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Harry Potter and the Mouth of Hell

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Summary: The Ministry has fallen, and Harry and his friends are on the run. In a desperate attempt to stop Voldemort and find the remaining Horcruxes, the bedeviled trio is led to track down the help of the Slayer

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > General > ActionDavidBMorrisFR1320112,33179834,7657 Apr 1120 Sep 12Yes

Chapter 16

Buffy was incredibly pissed when Harry and the others roused her, though whether it was from having been stupefied, worry about Angel, or hearing of the arrival of Voldemort, was hard to gauge.

Her reaction to the fact that Richard Wilkins III, the Mayor of Sunnydale, was apparently the power behind everything else that was going on, was instantaneous. "You're kidding, right?"

"Voldemort's clearly wary of him," Harry reminded them. "Which means that anybody else with a lick of sense would run screaming from him."

"This is one of those rules that doesn't apply to Slayers, of course," Faith replied.

"Really? What exactly are you going to do when the only thing a stake does to this guy is give him splinters?" Xander reminded her.

"I'm clear that I can't just beat this guy up," Buffy told them. "May I remind you what we did to the Judge?"

The idea of shooting him with a rocket launcher was immensely appealing ---- despite everything that he knew about Voldemort, Harry had begun to wonder whether judicious use of a bazooka might resolve all their problems.

"What happens if he does the whole Terminator bit to us?" Willow reminded them. "I'm still not convinced Arnie's dead."

"Let's not get bogged down in trivia," Giles reminded them. "The Mayor gave Voldemort twenty four hours before the gloves come off. It's also clear that he at least suspects that Angel is in possession of the Horcrux. What is not clear is whether he has possession of Angel." He turned to Buffy. "Do you have any idea whether the police have him?"

"I didn't think the cops had the first idea of how to handle the undead until a few minutes ago," Buffy told them. "Still, they'd have to be really careful to grab Angel when it's not even noon. "'

"Not to mention armed to the teeth," Ron told them. "Soul or not, Angel doesn't strike me as the type to just surrender."

"They're the police and they live on a Hellmouth. If ray guns existed, I'm sure they'd be packing them." Xander told them.

"They won't kill them. Not until they get what they want. And you're right, Angel won't give up without a fight. Of course, " Buffy's voice dropped, "that's assuming the cops find him."

Hermione didn't have to think long to realize what she was talking about. "I don't know if Imperium curses or Vitaserum work on vampires," she told them. "We got interrupted during our test last night, remember?"

"We also don't know how many times you can cast one of those unforgivable spells," Buffy said grimly. "How hard do you think you can curse someone who's already dead?"

That was a question Harry had been hoping they would avoid ever having to answer, but he knew that Bellatrix--- with or without her relations--- wouldn't have any trouble putting Angel through a torture that would make her time in Azkaban seem like a weekend in Hogsmeade. Personal feelings about Angel aside, nobody deserved that. They needed to find him.

"Do you have something of Angel's?" Hermione asked.

Buffy looked around, and then reached into her pocket. Eventually, she removed a small ring. Willow looked a little charmed; Xander and Giles had to hide a glimpse of revulsion.

"Should we even ask?" Harry asked Faith.

"Better not too," the Slayer replied

Hermione turned to Amy. "Will this scrying thing work on vampires too?" she asked.

"It should," she told them,. "Same principle. Let me get the maps ready."

"This helps us find Angel. How do we get past whoever's got him?" Willow reminded them. "I mean, we won't know who we're up against."

"We're not going to pop in and out," Buffy told them. "This time we go a full assault."

"And what happens if Voldemort is there?" Giles reminded them.

"There's going to have to be some recon obviously," Faith replied. "Which means we're gonna have to do this in stages."

Buffy looked a little shocked at this. "When did you officially join the cloak-and dagger brigade?"

