Chapter 2 : Undisputed
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Night. Standing on the rooftop of a building in South London, a wizard waited. The cool summer nights air making soft ruffles in his robe. He stood quietly, listening and watching everything. His toes dipped slightly over the edge of the red brick flirting with the ground below while his stance was strong, and balanced.
In his right hand, wearing fingerless black leather casting gloves, he rolled his wand in a circle around his fingers. Two stories below him, three streets came into one intersection. At this hour, there was no traffic, and the prey he hunted should be arriving at any moment.
He looked left and right with his eyes, never moving his head. He barely breathed, remaining as stealthy as possible. The breeze picked up, ruffling the ragged spikes of his dull red hair cluing him in to the movement his peripheral vision detected.
Down the third street he looked, but saw nothing. Still he stared, crouching his knees down lower to focus his already honed concentration. At last he saw it, a movement in the shadows under an awning. Just as quickly as it appeared, it vanished again.
Ronald Weasley stood up from his perch moving gracefully to his right to get a better angle on the man in the shadows. His steps on the thin brick ledge were absent of sound and he moved confidently on the narrow lip without the slightest hesitation or fear of falling. As Ron halted, the man under the awning moved softly into the light, slinking down the sidewalk with a purpose. Ron waited. He let his gaze drift into a stare overlaying the chess board in his minds eye with the cityscape below. The game was on.
He knew his partner was close, but Ron always preferred the elevation and vantage the rooftops provided. The elevation allowed for extreme tactical analysis and observation. The wizard they tracked, an enemy of the state, neither Ron nor his partner cared what he was charged with. Their charge was to arrest him.
This fugitive moved with a slow, cautious pace, stopping frequently to check his surroundings and listen to the nights sky. Why the man wasn't apparating, Ron didn't know. Finally convinced the coast was clear, he stepped from the shadows onto the footpath. The wizard paused briefly at the three sided intersection before crossing, the moment his feet touched the cobble-stone street, Ron's partner Harry Potter engaged. CHECK!
A flash of purple light erupted from the nearest alleyway as Harry shot a spell that bounced flickers of lights off all the different buildings windows. Harry's target quickly erected a strong protection spell halting Harry's bolt before consuming it. The wizard released a few stunning spells shot randomly down the alley and the resulting flashes let Ron know Harry had little trouble blocking them.
Harry stepped clear of the alley a moment later, casting spells and curses as fast as the eye could see. Flashes of blue, purple, yellow and red flew at the fugitive's head with strength, speed and intense accuracy. The wizard blocked some of them and allowed several more to push him back before opting to turn and run full speed away from Harry. Their plan was working perfectly, and their prey was unknowingly tightening the noose around his own neck.
Ron could tell it was time to slam the door on their fugitive's late night stroll. He moved silently to the far side of the building and dropped off its edge. A quick tap of his wand on the way down slowed his descent allowing his feet to land gently on the street below. Crouched again at the knees, he listened; moving the chess pieces in his mind. He was hunting.
Hearing two sets of rapid footsteps he tracked them in his minds eye. The closer of the two was undoubtedly the wizard they were chasing. His feet struck hard and erratically. The second set, obviously Harry's moved much quieter with the grace and dexterity of a cat. Ron stood and silently inched to the end of building turning into an alley. Harry was a fantastic Auror, he knew just where to force their prey to optimize the advantage. Almost with a strut of arrogance, Ron moved to the center of the corridor's entrance, waiting. Any moment Harry would engage the wizard again, and Ron would spring the trap. The arrival of checkmate in this game would be both equally surprising and equally painful for this man.
Thundering footsteps of panic appeared at the opposite end from where Ron stood as the wizard raced desperately for cover. Unaware of his surroundings the man's back was facing Ron while he cast spell after spell only in Harry's direction. Ron waited out of courtesy, twirling his wand like a gambler flaunting a poker chip to allow his best mate the opportunity to secure their fugitive alone. The wizard moved closer and closer to Ron but still hadn't turned or noticed Ron standing behind him. Knight to Queen-three, rook to bishop, Queen to..."oh, this is almost too easy."
