Moody couldn't believe what he was seeing. The leader of the group of Death Eaters casting a Cruciatus curse on Malfoy? Unless this was some sort of carefully orchestrated plot, this meant that...
Malfoy was not a Death Eater after all.
Alastor knew he had to do something. He'd have given anything to have had his Invisibility Cloak with him, but he'd have to make do with speed and stealth. Carefully slipping up behind the leader, Moody pressed his wand against the man's neck and growled, "Nobody better be foolish enough to move, or you know what's coming!"
Oh, this was good fun indeed! The other Death Eaters didn't know what they were missing and Avery wouldn't be the one to tell them. Let them stew in their own pathetic lives. Avery was out having the time of his life and nothing could beat a moment of having a Malfoy at his feet.
Until some idiot decided to try and be a hero.
"You don't know what you're messing with, old man." Avery signald for the other two Death Eaters to approach. "You can't kill all three of us. And if that curse ain't taken off of Malfoy, his brain'll start leaking out his ears. Doubt a hero like you wants a casualty on his conscience."
Fortunately, Avery wasn't burdened by a conscience. He giggled a bit, knowing that even though a wand was at his neck, he was still in control. In command!
Avery..bastard. Lucius vowed to kill him should he ever find his way out of this painmindlessagonydeargodmakeitstop! His jaw was clenched so tightly, he was sure he'd need dental work after this was done. Finished. Over.
Concentrate. Try to block out...agony! Waves of agony! MAKE IT STOP!
His mind constantly replayed images of people, places, things, ideas, stupid ideas, fools, fools, bloody hell it all HURT! He needed just one moment of clarity, one moment to think without being burdened by the pain. One moment of nothingness. Sweet, blissful nothingness!
Fuckitall, Walden! It hurts! It. Won't. Stop. Hurting!
And Lucius, at this point, couldn't stop screaming.
"Maybe I can't kill all of you, but I can do plenty of damage if I want to," Moody snarled, wand held steady.
That... voice. It was... strangely familiar. He knew it from somewhere...
He forced himself to keep calm, Gabriel's image in his mind. If this was to be his fated death, he wanted to die with his sweet Angel's name on his lips. But Moody didn't plan on being a dead man just yet.
"Maybe you'd better take the curse off Mr Malfoy then, or I might be tempted to try it on you, Death Eater," Alastor growled. "And I've a pretty good idea of who you might be under that mask..."
It was a bluff, but Moody hoped it would pay off.
Aurors weren't allowed to kill, were they? Avery didn't want to take any chances. And he wasn't too sure if Moody knew who he was or not. His control was starting to crumble and rather than risk a futile fight, Avery took what he could from the situation.
"You haven't a damned clue, old man," he muttered but took the Cruciatus off of Malfoy. This old bastard would pay for ruining his fun!
"Brahms!" The second Death Eater was quick with a wand and wasted no time in getting behind Moody. "Let 'im go," the other Death Eater growled.
"Looks like you're penned in now, old man," Avery said in a smug voice. "And I've got a third as well. Still wanna take chances?"
The curse was taken off of Lucius and the Malfoy was allowed to breathe once again. The pain was gone but the lingering side effects was making him twitch.
Malfoys aren't supposed to feel pain, he thought. Malfoys don't experience pain, they give pain to others. That's the way it should always be.
But that's not how it happened here. Lucius lacked the energy and strength to get up and move anywhere. His wand had fallen from his hand as the Cruciatus raced through his body and he couldn't even reach for the silver handle of his precious weapon. How long had the curse been on him for? Minutes? Hours? Eternity? His body felt as though it had.
What was that Avery was saying? Idiot was mentioning names. Brahms. He'd pay as well.
Moody slowly lowered his wand, but kept a tight hold of it and his eyes on the leader. "I may be penned in for now - but I could still take you out if I had to," he replied testily.
He definitely knew that voice from somewhere. And the leader was mentioning names? Brahms. Moody certainly knew who that was. Not very smart of you, Mr Masked Man, Moody thought.
Avery felt the tip of the wand being taken away from his head and grinned. He had control back again. Good work, Brahms!
However, there was about to be a problem, what with Malfoy no longer having the curse on him and a damned Auror right behind him. He'd be as trapped as Moody if Malfoy wanted to take out his revenge.
It was time for a quick get away. He did as much damage as he could. This was no time to push his luck, especially since the Death Eaters were still growing in number and deeds.
"I'm sure you could. But I won't give you that chance. Kill him, Brahms!" And just as he said those words, Avery quickly ducked and squirmed away into a crawl along the floor of the bookstore. He ran for the door as soon as he could.
Lucius slowly raised himself up. His head felt light and the world seemed to spin.
He was still in danger and despite the pains and the grim-as-hell images that flashed through his racked brain, he felt the need to get away from the bookstore. To just run until his lungs exploded and he could finally just...rest.
Alas, it was not yet to be. He heard Avery's voice, felt the heavy footfalls crashing down upon the ground. The sound wasn't magnified but Lucius could feel the vibrations. This was good, he thought. He needed to feel reality. Hold onto it just until he got back to his haven, his own web.
Away from the Death Eaters and Aurors and the screaming in his head that wouldn't let up. Lucius forced himself to a standing position while summoning his wand to his hand. He didn't dare enter battle with anyone. He didn't trust himself enough to level a spell or curse. He simply desired to save up his energy in order to apparate away and damned quickly.
Why should he stay around here anyway? It wasn't as though questions would be asked of him. It wasn't as though he knew anything as to what had happened. It wasn't as though...
There was a ringing in his ears and Lucius knelt down once more, unable to stay standing.
He needed to get back, get away from the danger. Now! Screw protocol! He was a Slytherin, dammit! When there was danger, he ran! Such was survival.
So Lucius made for the door, reaching the outside world just after Avery and using the last of his strength, apparated himself away and back to his Manor. Let Moody have the Death Eaters if he so desired. Lucius no longer cared.
Sweet Merlin's balls, the leader was even more stupid than Moody had thought. He'd been anticipating that Brahms might be given the order to kill, and the moment the leader ducked away Moody elbowed Brahms in the ribs. As the lesser Death Eater howled and doubled over in pain, Moody Stupefied the other minor Death Eater with a lightning-quick reflex.
I may not be a youngster anymore, Moody thought with grim satisfaction, but I'm still a bloody good Auror...
Binding both Death Eater lackeys with a swift spell, Moody proceeded to unmask them. Brahms all right, and the other big stupid lunk was none other than Wesson. Well, it was going to be a long spell in Azkaban for both these chumps if Moody had his way.
Alastor turned to the wizened shopkeeper who had emerged, shaking, from behind the counter. "Alert the other Aurors by the fire, and evacuate this place. I'll stay here and guard these two until reinforcements arrive."
There'd be another long investigation that night, and Moody would relish the chance to interrogate Brahms and Wesson himself, but he'd be damned if he'd miss out on his date with Gabe the following night. After all this he deserved to be in the arms of an angel...
Malfoy had high-tailed it, and Moody didn't blame him, after what he'd just been through. If the man had any sense he'd get himself to a Healer double-quick.
Vivian was really going to enjoy the hunt for the leader of this attack. She was always the one for tracking... he'd get the description of the leader to her as soon as he could. She was, in Alastor's opinion, an even better Auror than he was, and the Ministry were fools if they were indeed making noises about retiring her...