"Since Sunnydale got more evil on its streets than a Roger Corman production," Faith replied. "Vampires I can deal with, Watchers I can deal with, wizards I can deal with, the cops I can deal with---"

"We get the picture," Hermione told her. "How exactly should we do this?"

"Where's the invisibility cloak?" Faith asked.

Willow went to get it.

"Do we try and rescue him now or do we wait until dark?" Hermione asked. "Either way, we're taking a big risk."

"I think we have to do it now." When everyone shot Buffy a look, she responded: "This isn't just my feelings. We're in a race for that Horcrux. Every minute we spend planning, you can be damn sure Voldemort's using to scour this city. And he probably has tricks to finding it that none of you know."

None of them could argue with that. A few moments later, Amy yelled out: "Got it!"

As they walked in, Hermione looked at Harry and Ron: "Maybe I should recommend that we teach this is at Hogwarts."

"You won't be so happy when you learn where they have him," Amy replied grimly. "According to this, he's at City Hall."

"Well, at least we know for sure who has him," Xander told them. "Question is, what kind of Rainbow Coalition of nasties has the Mayor of Sunnydale assembled?"

Harry considered this. "It has to be big. The way he talked he's been in Sunnydale a long time. Long enough to form alliances. Certainly long enough for Voldemort to feel safe putting one of the Horcruxes in his care, even if he lied about it."

"And he's gotta have mojo considering how unnerved he is by this guy," Buffy replied.

"The guy took a snake bite to the throat and didn't even flinch," Xander reminded them. "The Mayor has to have some serious game. How exactly do we get past that?"

"We don't," Harry raised an eyebrow when he heard this from Faith. "Just because I didn't finish high school doesn't make me an idiot. This guy's got a weakness, we'll find it; right now, we have to handle this carefully."

"Couldn't agree more," Buffy replied. "How do we do this?"

Even though it was little more than a variation on what they had done to break into the warehouse the previous day, they all had some objections about what was going to come next. Mainly because, as Willow put it, the danger level had jumped by about a million.. But, as Faith and Buffy pointed out, this was a search and rescue; it was going to be more dangerous no matter how many of their people were running this.

Once again, Hermione agreed to do the Apparating, this time taking Buffy and the Invisibility Cloak with her. Faith had offered to do it because she wasn't sure Buffy could keep a level head, but as Hermione had then pointed out, Buffy was a little smaller than Faith, and the Cloak would more fully cover her without much trouble. The irony of Buffy going into danger because she looked like such a harmless little girl wasn't lost on any of them.

Willow and Xander had wanted to go back to Buffy's house and get the camera equipment that they had used when they had liberated the Horcrux in the first place.. It had taken a considerable amount of effort on everyone else's part to remind them just how dangerous the streets of Sunnydale were. Fortunately, Willow had brought her laptop with her, and figured that she would try and tap into City Hall's security feed---- a roundabout way of doing the same thing. Buffy was left with her head-piece and a couple of stakes--- her equivalent of going in heavy.

Despite everything that she had seen Buffy do, Hermione still needed to be persuaded to Apparate back to Amy's. It had taken some major reassurances by both Slayers and Giles to convince her that this might be the best method of getting this phase done. Invisible, and thanks to the adjustments Willow had made to the earpiece, inaudible, she could get a good layout of the situation, report back for the cavalry (such as was) to come in.

"And if one of the things she happens to see is Angel being tortured?" Amy had argued.

"Then we get there as fast as fucking possible," Faith countered. "And hope B leaves us with something to attack."

Hermione looked like she was going to argue that this kind of thinking was why they had worried about sending Buffy on this mission in the first place, except that the Slayer herself chose that moment to reply: "I'm in the building."

Xander looked at his watch. "Less than three minutes. That's gotta be some kind of record."

"I don't keep track," Giles removed his glasses. "Buffy, what do you see?"

Silence for a moment. Then: "I don't see any vampires, but this place is crawling with cops."