Ron's brain sensed alarm, recalling an old movie and a line about the floor falling out from beneath your feet. As Harry entered the alleyway, Ron's heart leapt into his throat as two red stunning spells caught Harry square in the back. Contrary to their intelligence reports there was more than one dark wizard on the move tonight. Although distraught about possibly missing a tactic, and walking into someone trap, Ron's reaction was nevertheless, instantaneous.
"PETRIFICUS TOTALUS!" Ron commanded cursing their original fugitive in the back as he watched his best mate be flipped over forward into a parked auto. This game had gone from mundane to interesting in the blink of an eye, and Ron was far from option-less. Ron sprinted towards Harry; disarming the petrified wizard and caught his wand in mid-air before he toppled over with a painful sounding thud. Ron covered the twenty meters of the alley in seconds running up as Harry struggled to get to his feet and failed. Surely Harry was out of this fight, whether Potter's brain had succumbed to this fact or not, Ron didn't know or care.
They made quick eye contact with each other which silently told Ron his mate was okay. Ron pointed the two wands around the alley corner into the street and surveyed the field. A witch and a wizard looked back at him awestruck, not expecting a second Auror's arrival. Ron had been wanting to try out a new theory pertaining dual wand wielding, but before today had not found a proper environment for a comprehensive field test.
Ever since Ron entered the Auror Academy he was praised for his aggressiveness and tactical proficiency in battle. This would be an excellent opportunity to test his new, two wand combat stance. He took a quick look out into the street to identify potential places or cover, and then ducked back into the alley for one last run through the checklist in his mind. Holding the new wand in his non-dominant left hand, he strengthened his grip as this wand would be used solely for blocking and defense. His right hand, the more nimble and dexterous limb would be only offensive. The trick to success in this stance, which Ron was fully aware, would be whether or not he could use both wands independently of each other. Not just in an alternating fashion. Ron knew this would take extreme concentration.
Silently, Ron murmured a spell that would mark a place in his memory, which would allow him easier access to this battle in the future for a detailed pensive analysis. The time to engage was now. The cursing of his best friend in the back brought out a new fire inside the redhead, and with the two wands he let loose a fury of spells that sent his enemies scrambling with cover.
Almost arrogantly, Ron glided with graceful steps into the middle of the street, slowly and steadily advancing on them. Each arm swooshed and flicked wildly sending bright shots of blue, red and yellow at both attackers simultaneously. The left wand blocked anything close, and the right sent spell after spell towards its targets with lethal accuracy.
"AVADA KEDAVRA!" the witch screamed just as one of Ron's stunning spells caught her in the leg. The slight adjustment of her gate while casting the killing curse modified her aim just enough that Ron didn't even flinch as the green spell of death zoomed by him. There was no sense trying to block a killing curse, as the best practice to stay as far away from one as possible. Ron recognized immediately that her spell was off target.
As the witch stumbled for cover, Ron locked wands with other wizard doing his best to keep their two spells focused on each other. His brain began to scream for an audible to the original plan as chess and battle exist on the concrete foundation that everything changes. Ron immediately raised his defensive left hand overhead towards the sky, holding the stone wizards wand and with a flick shot a crooked white bolt of lightning. The clouds above swirled around the spell turning bright red before unleashing dozens of bolts of real lightning back down to the earth impacting randomly on both sides of the street. Each strike missed Ron's targets as that spell was rarely accurate. The wizard released his spell and dove for cover, and the overall effect of scaring an opponent to death worked perfectly in this case. "The last enemy to be defeated may be death, but death's second cousin, one removed is undoubtedly fear. If you don't dispatch fear quickly in battle, a date with death is surely inevitable." was one of Ron's favorite teaching points.
After a few moments of silence, the witch appeared first from a doorway where she hid, casting curse after curse at Ron while advancing and attempting to gain ground on him. To conserve energy, and maintain focus, Ron blocked only the spells he felt might hit him, letting the rest sail past. Once she was in range of him, a red spell leaped from her wand and Ron's only option was to lock her wand in a defensive struggle with his quick orange counter curse from his left wand. This could be problematic.
