Hell Hath No Fury
Disclaimer: All things Potter are owned by Rowling and Buffy are owned by Whedon. I own nothing and am totally not worth sueing. Just saying.
Author's Notes: Yes, I know, I am horrible. It's been 3 years. To be honest, I thought this thing was dead, when my muse up and ran off to Tahiti with her Latin lover. Or maybe that was just a book I read. Anyway, real life had made me its minion and I was a slave to its will. And then my daughter found out about this story, read it, and declared that I would have no life until I started working on it again. And to be quite honest, she's a little scary. And also, a freaking slave driver! Seriously, the chapter's creation and my desire (and love) of writing again is all owed to her (along with several concepts in this chapter and chapters to come). All the praise should go to her - thanks baby girl!
Reviews are welcome as always! And now, on to our regularly scheduled programming...Hell Hath No Fury
Buffy would be the first to admit that, as far as plans went, it wasn’t the best she had ever come up with.
“But,” she told Faith, “all our plans tend to blow up anyway, so it has as good a chance to work as any.”
The plan was simple: Faith would play siren to Ford’s sailor. At best, she could figure out what his real game plan was; at worst, she could keep him distracted while they figured out what steps to take next. Meanwhile, Buffy and Sirius would begin attempting to map out Ford’s tunnel system and talking with Ford’s group to find out everything they could about the city’s layout and this machine they would need to destroy.
“You don’t think he might be more likely to open up to you, considering your history?” Sirius asked Buffy.
“No way.” She said, shaking her head, “First of all, he knows I’m highly unlikely to fully trust him after what happened before. “
Sirius nodded, that made sense. “And second?”
Buffy shrugged, “Faith’s better at…distraction.”
Faith stretched languidly and sent a heated grin Sirius’ way. “What can I say, I’ve got skills.”
Sirius blinked, swallowed hard, and shifted slightly in his chair as he turned back to Buffy.
“Point in case” she said, shaking her head amusedly.
“Sides, we’ve got to figure they know at least something of what’s gone on up top. They’re likely to think I can be convinced to help them out or turned to the dark side or whatever,” Faith said, a dark look of regret passing over her features and bringing a more serious tone to the discussion.
Buffy looked pained and sighed. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean…” she trailed off, unsure how to finish that, because in truth, that was part of why she had suggested it as well. If Ford had heard about Faith, he was likely to think that she was like him, focused only on what could be gotten out of a situation, which was something Faith could use against him. But, Buffy couldn’t help but feel bad for putting Faith in this sort of situation, reminding her of what had gone on before.
But Faith simply waved it off, shaking her head. “S’all right, B. We both know it’s the truth.”
Buffy caught Faith’s eye, looking at her squarely. “I know it’s the truth they will think that. I also know it’s the truth they’ll think wrong.”
Faith looked back at Buffy, reading the absolute truth in her gaze. Buffy trusted her, which was surprising after all that had happened. Faith gave Buffy a nod and a half smile, which Buffy returned.
Sirius looked from Buffy to Faith and back again, before finally saying, “I don’t suppose either of you want to let me know what the subtext in the room is all about?”
Buffy just shrugged and said, “Ancient history. We all good with the plan?”
Sirius frowned at the blonde, but let it go. This really wasn’t the time anyway.
Faith wasted little time in putting the plan into action, sauntering up to Ford when he returned and quickly capturing his attention. Over the next several days, she was rarely far from his side and it was obvious she was doing her job well as Ford seemed greatly enraptured with her.
Buffy and Sirius meanwhile moved carefully around the base and sewer system, memorizing entrances and exits, circumspectly asking questions about the city and the demons from the various people tasked with showing them around (which Buffy had pretty much translated as Ford-speak for guarding them). They were beginning to gather good information, but it was slow going, which was driving Sirius half-mad. This wasn’t the way he did things – he really was a “John Wayne” sort of guy (and he would really have to get Buffy and Faith to introduce him to this John Wayne person; he thought they would get along famously). He was ready to get things moving and get to the part where he got back to his godson. In the few quiet moments they had, he would sometimes daydream about Harry’s face when they finally managed to get out of here (and he refused to think that they wouldn’t find a way).