"Well, our policy on not hurting people is still in play. Keep your head down."

At that moment, Willow spoke up. "Okay, I just got us in. I laugh in the general direction of whoever designed this particular firewall." She paused. "Of course, Buffy now has to tell me where exactly she is, cause I won't be able to find her with those cameras."

"Back entrance, room adjacent to the fire escape." Buffy replied quickly. "I'm heading right."

"Queuing it up now," Willow then did just that. Harry was actually starting to think that Willow's hacking skills might prove more useful in the long run than whatever dark magic she might possess. Maybe they could find a way to combine the two. "Start making a circuit of the place,"

There were a few moments of silence as Buffy progressed, giving directions almost randomly. As it turned out, City Hall was nearly as labyrinthine as the Ministry, though by comparison there were far fewer people, most of whom were probably not trained in any kind of magical arts. Harry was about to suggest that maybe they'd over thought the situation, when suddenly he spotted a man in a suit looking extremely nervous, much in the same way Neville did when he ever was about to head into Potions at Hogwarts.

"This guy knows something," Buffy told them suddenly.

"What makes you so sure of that?" Hermione countered.

"Because, unlike half the people in this building, he looks like he's worried about something here," Buffy told them. "He looks like someone who knows where the bodies are buried."

"Only on a Hellmouth could that statement be taken literally," Giles pointed out. "Follow him, but tread carefully."

Buffy did so, and clearly wasn't that surprised when the trail led her to a room with a plaque on the door that said: "Mayor Wilkins" It still took several moments for him to gather up enough courage to knock on the door. This guy was clearly smarter than the average Sunnydale citizen.

"Who's there?" The voice was gentle but firm, and unmistakably the one Harry had heard in his vision

"I-It's me, sir," the man told them.

"Come in, Allan, " How benign the Mayor sounded. Would Harry have been suspicious if he hadn't seen him with Voldemort? Would anybody in Sunnydale? But Allan clearly had some idea; it took him another several seconds to open the door and walk in.

No sooner had he done so than Buffy put one of the Extendable Ears she had borrowed from them right next to the door. She also had the good sense to stay quiet.

"Sir, um, we're having a problem in regard to the operation that you've put into effect," Allan began.

"Allan, we've been through this before," The Mayor sounded a little agitated, but immediately changed tenor. "You should be more courteous. Ask how I am today, discuss the weather, let me ask after the well-being of your wife. Courtesy is the benchmark of public life. Without it, we'd have chaos."

"I'm sorry, sir, it's just, well, you've been a bit agitated the last few days, and I-I didn't think it was my place. " Talking about banalities didn't seem to calm Allan down; if anything, he sounded more nervous.

"I have been something of a bear these last few days," Mayor Wilkins seemed genuinely concerned about this. "I'm sorry if I've made things so difficult. But you know how it is when you have to abruptly change your plans. Niceties get thrown by the wayside. I'll try to do better."

"That's the man who threatened Voldemort?" Ron echoed the general disbelief in the room. "He sounds like he's going to ask the man out for scones."

"Now, what exactly are the problems we are having with our unexpected guests?"

"Per your instructions, we have the force sweeping the city looking for these fugitives," Finch told them. "Most of the people are Lowe's, so they're not arguing, but there's this detective from violent crimes who has been raising questions about the cover story we arranged."

"How much trouble do you think he can cause?" Wilkins' tone hadn't changed, but there was something subtly different in the conversation---- Harry wished to God he could see the man's face.

"Most of the men are freezing him out, as we instructed, but this detective history. Asked a lot of questions about those murders that took place at Sunnydale High last April," Allan got nervous again. "Keeps talking about bringing in the FBI. Says he knows a couple of people whose business this is."

There was a brief silence. "What's this detective's name?"

"Um, Herbert McCloskey."

