|Blurred Lines Mods (blurred_mods) wrote in blurred_lines,|
@ 2009-08-31 17:23:00
|Entry tags:||! [1980-08] august, aberforth dumbledore, aeneas nott, agatha snape (née chubb), akhil patil, alana fenwick, alastor moody, aloysius croaker, amelia bones, amycus carrow, anastasia mulciber (née aesalon), andrew forsythe, angelica bobbin, anzhelina dolohov, aquila avery, araminta meliflua, astra lestrange (née avery), atticus avery, barty crouch jr, bellatrix lestrange (née black), bertie higgs, bertram aubrey, beth frobisher, ciara fitzpatrick, claudette nott (née delacour), corbina lestrange, damocles belby, daniel rourke, demetrius mulciber, doris crockford, elle abercrombie, elphias doge, emmeline vance, evangeline macnair, fenrir greyback, ferdinand gibbon, florence hall, gaius travers, gawain robards, georgina smythe, graley rosier, hestia jones, iago mulciber, igor karkaroff, james potter, jeremiah smith, josephine pepper (née savage), julianne wilkes, kate proudfoot, kingsley shacklebolt, lachlan kirke, lavinia travers, lily potter (née evans), lucinda greengrass (née yaxley), lucius malfoy, marius lestrange, mary macdonald, minerva mcgonagall, narcissa malfoy (née black), octavius pepper, peggy o'nell, petra podmore (née petrikova), rabastan lestrange, rita skeeter, rufus scrimgeour, sam madley, seraphina travers, severus snape, tabitha macfusty (née bagnold), tabitha pryce, ursula caldeira, walden macnair, xenophilius lovegood|
FINAL BATTLE [08/29]
THE FINAL BATTLE
Rabastan was not a happy fellow. He hated taking orders from his sister-in-law, he hated the disgusting terrorists and he was just not interested in taking any mercy on any of these ridiculous terrorists. He picked out the first in the lot and sent the killing curse her way. From behind his mask he really couldn't tell who any of the vigilantes were, but it was definitely a woman. "I think you should know better by now, your place is not on the battle field, woman. If you can even be called that. You are a disgrace, a disgusting disgrace to those that can be called a woman," he taunted, throwing a pain-curse at her abdomen.
Jo, who had just recently hurled herself out onto the battlefield, ducked the Killing Curse almost immediately and scented the burnt air in the green light's wake. As she scrambled back to her feet, she clawed her hair out of her eyes and pointed her wand straight at the Death Eater's face so she could know who she was dealing with --
A silent Evanesco! for the stupid fucking coward mask, followed swiftly by a bellowed "Reducto!" straight at the motherfucker's ribcage. She had no desire to be stealthy.
"But I'm not hiding behind a mask you mothercunting piece of trash!"
Rabastan was already on the move when he finished his spell, dodging her spells. He didn't suppose there was any need for a mask at this point, Rabastan just felt more comfortable fighting behind it. "Oh, look, the whore has tricks," Rabastan said, smirking to himself and gearing up to throw another spell at her with his right hand (and making a little bit of a show out of it) while seizing one of his knives with his left. He threw the knife at her leg while the spell went toward her face, "Crucio!"
Jo had thankfully dodged the Cruciatus curse, even as it felt like a stray synapse in her brain misfired as she looked out over the battlefield to see her enemies and comrades alike. She blinked, felt cotton in her head, and before Gaius's conditioning could take hold, she felt the blade of Rabastan's knife sink sharp into her leg, agonizing as it seemed to scrape across the bone.
But that pain, thankfully, drew her out of what had been programmed into her. It reminded her of who she was, who her enemy was, and who would do the fighting. With a wrench, she pulled the knife out of her leg and with a whispered flaming spell, sent it straight back at Rabastan, though the tip now glowed red-hot.
The knife had been a gift from Ben through his will, so Rabastan took particular glee in seeing it sink into her leg and he laughed; he held his hand out for the knife and it slowed before reaching him (it was his knife after all and the charms obeyed him) but he grabbed the hilt without realizing how hot it was. "Fuck!" he shouted, dropping the searing knife quickly and dousing it in water that sizzled and steamed from the ground. That couldn't be the best for it, but he would summon it when it had a chance to cool.
"I wonder how long it will take your disgusting husband to find you. The charms on that knife prevent wounds from being healed all the way," Rabastan said, glaring at the woman and planning his next attack. Strengthening his shield in anticipation of her attack, he eyed the greenhouse and wondered what it would take to throw her through the windows in a spectacular spray of glass.
But it was Jo, as he narrated at her, that had seen the greenhouse glass and with a smirk, she levitated a large stone to feint at him before flinging it at him. Stupid Lestranges - at least Rodolphus wasn't so wordy, wasn't so disgustingly full of himself. But she used his distraction to level a blasting curse at him, strong enough to lift him on his feet toward that shining glass. And as he was lifted, as the other signs of battle took her attention, she turned upon her heel and hobbled through the grass.
