|Blurred Lines Mods (blurred_mods) wrote in blurred_lines,|
@ 2009-08-31 17:26:00
|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 [17/29]
THE FINAL BATTLE
The greenhouses & tower
Gaius had ordered his sisters to stay close to him when they re-entered the battle field, but it hadn't taken long for them to lose track of Livi. He tried not to think about it, but in spite of his efforts, he couldn't help looking around as they walked, hoping that she would be near enough for him to see and recollect. He was too absorbed with the task to notice that they were practically walking into another fight.
Thankfully, Seraphina was paying slightly more attention and saw the terrorist before they saw them. She was not nearly as distraught about the absence of her sister, but she was terrified and in pain from the first round of fights -- and so understandably not very eager for a repeat experience. Tugging on her brother's sleeve, she hissed his name to try and get his attention without alerting the wizard nearby, but he was too distracted to immediately respond, sure that he had spotted Lavinia somewhere across the yard.
She tried tugging several more times on his sleeve without any success. Giving up with a quiet whine, she glanced back toward the two who still had not appeared to notice them. She moved behind her brother, both out of fear and hoping to get his attention again. Another tug on his robes did not work, so she finally reached up and smacked him hard on the head. "Gaius!" she said, her voice peaked in a fretful shout.
That seemed to work, and he looked over his shoulder at her, immediately annoyed that she would have the nerve to hit him, but once his gaze followed to where her trembling hand pointed it, he saw the reason for her distress. "Damn it," he said, abandoning his search for his other sister and aiming his wand in the man's direction. "Deprimo!"
Aloysius was still feeling shaken by the death of that girl earlier as well as the minor injuries he'd picked though he was trying not to show it. He'd seen what that Death Eater girl had done, pushing the other girl in the path of the Killing Curse and he could hardly believe the coldness though he kept telling himself he shouldn't be surprised. These people were cold and heartless with anyone who wasn't 'one of them'. He knew that from what he'd seen on the journals.
He quickly pulled himself back into his best objective mood when things broke out into fighting again and headed back into the fray. There was nothing he could do for that girl but he could fight others... and he would. He didn't notice if he had anyone with him though he did notice another Death Eater with a girl near him not far away. He didn't understand why they'd brought their women with them but he wasn't going to give those women any favours. They'd walked out onto a battlefield and now they had to take their chances.
He threw up a shield to take the brunt of the spell that had been cast at him and flung a Confringo back in reply.
Likewise, Gaius used a Shield Charm to block the curse and nudged Seraphina back behind him from where she'd been trying to glance out from behind his shoulder. Even if he had no idea where Lavinia or Eva were, he wasn't about to let the only person for whom he was currently responsible get hurt. When he was sure that she was out of harm's way, he turned his attention back to Aloysius, whom he recognized from when he'd looked up information on him after Jo's release and Lavinia's abduction. He still didn't have any concrete proof that he'd been involved, but if he had been speaking to Savage in code over the journals, that was enraging enough for him. "Reducto! Diffindo! </i>Incendio</i>!" he said, shouting at the top of his lungs.
Aloysius didn't forget his shield this time and the first two spells impacted harmlessly against it. The third spell was mostly blunted but enough of the flame made it's way through to do some damage. He gave a yell as the flames burned him and quickly put them out. A glance showed him that the burns might hurt but they weren't bad enough for him to start looking to retreat. They could wait. He threw up his shield again and pointed his wand at the Death Eater and the girl cowering behind him, saying firmly, "Incarcerous! Impedimenta!"
At the moment, having an extra person with him to protect was proving extremely distracting for Gaius, who kept turning to make sure that she was still safely behind him and out of the way of any harmful curses that might come their way. Due to this, both of Aloysius's curses hit him before he could deflect them -- the only fortunate thing was that the second spell slowed down the progression of the first, though by the time he stopped the ropes coiling up his legs, it would have been too late.
Thankfully, Seraphina could see that her assistance was needed and gasped out a "Finite!" as though he were a roast on fire. And once Gaius could move at a normal speed again, he furrowed his brows and sent his wand in the man's direction again. "Crucio!"
Aloysius saw the spell heading towards him and strengthened his shield. The curse hit it and was dissipated and Aloysius glanced around. His eyes lit on the slightly different areas of ground around them and he remembered the sandpit traps that had been set up here. The barest smile quirked his lips for a second then he aimed his wand at the ground in front of Gaius and Seraphina and started casting spells in and effort to force them backwards into one of those traps. "Reducto! Expulso! Reducto! Deprimo!"
