Chapter Seventeen: In which King Pagber gets his revenge
"I cannot be-lieve we are in France!" Montague fairly screamed, his face nearly cracking in two from the force of his grin. He was bouncing on the balls of his feet, smiling at every Muggle that passed them in the small village.
Theo stared at him, astonished. Not twelve hours ago Montague had been blood covered and numb after the raid at the orphanage. Now he was on the verge of breaking into a choreographed song and dance number.
"What in Merlin's name has gotten into you?" Pansy snarled, swiping her hair out of her face with a huff.
"Nothing! Oh, nothing at all!" Montague said, his voice vaguely sing-song. "Just a beautiful day in France, wouldn't you say?"
Warrington made a gagging noise. "You're making me ill, Montague," he sneered.
"He's making us all ill," a recruit named Smithers, or Wallingstone, or perhaps Peabody piped in.
"Shut the fuck up, nobody is talking to you, rookie," Higgs snapped.
"He's making us all ill," Bletchly echoed, as if WallingSmithBody had never spoken.
The seasoned recruits all laughed, except for Theo, who was still queasy from the night before, and Flint, who scowled at Montague's back suspiciously.
The ponce-ily named rookie looked affronted.
"Ha! Ha! Ha!" Montague laughed, sounding completely, genuinely not insulted, but amused. It was so over the top it sounded like a terrible parody of a true laugh. "Oh, how adorable you all are! Can't it just be a lovely day, here in France? The country of love?"
"The country of love? Are you high, Montague?" Pansy said, beyond confused. She almost tripped over a cat as she turned around to peer at him.
A suspicion dawned in Theo's mind, but he dismissed it as preposterous.
"High on life!" Aidan fairly squealed. "I'm sorry the rest of you can't say the same!"
"Ugh," Malfoy grunted from next to Theo, quietly. He pitched his voice so only Theo could hear. "How the hell can he be this chipper? After…" he trailed off when Crabbe wandered too close to them.
"I'm three seconds away from punching you in the face," Warrington snarled, glaring at the last Muggles they passed at the edge of the village.
"Ha! Ha! Ha!" Montague repeated, delighted still, even at the threat of impending sloth violence. "Try all you like, Warrington, but nothing can upset me today! I'm in France, the weather is beautiful, life is beautiful, and this is perhaps the most charming village I have ever seen!"
"It smells like sheep shit," grunted Flint.
"Precisely!" Montague trilled. "How rural and quaint! Truly the simpler life!"
"Someone kill him, now," Pansy moaned.
"Just puncture my ear drums," Higgs moaned as well.
"Puncture his vocal chords," Bletchley put in, pained.
"Ha! Ha! Ha!" Montague trilled again, "I'm so sorry the treasures of, er…." He paused to jump over a pile of sheep dung, "this gorgeous countryside is lost on you all!"
At this point, even Theo felt rampant nausea setting in.
"Katie would love it here! Truly romantic scenery!" Montague sighed, gazing about at the dilapidated fence and broken wheelbarrow by the road. The scent of sheep shit strengthened.
Theo's suspicions bloomed into a thought that was so crazy, it had to be true, but he couldn't bring himself to believe it.
Flint and Warrington both stopped dead in their tracks. One of the other quivering recruits toppled over into a pile of sheep dung to avoid running into Flint. It was a choice that any sane person would have picked.
Montague began whistling, swinging his arms back and forth. Malfoy shot Theo an incredulous look.
Flint and Warrington stared at Montague, motionless. Theo realized they were both jumping to the same crazy conclusion he had jumped to. Flint looked like he was going to vomit.
"The fuck is that supposed to mean, Montague?" Higgs snapped.
Montague skipped-literally skipped, around a random sheep in the road. He whistled tunelessly, oblivious to everything around him.
Behind them, the young recruit was yanked out of the sheep shit with a horrible squelching noise by WallingSmithBody. Theo winced.
"He asked you a question, you dick," Warrington snarled, grabbed Montague by the robes and wheeling him around to his angry face.
"Your resemblance to a sloth actually increases up close," Montague said, astonished. "You'd think it would decrease, right?"
"Answer the question," Warrington said, his face turning purple in his rage.
Finally, Montague's joy seemed to be dissipating. "What is your problem, you anteater related fucker?" Montague snapped. "Can't you allow anyone to be happy? Are you that fucking miserable?"