It was slightly disconcerting to be here among all of this dueling. This was not where she belonged, or where any woman belonged, for that matter. She should be at home, well her father's home, with her daughter, but duty and devotion brought her to the battlefield, and she would serve her men well. Once past the general overwhelming of arrival and delegation however, Lucinda actually felt invigorated to be here. It was wonderful to be out of the house, away from her fake mourning, and she felt as though she was honouring Leoben's death in assisting as best she could. Finally the Greengrass name would be good for something, even if Lucinda would have preferred to be healing under her maiden name.
She took her orders from Narcissa simply, and left the tent to tend to those injured on the field. Thankfully, she avoided the majority of stray spells by simply keeping alert, but her senses were highly aware today. She had seen a bag in her tea leaves this morning which could only mean she would step into a trap at any moment; caution was therefore imperative.
Near the greenhouses, she watched as a woman, that Savage woman ran off, and then allowed her eyes to land upon the man she had been dueling. "Rabastan." His mask laid on the grass below her feet. She leaned down to pick it up and approached him. "Are you quite alright? May I tend to you before you move on?"
Rabastan glared at the woman's retreating back and when he heard his name called out he turned quickly, training his wand on the speaker. There was a tense moment there before he dropped his wand and glanced over his shoulder to make sure the bitch had left. "What are you doing out here?" Rabastan asked gruffly, not at all comfortable with having society women out here on the field - he didn't approve of non-combatants on their side running around and getting killed for no good reason.
Healing? Rabastan laughed sardonically at that. There was no amount of healing that could help the hemorrhaging of Death Eaters against the vigilantes. Nevertheless, Rabastan offered arm to her. He'd used a binding charm to keep it still but it was obviously dislocated and he was starting to feel the pain as the numbness wore off.. "You shouldn't be here."
Rabastan's question must have been rhetorical, for Lucinda was clearly not Bellatrix or Corbina Lestrange. Wives and siblings of members of the Cause were brought to heal, to mend, and to ensure that no one would die from lack of care. She therefore did not respond to his initial remark, and simply took his arm to examine it closer. His shoulder was dislocated, that was rather evident, and thankfully, could be easily fixed. There would be no need to return to the healing tent.
As she began to push up the sleeve of his robe to further asses the damage, she replied to his remark with total indifference. "Better me than a child like Lavinia Travers, and better a woman's presence on the battlefield than your injury messily bound, putting you in grave danger." She would need to sit him down to relocate the shoulder, but it would not do to sit here. There was a shady spot near the greenhouse only a yard or two away, however, that would do. "Please, follow me."
She lead him to the spot and sat him down, meeting him upon her knees to tend to him. "This will be rather painful, I apologise."
"We've fought before and not needed women to follow us around," Rabastan said, clearly cranky and not peeved at her specifically. He followed her over to where she indicated and allowed her to tend to him (he wouldn't say she was bossing him around, but it might have seemed as if he was allowing it). Rabastan had to admit that of the women who were there he certainly would not want little girl Travers attending to him. He still didn't support having the women there at all, but not enough to forgo medical attention for it
When she told him it would be painful, Rabastan merely looked at her as if to say 'do your best'. He could take the pain, it was just a shoulder and he had done it before in practice duels. In any case, Rabastan was not the best patient under even the best circumstances. "If there had been a wall nearby I would do it myself and you needn't bother."
"It would be far more painful that way, and the likelihood of a clean relocation would be significantly lower." Lucinda would not allow herself to become annoyed with Rabastan's tone. In a way, he was right, women did not belong here, and she could certainly sympathise with his poor mood. Instead, she would do her job patiently and allow him to return to the field where he clearly belonged.
Relocating a shoulder. She had read about this, she had done it for Ben once, she could do it once more.
Lucinda situated herself in front of him and adjusted his arm so that it was perpendicular to the ground. She then bent the elbow, and began to rotate his arm and shoulder inward, then outward again. She balled his injured arm's hand into a fist, took his wrist and pushed slowly, coaxing the arm back into the socket as gently as she could. This was the most painful part of the process, she was well aware of that, but thankfully, it only took her two attempts before the shoulder popped back into the joint.
At the sound, Lucinda released a breath she had not known she was holding, and briefly examined her work, before rotating the arm back to his chest and finally allowing it rest. "You may consider yourself healed. No wall necessary."
Rabastan nearly rolled his eyes at Lucinda, but her actions with his arm took his mind off of any retort he might have had. The pain of trying to push his joint back in nearly made him cry out, but he bit the inside of his cheek and only allowed a sharp intake of breath as his shoulder popped back in. Breathing hard and gritting his teeth as she rotated it - not nearly as painful as it was, but still twinging.
"Thank you," he said gruffly, shifting a little to test out moving his shoulder. He needed it to be mostly functional before he went back out there - but there was nothing he could do about it if he wasn't. Holding his good arm out to the side he waited until the knife he'd forgotten early zoomed toward them and landed smack into his palm. Stashing it away quickly, Rabastan looked up at Lucinda with an eyebrow raise. "Do you have some mint leaves or salve? It'll help with the muscles."