At the string of curses, Gaius reached behind him and gripped Seraphina tightly by the arm to keep her close before casting a Shield Charm, using as much of his focus and energy as he could to make sure that it was strong enough to stand up to the man's spells. As each one connected, it weakened the barrier between them and by the time the final curse hit, it knocked both the Traverses back a bit, though thankfully not into the sand pits as intended.
After regaining his balance and making sure his sister was secure, Gaius decided that he'd had enough. He was tired of fighting and his mind had slipped away to Livi several times already during this stand-off -- he wanted this to end so that he could go find her and make sure that she was safe, and most importantly -- not hurt, or worse, dead. So, pooling his strength, he aimed his wand again at Aloysius. "Sectumsempra!"
Jo had only seen seconds of the battle between Aloyisus and the Traverses, half standing on her ruined leg, her fist pressed tight into her side. Though Croaker was, for the most part, holding his own in this battle, she knew Gaius well enough that as the S-sound started to roll of his tongue that it was a spell Aloysius would not be able to block.
Gathering all the strength she could, she thrust herself between Gaius and Aloysius, the shield charm half a syllable on her tongue before she felt the magic slice through her body. The shock sent her crumpling to the ground, her wand now lost on the ground beneath her as she pressed her free hand to the blossoming bloody stains over her chest.
It all happened too quickly for Aloysius to react... or time slowed down. Which one he would never know. One moment he was fighting Travers, the next a spell was flying towards him that he wasn't quite ready for and someone leapt in front of him, taking the spell that was meant for him. When he could finally react again, he saw that person was Jo and there was far too much blood coming from the wounds on her chest. For the briefest moment, he stared, unable to compute what he saw, then rage rushed through him and he pointed his wand at Travers and the girl.
In the arms of Aloysius, Jo could smile crookedly, fix her blurring gaze on his sweet face. The pain that was so intense, so replete within her, was fuzzing at the corners. It was curling into something fine and inconsistent. "Shh, Croaky," she murmured, her own bloodstained fingertips pressing gently to his lips. "I -- just did. Listen. You keep -- " She took a shuddering breath. "You make it out of this, okay? I want you to. Please."
Aloysius didn't even notice the tears flowing down his cheeks as he shook his head. He didn't know what to do. So many years of studying and research and waving his intelligence around and when it really mattered it all meant nothing. What did it all matter when he couldn't save someone he loved? "Jo... I..." His voice broke and the lump in his throat felt like it was going to choke him. He swallowed hard. "I will. I promise." His arms tightened around her as if he was trying to will his own life into her. "Jo... I love you. And I... I'll look after Pepper. Oh god... please don't die."
"This is right," she managed, "this -- " He, the one who brought her back to life long enough for her to fight for what was right. She giving her life so that he might continue to live his. " -- I want you to -- I -- I love you too." And there was so much more for her to say, messages to Rufus and Pepper she wanted to convey, but there was so little time. The hand that had pressed against his mouth now grasped his collar, the last of her strength spent on leveraging herself up enough to press her lips against his.
"Don't forget -- " and she sagged in his arms, exhaled and finally closed her eyes.
Rufus vs Barty
In spite of his rush to chase after Bellatrix after she had stormed away from the rest of the Death Eaters, Barty had quickly lost sight of her once the chaos on the battlefield had erupted again. He now found himself standing near the greenhouses where he had last been taking NEWT-level Herbology with Regulus and Julianne almost two years ago now, although he didn't have any time to waste on childish nostalgia as he surveyed the site for someone to ambush before they got to him first. He was neither fazed by the taunts about His Lord being dead nor compelled to run away at the first sign that all their efforts and sacrifices might now be for nothing -- that was exactly what he was sure their enemies were hoping for, and while the weak-willed and selfish might abandon Him, he would remain faithful and be rewarded for it. And he wasn't about to leave unless he had a direct order or no choice in the matter.
To say that Rufus was unsurprised at Bellatrix's psychotic re-entrance onto the ground would have been a statement of the obvious -- if he was surprised at anything, it was that she'd gone for Slughorn rather than someone who had wronged her more grievously in the past (though Rufus had to wonder if Bellatrix could even tell the difference between those who had wronged her and those who just happened to be standing around). It was those who followed after her that he kept an eye on as he moved away from one of the healers helping him with his bleeding jaw. Fenrir, werewolves. Shocking. And then a slender figure of a death eater -- the first to follow after. That's who Rufus wanted.
Taking off towards the figure, Rufus ended up bee-lining for the greenhouses. It wasn't his favourite place to be (he was well aware of the dangers of some of these plants, given his less than disciplined days at Hogwarts), but he kept an eye out for flying vegetation and levelled his wand at the death eater. Depulso, confringo!
