Get Yer Gun
Chapter 1. A Few Years Back
“Wake up, kid, or you won’t get any ice-cream.”
“Why’d you have to wake him, you putz, there’d
be more for us!”
“Shut up, Joseph, the kid needs his strength.”
“Oh, and we don’t. That little
punk will be alright, but I want my damn ice-cream”.
The voices were always like that, either with
him or against him. Maybe the mine had messed him up in the head, and maybe
there were no people in the cots to his left and right. Maybe the voices were
in his head. Maybe there hadn’t been a mine at all, and maybe this was a fever
dream. He had just woken up the day before. He had been in asleep for about a
week before that, mostly due to the morphine, but he had been too tired to even
try to get out of the uncomfortable bed they trapped him in.
He started to move, but he felt a sharp pain
through the left side of his body, moving up from his gut to his head, and then
doing a victory lap through his leg. He instinctively moved his arm to try and
soothe the pain but he found there was nothing there. There was nothing below
the stub that used to be his knee.
“Come on kid, they’ll stop serving it in a bit.
Get a move on,” the voice to his right, a tall dark haired man who called
himself Zikan Staryet and spoke with a thick Russian accent. He was on our
side now. He would be dead in three months, having been put back into the
field. He tried to help a younger soldier out of a bind, but ended up getting
shot in the back by a German. Some guy in a book once said, “So it goes.”
“Yeah, get up, you cripple,” the man to his
left, who was called Joseph, mocked. Joseph was short, but with beautiful
blonde hair and bright blue eyes. He’d live on, rich from the Jewish gold he’d
stolen, until he died in his eighties, getting his with an aneurysm while
sitting on the toilet.
“Shut it, you turd. Do you need help, Alastor?”
“Thanks, but no. I guess I’ve got to learn how
to do it myself or they won’t send me back to the front.” He was a stupid kid,
but they all were. No one bothered telling him that with one leg and one
eye, he wasn’t going anywhere but home, because he already knew it.
“Yeah, well, come on,” Joseph muttered. Alastor
Moody swung to the side of the bed and grabbed the crutches, pushing them under
his arms and forcing himself up, ignoring the pain that half his body was
feeling. He hobbled around the musty old bed, which was stained with too many
bodily fluids to count, and started to go off to the middle of the makeshift
hospital, between the rows of beds where the nurses were serving the wounded
their eagerly awaited ice cream. He only took a couple of steps when he caught
sight of a mirror, and saw the monster in it.
“No,” he said below his breath. The nurses had
made sure not to mention his face, and they scolded and withheld treats to
those mocked him, all to make sure he didn’t find out.
He would never have called himself handsome, but
the ladies back home had always been taken with him. Now, he was a freak.
He knew what had happened, he knew it was pretty
bad, but he didn’t know the extent until that moment. It was a landmine, one
of the thousands that littered the German countryside. It should have killed
him, like it killed three members of his troop, but had survived, somehow. As
the bile rose, he wished it had. And so it goes.
There was a bandage covered with dry blood over
his left eye, or where the eye had been, now just a hole. Sewed up cuts, most
of them deep, littered his face and neck, and if he had checked below the
nightshirt they gave him, he’d find many more healing scars and burns. He had
a nasty looking cut going from just below his ear, leading down his neck and
across his Adams-apple to below his other ear.
And yet he was still alive. He resembled
nothing of the boy he had been when he went into training. He was, at that
point, a man. Scarred, crippled, but a man he was.
Instead of going on
to get some ice-cream, the only thing besides morphine that made the hospital
ward manageable, he simply went back to bed, thinking about the Avada Kedava
curse for some reason.
As he drifted off to sleep, aided by the shot of
morphine, he began to wonder what was going on at home. This wasn’t the only
war going on. Grindelwald was not going to give up, and more people would die
before it was over.
He’d find out soon enough. He
closed his eyes, and his mind went blank.
The nurse carefully removed the bandage, and she
could not help but shudder. She had seen some horrible things in her tenure
during the war, but sometimes they still got to her. She had to do her best to
remain distant, to keep from letting her personal feelings from controlling
her. She was a neutral party to this boy, and he needed her to remain that
way. At that moment, her personal feelings wanted her to scream. She kept the
smile plastered across her face as she examined the young soldier.
