?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Recent Entries Friends Archive Profile Tags Memories
 
 
 
 
 
 
I got my mob scene in my eyes
You can ignore the voices of the people,
This is the beginning.

They say no consequence.
This is the beginning of the end.
Monday, June 11 :: Morning



"This is to be a precision operation. Secure the area, retrieve Lestrange and bring her back to Azkaban for interrogation."

Scrimgeour steepled his hands and looked across his desk at the hand-picked group of Aurors listening attentively to every one of his words.

Kingsley Shacklebolt wasn't among them. The Minister had wanted disciplined, obedient officers on this mission, and while he respected the Head of the Auror Office, Scrimgeour didn't trust Shacklebolt to see what was best in this case.

For instance, Kingsley would probably think it necessary to inform the Hogsmeade office of what was about to go down in their town, and that couldn't be allowed.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Feh. Class, at my age. I’m too damn old to be taking classes. Greg frowned, letting out an annoyed and frustrated sigh as he turned the page. The test was going to be in three days and it had been years since he had taken a written test. The words began to swim in the sunlight and he tucked the book in his pocket.

A cracking sound drew his eyes and ears up to the building before him. In the window he saw figures flash by the window of the rooms occupied by Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange. He blinked as he listened to the noises. After the initial crack there was some dull thuds and scraping sounds slowly dying down.

He saw a movement out of the corner of his eye. Turning his head he saw Bellatrix turning the corner heading towards the building. She was still around the corner and out of view from the sounds inside.

It could be anyone up there. From opportunistic and talented robbers to vigilantes to Aurors. He thought as he started walking towards Bellatrix to intercept her, No matter who it is, I need to get her away from here. A place where there are few civilians. What place would be mostly abandoned at this time of day?

“Hello Mrs Lestrange. May I escourt you to the Phoenix?” Greg said. There was a smashing sound and voices from behind him. It caused Greg to add, “Please.”
The Quintaped bileducts and other particularly volatile potions ingredients Bellatrix had gone to some small trouble to arrange to be delivered this afternoon had to be secured before Narcissa returned home; the smell of them upset her stomach in her condition.

She had neither the time nor the inclination to indulge the whims of Draco's friend.

"I've no desire to go anywhere with you, Mr. Goyle," Bellatrix sneered.
Greg stepped closer to her to make certain they weren't overheard. "Mrs Lestrange, those noises are coming from your home. I don't know who is up there but I know there are a lot of them. While I don't doubt that you could take care of yourself, I think your sister might be unhappy at the state it would leave the drapes. If we go to the Phoenix, you can track them later and deal with the situation in a far more creative and subtle way."
Bellatrix gripped her wand and moved back to get a clean angle of sight to the top of the building.

Draco owned it.

In her mind, that made it perfectly acceptable to undermine its foundations and bring the entire heap down upon whoever invaded her sanctuary ... but that would upset Narcissa.

If whoever was up there was worth troubling herself with, they'd be watching even now. Regrouping in order to attack was in order, loathe as she was to admit that Goyle was correct.

A hiss of displeasure escaped from between her clenched teeth. She nodded and scanned the rooftops before announcing,

"Very well. To the Phoenix for now. And soon ... they will burn."
Greg gave Bellatrix a small bow and pulled out his wand. "Ladies first for apparation?" Greg asked politely
A cruel smile twisted the corner of Bellatrix' mouth. For all those watching knew, she could be Apparating to London or the Malfoy Manor, and from there to undiscoverable safety.

Such was not Bellatrix Lestrange's modus operandi.

Finding the limits of their defenses shouldn't take long.

"Quickly, before they charm the area." With a distinctive popping sound, Bellatrix disappeared.
If I get there and I discover that she is not there, I'm going to find Draco. That was Greg's last thought. The next moment he was apparating just outside the Phoenix. To his relief Bellatrix Lestrange was there waiting for him.