Barty had been distracted by the other fights going on around him such that he hadn't noticed anyone going for him specifically until it was too late -- the Depulso threw him to the ground before he could turn around to block it, and not having time to cast a Shield Charm, he clumsily rolled to the side as the Blasting Curse barely missed slamming into his shoulder and exploded against the ground instead. Before he could get a good enough look at his attacker to see who it was, he pointed his wand at the figure and shouted, 'Deprimo! Expulso!' in return as he scrambled back to his feet.
Rufus batted away the deprimo with a slice of his wand (though it was nice to have a death eater not shooting killing curses at him straight off the bat), but was forced to dodge the expulso. The spell was stronger than he expected from someone with that voice (he sounded like a young man, barely an adult); Rufus hadn't expected to have to reform his shield completely after one spell. Well then.
Slashing the air, he dragged up the earth in front of them to form a crude wall of sorts and provide a physical shield, which he reached around to cast a slicing hex and a levicorpus; he wasn't willing to kill a younger death eater unless he tried to kill him first. Rufus didn't really believe in rehabilitation, but he also didn't believe that these less experienced victims of the purist agenda were entirely responsible for their actions, either.
Barty had to take a moment to re-adjust his mask once he was standing again, and before he could focus on his assailant's face, there was some sort of wall in front of him. His first instinct was to knock it out with a Reductor Curse, but it took long enough for the light to leave his wand that he didn't have time to block or dodge the first spell. Blood welled up as a gash sliced open his thigh, and he had to throw himself out of the way of the Levicorpus as it nearly hit him as well. Whoever this was obviously knew what he was doing, and without waiting to see if the Reducto hit or not, he stepped to the side and aimed a Sectumsempra at the man's legs to return the favour.
Earth exploded in front of Rufus, and he shielded his eyes long enough to keep soil and rock and lord knew what else from getting in his face and blinding him before turning his wand back upon the flying debris. A loud oppugno sent dirt and stone soaring in the other direction, but though this newly cleared vision gave him warning of the death eater's sectumsempra, he did not have time to raise a complete shield.
Blood spattered from his shin as Rufus hastily conjured a stone shield in front of him; he fell to the ground, clutching his leg and attempting to keep his head despite the agony pouring out of him. He remembered how to heal, he wasn't an idiot, and he wasn't going to let a cut to the leg finish him, no matter how profusely it was bleeding. Murmuring healing magic over his injury (crude as it was, for aurors had no time or patience [or vanity] for the intricacies of proper healing), he managed a thick, ugly scar that quelled the bleeding and dulled the nerves enough that he could stand again.
By this point in his Death Eater career, Barty ought to have caught on that he couldn't let his guard down the moment one of his spells was successful, lest he be hit by everything that came after that -- and yet he did it again as the Sectumsempra hit its mark and he swelled with pride upon realising he was fighting Rufus Scrimgeour, his father's former Head Auror. A part of him was terrified at the idea of taking on someone like him alone, but he could imagine how the Dark Lord would reward him if he succeeded at such a challenge, how proud he was sure Bellatrix and Minister Nott would be --
-- and he had barely thought any of that when dirt and rocks charmed to attack suddenly came hurtling at him. He arced his wand more wildly than he had intended and shouted, 'Glacius!' to stop the debris from hitting him, but the Freezing Charm only managed to make some of it fall harmlessly to the ground. A handful of earth hit him in the face, and though he had his mask on, it didn't protect his eyes from being blinded with soil and forcing him to stagger around as he tried to wipe it out with clumsy fingers through the eye-holes. Using his free hand, he pointed his wand in the direction in which he thought Rufus was standing and yelled, 'Confringo! Expulso! Crucio!' one right after another without knowing if his aim was even remotely accurate with any certainty.
Stone shattered before Rufus as the first blasting curse hit and then his protego on the second (who was this kid that he was getting through a damned auror's shields?) and before he could vanish the shrapnel completely away, he'd taken razor-sharp shards to the face and chest; robes torn, he discarded them (he wasn't sure why he'd worn them to battle, anyway, they were possibly the least practical battle attire he'd ever seen in his life), and absentmindedly wiped the blood from his sliced jaw onto his sleeve. He saw opportunity as the death eater scrabbled at his eyes and took it, throwing another slicing hex right at his face.
And that was when the crucio hit. Though Barty's attentions were scattered enough that it only just hit him and didn't last, Rufus was startled by the sudden burst of pain. Letting out a bark of shock and anger, he twisted himself away from the line of sight and fell to the ground, catching his breath. Bloody bastard. If that was how he wanted it, Rufus could play the unforgivable game. "CRUCIO!" he snarled, wand lashing out as he dragged himself back to his feet yet again.