“This is impressive, Alastor,” she said once she
saw his wounds. His eye socket, despite the lack of a working eye, was in fine
condition, in spite of his injuries. He had a few healing cuts along with the
lost eye, but they were all in fine condition. He would heal, but he had lost
the eye. Along with his leg, it was a disaster for the boy.
“Really, how so?” he asked absentmindedly, not
caring what she said.
“It, well, it appears that there is absolutely
no infection to your eye. In fact, none of your injuries have shown any signs
of infection. Considering the damage, that is great.”
“Thanks for the news,” he said in the same
“Are you all right, boy?” the Russian asked. Zikan
had a habit of making Alastor uncomfortable, simply by trying to be friendly
with the wounded boy. The Russian sat on the edge of his bed, wearing a
bathrobe like all the other patients, only his was clean due to his, get this,
concern about his appearance. Must have been a cultural thing, because the
rest of the patients, English and American teenagers, didn’t give a sweet rat’s
ass how they looked at that moment, even with some of the attractive nurses
constantly flirting. He just sat there, watching the boy who was watching
ceiling. His right arm was in a sling, to keep from damaging his shoulder any
“Been better, been worse,” Alastor replied
automatically, not taking his eyes from the ceiling. He had made it a habit to
count and recount the cracks in the plaster, or to try and find patterns in
them. There was one spot where if he squinted, it looked like a crow. Of
course, he was lying to Zikan, but he honestly didn’t care about that. He just
“Come on, boy, you’ll survive.”
“You thank so?” Alastor asked, with biting
sarcasm dripping from his voice.
“Come off it, boy. You’ll be home in a week’s
time, and you sit around and cry. You think you’re the first to get hurt in
“No, I’m not, but that doesn’t mean I have to
“Whatever.” The Russian sat there on the edge
of his bed. He reached with his healthy arm for the aging book on his bedside
table, which was yellow from age and use. It was one of those books they kept
in the hospital wing to make sure the wounded soldiers were at least occupied.
There was a bookcase full of them; no one cared enough to pick them up but Zikan.
He thumbed through the pages of the book, which was ironically enough called Dead
Souls, until he found the page where he had stopped.
“Why are you here, Staryet?” Alastor asked in a
small voice. He was fighting with himself at that moment, trying to figure out
why he needed to keep the Russian speaking.
“I got shot in the shoulder. Want to see?”
“You know what I mean.”
“Perhaps I do. Why are you here?” Zikan looked
up from his book, and looked to see what the rest of the wounded were doing.
Joseph, the American who slept to Alastor’s left, was with the others who were awake
playing poker using bullet shells as chips. Most of the wounded were asleep.
“Your fight is with Grindelwald, not Hitler?” Zikan added in a hushed tone.
“What?” Alastor sat up, ignoring the aches in
his crippled leg, and sat on the edge of his bed, facing the Russian. “You’re
a . . .” Moody stammered, unable to finish the simple sentence.
“I know why I am here,” he continued like he
didn’t hear Moody. “I fight for Mother Russia, for the Revolution. Why do you
fight this war when it is not yours?”
“This is my fight.”
“Maybe my gimp ass!” A handful of the others
looked up, but just laughed off the remark and went back to what they were
“Then why are you here? Why would an English Wizard
come here, to the Hell of the Muggles, when his own world has Hell to offer?”
“Because our Hells are the same.” Alastor
reached to his bedside table and grabbed the glass of water that sat there,
cooling his lips and throat with the dirty water. “I’d just left school. . .”
“From Hogwarts, am I correct?”
“Yeah. The war just started when I graduated.
No one there cared about the bombs, or Nazis, or anything. It was all about Grindelwald,
you know, and how he was just going around, killing random Wizards an’ Muggles.
Hell, most of them, the Slytherins at least, didn’ even care about that.”
“So. You haven’t answered my question?” the
Russian seemed to enjoy egging on the kid.
“I’m getting there, damnit! I was in Diagon
Alley, the center of Wizard London, one day after graduation. I was just
goofing off with a couple friends of mine. We had just left the Alley into Muggle
London when we heard the planes, and then the alarms went off. People went
flying into buildings, trying to get out of the street, but we didn’ know what
to do. All of a sudden, this block of buildings, real nice flats, just
explode, dust and smoke go everywhere, the buildings just crumble. Once the
smoke clears, I start towards the rubble an’ start diggin’ through it and all,
trying to help the survivors if I can. I’m aching and bleeding from some of
the debris that hit me, just a cut on the arm, and I’m trying to do what I
can. I’m not the only one, there were a bunch of Muggles out there, and a
couple of wizards are trying to help as well.