Those were the times when he got the most impatient, when the sitting and listening and waiting reminded him too much of being trapped in Grimmauld Place and he would get irritable and short-tempered, pestering Buffy about the next steps. Generally, she would try to remind him of the plan and that this had to be done right, not just rushed through. Most of the time though, they would end up in what passed for the athletics room, where Buffy, or Faith, those times when Ford was tied up with something else, would show him martial arts moves and what they called “katas.” These tended to end up as sparring matches, which mostly involved him getting his arse well and truly kicked. However, he always felt better when they were done, as if the feeling of restlessness and the walls closing in was manageable again.
Several weeks passed in this manner, with little changing and even less for them to DO.
“Patrols are out in force, looking for you guys right now,” Ford would say, when they pressed him for information, “we just can’t chance them catching one of you.” Then he would move along, claiming important things to be done. He never spent very long around Buffy or Sirius, which they both agreed was a sign that he was hiding something, so they were lucky that he seemed to fall for Faith’s distraction hook, line and sinker. Faith had confirmed that she was even more sure that Ford was up to something, but even her best skills at persuasion hadn’t resulted in any real answers as of yet. And Ford was being incredibly tight-lipped about his “contact” in the demon hierarchy.
Buffy and Sirius played their roles as well, generally acting suspicious of Ford (which wasn’t hard to pull off at all) and irritated with Faith for the time she spent “fraternizing with the enemy” (which had been said in a hushed, but heated conversation between the two Slayers, carefully staged to be witnessed by some of Ford’s men).
All the sneaking around and waiting, trying to find answers without tipping their hand had given Sirius an appreciation, however unwelcome, for Snape’s ability as a spy. He had no idea how the man had done this for years on end. “Assuming, of course, that Dumbledore was right in trusting him and he wasn’t actually still part of Voldemort’s circle,” Sirius thought, darkly. However, he knew he was close to losing it completely if something didn’t happen soon.
It was two days further when Faith came sneaking into the room (more accurately described as a closet) that Buffy and Sirius had laid their borrowed sleeping bags in.
“B – wake up!” Faith said, careful not to shut the door (the guards always came by and opened it,” just checking that everything’s ok, m’am,” when it was closed) and to stay in the shadows where she wouldn’t be quickly noticed.
Buffy and Sirius were instantly awake and aware, as neither were particularly hard sleepers, especially not here when it was likely that a moment of distraction could mean they missed something important. “Constant Vigilance!” Sirius had barked at one point when it came up in discussion and then just grinned when Buffy had looked at him as if he’d gone completely mental.
“Something’s going down soon,” Faith said, with little preamble. “Ford just left outta here in a hurry. Before he left he told me he thought he finally had something and then grabbed my hand and told me not to worry, that he’d ‘take care of me.’” The last part was said with air quotes and the disgust on her face let them know exactly what she thought of being “taken care of.” “I don’t know how much time we have left before he sets off whatever he’s got going. I’m thinking we should check the hole he calls his office now while we have a chance.”
They quickly got up and gathered their meager belongings (mainly their weapons), before gathering close to the door to look around.
“How exactly are the three of us supposed to sneak past all our friendly escorts and get to his office?” Buffy asked, glancing out at the guards gathered at the end of the hall. While the passageways were not greatly lit, they were lit enough that the guards would notice the three of them trying to get past. And if they just walked out there, the guards would follow them wherever they went, making it hard to so much as go to the bathroom, much less sneak into Ford’s private, no one allowed in office. And this had to be carefully done – they couldn’t take the chance of just taking out all the guards until they were absolutely sure they had to. Once they did that, they would have to head out into the city to make their move, and they just didn’t have enough information yet. She looked over at Sirius, “I don’t suppose you know a spell to make us all invisible?”
“Uh, no. Well, I mean yes, but none I can do without a wand,” he answered, somewhat hesitantly. “But, I do know something might help as a distraction for the sneaking around.”
They both looked at him expectantly. He sighed, unsure how they would take his ability as an Animagus. Or rather, the fact that he hadn’t mentioned it before now. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust them, because he did, with his life. But, his ability to transform had been a major secret for the full time that he’d had the ability and the fact that it was a secret had literally saved his life and sanity while he was in Azkaban. It wasn’t something he shared with anyone easily.
“Yo, earth to Black!” Faith hissed, bringing his attention back to them.