She channeled her rage and pushed her magic against him as the two wands fought for every inch of real estate. She even screamed trying to draw in as much power as she could. With every push Ron simply moved his wand thwarting her pulses, and it became quite obvious to Ron exactly who was outclassed in this fight. Ron forced the arrogant thoughts from his mind. As he repeatedly told his students, "There is never a place for arrogance on today's modern battlefield. Except of course on the losing side."
Still locked in with the witch, Ron's peripheral vision picked up the wizard limping his way back into the street. Perhaps one of Ron's lightning bolts had caught him, stranger things had happened before. The wizard shot a spell that missed Ron by over a meter striking a parked auto and shattering all its glass. A large shard of windshield flew under Ron's right arm slicking through his robes and skin. Although he registered the contact, he felt no pain, nor did his concentration falter concerning his defensive battle with the witch.
The wizard stumbled forward towards him, launching spells Ron swatted away with his right wand. In his mind he cursed himself. This situation, where his wand assignments were reversed was the first and biggest obstacle plaguing dual wand theory. His weaker, non-dominant hand, although defensive in nature, was now technically in an offensive role, which left his dominant, more accurate and faster right wand wasted on defense. Unless he opted to have no defense, a notion beyond ridiculous. Ron knew he needed to remedy this reversal quickly, and get each wand hand back into their assigned roles. The witch continued to push forward in vane moving her wand left and right in attempts to free herself from Ron's grasp. She swore at him repeatedly and although Ron was in complete control of her, strong theory and experience instructed he needed to release this advantage to return to his proper stance. Wasting no time with senseless internal debate, Ron raised his left hand high in the air and snapped his wand hard towards the ground. A blue orb ignited on his wand tip and when he snapped it the whip curse shot through his orange bolt detonating in the witch's chest. Regardless of her skill, she was powerless to stop it, or even slow it down. Both wands were now free, whether or not Ron was a fool or a genius for relinquishing the advantage would be answered in a matter of seconds.
The resulting explosion was unexpected and sent her soaring backwards with a high pitched scream of pain. She hit the pavement with a crack of flesh and did not move. Ron was stunned this had worked, usually whip curses were blatantly obvious moves of desperation and in turn, easily blocked. Perhaps surrendering such dominant control, increases the whip curse's success rate. This needs more research.
Ron turned to the remaining wizard and with a cavalier flick of his left hand he sent the witch's wand flying from her unconscious fingers into the gutter. He was really starting to understand this new stance.
Ron moved to the center of the street in a scene reminiscent of an old American western movie. His face broadcast confidence and skill as he alternated twirling each wand in his fingers.
The wizard swore at him several times making the smile on Ron's face grow even bigger. Ron stood as still as a statue, staring not at the wizard, but at an indiscriminate patch of cobblestone a few meters in front of his feet. Watching with his peripheral vision and waiting patiently for his enemy to attack, the Auror's lack of action made the situation extremely uncomfortable for the wizard. He held each wand firmly waiting to command them to life, yet refusing to press the advantage. Ron was brewing the wizard an exquisite recipe for a catastrophic mistake. Ron adjusted his feet, placing the left defensive wand to the front, and hiding the offensive right wand behind his core.
Finally, standing just over ten meters away the wizard engaged casting two quick stunning spells at Ron's chest. Like a master swordsman he swatted them away with an elegant parry of the left wand. Another spell raced in towards the Auror and was blocked by both wands crossed like an 'X' in front of Ron's face.
Ron reached out with the right wand magically grabbing hold on the trashed vehicle to his right. Levitating it quickly he pulled it up, shielding himself from a swiftly cast killing curse before hurling the wreckage at the wizard.
The auto rolled three times in the street, missing the wizard who dove to get clear. As he got to his feet he was forced to keep his head down protecting from the steady barrage of jinx's and curses Ron sent his way.