Barty had just managed to wipe off as much of the dirt as he could out of his eyes when he had heard the sound of his first two spells hitting their intended target; it was rather encouraging and spurred him on to perhaps give the Killing Curse a go, despite how much effort he still needed to channel enough power into casting it properly. But as he grinned behind his mask and focused on welling up enough anger and hatred to commit murder, he opened himself up for Rufus' Slicing Hex. He quickly broke his concentration to reflect the spell back at Rufus, but he missed and let out a terrified yelp of shock and pain as it cut through his mask and slashed across his face underneath.
The hex had, thank Merlin, missed his eyes, but blood was still leaking into one from the gash and it was distracting enough that it didn't register to him that his Cruciatus Curse had hit -- and then the same spell slammed into him and he was screaming, crying, and writhing on the ground before he was even aware of what had just happened. It wasn't the first time he had experienced the curse himself -- and at Rufus' hand too -- but that didn't temper the agonising pain that ripped through every bone, muscle, and nerve and made him think he was going to die, or that he wanted to do so just so it would end.
He didn't know how long he had spent thrashing around and clawing viciously at the ground and himself as if it would somehow make it stop, but when the curse was lifted, he couldn't move -- couldn't think, couldn't breathe properly behind the damaged mask that had loosened in his throes, couldn't raise his arm to pick up his wand and cast a curse in return without feeling like the bones were shattering and tearing through muscle with the slightest twitch. He wanted to lie there in the grass and close his eyes, but he knew he had to get up and fight back or he would fail the Dark Lord -- and the thought of disappointing Him, of being told he wasn't good enough despite his best efforts like his father would have told him, was absolutely unbearable.
There was a semblance of relief and satisfaction that flooded through Rufus that he didn't particularly like; it didn't speak well to what he'd become that he enjoyed a cruciatus, even if it was against a death eater. It was there, though, that intoxicating sense of power and insidious corruption that smeared over his insides in ugly beckoning. In a flash he wanted to continue, even though his opponent was obviously a young man, even though he was on the ground. Even though his screams had made Rufus's spine tighten in hateful horror. He couldn't use the spell again.
But his willpower was already failing. Rufus couldn't focus on his moral staining right now -- there was the matter of his survival and of Hogwarts' protection. Taking a few quick strides forward to bridge some of the gap between him and the death eater, he levelled his wand at the prone figure, riling all the anger he could to finish the job.
A shock of straw-coloured hair stopped him in his tracks, and he was suddenly frozen. Part of his brain knew in that instant who this was, but the rest of him rejected it, refused to accept or absorb the information. And yet, the will to murder had been drained from him and he heard himself saying "get up."
Barty did not obey the command initially; it was still painful to move, though he had managed to inch his fingers towards his wand and and lightly curl them around it, and thoughts of you have to get up, he's going to kill you if you don't had been racing through his mind as Rufus had walked over, pointed his wand at him and -- stopped? Why hadn't he cast any --
-- and then Barty realised his hood had fallen back. He knew Rufus wasn't an idiot even if he was fighting on the wrong side, and if he hadn't figured it out already, he must have at least entertained the thought that the Death Eater he was fighting was his former department head's son, however unbelievable it hopefully was; and perhaps he could even use that to his advantage, although the first thing he had to do was get rid of the mask that was covering his face -- not only was it uncomfortable, but it was pointless to hide now, and maybe the blood, dirt, and tears could win him some sympathy.
With his free arm, he pulled the mask off his face and dropped it onto the ground with a muffled thud, and then got onto his hands and knees as best he could. 'Please don't kill me,' he sobbed, tears welling up in his eyes again, partly wilful in his attempt to manipulate the other man's emotions, yet mostly -- though he would never admit it, if he even realised it -- out of genuine terror about what would happen next. 'They were going to kill my mother and me just like they murdered my father if I didn't join them and go along with everything. I never wanted to do any of this. Please.'
A lump formed in Rufus's throat as his worst doubts were confirmed, and through it welled up the bitter taste of anger and disgust, which he couldn't seem to swallow back down. Barty Crouch, Jr. He couldn't believe it. He didn't want to believe it. If this hadn't been the middle of a battlefield and the most important fight of his life, he would have willed himself not to believe it. He'd just cruciated his boss's son. His boss's son who was wearing a death eater's mask.