"Of course." Lucinda returned his thanks with a small smile, watching him carefully to make sure he was alright. She would feel extremely guilty if she had somehow relocated his shoulder improperly and injured him for the rest of the battle and perhaps even the rest of his life. She caught sight of the knife, finding it vaguely familiar, however she did not think hard on the subject as he questioned her once again.
"Of course. I apologise for not offering right away." To her left sat her triage kit and from inside she removed a small container of mint salve, but then she paused briefly. "May I? Or would you prefer to yourself?"
"You don't need to apologize to me," Rabastan said, unbuttoning the top of his shirt with his good hand, "You saved the wall from a lot of damage. I think you're the hero in this situation." Okay, maybe this wasn't quite the situation to continue his charm, but when there was a society lady around, there was no need to be anything but what he was. Pushing his shirt and robe aside, Rabastan let Lucinda attend to his bare shoulder.
"Just don't tell my mother, I think she might think poorly of you, Widow Greengrass," he added with a touch of humor and a smirk.
Despite the sombre situation around them, Lucinda could not help but smile at Rabastan's jests. Her, a hero? Widow Greengrass. It truly was a bit laughable. "Well then we must keep this a secret between us. I would never want Madame Lestrange thinking poorly of me." She smirked and unscrewed the salve container. With a rather large amount in her hand, Lucinda crawled a bit closer to Rabastan, and pulled down his shirt a bit so that she might properly rub in the salve.
"Do let me know if the area is too sensitive." She warned before beginning her massage, never realising that the thing creeping up her exposed ankle was not grass, but devil's snare instead.
"I think you'll be fine, she'd be more focused on her baby having been out here and fighting," Rabastan said candidly. His mother's nature certainly had not changed much, except for the amount of time she spent at his house now that Rodolphus was no longer alive. "And be as aggressive as you think you need to be, I would like my arm available in the next fight."
Lucinda focused on taking Rabastan's words to heart, rubbing the salve as hard as she could without hurting him. However, as she tried to move forward, she found that she could not. It was as though her legs were bound to the ground. She attempted to twist and kick in an effort to move but nothing. There was only the feeling of tightening around her entire body, growing stronger and stronger as she tried to move away from it.
By this time she had stopped rubbing and looked down to see what this was. Had she been hit by some stray spell? No. There were leaves and vines wrapping around her entire abdomen, and as she attempted to push them away, they clung tighter, rather quickly halting her ability to breathe. She couldn't remember the name of this plant, but it would likely kill her, and she had no way to vocalise her predicament, so she did the best she could and banged her unbound fist against Rabastan's chest.
"What the f-" Rabastan cut himself off from cursing as Lucinda punched him in the chest - his eyes had closed to ward off some of the pain, but when he opened them to see her struggling against the plant that was now constricting her. "Shite!" Rabastan said, sitting up and tugging out his knife. Slicing at some of the vines, helped only a little but he didn't want to risk using a hex or something when she was so close. What was it called? Rabastan struggled to think of the name of the plant as he continued slicing through the vine, "Oh! Devil's Snare oh, It's deadly fun, but will sulk in the Sun, right!" Aiming his wand at Lucinda's chest he closed his eyes and shouted, "Lumos maximus!" and a bright light flashed out of his wand, causing the vines to shrink away.
Throughout the time it took Rabastan to realise what was going on, Lucinda began to feel herself fade. She registered bits and pieces of his attempts, a knife cut here and there, but nothing seemed to be helping until she was blinded by a rather bright light, and then, she could breathe once more. She practically collapsed on the grass as soon as the vines had slithered off her body, her face pale as a ghost, and it took her a few moments to catch her breath and look back up at Rabastan. "Thank you." She panted and attempted to feel her abdomen for the centre of a throbbing pain inside of her. "I apologise" she breathed once more, but it was painful to even do just that, "for" another pant "your chest. I hope you were not badly injured."
This was not the time for pleasantries and assurances, Rabastan was a solider for the Dark Lord and he needed to be on the battle protecting their values, Lucinda could not keep him for much longer...even if she had nearly suffocated only seconds before and pain seared through her entire body at the moment. "You should return to the field. Here." She handed him the mask that lay on the ground. "And thank you, again."
2) Pepper & Bertram vs Bellatrix
Despite all of the rage that had consumed Bellatrix over the last month, for all of her outbursts and tirades and sprees of destruction, her mood had now turned to one of sheer exhilaration. Finally she would have the chance to take out her anger on those who were the very source of so much of it. Every last one of the vigilantes would die that day. Slowly and painfully. For the Dark Lord. And she would be the one who stood above all the others, reclaiming her rightful place at his side.