In a final effort of bravery the wizard bolted from behind his cover throwing three quick stunning spells, one of which actually caught Ron in the hip. It did not move him only singeing his robes slightly. Ron crossed his arms over his head tapping the two wands together twice and snapping them outward. With a crack and yellow sparks a long strand of fire-chain grew out of each end creating two separate whips of fire and steel. Defense was no longer a priority, as Ron knew this fight needed to end immediately.
Ron flicked his own wand first sending its chain, still anchored in his wand, curling around the man's legs and tripping him. The wizard fired a last ditched spell as he tumbled and with no free hands Ron was forced to take it in the leg. His balance shuddered briefly but his determination did not. His left hand snapped forward sending the chain around the wizard's neck in a tight curl. Ron yanked back both arms setting the knots tight and after a few seconds futile resistance, the wizard's body went limp. It was over; Ron exhaled a victorious breath. Checkmate!
Ron spent the next few minutes moving the wizard and witch into close proximity and of course confiscated their wands. He blasted them both with binding charms securing their hands and feet, before moving to the alley to check on Harry.
He found his best mate leaning up next to the vehicle with a nice Potter shaped dent in it. Ron smiled when Harry looked up at him.
"I think I broke my liver," Harry said sarcastically, with one hand on his stomach and a sour look on his face. Ron laughed and helped him up following a quick diagnostic charm to ensure his best friend was not seriously wounded. Together, they dragged the petrified wizard to the street to join his accomplices.
Harry doubled over once they dropped the third criminal next to the other two. The wizard was still under Ron's curse, unable to move anything but his eyes. Harry spit a mouthful of blood onto the sidewalk and laughed.
"If anyone asks mate," Harry joked "tell 'em I was out getting us coffee or something. And next time you get to be the rabbit."
"I rather like being the rabbit," he replied with a smile.
The witch stirred as she slowly regained consciousness causing Ron to straighten to look more official. Harry remained doubled over, laughing, with his hands on his knees.
"Right then, Nonnahs Mitchell, by order of the Ministry of Magic you are under arrest for allegations of dark wizardry against Muggle's and wizards alike, including but not limited to the Cruciatus Curse, fraud, and attempted cursing of a Government Official." Ron turned to Harry looking for approval of his 'grown up' tone.
"Very nice," he responded.
"And you two, I assume you are Vampessa and Loveat Raistalin, having used the killing curse each, against two law enforcement officers."
"Meaning us," Harry interrupted.
"Yeah, us, you are both under arrest for the capital crime of Attempted Murder by way of the Killing Curse. A grand-felony punishable by quite a long vacation in Azkaban." Ron smiled as Harry took a seat against the side of a building adjoining the sidewalk.
Ron flicked his wand, calling his Patronus to life. The white terrier leaped around Ron before responding to another tap of his master's wand running off out of sight.
Harry and Ron stood guard over their prisoners on the quite London Street until three Auror's Apparated to their location to take the prisoner in to the ministry. Ron gave a detailed report to the duty officer before seeing them off.
Harry was first to walk through the door of Ginny and Hermione's flat followed immediately by Ron. Ginny smiled seeing her boyfriend and brother standing up to greet them both. She moved in and gave Harry a kiss, who winced when she tried to hug him.
"Rough day?" she laughed at him.
Ron moved over to the sink grabbing fresh bandages from the cabinet for his arm. Harry held Ginny for a few seconds allowing her to look over his wounds. She took off his shirt, examining bruises on his chest and back before ordering them both to change out of their clothes and get cleaned up.
Harry moved into Ginny's room changing into clean blue jeans and a t-shirt. Ron walked to the other side of the flat, to Hermione's room to fetch himself something clean. He took a quick shower and got dressed. Upon returning to the living area he found his sister and best mate lying together on the oversized red couch drinking some wine.
Ron moved into the kitchen to make himself something to eat and could hear Harry relaying their battle, and Ron's performance.
Ron poured a healthy glass of wine for himself, and with his back turned to the red couch he thought to himself how much he loved being an Auror. It was the first thing in his life he had ever been really good at. With a smile, he couldn't wait to tell Hermione about his new stance.
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