"Well, it strikes me that this man shows initiative. And, like I've always said, there's a place in this town for people with this sort of drive." The tone was benign, but again the change was subtle. "Would you tell McCloskey to have a meeting with the Council today so we can have a discussion? Around two o'clock?"

Allan started swallowing again. "Y-yes sir, I'll get right on that," he told him. A moment later, the door opened and Allan came out looking positively terrified.

"Oh, and Allan?" the Mayor asked. 'Could you make sure that Trick is in attendance? Tell him this his chance to balance the scales."

Allan turned a shade of white that Harry mostly associated with the undead. "Y-y-yes. Of course sir."

"And when you have a chance, check in on our guests. See if they're making any progress."

By the time the door was closed, Allan was all but sprinting.

"OK, the Mayor's definitely evil," Willow replied.

"Never mind that." Giles finally spoke. "Follow that man. Find out where he's going. Eventually, he'll lead us to Angel."

None of them could argue with that.

It took less than a minute for them to find the man. He had ducked into another office that proclaimed him to be Allan Finch, deputy mayor.

"No wonder this guy’s spooked," Xander replied. "If I had to tiptoe around that guy for God knows how long."

"Yeah, he's definitely seems freaked out," There was an element in Buffy's voice that everybody was having trouble identifying. No one, however, was expected her to do what she did next: knock on the door, and take off the cloak.

"J-just a minute." The deputy mayor was apparently so unnerved by just having been in the same room with his boss that he decided to forgo all of the caution that seemed to involve living on a Hellmouth. For thirty seconds later, he opened the door.

Finch didn't faint when he saw who his guest was, but it was a damn near thing. One thing was for sure, he knew who Buffy was.

"What the he-he-" It took him ten seconds before he gave up trying to finish the word, and instead yanked Buffy inside, and slammed the door shut. Fortunately, the Slayer had not removed the Extendable Ear.

"I guess we can save the introductions," Buffy said.

"Do you know how many people there are in this building who want to kill you right now?" Finch was trying to sound angry; he sounded a lot more hysterical.

"Aren't you supposed to be one of them?" Buffy countered.

"I didn't sign up for this," Finch replied. "I grew up in Sunnydale, I know how bad this place can be. I got into politics because I thought I could make a difference with this whole damn system."

"You grew up in Sunnydale?" Buffy seemed to be having the most difficulty processing this. Privately, Harry couldn't blame her; he'd been in this town less than a week and he couldn't wait to leave.

"I thought I had a chance. Then I learn the real reason the last Deputy Mayor left his position."

"Not sure I want to know this," Willow ventured cautiously.

"What happened?"

"He got eaten! Sacrificed to some lesser demon that the boss made a deal with. Same thing he does with all the Deputies!" Finch sounded like he was a beat away from bursting into tears.

Buffy now seemed genuinely concerned. Officially, this had just become her problem. "And I'm guessing resigning is out of the question."

"You don't resign; you “depart to spend more time with the family”," Finch sounded bitter. "God knows who he lets loose on them. Of course, that was before last night’s little ceremony."

Chances to know your enemy this well did not fall in your lap every day. "What did he do?"

"Hell if I know. Closed door session with half a dozen shamans. But whatever it is, it was big. For the next hundred days, anyone tries to lay a glove on him, they're going to be even sorrier."

Buffy wisely didn't tell Finch she already knew this. "What has he done?"

"Something that's he been planning for a very long time. And whatever it is, he wants to make sure that all who work with him are 'rewarded.' Finch gave a hysterical laugh. "Probably that means he'll kill you himself instead of letting some flunky do it!"

"All right," Buffy spoke slowly; even though this guy was basically harmless, she didn't want to show her hand any more than she had to. "What do you want me to do?"

"You're the goddamned vampire slayer!" Finch was all but screaming now. "You're telling me you weren't thinking something like that when you waltzed in here?"

Now was clearly not the time to tell this guy that had been pretty close to the case. "You want my help? The vampire that the Mayor had brought here earlier today?" Buffy started. "Tell me where he is, and how to get him out. Then we will talk about solving your problems."