“They just pulled out their wands and lifted the
rubble and the Muggles all saw it, but they didn’ care at all, they just kept
digging through, trying to find any survivors. After we pulled out three or
four live ones, and a lot of dead ones, I look over my shoulder and my friends,
Wizards, weren’t doin’ a damn thing! They were just standing there, twiddling
their damn thumbs, watching this go down, laughing at a joke. I wanted to
curse them dead where they stood.”
“That’s why you’re here?”
“Yeah. I went home that night and told me Mum I
was going to fight. She thought I was going to enlist with the Auror Corps,
you know, and fight Grindelwald. She was proud of me and all about that. I’d
been thinking about doing that after I graduated anyway.”
“Yeah, well, just fighting. Protecting all
those witches and wizards who couldn’t stand up to the people like Grindelwald,
Dark wizards, you know. But I told her I wasn’t goin’ be no damn Auror when there
is a real war goin’ on out there. The next week, I was bein’ shipped off to
basic training. Me Mum was so disappointed.”
“You’d rather fight for the Muggles then for
your own kind?” Zikan asked over his book. He had continued to read while
carrying on the almost one-sided conversation.
“Truth be told, I’d rather not fight at all.
I’d like to continue with me Dad, raising sheep and cattle, growing crops. But
I just felt like I had to do something. And with the Muggles, they’re in worse
shape then the damn wizards. This war is destroying the whole of Europe.”
“It is.” Zikan put the book down and looked at
the boy before him. “Grindelwald isn’t a danger in Russia. He doesn’t see us
as a threat to him. We aren’t, really, as long as he leaves us be. Like with
Hitler. We had a sort of peace with the Nazis, but they broke that amity.”
Alastor later found out about Zikan, from one of
the other Russians in the ward. Staryet was a sniper, one of, if not the best,
that the Soviets had. He had well over 200 confirmed kills, most of them
regular grunts, but he had taken out several high ranking officers, all clean
kills, one shot to the head. He was the best stalker. He would hunt his prey
like a wolf, never letting up for a moment. When he had a target that mark
would end up in a body bag. He was there, in the hospital, because of a simple
mistake. He had been seen returning to his base, a bunker that was extremely
well hidden. He was caught in an ambush, though with only three Nazi soldiers.
He had killed two of them with his handgun before the other had managed to get
a shot off. That had hit him in the shoulder, the one he used to aim. For a
while, it looked like his career as a sniper was over, but he had been healing
remarkably better then the doctors had thought he would, because, as Alastor
had found out, Zikan Staryet was a wizard. But being a wizard cannot prevent
death. It would be some ten years later that Moody was able to find out what
had happened to the Russian sniper. One shot to the back of the head by a Nazi
soldier, and so it goes. Another dead hero.
“Oh, God, Alastor,” his mother exclaimed, shock
fixed across her aging face.
“I’m fine, mum. Just a little worse for the
wear,” he said with the best smile he could muster. He got out of his father’s
truck, which was used to haul crops, slung a duffle bag of his belongings over
his shoulder, and then put the crutch under his arm to steady himself. He
could see the anger and sadness flash over his mother’s face, and though he
knew the feelings were warranted, he couldn’t help but resent her for them.
“Of . . . of course you are, dear. Come in, I
have lunch prepared.”
She mumbled and stuttered her way through that
initial meal, trying not to step on Alastor’s toes, figuratively speaking, of
course, and also trying to make him feel guilty about his injuries. In her
heart of hearts, Anna Moody would never forgive her son for the anguish he had
caused her. He was her first born, the ideal child, and he goes and fights in
a war he had no reason to fight. She would later feel immense guilt over those
Later that evening, as the sun was going down,
the family sat on the porch looking at the view of their property. The Moody
family owned a large farm in the outskirts of Birmingham. Though they were a
pureblood family, they had decided to remain close to the soil like their
ancestors. It was a highly successful plot of land, helped by a bit of magic.
