Black like a big brother, but she didn't want to 'talk' about what she was feeling. To him or to anyone. She just wanted to go on patrol and kill a few vamps, so that when she got back she could avoid flying off the handle.
Faith definitely wanted to be a bit more calm and collected before Groo woke up. And also for when the Scoobies showed up with the cavalry to figure out their next move. Faith had this sneaking suspicion Buffy might show up and she didn't want to be riled up for a fight if that was the case. The last thing she needed was a knock-down drag out fight with B in front of everyone at Grimmauld Place.
The door opened and Severus Snape waltzed in. Faith rolled her eyes, "Are you deaf? I said go away."
He crossed his arms and gave her a hard look, "No
Faith looked him up and down curiously, "What's this about, Sev? Still hot and bothered from earlier? Sorry, but I've got to go hit things, not screw things."
"Yes, well. You've already made it quite clear that you've spent plenty of time 'screwing'
things." His jaw tightened.
She just blinked at him and then let out a surprised laugh, "What, don't tell me you're jealous?"
"I would just like to know what Robin Wood means to you... and what I mean--"
"Just stop right there." Faith held up a single finger, "Not that it is any of your business, but Robin and I slept together one time! That's all. And then he got clingy, and I got annoyed
. Also, he kept comparing me to his mother... talk about a mood killer." She crossed her arms, "And as far as what 'you'
mean to me? I think you're getting a little ahead of yourself, Sev. And if you press the issue, you'll quickly mean pretty much nothing to me. And I'll probably hit you. Hard
Faith reached under her bed for her trunk of weapons. She grabbed a couple stakes and shoved them into the inner pocket of her jacket. She grabbed a set of knives and shoved them into her belt. Her wand was firmly secured in the apparatus around her arm. She'd managed to find the time to make a new one since giving the last one to Harry.
"Faith... as much as it pains me to say it, Sirius is right. The Death Eaters are on the move. Voldemort is planning something and he hasn't let me in on any of the details. Something is coming. And it might not be safe for you to go out alone. Maybe... maybe I were to accompany you?"
She wanted to scream at him, instead she opted to slam her chest of weapons closed with a bang and glare at him.
"No." Faith stepped toward him and the door, "I just need to be alone for a bit. Won't be more than a few hours. Okay? Cause, shit, if I have one more person ask me if I'm 'alright' or try and make me 'feel better', I am going to start breaking bones."
"Faith, please just be reasonable--" Severus watched her walk to the door.
"Look, just because we played tonsil hockey down in some dank dungeon classroom... it doesn't mean anything, okay? So, just leave me alone." Faith said quickly and with as much sincerity as she could muster.
So what if, yeah, maybe she did want something more than that with someone for a change? At the moment, she just wanted him to leave her alone and the quickest and most effective way to do that was to push him away. Faith quickly retreated out of the room, door the stairs, and out the door.
Buffy was pissed. Uber-pissed.
Slayers were dead and it was all because of some power-hungry xenophobic wizard who thought he was some sort of Wizarding God. Yeah, well, he was in for a surprise because Buffy Anne Summers killed Gods. And he wasn't even really one of those, anyway. Just some guy with an overinflated sense of self-worth.
And she'd just broken up with the Immortal too... so double suck-age!
Giles explained everything on the way to the Grimy-old Place and Willow filled in bits and pieces here and there. And the kicker. Faith was a witch! A freakin' witch! As if giving that girl more power were remotely a good idea. Faith could barely handle the powers of being a Slayer!
Well, okay. Maybe that wasn't fair. Faith had made great strides since her younger years in Sunnydale. But sometimes it was hard not to see the psycho bitch who nearly killed Angel, and threatened to kill her friends, her little sister and her mother.
And she slept with her boyfriend! Come on! Can't expect a girl to just let bygones be bygones with that one! Hello? Sleep-age with the boyfriend in your own stolen body? So not of the cool.
And the killing people. That wasn't so great either.
They had made baby steps toward the sister-Slayer bond they'd shared at the beginning. But it was still hard. And whenever they were in the same room during moments of Apocalyptic type proportions, it had a tendency to get ugly. Like Faith had said once: there was only ever meant to be one. That had always strained their relationship.
Of course, now there were hundreds of Slayers. But they would always be the Chosen Two.
They'd finally arrived at their destination. And there was nothing there. Giles handed her a sheet of paper and told her to read it. And a whole house just appeared out of nowhere! Weird.
A ruggedly handsome older man answered the door and introduced himself as Sirius Black. Major Hottie.
And Faith's cousin, apparently.
Okay, that was a bit weird. But he was still hot, she wasn't going to deny that.
The house was full of people, but no Faith. Apparently she'd gone off on patrol to blow off steam. Or she was just hiding from her.
There was a man in black robes glaring at her from the corner like she'd done something to offend him just by existing.
He also looked more like a vampire than Spike did. And Spike was...
Wait. Hold on. Stop the tape! Back track. Rewind
Sirius watched as the blond beat Spike repeatedly over the head with the coat rack, while the vampire sputtered out half-formed apologies to the woman for not telling her he was alive.
It would have been amusing, if he weren't so worried about Faith. He shouldn't have let her go. Of course, how Sirius could have stopped her was the question. It didn't mean he shouldn't have tried.
And yes, perhaps it was hypocritical of him to tell her she shouldn't leave Grimmauld Place when he himself had been fighting confinement in this hell-hole for months.
But... he was worried, dammit!
She was family. The only family aside from the Tonks that he felt any closeness to. And she was going through some tough times right now, and she wouldn't talk about it. And she damn well needed to.
Spike was dodging a candelabra being chucked at his head when Dumbledore entered the room and cleared his throat. Buffy paused in her beating of the souled vampire and everyone went silent to look at the old wizard. His arms folded into his sleeves, he addressed the group.