"Why are you so happy," Warrington said, his voice rising, "why are you so happy about Bell, you bastard?"
"Circe, you'd think that Mudblood whore is made out of gold," Pansy said, rolling her eyes. "Are you boys really that desperate?"
Theo was surprised to recognize this comment for what it was, an admirable attempt to derail where this conversation was going, but it was, alas, a failed attempt. Malfoy shot him a brief, worried look before he put on his usual expression of boredom.
"Shut up, you jealous bitch," Warrington snarled, not sparing Pansy a look, "just because you look like a squashed faced dog…"
"It's called a pug, idiot," Montague drawled, his expression becoming colder. "A pug. Read a damn book sometime."
"That's it," Pansy hissed, yanking out her wand and lunging at Montague and Warrington.
Theo grabbed her around her waist, yanking her to him. She was so small he was able to lift her off the ground, twisting her wrist in the process, causing her to drop her wand with a yelp. She kicked him in the shin.
"You fucking losers!" she screamed. "Fighting over a filthy Mudblood who thinks she's too good for any of you! Don't you all know she's in love with Oliver Wood, anyway?"
One of the recruits nodded. "Everyone knows that," he murmured knowledgeably.
"Shut up, Sheep Shit!" Pansy screamed, kicking Theo again, her spittle flying in her rage. Sheep Shit looked outraged. "It wasn't even me that fell in it!"
"You're pathetic, Warrington! You too, Flint! At least Montague is screwing her! At least he has an excuse!" Pansy yelled.
"I cannot believe you are defending me," Aidan said.
"I'm not!" Pansy screamed so loudly it sounded like it tore her vocal chords. "If I have to hear the three of you have a catfight over Katie fucking Bell one more time I'm going to kill all of you!"
"I didn't say anything," grunted Flint.
This in fact, was oddly true. It was so oddly true, that Theo couldn't help a separate bloom of suspicion that Flint was in fact, Up to No Good.
"I don't care!" Pansy screamed, yet louder, "I've heard it enough from you! Pathetic! You're all pathetic! She's a filthy slut with mud for blood and you're willing to kill each other over her!"
"You know, she really has a point," said recruit number three, who was neither WallingSmithBody or Sheep Shit but was in fact, the one covered in sheep shit.
Everyone ignored him.
"You know, she really has a point," Bletchley said. Higgs, Crabbe, and Malfoy nodded.
"Merlin, it's like we're not even here!" Sheep Shit screamed.
Flint's eyebrows lowered. His fists clenched. "Don't talk about Katie like that," he growled, finally acting more like himself. "Not when everyone knows what a whore you are."
Pansy kicked Theo in the shin again, and he almost dropped her.
At this precise moment, Warrington punched Aidan in the face, breaking his nose with a loud crack.
"Not so pretty now, are you?" he snarled as blood poured out of Aidan's nose.
Aidan responded with a vicious punch to Warrington's gut.
In his shock, Theo's grip on Pansy lessened and she squirmed free of his grip after one last herculean kick to his knee, causing his leg to buckle. She ran at Flint, hitting him in the face.
Crabbe squealed, and in his effort to get out of the fray, knocked himself and Draco into another, larger pile of sheep shit. (Not to be confused with Sheep Shit, as the young recruit was hereafter forever known.)
Theo tried to stand up on his leg and fell over. He strongly suspected Pansy had broken something.
Flint swatted Pansy away from him like a fly, and she fell onto Higgs and Bletchley. The three of them were buried in a pile of straw.
Warrington swung at Montague again, who ducked and smashed his own fist into Warrington's face.
Blood flew. Fists flew. Pansy's body flew at Flint. Sheep shit flew from the recruits.
"Stop it," Theo tried to yell, but the pain was making spots in his vision. "Stop it!" he tried again.
Disaster was imminent. Everything was out of control. Warrington and Montague were fist fighting like common Muggles. Flint was boredly swatting Pansy away from him over and over. Higgs and Bletchely were crawling around blind in the straw. The recruits were giggling and exacting revenge with flying dung. Theo couldn't seem to move. Malfoy's legs were sticking out of a pile of sheep shit, his face stuck downwards. Things could not possibly get worse.
"Giants!" Crabbe screamed removing his hand from the sheep shit with a squelch and pointing.
Theo cursed his own optimism. Things could always get worse.