He straighted out his robe a bit befoer offering Bellatrix his arm to escourt her inside. "What would be your pleasure this morning. For food that is."
Strategies presented themselves to Bellatrix' mind and were disgarded. She spared not a moment's thought to either of Goyle's offers; she needed no man's arm, and the only food she was after today were the sweet cries of pain from those who'd violated their home.

"Find Draco. Warn my sister."

The mirrors in the flat could be used to see who precisely it was she was dealing with, if only she could find an unenchanted mirror to establish the link.

The school would have restrooms; Bellatrix was about to stalk into the Phoenix and appropriate one when a witch powdering her nose while she walked came along.

Bellatrix' wand flicked toward the woman's compact and it was Summoned into her hand. Vanity was to be discouraged in the plebian masses; the trull would never miss it. One glance was enough to convince the woman to agree.
Greg nodded and bowed to Bellatrix. He immediately turned and ducked into a blind alley. Now was a perfect time for him to do his class mandated home 'practice' of turning into his Animagus. He wasn't a fighter and should get out of the way but that was no reason he couldn't circle the Phoenix and watch what happened.
The white-faced young witch stumbling into the station hadn't been very coherent, and Wilson had taken one glance at the situation and turned right around to hide out in the back rooms.

It hadn't taken Tonks very long to coax the words "Bellatrix" and "Phoenix" out of the woman once she'd been given a Calming Draught.

Tonks ordered Wilson to come out of hiding and stay with the witch. She grabbed her broom, nearly tripping in her rush, and made haste for the school.

My sodding aunt. Right in the middle of the bloody street, where she can get to the entire damn village.

Calm down, focus.

...

There she is.

Let's see how much I've learned since the Department of Mysteries.
Shapes clad in Auror robes moved about the flat, quick flashes of red occasionaly visible from the only mirror Bellatrix had been able to gain contact with. The obvious, grand mirrors in most rooms had been blocked by defensive spells, but the mirror lining the back of the china cabinet had been overlooked.

Little else had, apparently — Bellatrix hissed commands into the mirror and nothing happened. No fire blossomed, no shrieks of pain. They were ready for her; if she'd been allowed to walk into their trap the struggle would have been short indeed.

Aware at every moment that the Aurors would have had someone looking out for her, Lestrange hurled curse after curse at the mirror — until a Sealant Charm seemed to work. With a vicious snarl, Bellatrix uttered a curse that would change the composition of the air in the flat.

It wasn't immediately deadly — the defensive wards prevented the seal from blocking the flat off completely — but everyone inside would be gasping and unconscious within moments.

Bellatrix saw a robed figure fall and smiled.

Now to deal with the Auror stationed outside, who would be distracted by trying to save his pitiful colleagues. She could pick him off, then ... admonish the rest of them at her leisure once things were secure once more.

She closed the stolen compact with a snap and was selecting which of the buildings neighboring the flat to begin her hunt from when it became unnecessary.

The half-blood freak had come to play.

A shower of white-hot sparks erupted from the tip of Bellatrix' wand and enveloped Tonks.
Priorities, in order:

• Protect the populace.
• Secure the crazy lady.
• Don't end up dead yourself.


Tonks had leaned forward to be almost parallel with her broom as it increased in speed toward Bellatrix. Her eyes were fixed on her aunt, and when the spell came hurtling toward her she had just enough time to spin away and pull up a Shielding Charm to block.

What the hell is going on?

She alit on the ground and shot off a quick Expelliarmus, not expecting it to succeed so much as to give her time to scan the sidewalks and see how deep of a pit of Acromantulas they were in.

"So, who pulled your chain, Auntie?"
Out for her morning run, Anne had been paying closer attention to the birds in the trees, hoping to be able to avoid one of the gifts they chose to release at odd moments, so perhaps it was excusable she hadn't seen the action on the far corner. She missed the spells being thrown and only saw her new friend, Tonks.

Smiling, Anne turned and started jogging toward her. The fact she had to pass an older witch with dark hair didn't phase her, but then again - Anne had never seen Bellatrix Lestrange in action or she would have run quite a bit faster in the opposite direction.