“Right. Sorry. See, I have this ability to transform my body. It’s a magic we call an Animagus transformation. It lets the caster change their form to that of an animal.”
Both girls were looking at him in surprise now. “You didn’t think this might be helpful to know before now?” Faith asked, frowning at him.
“Yes, I know, I should have told you, but I…” he trailed off, unable to fully explain to them that it was a secret that was kept, only to be shared with those he most trusted (or was forced to, such as with the members of the Order).
Buffy waved her hand slightly, shaking her head. “It doesn’t matter now,” she said. “So this, Animorphas thingy – it means you can change into what, exactly?”
He grinned slightly and let the transformation happen, molding down into Padfoot’s form. Both girls were staring at him in shock now, mouths hanging open.
“Woah. Now that’s impressive,” Buffy said, blinking at the dog in surprise.
Faith shook her head. “Brings all new meaning to the saying ‘men are dogs’.”
Sirius chuffed quietly at that and sent Faith an all too human glare, before shifting back into human form.
“So, I figure I can lure them away. In dog form I can slip past them and come from the other side, so they won’t associate the distraction with us right away. Then once I have them after me, I slip into one of those crevices we mapped out, hide until they go past, and sneak back to the study – what do you think?” He asked, bouncing slightly in excitement that things were finally moving forward.
“You’re assuming they won’t just spear you to death and leave your body to rot?” Buffy asked, her expression dubious.
“I’m faster than I look, especially as Padfoot. I can do this.” Sirius responded, somewhat mullishly.
Faith blinked. “Your dog name is Padfoot? Really?”
Sirius sent a scowl her way. “Hey, I was a kid when I named myself, yeah? And I happen to like that name!”
Faith raised both hands in surrender at his defensive tone, hiding a grin, while Buffy sighed. “Enough, children. Let’s focus here, shall we? Are you sure about this Sirius? We can’t chance them realizing what we’re doing and if you get hurt, we won’t be in a position to help you.” Her face was worried as she looked at him. She didn’t like this plan at all, but she couldn’t think of another way for them to get past the collection of guards at the end of the hall, without causing a huge ruckus that brought all the guards their way.
Sirius nodded at her, his expression firm. “I can do this. I won’t let you down.”
At Buffy’s still hesitant look Faith chimed in. “I’m not seeing that we have a lot of choice, B.”
Buffy sighed, running a hand over her face. “All right,” she said, and then grabbed Sirius by the arm as he grinned and prepared to shift. “I will be very angry at you if you get yourself killed. All of us get out of here, all right?”
He nodded again, his eyes serious and reached out and squeezed her shoulder. “I’ll meet you at the study, promise.”
She returned his nod and let go. He gave her a quick smile, transformed and moved out the door and into the shadow of the hall, almost belly crawling on the ground. The lights in the hallway sat across the top of the walls, illuminating about 3 quarters down the wall going down the hall. There was no way the three of them could have stooped low enough to sneak past the guards (Faith had barely made it alone), but Sirius’ smaller height and dark color as a canine meant he blended far more easily into the shadows. Having four legs also made it easier for him to stay closer to the ground. And since the guards would not know to associate the black dog with the 3 of them, they wouldn’t know to look in on them, giving them time to get to Ford’s office and hopefully look around. Assuming Sirius, or rather Padfoot, was actually able to get past them of course.
She and Faith watched, tensed and ready as Sirius slowly made his way down the hall. She caught herself holding her breath as he got close to where the guards were gathered and forced herself to let the air out slowly. “Get a hold of yourself!” she thought firmly. “You need to be ready to fight, not passing out from lack of oxygen.”
Finally Padfoot reached the end of the hall and carefully peeked his head around the wall, checking the positions of the various guards. He and Buffy had been careful about how they appeared to the guards. Pushing things some the first couple of weeks they had been here and then seemingly settling in and causing no problems whatsoever. Hopefully, this had worked to lull the guards into a false sense of security and they would be somewhat lax in what they were watching for down the hall. He needed enough time to get past them so that he had a good lead before catching their attention.