Curses were flying from her wand the minute she crossed into the Hogwarts property. Streaks of green and red light went flying indiscriminately through the air as she stalked across the grounds and towards the castle. She would destroy Hogwarts itself before the day was through. And even that would not be enough to satisfy her, of that she was certain. But it would not stop her from trying. The green flash of the killing curse streaked from her wand yet again, narrowly missing its intended target (whoever that was, she hardly noticed or cared) and instead was absorbed harmlessly into the wards that protected the castle itself. A snarl of frustration tore from her throat as her wand started to slash through the air yet again.
For all his preparation, it was hard to believe that this day was finally here. For it was clear to Pepper that this was the day that would end this war, one way or another. This was the last thing he had to do. He hadn't known what to expect - whether he'd hesitate, if he'd want to run away and hide - but a strange feeling of calm had settled over him, and despite the spells flying towards the castle he felt no fear of pain or death. The first he had suffered before, as much was possible, and the latter was rather his goal.
He actually laughed when he saw a woman who could only be Bellatrix Lestrange. She seemed as bent to her task as he did, weapon meeting weapon, and he immediately moved toward her; he could hold her off, free up their forces to fight a more comprehensible foe. They wouldn't understand the single-minded purpose of Bellatrix like he did, it made more sense for him to be the one to engage her. Raising a shield that found strength in his steel and resolve, he directed his wand toward her, opening with a conjunctivitis curse to attack her vision.
The jet of red light that flew from Bellatrix's wand crashed into Pepper's conjunctivitis curse, exploding in a violent shower of sparks. But now he had her attention and her gaze flew to the source of the attack, to see just who was foolish enough to challenge her so directly. Pepper. Oh and he was so very near the top of her list of those she wished to kill. But not right away. No, first she wanted to make him suffer dearly for all that he had said and done.
A cruel smile twisted at her lips as she cast a growled, "crucio," at Pepper. "Did I not promise that I would see my threats through," she snarled.
The cruciatus struck his shield painfully and sent him staggering back a couple of steps, forcing him to quickly recast, but Pepper could feel already that his shields were a little stronger than they had been in previous fights. Others might have attributed it to training and experience, but he knew there were other forces at work here. It amused him, but didn't surprise him, to find that Bellatrix was just as melodramatic in battle as on the page, and he laughed at her question, retaliating with a blasting curse. "In the middle of jabbering about your Lord," he reminded her, smirking. "Have they told you yet that he's dead? Or do they treat you like the screaming toddler that you are?"
Pepper's taunting brought a short, sharp laugh from Bellatrix as she easily waved aside his blasting curse. It was not, of course, that she found the notion of the Dark Lord's death in any way amusing. She simply did not believe Pepper. The very idea itself was preposterous. The Dark Lord could not be dead. It was not possible. And if, by some strange, freak happenstance something had happened to him, she would know. She was certain of it. But that did not mean she was going to tolerate his blasphemy for even a moment.
"I will feed you your own tongue for speaking such lies!" she declared as she sent a giant ball of fire hurtling straight towards him. It was far less than what she wished to do to him but she would not waste her energy upon cowards behind shield charms. She would simply have to wear him down first. "Or is that just your wishful thinking? How you lie to yourself, to think that you might somehow win this." She gave another broad wave of her wand, this time to lift the very earth out from under Pepper's feet and bring it down upon his head in a wave of dirt and rock. "You will all die here today. If I must kill every last one of you myself."
"Humble much," Pepper retorted; he attempted to duck sideways from the fire, but didn't move fast enough and it caught on his left sleeve. For a moment he didn't even feel it, but the heat, once noticed, was hard to ignore. Thinking quickly, he moved into the dirt from Bellatrix's second spell, letting it smother the flames as he protected his head from anything too dangerous before banishing the worst of the debris. No doubt he looked an utter mess now, scorched and dirty with soil in his hair, and he shook his head rapidly in an attempt to get rid of it and clear his vision. "Avis, flagrante!" he recited, sending a flock of burning canaries shooting at his adversary. "Glisseo!"
"There is only one man I will humble myself before," she sneered as Pepper's canaries were exploded into bits of smouldering feather and bone. Really, she was starting to get the impression that people liked seeing animals destroyed at her hand. She was not as prepared for the glisseo, however, and Bellatrix barely had the time to fire off a single spell before her feet slipped out from underneath her and she fell quite indecorously to the ground. But that did nothing to stop the thick grey mist that she had conjured and was now swarming towards Pepper, intent upon dissolving whatever bit of skin it touched. She was actually rather curious to see just how that particular spell worked as it was one that at least within her memory had been thus far relegated to theoretical study.
Ah, shit. Pepper had no idea what the mist was, but coming from Bellatrix it couldn't be anything good. Erecting a stronger shield, he shot a blast of hot air at the mist, hoping it would send it back in her direction or at least disperse it. "He's dead, Bella, just like your husband. Ask the Inner Circle about it. Dare you." He flicked his wand, casting a silent sectumsempra, and followed it quickly with two sharp gouging spells. She was good at deflecting attacks; he'd have to hit her with volleys in the hopes that some would get through.