They sold to Muggle and Wizard distributors, mostly produce, though they
occasionally traded in cattle as well. It was a good, honest life, one that Alastor
could now fall into.
In those moments of silence, drinking hot tea,
he felt a growing contentment, despite some actions by his family. His family,
father Jerold, mother Anna, younger brother George, sisters Alice and Sheila,
were all good people, but they were finding it hard to even engage Alastor in
conversation. He had no difficulty seeing where they were coming from. There
were, in a sense, two wars going on, though in Alastor’s eyes there was only
the one, and they could only see half of the battle. They would never know the
things he had seen in the two years he had been gone. And he would never
burden them with those visions.
The thing that was making his
return difficult was simply his appearance. Though Alastor had always been shy
and modest, he had in fact been quite the handsome boy. Now he was, as his
brother said under his breath to Alice, a freak, a cripple. Alastor loved
George dearly, in only the way an older brother could, but he knew that even
with one eye and one leg, he could hex him to dust, and probably still beat him
in a fist fight. Alastor always was something of a fighter. He would come
home as a child, either before he went to Hogwarts or when he was home on
break, he would come home sporting a black eye or bloody nose with the biggest
smile that would fit on his face, proud of the fight he had been in. He had
glared at George for about fifteen minutes, with his one good eye, simply to
make the rising seventh year squirm. The boy knew he had been heard, but he
didn’t say anything along the lines of an apology. He simply didn’t say
Despite the tension, Alastor was
glad to be home. That first night back made the last two years seem like a
distant memory, even though he had just gotten off the boat back from the
hospital not eight hours earlier.
Around midnight, everyone but Alastor
and his father were asleep. Jerold had been the only one who had not treated
him like a porcelain doll, knowing full and well that was not what his boy
needed. He had gotten out the brandy he kept in his office, a bottle that was
aged seven years. Jerold and Alastor simply drank the sweet drink in silence
until Alastor had to speak.
“I’m not sorry about it, Dad.”
“I know, son. You have to just
give them some time. They’ll adapt.”
“Maybe.” They lapsed back into
silence for a few moments, staring at the stars and listening to the insects of
the night until Jerold broke the deep silence between them.
“I want you to know something, Alastor:
I have never been more proud of you. You had the heart to fight for something
that you believed in when no one else around you did. I checked, and you were
the only member of your graduating class to go to the war. Sure, some became Aurors,
and a few have died fighting Grindelwald, but you saw the Muggle war as
something that didn’t just belong to them. You understand what few of us
Wizards do, that war is everyone’s problem, that it is never confined to a few
isolated groups. Hell, most Wizards, the pureblood families at least, don’t
even see Grindelwald as a threat. They think the beast is the answer to their
“He’s helping Hitler,” Alastor said
after a moment to take in what his dad said. “Do you have any idea what that
monster is doing? I helped to liberate one of his little ‘camps’. There were
thousands of people there, Jews, mostly, but there were others there, so-called
undesirables. They were like walking skeletons, emaciated by hunger and work.
Those that didn’t work were killed. We found a few graves, with hundreds of
them piled right on top of each other. During the fighting, when I was
watching my friends get their heads blown off, when I stepped on that mine, I
never once cried. When I saw what was happening there, I couldn’t help but
cry. These were people, damnit, not cattle or livestock, but people with
families and lives and souls, and they were being killed as if they were
nothing! And Grindelwald, that coward, is giving Hitler his strength, his
rule.” The emotion was too much for Alastor, and he let the tears flow for the
first time since that day at the Death Camp, not fighting them.
It was something that his fellow
witches and wizards would never understand, his compulsion to help the Muggles
in their war. Damn them, he cursed, slightly intoxicated from the brandy, for
their negligence, for the blind eye they turned on their fellow human beings.
He would live with his contempt,
both for the world he lived in and for the family that silently mocked him,
knowing that if the situation arose, he would give his very life to protect
Authors Note: Thanks for reading. This is part of my By
The Sword universe thing that can be found mostly on Fic Alley. This fic is in
a slightly different form here, because I’m too lazy to change the Fiction
Alley one. Check me out, I’m there as chris d. My other stories are the By
The Sword novel length, the In Nomine series of vignettes, Meetings, and this.
Everything is interconnected in some way. Peace and love and gravy. Please