"Tonks!" Anne hollered while smiling and waving. "I haven't seen you in ages. Out for a bit of exercise?"
Severus snarled, slamming his hand down on the desk of the unfortunate student who had let his attention wander one too many times during the morning lesson.

"What is so enthralling outside that you feel the need to ignore my question, Mister Smythe?"

The student began to stutter a reply, but Severus had already followed his line of sight and seen for himself what had caught the other man's attention.

Bellatrix Lestrange.

Fuck.

"I realize it's summer, and the last place most of you want to be is in class, but that does not give any of you an excuse not to pay attention. I want five hundred words on the Thief's Curse, and how to counteract the effects. You have until the end of this class period. Begin!"

He swept out of the room; in no hurry until he'd reached the hall and the door had closed behind him, then Severus stopped another student and demanded that the girl find Potter and request that the head of the school meet him in front of the building immediately.

Seconds later, Severus was stepping out into the sun light. And within Bellatrix's sight.

As always when dealing with the crazy woman, Severus knew exactly where his wand was and was prepared to have it in hand the second she even looked at him oddly.

"Mrs. Lestrange."
In the middle of explaining why it wasn't practical to have a defensive ward around your person at all times, which any idiot should have realized, Harry's words were cut short when a female opened his classroom door with a bang. Eye's narrowed, Harry's wand lowered when it became obvious the girl wasn't a threat. Stuttering slightly, she gave him Snape's message.

Why the fuck would... was all the farther his actual thoughts took him before his feet were moving toward the door.

"All of you - including you," he pointed toward the girl. "Sit down and read chapters six through ten. There'll be a test on everything when I get back."

When she protested she wasn't in any of his classes, the look Harry shot her made her take a seat quietly.

"No one is to leave this classroom unless it's falling down around your ears! Clear?" Harry asked before slamming the door behind him and throwing a locking spell on it.

There would be only one reason for Snape to send a message - it was going to happen now. He couldn't do much about the other classes in session - or Doris for that matter - but the ones currently in his room would stay there.

Sprinting down the hall, he glanced around and didn't see anyone else, so hopefully whatever was going on - hadn't been noticed by anyone but Snape. Peering through the glass of the front doors, he stopped and readjusted his wand before opening the door and seeing Snape's back.

To quote Draco - "Fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck."

Close enough.


He spotted Tonks right away of course and blew a bit of air out of his mouth. Moving toward Snape, but at an angle, Harry ended up a ways away from Bellatrix.

More targets far apart - better chances at survival for at least one of us to get the job done.

"Snape, Tonks, Mrs. Lestrange."
The presence of Auror Tonks meant that Lestrange's time as a free witch was quickly drawing to a close, although Severus had expected there to be more Aurors involved in the containment phase. His eyes narrowed as he surveyed the scene, and he realized there was something very definitely off about this capture attempt.

Something we can use to our advantage?

Even though the preparations had been made for Bellatrix to suddenly and tragically "take her own life" once she'd been detained - but before the questioning could begin, he'd been very precise with those instructions - there was nothing wrong with a little improvisation now and then if it would better serve the greater purpose.

Until the chit blundered into the middle of the battlefield, yelling at Tonks.

"This will not end well, mark my words," he spoke low and for Potter's benefit only.
"Did you think your trap would catch me, little half-blood?" Bellatrix sneered. "Aurors are so predictable."

Potter and Snape were less so, however, and a prickle of unease crawled up the back of her neck. Were they joining as allies, or enemies? For all the insinuations of "Dark Lordship," Potter had not done one thing so far to advance the Pure Blood cause — and Snape of course was Snape. She couldn't trust them to act in anything but their own self-interest, whatever that might be.

Her niece, however, had all of an Auror's insufferable do-goodedness plus a wealth of fear and guilt from past encounters and family history for Bellatrix to leverage. The witch was the obvious weak spot among those who had gathered.

She hurled a bolt of red light toward Tonks and was about to follow it up with a quick secondary attack that might slip between the Auror's blocking spell when a completely unknown quantity entered the fray.