While Pepper dealt with the mist, Bellatrix took a moment to cast a finite incantatem on the ground and leap back to her feet. "Next you are going to tell me you are the one who killed him," she snapped furiously as she sent what remained of the mist flying back at him as if they were playing some twisted and deadly game of reverse tug-of-war. The sectumsempra was met in the air with a blasting curse from Bellatrix's own wand, creating another violent explosion of sparks between them and then her attention was directed skyward by the distant sound of screaming that was definitely not human. Mandrakes. She was forced to cast a deafening charm on herself before resorting to a shield charm of her own, although she wasn't quite quick enough and the first of Pepper's gouging spells grazed her left flank. She snarled in both annoyance and pain and fired back with a volley of her own, jets of light exploding rapidly from her wand. Saevio verbera, a black fire hex, a sectumsempra of her own and another crucio. The screaming mandrake roots began to rain down on them as she cast everything she could think of to make Pepper suffer until she was ready to put him out of his misery.
Battles like this required quick wandwork, and quick thinking, and Pepper loved it. It was all about balance and anticipation, predicting what would come next and how to counter it, trusting instincts and reaction times and your own mind. He could understand why they hadn't managed to get rid of Bellatrix before - she was good. She was very good. No matter how fast he worked he couldn't block all of her spells, and he let himself take the cruciatus, relaxing into it, letting himself cry out with the pain. Most people either didn't know that it went easier if you didn't fight it, or couldn't put the knowledge into practice, but his lack of fear served him well here. There was nothing she could do to him that hadn't been done before.
He rolled behind some of the rubble from her earlier spell, the screeching of the mandrakes only a distant hum in his ears now, and wished idly that he could hear what spells she was casting - that hexed black fire seemed interesting, though he'd rather see what effects it had on someone else than first hand. With the mandrakes around, he couldn't taunt her anymore either, but perhaps that was for the best. Better to focus on the fight and the lingering pain from the cruciatus that kept him aware of every aching muscle. And try to direct her whims away from this line of magic. Three more gouging spells preceded the vivid green light of avada kedavra - he didn't expect it to hit her, but at least it got his point across.
There was something rather unsatisfying about seeing someone suffer under the cruciatus, of seeing them scream without being able to hear, but it was not enough to stop Bellatrix from channelling all of her rage and frustration into the curse as long as it held. It did not mean she was not still enjoying this in her own twisted, furious way. The adrenaline of the duel itself that consumed her was matched in equal parts by her primal need to destroy. To inflict pain and suffering.
The gouging hexes were once again deflected, but Bellatrix would have been lying if she had tried to maintain that she expected a killing curse from Octavius Pepper. Then again, her only real memories of him aside from heated words exchanged in the journals were as an unremarkable, half-blood second year boy. Still, Bellatrix's reflexes were sharp, honed by the duelling practice that took up every moment of free time that she possessed and she quickly spun out of the path of the killing curse as she threw several of the mandrakes up to absorb the blow. And then she laughed. "YOU THINK YOU CAN KILL ME?" she yelled, not giving a damn that he could not actually hear her. Another crushing curse flew from her wand in a burst of purple light and then she drew her arm through the air in a broad, sweeping gesture, summoning insidious black tendrils up from the ground to curl around Pepper and pull him into the very earth itself.
"Blah, blah blah," Pepper muttered, rolling back out from behind the stones and getting to his feet, not really caring what it was she was saying. No doubt it was angry and melodramatic, and his attention was far better served setting the tendrils around him on fire so they'd wither up into husks. Another AK, and then he shot a strong blast of searing hot water at her, followed by the remains of the rocks that had been hit by the crushing curse. "Get back in the fucking kitchen!" he hollered at her, amusement evident in his voice even though neither of them could hear it.
Oh, Pepper was lucky Bellatrix could not hear that particular taunt and really had anyone been paying attention, they likely would have been astonished at the sheer ridiculousness of the two screaming insults at each other that could not be heard. But really, neither one of them were likely to be accused of possessing sanity any time soon. Another mandrake was thrown in the air to take the killing curse, although Bellatrix still had the sense to dive to the ground, lest Pepper's spell miss the target she provided for it. The plant exploded in a shower of pieces of root as still more fell from the sky. One pelted Bellatrix in the shoulder and she picked it up, throwing it at Pepper in a thoroughly juvenile gesture as she rolled to her side and cast a shield to protect herself from the water and rocks.
An entrail expelling curse and a flaying curse were the next to fly from her wand as she jumped back to her feet. "A pity you will not live long enough to see your Mudblood wife die next!" she screamed as she sent another ball of fire at him.