There were four sitting at a table pulled against the far wall, playing some sort of card game he’d never really understood the rules to. They were in the best position to see down the hall, but also hopefully distracted by the game. There were two leaning against the wall near the door he’d have to get through. He still thought he could slip through, but that would have to be done very carefully. Fortunately, they were sharing a smoke and seemed relatively relaxed. Then there were a couple of guards in sleeping bags asleep. They would be the easiest to sneak past, however they caused the most problems for him as their bags were pushed against the wall he was trying to stay next to. Which meant he would have to cross to the other side of the wall to get around them and then cross back without the other guards noticing him, which would not be easy and would be when he was most likely to get caught.
For a moment, the possibility of that distracted him, remembering the many times when he had first gotten here that he had tried to escape, sneaking carefully, only to be caught at the last minute, laughing demons suddenly all around him, ready for the next round of torture. However, in all those attempts, he had never once slipped into Padfoot’s form to try and get away. He had thought about it, but something always stopped him as he was well aware that once they found out about that ability, it would be of no more use to him. He had saved it, waiting for the perfect moment, which had never seemed to come. He shook himself slightly, throwing off the memories. He really, really hoped he was right in choosing this moment as the “perfect” one.
Carefully, he began moving around the wall, staying as low to the ground and as close to the wall as possible. Right next to the first sleeping guard the light in the middle of the hallway was dimmest, so that would be where he needed to cross the hall to go around them. He moved slowly, forcing himself not to rush and to ignore the ball of nervousness currently lodged in his throat, and kept his ears tuned for the slightest sound of someone noticing him. The slow crawl seemed to take years as he made his way to the mat the first guard was sleeping on. Finally stopping a bit from the mat, he cautiously looked around at the guards. They were still involved in their game and discussions, so far so good. Still moving slowly, he crossed the hall, expecting every second for one of them to suddenly yell out. Making it to the wall, he plastered himself against it, carefully checking around again, trying to remember how to breathe normally. Fate seemed to be on his side for once, since none of the guards had gone on alert or seemed to have noticed him at all. “Halfway there,” he thought and then forced himself to move forward, staying huddled to the wall. Looking ahead, he knew that he would have to get much closer to the second sleeping guard then he had the first. The lighting in the hallway didn’t quite reach the middle in this place, since one of the lights was out or something, likely the reason they had chosen this place to lay their bags. But the light fell brighter again in the middle just a tiny distance past the 2nd guard’s roll, so he would have to cross back through the middle and almost right past the guard’s head.
Again he moved, a snail’s pace, his belly against the ground and his eyes shifting around rapidly from the guard he was moving towards, to the other sleeping guard, to the ones standing at the end of the hall. It felt as though entire years, centuries even, had passed since he first started down this hallway. Halfway there, three quarters there, the passing distance a mantra running through his head as he moved, ears perked for the shouts that would signal the gig was up. “C’mon, Paddy, ole boy, almost there,” he thought to himself, and then spared a second to wonder if thinking of himself in the third person meant he had finally completely cracked, though he figured he had already been pretty cracked to begin with.
He was almost to the side, far closer to the second guard than he ever wanted to be, when the guard suddenly shifted, rolling to his side facing the hallway and, Sirius realized to his horror, his open eyes staring straight at him. Sirius froze, his breath catching in his throat, horror seizing through him at the thought that he had failed. Then the guard sighed, his eyes falling closed again and Sirius moved, chancing being heard but knowing he had to get out of sight before the guard’s brain caught up with his vision. He had barely made it to the side and huddled up on the other side of the slight indention in the wall, when the guard’s head snapped up and he looked around, peering into the darkness for what he thought he had seen. Luck, it seemed, was with him this time, for after a few seconds of looking around, the guard shook his head slightly and lay back down. Sirius stayed perfectly still, waiting, for what he was pretty sure were his last few moments of life, his eyes glued to the guard. Finally, he picked up the change in the guard’s breathing that signaled he was moving back into sleep.
Sirius breathed out slowly, trying to move the heart that had lodged in his throat when the guard opened his eyes back down to its proper place. Slowly inching forward Sirius made his way down the hallway. The door he was headed for was about 10 human steps away, but for Sirius it was more like double that number. There were some disadvantages to being in dog form and smaller steps was definitely one of them right now. Suddenly there was a yell from the group of guards playing the card game. Sirius froze, “This is it,” he thought, “they’ve seen me and I’m really a dead man.” Turning quickly, preparing to do his best to get the guards out the door, he relaxed when he saw one of the guards pulling the pile of chips to him, smirking at the other guards. Sirius inwardly rolled his eyes, couldn’t they win without giving him a heart attack in the process?!