Thrusting out a dirty and calloused hand, Rufus struggled to keep his cool (and a slight tremor in his fingers suggested he was failing) and deal with this rationally, though he didn't know where rationality was meant to enter this hysterically surreal situation. "If that is true, give me your wand." It was a simple enough demand, and if Barty was lying then -- no, he couldn't think about that yet.
That hadn't exactly been what Barty was hoping for Rufus to do, and it certainly complicated things. Under less desperate circumstances, he might have been able to think through a rational plan to get himself out of trouble quickly, but as it was, he was too consumed by anger, frustration, pain, and stomach-churning terror -- I can't fail Him, I don't want to die, this isn't supposed to happen to someone like me -- to do anything but race frantically through incoherent thoughts that didn't get him anywhere. He needed more time.
'W-what are you going t-to do to me?' he breathed shakily, extending his wand-arm out just far enough to feign serious consideration of following Rufus' order, but then seeming too scared and mistrustful about what might happen if he handed over his wand such that he stopped and let his hand falter out of reach. 'This i-isn't a trick just so you can kill a "Death Eater", is it?' A few more tears leaked out, and he wiped them and the blood away with a sniffle.
The hair on the back of Rufus's neck was his only warning, and he struggled to ignore it, keeping a watchful eye on Barty's wand and willing himself to remain calm. He was failing, rapidly, and the tears only made it worse, because here was this kid whom he didn't know whether to feel sorry for or wary of and indecision was not something Rufus took kindly to.
"Barty, give me the damned wand," he barked; the tension was suffocating, and his hand shook harder. "We'll take you into custody until this is over and then decide" if you're lying or not "how to fix this. Give it to me. NOW."
That was it. Barty furiously chastised himself for his failure and seethed at Rufus' refusal to accept his story and tears without question in his head, but he was damned if he was going to hand himself over like a weak-willed traitor who would denounce his Lord to save himself -- he didn't want to die, especially not when he was still so young and had so much more to do for the Cause, and he couldn't even begin to imagine how his mother would feel losing both him and his father in less than a year; but given the choice, he knew he would rather go down fighting as one of the Dark Lord's most faithful servants to the very end than betray him in a fit of cowardice and self-interest.
'Yes, sir,' he muttered, looking down, but keeping his eyes trained on Rufus as he slowly got to his feet and stepped forward. There was tension coursing through every muscle in his body down to the fingers wrapped tightly around his wand -- this wasn't like fighting some of the others who would never use the Unforgivable Curses, so he had to hit hard and fast. 'I'm sorry I -- DEPRIMO!'
A sigh of relief barely had time to escape Rufus's lungs before the shift in Barty's expression registered, and Rufus had to throw himself sideways to avoid the sudden rush of magic shooting towards him. He was caught in the arm, and a roar of anger escaped him before he met dirt and grass facefirst.
There was no time for pain -- he had to accept that this little bastard of a boy was a traitor and very likely not operating under an imperius, as he'd hoped.
"You little fuck," he growled, all the rage of Barty Senior's death and the treachery of his only son hitting him at once. His wand was out again and he was snarling out every spell, mind too shot to focus on nonverbals. "CONFRINGO! CRUCIO! DEPULSO!" -- this last was borne from a sudden memory of this area of Hogwarts. There were sandpits here, and while he'd narrowly avoided landing headfirst into one, there was one directly behind the boy. No more mercy.
Barty's stomach twisted itself into a leaden knot as Rufus had dodged his spell, despite the relatively close quarters in which they had been standing until now. That was not what was supposed to happen, not when he had been so careful as to wait until the exact moment in which he had thought it would be near-foolproof to act.
But he didn't have time to fume over his failure as Rufus shot a volley of spells at him. He had to stumble out of the Blasting Curse's way before clumsily arcing his wand and shouting, 'Protego horribilis!' in an attempt to stop the Cruciatus Curse from hitting him a second time. The shield took the brunt of the dark magic, but it was still too weak and quickly cast not to shatter when the red light crashed into it, and the force of that knocked him back a few steps before the Depulso threw him back into what felt like a pit of sand. It wasn't the worst thing to land in and it softened the fall, but to his horror, he found that his legs were stuck up to the knees in the dirt.
He pointed his wand at Rufus and fired a Finger-Removing Jinx at him, followed by his own Blasting and Reductor Curses. 'Do you want to know what happened to my father the day the Dark Lord took over the Ministry?' he shouted once the spells were cast, sounding more desperate than taunting and hoping it would provide a distraction as he tried to pull out his legs.