She threw a plant at him! She threw a plant at him? The woman was fucking nuts, Pepper decided, unaware of the irony as he let the first spells batter at his shields and countered her fire with his own. The flames tangled up in each other, shooting through the air in all directions as they faded uselessly away, leaving the ground burned and scorched and still flaming faintly in places. He wasn't sure how long they'd been here now, but he was fine with that - they could probably do this for quite some time before he finally wore him down. Because she would wear him down, eventually. But in the meantime, her attention was focused on him. Thinking of one of the darker books he'd read, he narrowed his eyes and shot a curse at her that would shred the flesh right off her bones before his next killing curse. It just wouldn't do to be inconsistent, after all. And, hell, just in case there was anyone nearby: "I've seen your sister naked!"
And there went two more mandrakes as Bellatrix spun out of the way yet again. One that was rather spectacularly shredded (and had she been even the slightest bit less focused in her determination, she might have actually appreciated the spell for what it was) and the second that exploded the instant it was hit by the green light.
"I am going to feed you your own intestines!" This time Bellatrix did not resort to the darker spells in her arsenal and instead launched another furious volley of curses at Pepper to overwhelm him with speed rather than strength. A barrage of slashing, gouging and bone shattering hexes all flew from her wand in rapid succession and then finally another growled "crucio!" She wanted him beaten. She wanted him lying on the ground, nothing more than a battered and ruined man. And then, then she would deign to put him out of his misery.
Bellatrix got part of her wish, as it turned out, as Pepper dropped to the ground to physically dodge the barrage. Most of them flew over his head, though he felt a few slice through the back of his shirt and into his back; his skin prickled as blood quickly welled up in the wounds. Now that was just mean. "Your mother fucked a Muggle!" he informed her, aiming his wand at her head and casting the strongest finite incantatem he could. He wanted that noise muffling spell gone while there were still mandrakes in one piece. He dropped his wand and shot steel bolts at her lower body before pulling himself back to his feet, wincing sharply at the pull on sliced muscles. Oh, that was going to be a bitch.
"I shall place your head upon a pike and use it as a lawn ornament!" Bellatrix shrieked back, although she quickly noticed that something was wrong. The last of her words were no longer dully muffled sounds in her ear, but the crystal clear sound of her own voice. Along with the noise from the battles raging all around them and one, solitary screeching mandrake that had not been consumed by the fire and explosions between them or used as cannon fodder. A wave of dizziness swept over her and she staggered back, her vision growing fuzzy as the first of Pepper's bolts began to pelt at her legs. She had only a moment to find the source of her impending unconsciousness, but it was enough. Another jet of fire flew from her wand, this time aimed not at Pepper but the ground that was littered with dead, scorched plants. The screaming quickly ended and Bellatrix immediately began to come back to her senses, giving only a slight shake of her head to clear her mind.
Enough of these games. The last of the bolts fell harmlessly to the ground and Bellatrix lifted them back into the air, transfiguring them into a floating, almost dancing array of razor sharp knives that went flying back at Pepper, followed by a killing curse of her own.
It was easy to cancel out his own summoning spell, letting the knives shimmer into nothingness, though it was still a battle for speed and he felt one embed itself into his shoulder before it disappeared. He could feel himself slowing down now that he was bleeding freely, several muscles torn open, and though he spun out of the way of the curse, it was closer than some of the others had been. He had to hold her longer, though, and he quickly canceled out his own deafening spell now that it was pointless, shooting a blasting curse at the ground at her feet and following it determinedly with an entrail expelling curse and the shredding spell. "You're going to drown in Phlegethon, bitch!" Unlikely that she knew what he was even talking about, but he was sure the sentiment would be clear.
Aubrey had promised himself to stick close to Pepper. It was only fair, the man had trained him - and fuck this was a goddamn battle, there was no way he was going out there with anyone else but his partner. Pepper had taken him from a fresh-faced kid right out of Hogwarts and turned him into a real hitwizard. Only, battle was absolutely terrifying and even though he'd been drilled in patterns and attack plans, this was just. Chaos and insanity. Spells flying and trying to keep track of Pepper without tripping over his own feet - if it wasn't for his own loyalty to his friend and partner, Aubrey was sure he'd have been the first one headed out the gate for 'reinforcements' and escaping all this madness.
He had been doing fairly well keeping up with Pepper - who was also pretty damn mad for running in to the fights. Aubrey didn't understand the mentality of kill or be killed - they had won, the dark bastards just wouldn't give up. There was no winning for them, You-Know-Who was dead and that was that, right?
Apparently not - "Fuck yeh too, yeh fucker!" Aubrey shouted as he ducked one of the fucking annoying mandrakes thrown at him by some fucking bastard in a mask. With one eye on Pepper, Aubrey dispatched his own set of spells, trying to avoid getting killed or anything like that. Fighting in a fucking war wouldn't be so cool if he didn't end up on the winning side and able to enjoy it.
Once he'd gotten rid of that fucker, Aubrey turned to find Pepper again - who had found himself in the middle of a battle with what looked like Bellatrix Lestrange. Shouting the most insane things at each other - with all the goddamn mandrakes around, it was a wonder that they could even hear each other.