"Buffy?" Giles got on the line.. "I realize that this is a golden opportunity, but are you sure that we can trust this man?"

"The guy's one of the Mayor's confidants, he's scared shitless, and he knows where Angel is," Buffy countered. "Add to that the fact he knows that I could probably break him in half without mussing up my manicure---- I think we'd be complete idiots not to do this."

None of them could argue this. Faith looked like she might for a moment, but when she spoke: "All right. But as of this moment, we just called on the second team."

"We've got the keys to the kingdom, Faith," Buffy countered.

"That gets you into whatever room he's in. You got any plans on how to get out?" Faith countered.

It was clear that Buffy hadn't. "Get into position. But let's be clear. We don't do anything until I see Angel."

"Agreed." Faith turned from Willow. "Hermione, you and I are up."

"How long will it take you two to get where you need to be?"

"Five, maybe six minutes," When Hermione raised an eyebrow at this, Faith added: "What can I say? I move fast."

"Just remember, you're not going to have either invisibility or disguises," Harry reminded them. "If you get spotted---"

"We won't," Faith sounded completely self assured. "Have I let you guys down so far?"

This was the kind of rhetoric that begged for a response, but no one did. Apparently, everybody had taken the idea that no one wanted to jinx things. Unfortunately, they didn't have enough technology to equip the two of them, so they could only monitor them up to a point from here on.

Finch apparently sensed this. "I know that you and your little rogues gallery have been pretty good at handling the demon population," he admitted. "Hell, the Boss has actually been counting on it a couple of times. Believe me when I tell you, you'd better be as good as you think you are."

"I don't have to be. I've got you. And if you really want my help, you'd better earn it." Buffy whirled around. "Talk to me about how many guards you've got in the building. Human and otherwise."

Finch didn't look any less nervous to hear this, but like Buffy, he needed this. "A dozen cops belonging to the Mayor's Special Detail."

"I thought the cops in this town were recruited for their idiocy," Buffy couldn't help saying.

"The ones who want to have a future in this department know what to report. That doesn't make them stupid. And the ones who do the cleanup for this town, they work here. Armed with riot guns, flamethrowers, and crossbows."

"We can get around that," Buffy started.

"You won't get a chance. They all know what you look like. They have instructions to shoot you on sight." Finch looked right at her. "Unless the rumors are true, and you are faster than a speeding bullet."

Buffy decided not to deal with that right now. "Non-humans."

"Wizards don't qualify?" Finch shook his head. "Mayor keeps a special reserve of sorcerers around, and for the last few weeks, he's been recruiting from overseas."

"And now the Death Eaters have officially become even more evil, if such a thing were possible," Xander mumbled.

"They're also part of the reason I can't just walk over to the room they're keeping Angel in and say get out." Finch replied. "They've got it masked behind some kind of glamour --- you walk past it, and your vision starts to haze up."

Buffy considered this. "We might be able to get past it. Please tell me I'm not talking out of my ass," she whispered into her earpiece.

"I believe we can manage that," Ron told them. "Hermione..." he started.

"I think so. What about the vampires?" Faith had just appeared on the camera.

"As for vampires, the boss keeps a dozen or so on staff," Finch told them. "I believe you've already met Mr. Trick."

"Yeah, and I'm ready for a rematch," Buffy told them. "The others are at his level?"

"How the hell should I know?" Finch looked at the others as though they were crazy. "The Mayor generally does his recruiting from the vampires who are smart enough to not fight you in the first place. You'd be surprised how big a pool that gives him to pick from."

"I've a feeling we're about to find out," Buffy whispered into her earpiece.

"I thought we weren't going to storm the castle yet," Xander put forth.

"We may not have a choice," Willow reminded them. "Hermione, wherever you are, you better be able to do this."