Sirius again started to move forward, “almost there, almost there,” he kept telling himself. Finally after what seemed like 3 hours of moving about 20 steps, he made it past the final two guards. Involved in their smoke and quiet conversation, they didn’t notice the black dog slinking past them at all. Now it was time for the fun part of this whole endeavor. Moving to the middle of the hallway beyond the door, Sirius suddenly started barking like mad. The reaction of the guards would have been pretty damn funny, were the situation not quite so desperate. The guards that were playing the card game were suddenly on their feet, their chairs knocked to the floor and the game tossed askew by their movements. That was one game that was now finished! The two sleeping guards were instantly awake and trying to untangle themselves from their sleeping bags. One of the guards closest to Sirius actually choked on the cigarette smoke he had just inhaled and continued to cough, even as the two began moving towards where Sirius stood. Seeing that they were now well and truly distracted, and thus on their way towards him, he figured it was time to run. He quickly turned and bolted down the hallway in the opposite direction of Buffy and Faith. As he moved away from the guards, he couldn’t help but think that Prongs would’ve greatly enjoyed this particular prank.
Buffy jumped when she heard the barking, even though she had been waiting for it for what seemed like forever. The two slayers exchanged relieved glances.
“Check it out B, I guess you can teach old dogs new tricks,” Faith whispered. Buffy tried and failed to hide her grin. It felt like her heart could finally beat somewhat normally again, knowing that Sirius was still ok. The girls quietly stepped out into the hallway and slowly made their way towards the two guards who had remained behind. They still stood at the curve of the hallway, but luckily for Buffy and Faith were distracted by all the commotion and paying no attention to the direction the slayers were moving from. Faith nodded to Buffy, then at the guy closest to Ford’s office door. Buffy got the point; she would take that guard, while Faith would take the one that was nearest the hallway leading down to where Sirius…or Pedfoot or whatever he likes to call himself as a dog, had led the other guards. Buffy held up her fingers 3…2…1, and then both moved in sync, throwing themselves at the guards. It wasn’t close to a fair fight and there were then two less guards to worry about.
“Nice job, B.” Faith said, giving the blonde Slayer a grin. It was nice to be finally doing something that didn’t involve playing nice with the bad guys.
“Not too bad yourself.” Buffy replied, before almost jumping out of her skin when Sirius popped up out of nowhere in human form.
She sent a scowl his way for scaring her half to death. “Um…don’t think I’m not totally happy to see that you’re safe and all, but shouldn’t you be working on, y’know, distracting?” Buffy asked with confusion in her voice.
“I lost them a while back,” he replied with a shrug and a roguish grin, “and since I can’t seem to find them either, I figured my job was done and I should rejoin you two.”
“If you two are finished, you think that we can get to searching Ford’s office now? Seriously doubt the guards are stupid enough to stay away from here for too long.” Faith said with obvious annoyance in her voice. Faith was never the type to just stand around.
Sirius and Buffy grunted their agreements, and the trio moved to Ford’s office door. Faith got to the door first, making quick work of the lock. There were lots of times when having super strength definitely came in handy.
The three entered in the room, only to stop in disbelief. Faith looked around, stepped back out into the hallway, looked around, and stepped back into the room, confusion evident on her face.
“Ok, did we suddenly step through a portal into another dimension?” Faith gasped.
Buffy shook her head, looking around in shock, while Sirius simply continued to stare at the room, his expression incredulous.
The room was like a king’s suite compared to what was outside of the study. The walls were painted black, but not the emo kind you might expect to find in a teenage girl’s room. It was fancier and almost silky looking, seeming to sparkle slightly when the light in the room hit it just right. The carpet was plush, their feet sinking into it slightly, and Buffy had the crazy desire to slip her boots off and walk on it barefoot, just to feel it.
Sirius met Buffy’s eyes as he bounced up and down slightly on his toes in the carpet. “You realize his floor is probably more comfortable to sleep on than all of our sleeping bags put together.”