"Ah, fuck yeh too, Pepper!" Aubrey grumbled himself before charging over to Pepper's side, ducking mandrakes and trying not to disrupt Pepper's concentration - he had his wand pointed at Bellatrix, ready to fire a few curses in her direction as a distraction when he saw that sickly green light come out the end of her wand.
Without thinking about it, Aubrey stepped in front of Pepper's wand after his spell came out, the killing curse hit him in the middle of the chest. He crumpled to the ground at Pepper's feet, his wand gripped in his hand.
Bellatrix blinked in surprise as some kid she did not recognise came running out of nowhere only to throw himself in the path of her killing curse. Well that was certainly unexpected, but she hardly cared about the fate of some self-sacrificing man beyond the fact that he was another opponent of the Dark Lord dead at her hand and her moment of surprise had passed as soon as it had settled over her. There were still spells flying at her to contend with, a point made perfectly clear as the ground before her was blasted into a cloud of dust and scorched earth. She was pelted with clumps of dirt but she knew well enough to ignore that which could not truly harm her and instead turned her attention to deflecting Pepper's other attacks.
"Did you know him?" she taunted as she threw another black fire curse at Pepper. "Did you care for him?" A sectumsempra this time. "Was his life worth your own?" And again she conjured the thick grey flesh eating mist that went flying towards Pepper and the body lying at his feet.
No, it fucking wasn't, and for all the work he'd done practicing dodging spells and improving his reaction times, Pepper had barely noticed Aubrey was even there before he was falling to the ground. Curses worthy of the most vulgar of sailors were running through his head because this was not supposed to happen like this. He was supposed to protect them.
He was damned if he would let Bellatrix know that, though. He refused to look at the body, focusing on blocking at least the fire and the mist with another harsh stream of boiling hot water, though the sectumsempra sliced through the counter-attack and his shield, petering out when it reached him but still enough strength in it to hurt where it struck him on his burned arm. He took the pain willingly. "Everyone's expendable," he yelled; his battle-cry. They wouldn't have another body to defile though, and he wasted precious time levitating the corpse (Aubrey's corpse) and sending it flying well out of the way. Someone would find it later. Maybe when they found his. He shot another sectumsempra at her, one full of rage and hate, hoping it would split her heart open.
"How fortunate that you feel that way," Bellatrix snapped back as she threw up a shield to absorb Pepper's attack. The shield held, although the force with which the spell hit it still sent her back a few quick steps. The distant screaming of one last straggling mandrake caught her attention and she cast a quick silencing spell at the plant before it came close enough to do any damage and then her focus was fully returned to Pepper. She advanced on him, her wand slashing through the air in a furious gesture as she cast another cruciatus, this time with the full force of her strength and the weight of all of her anger all pouring into the curse. She could and frequently did cast the unforgivable with little more thought than she would put towards a stunning spell - no less effective considering her affinity for the curse and predilection for causing pain - but this was different. This was cast with all the fury and determination that she had poured into it when she was first learning, now with the skill honed by years of practice. Even with the gaps in her memory.
Even with a strong shield, the cruciatus hurt, and Pepper yelled again at the pain. No doubt she'd get satisfaction from that, but he didn't care; fighting the urge would only make it worse, and he'd prioritise anything that would make it easier to take over petty defiance, every time. He wavered on his feet, but didn't fall, though his eyes pricked and watered a little and he had to blink rapidly to clear his vision as he slung another volley of spells, gouging and slicing hexes along with another conjunctivitis for good measure. He wanted her bleeding. He wanted her focused only on him.
Bellatrix's wand moved through the air at a dizzying speed as spell after spell was deflected and countered. Pepper did get his wish, however, as despite her skill and reflexes, a slicing hex tore across her arm and the momentary distraction of the pain, however brief, was enough that another grazed her leg. But she had fought through far, far worse and her slight faltering was gone in a moment. She clenched her jaw and deflected the last of Pepper's volley before snapping her wand around in what appeared to be just another defence until the brilliant green light of the killing curse exploded from her wand.
Shit. Pepper almost reacted too late, throwing himself to the side without a care for controlled landings or anything civilised like that. He felt the impact reverberate in the ribs that had been broken before and the air was knocked from his lungs, but he was alive, still. Knowing he wouldn't be able to aim well the first spell he cast as soon as he could focus enough was just a wave of fire to buy enough time to get back to his feet, left arm wrapped around his body a moment as though to hold his ribs in place - though the motion was purely for peace of mind, rather than a necessity. A blasting curse while he collected himself, and then he shot out another avada kedavra, as though to say, "Missed me!" There was no room to be incapacitated here. It was fighting, or it was death.
The wave of flames was quickly turned back on Pepper and Bellatrix lifted her wand to deflect his attacks when he cast the killing curse. She too was forced to dive to the ground, albeit with far more grace and she sent a quick if poorly aimed saevio verbera at him as she flew through the air. Her shoulder took the brunt of the impact as she hit the unyielding ground and that was probably going to be sore in the morning, but it didn't stop her from flipping over and springing back to her feet. A wave of her wand brought a near-wall of rocks, scorched earth and dead mandrakes up off the ground and she launched it all at Pepper. If she could not manage to hit him with a killing curse, she would simply bury him under a mound of rubble.