"So wherever your friends are, they're going to have to be invisible in order to get by all these threats," Finch didn't seem to be coherent anymore. "Of course, bear in mind, once you've got him, you're still on top of a fucking Hellmouth!"

"You want us to get you out of this mess, Mr. Finch," Buffy argued, "you've got to give as much as possible. Which begins with you taking me to whatever room your boss is keeping Angel in."

"Didn't I just say..."

"Let me worry about how we're going to get in," Buffy countered. "For starters..."

She ducked back under the invisibility cloak. "Now remember I'm going to be standing a few feet behind you," Buffy told Finch. "Don't make me remind you."

Finch clearly had been doing this for a while--- he barely even blinked at the discombobulated voice apparently coming from nowhere. He was more troubled when his phone rang. "Did I stutter?" Buffy replied.

Using what appeared to be a superhuman amount of effort, Finch picked up the phone. "Yes?" It took several seconds for him to react to this. "I haven't gotten around to---" Pause "I didn't realize that she was in the building. She just walked right in?"

For a horrible moment, they all thought that they were talking about Faith or Hermione. The next words dissuaded them of that. "Are you sure that it's good idea to bring those two together?" Apparently Finch realized that in his shock that he had forgotten his place. "Of course, sir. If you say so. Right away." He didn't so much hang up the phone as drop it on the cradle.

"Have they caught one of us?" Buffy's voice demanded.

"One of the overseas visitors is here. Lestrange, I believe is her name."

Harry wasn't sure what she was doing here, but he didn't believe in coincidences. "Can you find her on the cameras?" he demanded of Willow.

"I don't know," Willow reminded him. "You're the only one here who can now identify her. "

"Only bad things can come with her arrival," Harry argued.

"We've got a mission. Right now, we'll have to deal with her when she shows up." Willow was trying to look sternly at them, and not doing a good job at them. "Resolve face?"

"Don't argue with her," Xander countered. "Besides, she's right."

"Regardless, we've got other issues," Giles told them. He pointed to the monitor.

Faith was being stealthy, by her standards and probably even Buffy's. She was walking very carefully through the hallways, ducking and hiding behind walls rather than hitting people at random. She was wearing the second earpiece (Hermione was less likely to need it than she was) when she finally whispered into it: "This would probably make a lot more sense if you could tell me where the hell I was going."

"Now is the time you start walking," Buffy ordered Finch.

Finch took a deep breath. "Where exactly is your friend?"

Willow looked around. "First floor, just shy of the closet."

"They're keeping him on the top floor. Tell them to meet us at the elevator in two minutes. Make sure that they take the stairs. The Mayor has guards at the end of every hall."

Willow passed on this information to Faith.

"Where's Hermione?" Harry asked.

"I left her outside. She said that she would find another way in."

Both Harry and Ron were a little alarmed at this. "How? She's not you!"

And at that moment, Hermione appeared down the hall, trying to look as invisible as a Slayer and, frankly, doing a piss-poor job at it. Then again, she didn't have Polyjuice Potion this time.

Somehow ---- none of them ever got a clear answer as to how---- the two women managed to run into each other at the staircase.

"Christ, Herm, how the hell-?"

"Sorry. I Apparated into a janitor's closet on the second floor. This seemed like the quickest way to find you."

"Yeah. But not exactly the safest."

Hermione actually scoffed. "Since when have you worried about doing something safely?"

"As fascinating as this conversation is," Giles jutted in. "Buffy needs your assistance. You need to get to the top floor."

Faith needed no second bidding, and began to pull Hermione to the stairwell. "I take it Angel's on the top floor," Hermione replied.

"You are smart," Faith countered.

"City Hall has three floors."

Their luck, which had been freakishly good up to now, ended when they got to the second floor, where they ran into two men in suits. This in itself was not disastrous. The problem started when one of them asked: "Do you ladies have a pass to be back here?"