Buffy took a breath to comment and then the smell hit her. Coffee, real honest to goodness coffee, and not the pig slop they had been surviving on for the past several weeks. Good stuff too, from the smell of it, though that could just be her withdrawal talking. She was pretty sure she would have to kill him just for keeping the coffee from her.
Turning to her left, she rolled her eyes at the opulent desk covering that side of the room. “He has a Victorian desk in here. Where exactly do you go in hell to find a Victorian era desk? Does he special order from Evil Furnishings R-Us?” Buffy asked, shaking her head as she moved towards the desk.
“What I want to know is why I haven’t seen this room before.” Faith said, a scowl dark on her face, not happy that Ford hadn’t shown her this room yet.
Sirius and Buffy exchanged looks, amused at Faith’s obvious irritation, and then he glanced behind him, checking the hallway for any returning guards, before stepping in and shutting the door. “Uh Faith, perhaps you want to check the bookshelf for any information he might have.”
“Right,” she growled, muttering under her breath about teaching spoiled little boys a lesson, as she moved to the shelf and began rifling through the books. Buffy was digging through the various papers on the desk, while Sirius continued to stand just inside the door, watching the two and keeping one ear cocked for the return of the guards.
“Dude, Ford is a total Giles-wanna-be. He likes all the old, musty, about-to-fall-to-pieces books. No wander you don’t like him B.” Faith said with a smirk. Buffy just sent Faith a mild glare before continuing her search.
“What’s this?” Buffy asked after a few moments of silent searching. Faith and Sirius joined her at the desk, examining the paper she was holding. It was old, more like parchment, and contained a picture on it that looked like a map of a maze. Sirius thought the maze pictured vaguely resembled a hedge maze, much like the one built for the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Well, if the hedge maze was designed by Mad-Eye on a drinking binge after being hit by the Confundus Charm. If the point were to completely confuse anyone who might get stuck inside the thing, whoever had designed it had done a bang up job. There was writing on the map, the same word noted in various places all over the picture - trap. That was it, no further explanation of what the maze was for or anything, just the single word. Which Sirius found fairly ominous. “What is…” Sirius started to say, but was cut off by the sound of yelling coming from down the hall. The guards had returned.
“Damn, they’re back. I was really hoping they’d stay gone longer.” Faith said, her face grim. Sirius shook his head.
“We need to get out of here,” Buffy spoke up, pocketing the map they had found. She wasn’t sure why, but her instincts said the map was important and, after 8 years as the Slayer, she had learned to trust her instincts. Well, except when it came to guys, but that was a headache for another day.
“Come on, I think I know a good place where we can hide from them until we get a chance to escape,” Faith said, giving Buffy a glance and moving towards the door.
Buffy nodded at her and said, “All right, I guess the gigs up anyway and I am SO past ready to blow this joint.”
Darting out the door, the immediately took off running, bowling over the two guards who had been outside, neither of whom had time to react to their presence. They darted through the door Sirius had played distraction through earlier, following Faith’s lead as she chose hallways, seemingly at random. Buffy took their six, making sure that Sirius stayed in between them. They could hear the shouts behind them and knew they had picked up quite a following. Buffy chanced a quick glance behind them as they ran, noting that the normal guards had now been joined by several demons and a very angry Ford, who ran with them.
“Damn, Ford’s back,” she shouted to the other two, “pick up the pace!”
It was enough motivation to get them moving even faster. Sirius couldn’t help but think that all that sneaking around he had done had been totally wasted, since they hadn’t really found anything all that helpful in the office. Then he once again focused on running, knowing the two slayers were already going slower than they could be to keep pace with him. He didn’t want to slow things down, but this wasn’t a pace he’d be able to maintain anywhere close to as long as they could. He really hoped a miracle happened soon.
Faith suddenly veered sharply left and then right, ducking down hallways, both Sirius and Buffy right on her heels. “This way,” Faith suddenly said, pointing toward a small doorway at the back of the hall. She stopped at the doorway, gesturing sharply for Buffy and Sirius to enter and they ran in ahead of her.
“It’s a dead end!” Buffy said, looking around frantically for a way out. She spun towards the door, moving to get back out of the room before the demons trapped them, only to be knocked to the ground by a right hook from Faith. Holding her bruised jaw, she looked up at Faith in disbelief as the guards and demons came up behind her.
Faith just smirked at her, moving to Ford’s side as he entered the room.