Well, if that was how she wanted to play it; the force of the attack was too large to be able to send it back at her, but at least he could channel sheer force of will into a spell that slowed it down enough to lose momentum, falling to the ground before it could slam into him. He was hit by quite a lot of pebbles and bits of debris, but tried to ignore it, casting another glisseo followed by a rush of scalding water directed to knock her off her feet before shaking his head rapidly, more dirt falling out of his hair. It occurred to him rather suddenly that they certainly were making a mess of the place, the ground torn up and sodden, rocks and pieces of mandrake scattered around. The observation made him chuckle before he went for another sectumsempra, enjoying this all rather thoroughly, despite the pain.
A finite incantatem was quickly aimed at the ground before the glisseo charm could reach the earth beneath her feet and then Bellatrix countered Pepper's water with her own fire, both spells dissolving into nothing more than harmless, hissing steam when they connected. Her bone shattering hex connected with his sectumsempra, adding to the chaos of exploding spells before them and she followed with a particularly powerful silent expluso, hoping to just blast him into so many little tiny pieces. More slashing and gouging hexes followed in rapid succession and then Bellatrix was briefly distracted by a voice booming across the grounds. She stopped listening at the word retreat. She would retreat when she was done. And as if to prove the point, another killing curse flew from her wand as she moved closer to Pepper rather than towards the gates.
"Disobeying orders?" Pepper's voice rang out across the devastated space between them, ducking away from the vivid green of the curse. At least the spell was easy to spot, he mused, or it would risk being missed among the flashing and crashing of their spells hitting each other. "You're really bad at this Death Eater thing." Another sectumsempra arched towards her, another killing curse on its heel; likely it was for the best that he was alone (now), with the amount of dark magic flying around from both of them. There were still some people who disapproved of that, no matter how useful it could be in a war. They weren't going to win this with stupefys and incarcerouses, no matter how fluffy your thinking.
"You will not be saying that when I am standing over your corpse," Bellatrix snapped back as she dodged Pepper's attack. A quick glance around told her that most of the other Death Eaters were readily heeding the call to retreat and while Bellatrix still had no intentions of running away simply because one of the old men told her to, she was at least somewhat cognisant of the fact that being left alone on the grounds, surrounded by vigilantes was not a scenario that was likely to end well for her. It just meant she was going to have to kill Pepper once and for all. This time she attacked with not one, but three killing curses all one right after another, filling the air with the deadly green light.
"I won't be saying anything if I'm a corpse," he retorted, flinging more debris up into the path of the curses as he moved to dodge them. Oh, how glad he was for all the training he'd done this month, particularly with Severus, who'd understood the need to listen when Pepper said to go hard on him. Rocks and clod dirt shattered, spraying the field with more detritus, and one of the curses narrowly missed him, passing by his left side at a distance of a few inches. Not close enough was not close enough, though, no matter if it was inches or feet. "What if your Lord wants you back there? Wouldn't want to disappoint him!" It was tempting to cease attacking, simply focusing on dodging her attacks until she recognised the need to not be left behind with no reinforcements, but with the end so close, he couldn't bring himself to. He would fight until he died, and only then would he rest. He was pushing himself to get just two killing curses out in such a short space of time though, not as experienced with the spell as Bellatrix was, and aimed one to the side and lower than the other, hoping it would catch her when she dodged the first.
"THAT WOULD BE THE POINT!" Bellatrix replied, growing increasingly annoyed with Pepper's refusal to just die already. She quickly moved to dodge his killing curses yet again - thankfully in the opposite direction than Pepper had been hoping or else she would have gone straight into the second - and then she actually hesitated for a moment. The Dark Lord could have arrived. Here to regather his loyal followers and lead them to victory himself. She hated that she suddenly found herself in the thoroughly disgusting position of listening to Octavius Pepper, but if there was even a chance that he was right... With an angry snarl, she sent two more killing curses at him and started moving towards the gate, not turning her back on him for a second.
He laughed outright at her obvious ire, finding it even funnier because he knew the Dark Lord wouldn't be there. The retreat was nothing more than what it seemed, he assumed, though so intent on his own battle he had no idea how the whole thing was going. If they actually were overwhelming the Death Eaters... well, it seemed everything he knew was correct. They would win this, and his compatriots who hadn't been irreparably damaged would have a new world to live in. No doubt it wasn't all over yet, though, and he stumbled out of the way of the last curses, backing away himself. He wouldn't make the mistake of turning - while he wasn't afraid to die, he had no desire for it to be a curse in the back. He would look his killer in the eyes when they took him.
Once the distance between them was enough, he started angling off towards Aubrey's body. He would take it back to the castle while he could. There was every chance they had the Dark Army with them, and he wasn't going to give the hags and werewolves something to squabble over.