Magic erupted around him, throwing up more earth, shattering his shields, and it wasn't until there was the briefest of interims that Rufus was sure he was even still alive. His left arm was taking the brunt of this abuse, and he realised with a shock that through the pain and blood and what he was sure was now broken bone, he'd been divested of several fingers without even noticing. He cast the quickest clotting spell he could on the ravaged stumps, knowing that he couldn't waste time on a worthless limb when this death eater -- this boy -- was hitting him harder than he could believe. This was Crouch's prized son. His talented protege. It was sinking in finally that it wasn't the head of the department who had been this child's mentor, it had been someone far more evil.
"Aguamenti" was Rufus's only response, and it was directed not at Barty but at the quicksand that pulled at him. The water would be soaked up and moisten the dirt further, and with any luck the boy would be up to his tits in it -- literally.
Barty had thrown up his arm and snarled, 'Protego!' to create another shield with which to protect himself as he had continued to fight his way out of the sand-pit, and he nearly laughed when Rufus' spell was only a jet of seemingly harmless water -- but then he realised it hadn't been for him, but the sand that was now quickly turning into mud and pulling him in deeper. In his panic, he reached forward and tore at the grass around him in an attempt to pull himself out, but the more he struggled, the higher the level of quick-sand climbed. Giving up for a moment, he aimed his wand back at Rufus and shouted, 'Confringo! Confundo!' -- he now had an idea of how to get out, but again, he needed more time.
Rufus had just opened his mouth to try and give the boy another chance at a reprieve, but he was quickly realising that there would be no happy ending here. There would be no redemption, no last-minute epiphanies -- it was just him and a murderous death eater. For a moment, he was quietly thankful that Crouch Senior had died before seeing the monstrosity he'd bred, and just as quickly he tried to take back the thought, regret and anger seeping over him yet again.
Shield spell after shield spell erupted in front of him, forcing him to step backwards lest he lose any more bits of himself to Barty's power trip, and then, in a moment of decision, he lashed back.
"OSSISVERSO." No barrage of spells, nothing particularly noxious -- just one, painful, angry spell that he held as long as he was able. Rufus was done. He was tired. He wanted this to be over, though he was not sure how precisely it would end. Just give up, he prayed furiously.
Once he had fired off his pair of spells, Barty had quickly stabbed his wand downwards and muttered, 'Glacius! Reducto!' to freeze the quicksand as best as he could and blast it apart -- it hadn't been perfect in his panic and haste, but it had been good enough to shatter the frozen sludge into icy shards. Trying to ignore the pain in his legs from the force of the Reductor Curse and how the shrapnel had cut his arms, he had dragged himself out of the pit and was halfway through an attempt to Transfigure the ice into glass when the Bone-Twisting Curse violently interrupted his efforts and smashed into his leg. He couldn't stop himself from screaming and crying again as the bones writhed and contorted in ways that would have been physically impossible otherwise, and as much as he kept trying to focus hard enough to Oppugno the Transfigured glass, his concentration broke completely when he heard and felt his leg snapping and splintering in an explosion of pain.
Barty's efforts weren't entirely in vain, however, as Rufus realised when one of the bits of glass managed to find its way out of the slushy, muddy mess and into his cheek. A sharp noise of anger was enough to break his concentration, rendering the curse complete and his attentions divided. The spell had done its job, however, and even Rufus winced as the leg writhed and cracked; but this momentary sympathy was replaced quickly with determination, and he strode forward quickly, wand out, and added a slicing hex to Barty's woes. He should just cast the killing curse. Now. Just do it.
"Well? Tell me about your father, then. And if you even think of moving that wand you'll have an Avada up your arse, son." Rufus was breathing heavily as blood leaked from his arm, but his eyes were firmly affixed on Barty's wand. He wasn't getting played twice in one day.
Sharp, excruciating pain had still stabbed through Barty's entire leg even after the bones had stopped twisting, snapping, and twisting again, and he had wanted to vomit into the grass after he had tried to stand up, only to gasp and collapse back onto the ground as his now useless leg shattered under his weight. The Slicing Hex tore open his side as blood seeped through his clothes and he started sobbing again -- this time completely for real, with honest tears of anger and terror -- as Rufus had approached and asked his question.
'What happened to him when he died. I know who did it. I saw it for myself.' He looked pale and petrified, and he had never wanted his mother to be there to comfort him as badly as he did now; but there was an edge of defiance in his tone and the slight upward tilt of his chin -- the part of him that knew the Dark Lord would reward his faith and save him, or if He would not because of a greater plan he could not know, then at least take pride in his refusal to renounce Him.