Hermione and Faith had been prepared to be charged, attacked, or had guns pointed at them, but not to be talked to in a calm level tone. Surprisingly, Hermione recovered quickest. "We're friends of Mr. Finch's children. We were supposed to meet them earlier."

"Well, his office is on the first floor. If you want, we could take you there."

"No, um, that's fine, we'll meet with them downstairs," Hermione said slowly.

"All right, but you really shouldn't be wandering around. Important work gets done here."

Hermione later told the others that the first thought to go through her mind was that this was city hall in a small town. Were they developing plans to bomb Los Angeles back here? She was, however, prepared to walk away, except at that moment, a security guard appeared. "Um, we have a Code Blue in the building," he told the men in suits. "I'm going to have to ask that you gentlemen return to your office."

The guard turned to them. "And you ladies, you're going to have to come with me."

At this point, there was no longer any chance of getting out of this unheard and unseen. Hermione tried to carry on with the charade nevertheless. "Oh, I'm sorry. My friend and I didn't realize that we were in your way. We'll just be getting out of here."

"No, I'm sorry. All unauthorized personnel----"

Faith whispered something to Hermione, who sighed, reached for her wand, and yelled: “Stupefy!” three times in succession. In a matter of seconds, all three men were on the floor unconscious.

"What happened to doing this subtly?" Giles demanded.

"This was subtle," Faith reminded them. "My way would have involved hitting these people very hard in the head, and hoping that they stayed out."

"Never mind that," Hermione replied as the three of them ran up the stairs. "Which room are they keeping Angel in?"

By now, they had almost forgotten what Buffy was doing. Willow managed to flick her camera up to the third floor where a frantic Deputy Mayor was standing just a few feet away from--- a seemingly unbroken wall.

If Finch had been appalled to see Buffy appear on his doorstep, his eyes all but fell out of his head when he saw Faith and Hermione running down towards him. "Are you out of your goddamn minds?" he all but shouted. "You know how many people in the building---"

"Spare us the speech," Faith demanded. "There's going to be a small army on our asses any minutes, so quit fucking around and tell us where we can find Angel."

"You're looking at it," Finch pointed in the general direction. "Actually, considering how my eyes glaze over, you might not want to do that for too long."

Buffy walked over to Hermione. "I believe this is your area," she told her.

Hermione looked at the wall. She seemed to be having a bit of trouble focusing on one part of it. After a few seconds, she removed her wand and began chanting in a language that Harry couldn't place.

"Please tell me this is par for the course," Ron asked Willow.

"This is a spell to reveal a shield over something that needs to stay hidden," Amy told them. "I used a variation on it to make sure this place stays safe."

"Let's hope these guys are playing from the same spell book," Xander suggested.

It took them a couple of minutes and (as they all agreed later) the video feed became very fuzzy momentarily but eventually a door appeared where the wall had been. "Voila," Hermione replied.

"Not a bad trick." Everybody in the room jumped at that, whether there or at Amy's. Because suddenly the Mayor was standing there, with a couple of vampires on either side of him. He was the only one smiling.

"Apparently, you were good enough to impress Allan here," The Mayor shook his head. "I've been so concerned about you for the last few weeks. I had such high hopes, and you proved so unworthy of them. That's just not what I've been looking for in this administration."

Finch's knees buckled, but before he could hit the ground, one of the vampires grabbed him and yanked him over to the other side.

"As for you ladies, well, I have been prepared for these kinds of shenanigans," He snapped his fingers. "And I think you'll find that once you get into government, you don't leave until your term is up."

Faith readied herself for a fight. So did Hermione. But before they could do anything, the Mayor looked up towards the camera. "Before you do anything stupid, you'd be well advised to know that you're not the only ones who know their way around the cameras. "

He stared at the wall. "We'll be seeing you. Sooner than you'd think."

And at that minute the video and audio feed went dead. The Slayers and Hermione were on their own.
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