Bellatrix didn't recognize the dark-haired witch, but from the slight change of colour in her niece's face, she did.

"Petrificus Totalus!"

She stepped forward to use the intruder as a shield, trailing the tip of her wand along Anne's neck, ready to strike. The fingers of her other hand entwined in the witch's hair, to caress and soothe her prey.

"So many could come out to play today." Bellatrix angled a glance at Snape, then Harry. "Have I made someone ... angry?" Her pleasure at that thought was evident through her tone.
Crowd-control spells were tricky things, especially when you were dodging the occasional Cruciatus Curse. The pavements were open in three directions, and there was a school full of potential victims right there that needed to be protected. Tonks might still have pulled it off, sealing off the area before anyone could stumble in — which was a signal on how far they'd come in a few short years; once a battle between a Death Eater and an Auror would have had everyone running away as quickly as they possibly could, but now that bit of sense had faded away.

Snape had shown up, and considering Tonks could use the help, she'd lessened the wards to allow him to approach, and then Harry, which was also fine, hooray for the old Order ... but then Anne had come along before Tonks could ward the area off completely.

An obscenity died on Tonks' lips and all other distractions — such as puzzling over what trap Lestrange was referring to — fell away.

From this angle she couldn't do much without jeopardizing Anne.

Moody had always said not to taunt your opponents; you lost a bit of your focus while thinking of something "witty" to say and simply facing a silent opponent could be unnerving — but now there was a hostage to worry about. Bellatrix' attention had to be directed away from Anne and onto those who could handle it.

"Well, I know mum for one's always been kinda disappointed in you, but I don't know if you qualify for making her angry."

Great. Lame and sort of nonsensical. ... As long as it works.
In all honesty, Severus didn't care one bit if the idiot in Lestrange's clutches ended up hurt or worse, but there were several bystanders who would gleefully spread the word of his indifference and obvious evilness to whomever would listen, thereby ruining several years worth of hard work playing nice and kissing the Ministry's arse.

Why didn't I owl in dead today?

Severus let his wand drop into his hand, and shifted his weight to better dodge anything the witch may choose to throw his way.

"Ladies, I'm sure you could have found a better place to work through your petty family squabbles than in front of Mister Potter's business, in plain view of all." His tone held a bit of a reprimand for them both.

He was hoping to draw Lestrange's attention away from her hostage and toward him, hoping to use Bellatrix's hatred for his involvement in the fall of her precious "Dark Lord" to make her give up her current advantage.

"How very Muggle of you."
Knowing better than to say anything, Harry started moving quietly. He didn't know the witch taken hostage and she wasn't first on his list of concerns. Snape had Bellatrix's full attention and if any of them were going to live to see tomorrow - he wasn't about to draw attention to himself while there was an advantage to be gained over the insane witch. Crossfire was a concern, but he trusted Tonks and Snape to take that into account as well.
The drawback of the Body-Bind Curse was that you couldn't feel the person trembling. It truly cut back on Bellatrix' enjoyment as she whispered into Anne's ear.

"They're trying to bait me, Poppet. I think they should be punished for that, don't you?"

A dark fire smouldered and grew within Bellatrix, and she began to nibble on the tender flesh of the witch's earlobe while she pondered: The Metamorphagus, the Traitor, or the Pretender to the Throne?

It didn't take her long to pick what she truly wanted, whose suffering would bring her the most joy and who could prove the least useful after all this was finished. Her teeth snapped shut as the decision was made, and the coppery taste of Anne's blood filled Bellatrix' mouth as she hurled a flash of gold-green light toward Snape.

The Ossifragus Vitrium Curse only caught half of the wizard's body — having to reach around Anne impaired her aim, and Snape blocked a portion of the spell — but it was enough. Bellatrix gleefully sent Bludgeoning Hexes to pummel the man's limbs, grinding and splintering the bones that had been turned to glass within.
There was a fair chance that Severus was going to pass out.