Rufus's sympathies were quashed, forcefully, and he refused to help, to offer comfort, or to tell the boy it would be okay. It wouldn't be okay, he was up to his eyes in this bullshit, and Rufus wasn't about to make excuses for him. So he knew what happened to Crouch. He must have known who the fuck sent him a head in the post, then. Part of him knew already, but he didn't have the force of thought right now to accept or listen to the small parts of his brain piecing things together -- everything together. He was focused on the here and now and the physical and whether or not Barty was going to make any motion for his wand, because so help him --
"Well?" He said brusquely, coldly, wanting to believe these tears were fake so that he didn't feel like a total bastard for making a kid cry. He knew better. And he could recognise anger, even when it was hidden beneath sobs of fear.
This was one of those times in which Barty really wished he could do wand-less magic so that he could summon his wand and finish off Rufus with the Killing Curse -- he was certainly hateful and desperate enough to be able to cast it right now -- while the man was waiting for him to give an answer. The knots twisting in his stomach, the way the blood in his head pounded and the muscles of his arm tensed, ready to pounce in an instant -- he took a few deep, panting breaths before speaking, although whether they were to clear his mind or prolong the inevitable moment in which he had to act was debatable given his mixed emotions.
'That package you got after the Ministry fell? I don't regret it,' he snarled, looking and sounding madder and more irrational in his desperation, fear, and anger than he would have liked, but getting caught up in the moment; this was it. 'The Dark Lord is more of a father to me than he ever was. And now He's going to reward me for my faith in Him.' No sooner had he finished speaking, his hand lashed out for his wand with the intent to finish this, or at least try his damn hardest.
And Barty spoke the words Rufus had been waiting to hear for a long time, but he could scarcely contemplate the real implication of his words. Barty had killed his father. He'd chopped off his head. And he'd posted it. And the Dark Lord was his father now? His mind spun and then all he was aware of was the movement of a death eater and the slash of his wand as he cast something so hard and so fast he barely remembered deciding what to use.
A slicing hex. Plain. Simple. And, in this proximity, surprisingly effective.
Barty had barely begun the incantation for the Killing Curse when he was cut off -- quite literally, as Rufus' Slicing Hex slashed open his throat more deeply and forcefully than the same spells had earlier given the closeness between them this time. It barely registered to him as he collapsed backwards and dropped his wand, eyes wide open in shock, that the gash had sliced far enough into his neck to sever the major veins and arteries on the sides and his blood was gushing and spurting out all over himself and the ground. With only seconds left, he barely mouthed something that could very well have been I don't want my mother to know had he been able to speak and think.
Then there was nothing, and if he still had a soul left, it was gone.
Rufus & Seraphina
Killing Crouch's son had perhaps been the worst thing Rufus had had to do yet today, and not because he felt especially sorry for the boy (at least, not right now, when the little bastard had tried very hard to kill him in his mercy), but because it seemed wrong to destroy the one thing Bartemius Crouch Sr had ever really had any pride in. Rufus had killed before and before the day was over he probably would have to kill again -- but that didn't make it any more pleasant. His insides hurt. His face hurt, and he raised a hand to touch the almost forgotten wounds there. He'd been patched up enough by the roaming healers to keep going, but he had a feeling tomorrow -- assuming he saw tomorrow -- was going to hurt like the Dickens.
It was with this thought that he turned to find someone else to help -- and the nausea from Barty was stricken utterly from his mind. Josephine Savage had just gone down in a mess of blood. A mess too ugly to heal. Jo. One of his favourite aurors. One of his few friends. Rufus's mind was numb and silent as he watched Aloysius go to the ground to comfort her, as he watched crimson blossom out over her clothes.
Something in him snapped, and he wheeled upon the perpetrator -- Gaius fucking Travers. As if kidnapping her hadn't been enough. As if torturing her and brainwashing her hadn't been enough. Now he'd killed her.
A flash of malice and rage drove Rufus's wand out, and the first spell that came to his mind was the very curse that had killed Josephine. SECTUMSEMPRA; but in his blind fury, it was not Gaius that he hit, but the girl behind him. Startled, Rufus took a few steps backward, wand trained on Gaius and trying to will himself to kill the bastard.
Seraphina's eyes had been trained in horror on the scene unfolding in front of her -- that woman was going to die because of what her brother had done to her. She'd never seen anything quite so terrible in her life, though some of Lavinia's attempts at cooking had seemed nearly as bad at the time. Likewise, she'd seen Gaius do terrible things before -- he'd tortured their own father and though she hadn't seen it, she'd had to listen to the entire thing taking place the level below her. In that moment, she was almost fearful of him and took several steps backward to distance herself from the bloodied woman and her friend -- and more importantly, Gaius.