"The Groosalugg is awake. He said that he wishes to speak to the Slayer."
Buffy straightened, "Which one? Me?"
"He did not elaborate, I'm afraid. He's still a bit groggy from his injuries. He is lucky to have survived at all. Quite remarkable that he did, in fact. Now, I do believe whatever he needs to tell the Slayer is quite important, so if you'll follow me."
"Lead the way, Gandalf." Buffy nodded and followed in step behind him. Sirius followed too. Along with Spike, Severus, and the others from the Watcher's Council.
They all crowed into the room, making it rather cramped. The man lying in the bed had the strangest blue eyes, but Sirius was otherwise distracted by the fact the he looked like a walking corpse. He was emaciated and pale and. frankly, somewhat hard to look at.
Even during his time at Askaban, Sirius had never suffered as greatly as it was clear this man had. They should have rescued him sooner. This was... horrible
Buffy stepped to the front of the group, "You asked for me?"
Groo's blue orbs fixed on her and he became slightly more alert.
"Y-You are the Slayer?" He blinked and peered toward her, "I would have thought you to be taller."
She glared at him, "Did you just make a short joke? Don't think just because you're an invalid that I won't kick your ass."
He let out a little laugh and then winced in pain, "T-The warriors of this realm are a-amusing. Much more than on Pylea. There, a joke was to stick babies on spikes and parade them around town."
"Riiight." Buffy crossed her arms, "So, you wanted to tell me something?"
Groo shifted to sit up, with some difficulty, "Yes. It is of grave importance."
"Well?" She looked at him expectantly, "Get on with it, Prince Valiant. I don't have all day."
He nodded, "Yes, of course. You are correct. Haste is required. It's about the Deeper Well. Lord Voldemort has seized control of it."
"Oh, dear lord." Giles started.
Spike started to curse rather loudly and rather creatively
The others, Sirius included, all looked at him dumbfounded.
"The Deeper what-now?" Buffy frowned voicing their confusion.
Deeper Well, Summers. It's this great big hole in the world. Goes all the way through. It's where the Old Ones are held in their sarcophagi. Like a great big god prison. Was where Illyria was before she infected Fred." Spike gritted his teeth and started to rummage through his pockets for his cigarettes, in frustration.
"What could Voldemort want there?" Sirius asked, fearing to know the answer.
"He wished to locate one specific creature. The wizard tortured me repeatedly in order to determine it's location. His previous invasions in to my mind had failed. He only succeeded very recently, when he forced me to imbibe a very powerful truth serum. " Groo looked ashamed, "I'm afraid I was not strong enough to resist him. I have failed in my mission to protect the Well and it's secrets."
"Oh, stop with the pity party. Just tell us who the Dark Lord's after." Spike sighed.
"The creature he seeks has no true name. It is destruction. Power absolute. Rage. A warrior above all warriors. It thrives in the hunt and thrill of death." Groo explained.
"Well, that doesn't sound good." the red-head wiccan, Willow, murmured to her one-eyed companion, to which he nodded solemnly.
"Well, that's great and all. Care to tell us anything useful?" Buffy sighed.
"It is the beast to which the Slayer gains her power. That is why I had need to speak to you, Slayer." Groo's face turned grave.
Buffy went ramrod straight, all humor gone, "What is he planning?"
"Originally, he did not know of the Slayer or your relationship with this creature. He only sought to find the Well to somehow make use of its power once it was discovered." His shoulder's slumped, "But somehow, he's discovered that this being is the origin of the Slayer's power. I believe someone of great knowledge may be assisting him. He plans to take the Slayer's power and of the creature for himself."
Giles stepped forward, "But how? If he takes all the power of this demon, he will only become it. He wouldn't be able to control such a being."
"But the Slayers do. Do they not?" The blue-eyed warrior stated simply.
"What are you saying?" Willow's brow furrowed in concentration.
"When you made all those with the potential to become a Slayer into Slayers, you.... diluted the power of the Old One that supplies that power. It is weaker. Stretched thin. Easier to manage should the dark wizard attempt to take control over it slowly. He believes himself capable of controlling all of its power. I do not know if he will achieve this, only that he believes it is so. And if he should succeed, he would be powerful beyond all our imaginings."
"And the Slayers?" Buffy inquired, with obvious worry.
"You would all become powerless." His shoulder's sagged with sadness.
"Well, what can we do to stop him?" the one-eyed man, Xander, asked.
"The only way for the Dark Lord to gain this creature's power, with any hope of controlling it, is by using the first Slayer in the line to channel its energies." Groo explained.
"What do you mean, 'the first Slayer in the line'?" Dumbledore spoke up in curiosity from the back of the room.
"The first in line of the Chosen. The Slayer to whom the line begins. The one that would be the only Slayer had you not changed the order of things. She has the closest connection to the beast, and therefore the one the wizard will need to gain it's power."
"Well, that settles it... I'll just hunker down and make sure he doesn't get me. Problem solved. No more power for this Moldy-guy." Buffy shrugged.
" Willow started.
"What?" She spun to look at her friend, quizzically and clearly worried .
"You're not the first in the Slayer line. Remember, you died? Like twice." Willow started to shift, uncomfortably.
Sirius felt dread begin to form at the pit of his stomach.
"When you died in your fight against the Master--" Giles started to clean his glasses furiously as he explained, "you became an offshoot of the Slayer line. No longer a part of it. If you'll recall, when you died for the second time, no new Slayer was called in your stead. Your line had long since past to Kendra. And when she died it was passed to--"
." Sirius finished as a chill traveled through him.
They had to go find Faith and find her now, before it was too late. She was out there alone, and Voldemort was looking for her.
A/n: Next... the chapter you've all been waiting for.... mother and daughter reunite! ;)