He gritted his teeth, and forced as much of the pain out of his mind as he could even as he fell to the ground. There was no time to consider how much damage she had done, to wonder if the Healers at St. Mungos would be able to repair the splintered bones, to think of what might happen to him if they could not.

There was only white hot rage focused on the witch before him. Nothing else mattered, nothing else even existed as he raised his wand with trembling fingers and the killing curse began to slip past his lips - "Avada K-"

Then Bellatrix's cruel face, made all the more hideous in her apparent joy at seeing him cut short by another volley of spells, swam out of focus and Severus began to cough up dark, red-black blood as a shattered rib punctured something vital inside.

This was not how he had wanted to die.

He lifted his head to look at her once more and saw Potter behind the madwoman, wand raised and ready.

Severus managed to choke out a laugh, "You always were a fool, Bella."

That was better, at least he would die with a taunt on his lips.
It wasn't supposed to happen this way. Snape was not supposed to be on the ground spitting up blood and looking like he was going to die. And he shouldn't have been feeling anything but glee about that possibility, but unbelievably - Harry found he was angry - furious in fact. Furious she had hurt someone who mattered to him. Fuck. Everything seemed to be slowing down. Tonks was moving - toward Bellatrix - but not to flank and Harry realized the Auror was concerned about the hostage.

Nice sentiment - but no time, Tonks, Harry thought as his arm finished descending, aimed at Bellatrix's back. Another man might find it dishonorable to take down an opponent from the rear, especially since he was putting the hostage in danger, but this particular opponent would have no compunctions about doing the same and he didn't hesitate in the slightest.

"Avada Kedavra!" was spoken and the green of Harry's eyes was matched once again by the spell from his wand.

The hostage had been pulled or spelled away from Bellatrix by Tonks - hopefully far enough. If not - it was the price of war after all, wasn't it?
All emotion, every bit of panic and disgust, was walled off behind the Auror training which kicked in as if she'd never left the force.

Hostage injured.

Take the right, close in, distract the perp.

Man down — move move move!


A flurry of motion, an arm stretching inhumanly to grab Anne, the other directing a volley of curses at her aunt. Hogsmeade was her town and no one was going to be dying on its streets. A snarl from Bellatrix. Twisting so that she could be the target, not Anne. Too slow with the Shield, too damn slow, the same flash of blue light from the Department of Mysteries. Anne going limp — the body-bind broken.

Avada Kedavra.

Tonks shot one glance over her shoulder, to confirm that the green glow she'd seen out of the corner of her eye had done its job. No remorse, even if there'd been time for that. Lestrange wasn't family.

Nor was she alive, any more; Bellatrix had gone to join her maniacal husband at last.

Breathe. Focus.

Tonks could see tendrils of a black bruise edged with blue spreading down Anne's arm and up her neck, the effects of the final curse Bellatrix had managed to cast, the one she hadn't been able to shield Anne from. Tonks knew full well what that particular spell of her aunt's felt like.

Healers. Battlefield triage.

Her amplified voice rang through the school's hallways; Tonks hoped the Phoenix' administrator would prove as steady in a crisis as she seemed.

"Doris — get Healers from St. Mungo's here, stat! Shacklebolt as well."

The Sonorus no longer needed, Tonks knelt by Anne. Her first aid wasn't a patch on what the trained wizards from the hospital could do, but it would see her through until they got here. "You're going to be fine. The Healers are coming and you're going to be fine." It wasn't something said to reassure — that was an order, and Tonks didn't care if the woman was conscious to hear it or not.

She looked up to where Harry stood, doing what he could for Snape.

"So will he," Tonks said firmly. She wasn't going to allow things to be otherwise. "How about you?"
Other than being utterly terrified and in far worse pain than she'd ever believed possible, Anne was - utterly terrified and didn't mind admitting it. Sitting up a little she glanced over at the woman who had done the terrifying. A heap on the ground. A woman who apparently hadn't been concerned about who she killed or how.