But those several steps backwards proved her undoing. She had neither seen nor heard Rufus's spell coming toward her, but she felt the heat of it as soon as it was near to her. Rather than duck or run or somehow try to protect herself, she instinctively turned into it, facing the curse directly in a moment of confusion and curiosity. And her efforts were rewarded with a burning sensation in her chest as she was thrown backward into the dirt with a scream. Like Jo, blood began to quickly spread over her chest and the pain was unlike anything Seraphina had ever imagined.
Another scream. And then tears -- terrified, confused, agonized tears. She didn't immediately recognize the curse as the same one her brother had used on the Auror, but as soon as the red blooming across her dress began edging into the corners of her vision, she knew that whatever it was, it could not be good.
"Gaius," she screamed again to get his attention, but he was already on his way to her. In his panic, he barely looked up to see who had delivered the curse that was clearly killing his sister. He could not be bothered to retaliate when his own blood was as good as being spilled across the front of her dress.
In a numb, confused sort of motion, Rufus took a step backwards as Gaius turned his attention away. He couldn't shoot a man in the back when he was tending to his (wife? fiancée? sister? he didn't know). He should have gone to Jo as she was dying and uttered some word of comfort, but his thoughts were erratic, guilty. These women were here as healers, and very few had actually tried to involve themselves in the fight. They didn't deserve to die, no matter how deeply ingrained their bigoted, hateful beliefs were.
He turned, the battle reconsidered dumbly, and he began to walk away from this death and reconciliation, almost mechanically. The castle. He saw Moody. He should go there. Now.
The breath that Gaius had been taking was snatched from his throat when he first saw his her lying in the dirt and the first thing he did when he knelt beside her was to adjust her skirts, which had been pushed further up her thigh by the fall than was polite. Even in death -- especially in death -- he would not let her modesty and propriety be dishonored.
She took a fistful of his sleeve once he was close enough and looked up at him with wide, pleading eyes. He had to be able to fix this -- she had relied on him for practically everything since she was a little girl and their mother had died and even now, she could not fathom that there was anything that he could not take care of for her. He had to know what to do. He had to be able to stop this.
"Help me," she begged, pulling harder on his sleeve as he leaned over her. Her breaths were already becoming shallow, her mouth and nose drowning in the scent and taste of copper as red blurred her vision. "Please, Gaius. Do something."
And he did not know how to bring himself to tell her that there was nothing he could do. He only impersonated a Healer on occasion -- he did not actually know how to fix a wound so severe. She was dying and he knew it, but he did not have the heart to share the information. In the meantime, he would stay with her -- he would bear the burden of this memory for her.
But Gaius had always underestimated the amount of information to which his sisters were privy. Seraphina may not have been familiar with this curse or its effects, but she knew that the taste of blood was not normal or the speed at which it was soaking her. And still, she allowed herself to take comfort in the touch as Gaius pulled her into his chest. She took great pride in the fact that he was allowing her, in her condition, to dirty the front of his robes. And if that had not given the way the severity of her injuries, the proximity in itself would have.
She closed her eyes as Gaius reached forward to push the hair away from her face, already matted with blood. It took a great deal of strength to open them again, but this, she took pride in. His attention -- solely on her. It was regrettable that it took death to bring them here, but nonetheless, it was something to which her sister could never lay claim.
And now, Gaius was only as gentle with her as she had seen him before with Lavinia. She knew what they said about her -- that she was dull, severe, detached. And perhaps she was, but in the few moments she had left, she preferred to think of herself as having simply bidding her time. If only their sister were here to see it -- her victory. If her mother could see her now -- proud would not be the right word to describe what she might feel, but jealous was all she needed.
While Gaius held her, he could feel the warmth of her blood spilling out over him, but he resisted the urge to push her away -- to place her back on the ground to die the way so many of the others had. But she was his sister and this small amount of compassion was the least he could show her. And for it, he was rewarded as only he could appreciate a reward -- she was quiet, at last, and finally resigned to her fate, though it was certainly a different one than either of them had expected. In spite of the tears that he felt compelled to cry, they were finally at peace, her resentment drained with the blood pooling between them.
Even as she lifted her hand, slick with red, to his cheek, he thought nothing of it. Her blood was as good as his -- it was the same. And even as she strained herself to reach him, he thought nothing of it, though the effort took from her what little life she had left. Her lips, already cold, but stained with the warmth of blood left only the metallic taste of copper on his. Her final breaths against his cheek, dulling the hot sting of tears, were the last she had to give.
When it was over, she was free. The tears that fell against her neck as he clung to her like some one unresigned might cling to life meant nothing to her. But in those final moments, she was his equal and he would not forget it.