"Tonks? What the - who - Oh, gods," she said while meeting Tonks' eyes. "I'm sorry - but I'm going to be a silly bugger and faint aren't I?" was whispered quietly before she did just that.
He'd heard Tonks' instructions to Doris and while that was all well and good - he didn't intend to let Snape die just to spite him after all this time. If anyone was going to end up killing the other man - it was going to be Harry. Sending a binding charm in Bellatrix's direction as a precaution, he hurried over to the fallen wizard.

Snape mumbled something in his direction about looking after Ginny before he appeared to lose consciousness.

"That's a given," Harry muttered back before checking the pulse in the other man's neck. Harry was relieved to find one. He didn't notice the blood he stood in other than to mentally curse Bellatrix one more time. A strong stasis charm was cast as he didn't know exactly how much of Snape's body had been affected by her curse and didn't want to take the chance of doing any more damage, but he was damned if he stand there and let the man bleed to death.

When the healers showed up, he made sure they understood exactly what had been done to Snape. When he was asked to stand aside, he shot the male healer a glare.

"I don't think so. I don't know you and I'm taking no chances that my friend here will end up not receiving the care he needs in order to survive. If he dies - you will answer to me first."
Trusting that Potter knew what he was doing with Snape, Tonks had concentrated on her patient during the seemingly interminable wait for the Healers, stopping the spread of the spell damage and murmuring comforting words to the unconscious Anne.

She'd stood back without delay to give the professionals plenty of room when they'd shown up, and was irritated that Harry didn't seem to have the good sense to do the same no matter how concerned he was. It wasn't like this was the first battle for anyone here still standing.

"Standing here throwing your weight around isn't helping anyone but yourself, Harry. Less ego, more first aid."
He forgave her - barely. She hadn't been there when the Aurors had wanted to haul Snape and Draco off after Riddle had died with no concern for any injuries they might have received. Perhaps she didn't realize not everyone remembered the things Snape had done for the "good guys" and would rejoice if things accidentally happened to hasten his demise.

"No ego, Tonks. They'll have plenty of room to work," Harry said while turning his attention back to the male healer. "I merely want it clearly understood there's no room for - accidents. He would do the same."

Maybe.

Glancing over at Bellatrix, he asked, "What the hell happened? Where was your back-up? Kingsley didn't expect you to handle her all on your own did he?"
Luckily, Tonks was unaware that the Healers were being condemned for those Aurors' inability to immediately, in the confusion of a battle's aftermath, penetrate the cover story Snape and Draco had so painstakingly constructed and worked to make believable.

And while there were embittered and dangerous people out there to worry about, Tonks knew that most people — the ones not so close, so damaged by the war — had simply moved on by now, hard as it must be to believe. Healthy caution was one thing, but paranoia could ruin lives.

She did figure that Snape would probably agree with Harry's assessment of the situation, though, and definitely sign off on the slightly belligerent undertone, and so let it go. There were more important things to worry about — the initial burst was over, which left the majority of the work to be done still ahead. The media to be kept away, the scene to be processed. The path of every spell cast recorded and verified for the Wizengamot to look over.

The body to be removed.

The families to be notified.

The Healers would notify Ginny, probably, and Anne's family, but someone would have to be told to tell Charlie. And Bill, Tonks realized with a pang, so he could be there for his brother and sister. The members of the Black family had certainly done no favours for the Weasleys today, and it would be hours before she'd be free to go apologize for that.

Where is Kingsley and the rest of them?

Tonks opened her mouth to respond to Harry when one of the Healers spoke up, handing over Snape's wand for caretaking and mentioning that Shacklebolt and another emergency response team had left right before Doris had called — they'd been summoned to a scene across town.

As she listened to the Healer's explanation, it all became clear. You couldn't keep the higher-ups in the dark about faux Death Eaters and expect your career to ever crawl back out of the loo.

Tonks exchanged glances with Harry.

"Scrimegour." One word of explanation to sum up most of what had gone wrong today.

Talk about the inablilty to move past the war and paranoia that could ruin lives.