"Giants!" Crabbed screamed again, his terror making him louder than all the shenanigans currently going on nearby.
Everyone froze. Montague and Warrington kept their fists upraised while they craned their necks around. Pansy and Flint disengaged. Dung dropped from the recruits hands onto their own shoes. Theo stayed buckled over. Malfoy's legs stopped wriggling.
"Oh, erm, hello," Montague said through his broken nose at the three giants who were staring at them with their arms crossed. They sat on rocks, and gave the appearance of having been there for some time. "Erm. We've been erm. Looking for you."
"Not looking very hard," the most wild looking one in the middle grunted. The other two cackled and said something to it in their own language. "My friends said to keep fighting, puny ones," the wild giant grunted. "Your tiny fists amuse us."
Crabbe yanked Malfoy out of the dung, and he came out gagging.
"Erm," Montague said, laughing nervously. Blood soaked his robes. "Um…"
"Glad to be of service," Flint grunted, and he pivoted and unexpectedly hit Montague in the face as well.
Aidan dropped to the ground like a stone. Flint smiled, the most terrifying expression his face was possible of making.
"Knock it off," Theo snapped, wobbling upwards, panting. "Walling…Smith…Body..um..you…help me out here," he said, trying to stay upright.
"My name is Jones!" the recruit said, outraged.
"What?" Theo squinted at him. "Are you sure?"
"Yes!" the recruit said, still more outraged, "I think I know my own name!"
"Well, you look like a Wallingstone," Theo muttered, "just get over here and help me!" he hissed, annoyed. Jones came over and helped him stand. "Sheep Shit, go help Montague up."
"My name is—"
"No one cares, Sheep Shit," snapped Higgs, finally battling out of the straw.
"So…so glad to meet you," Theo said, attempting to smile at the giants through the pain. "Truly an honor. I'm sorry for our…disarray upon your arrival, King Pagber," he said, drawing the name from somewhere deep in his memory of the raid instructions.
"Oh, so you remember his name—" Jones started to grumble as he held onto Theo. Theo stepped on his foot.
"Such an honor," Jones repeated with a grunt.
"Complete honor," Pansy said, sickening.
"Total honor," Malfoy said, spitting out some dung first.
"Honor," the rest of the Death Eaters murmured, eyes darting to each other, embarrassed at their behavior.
"Very honored," Montague choked out through his mouth of blood. He swayed on his feet, looking dazed.
"Yes, you are all honored," Pagber grunted, his tiny eyes looking far more cunning than giants were known for. "Tell me, which of you were the ones who murdered our friends, the Boots? We would like the 'honor' of an introduction."
The other two giants laughed rather ominously.
Theo's blood ran cold.
"That wasn't us!" Jones gasped. "I've never killed anyone in my life!"
Theo trod harder on his foot.
"I'm sorry, King Pagber," Pansy said sweetly, "I'm afraid there has been a mistake. We didn't kill any of the Boots. Terry Boot is in my year at Hogwarts. We are quite good friends."
"Such good friends that you killed his parents and his siblings?" Pagber rumbled through his rotting, enormous teeth.
"Of course we didn't! We didn't kill anybody!" Sheep Shit said, sounding horrified at the mere thought. Theo envied his naivete.
"Oh no?" Pagber rumbled. "We heard a young group of Death Eaters, quite stupid and inexperienced, killed our good friend Julie Boot and her family. Judging from what we just witnessed, are you not a young group of stupid Death Eaters?"
Theo swallowed the rising bile in his mouth. How could they know? How could this giant be so intelligent? They were notoriously dumb and violent creatures. He swallowed more stomach acid and tried again.
"Your highness," he said, "I'm afraid you have us confused with someone else. We would never harm a friend of the giants. We are here on behalf of our master, the Dark Lord, who has always offered great friendship with the gi-"
"Never harm a friend of the giants?" Pagber said. "Never? So what do you call killing Julie Boot? She has lived with us as a friend, learning our ways, writing down our dying culture-"
"Culture?" sneered Warrington. "Is that what you call it? Killing each other, living in caves, eating raw meat? That's culture?"
"Shut the fuck up," Montague slurred, his eyes dazed and…wrong. "Shut up you fucking sloth. We didn't mean to do it, Pagber, but we had to. We have to do anything He asks."
Theo gasped. He couldn't help it. He wasn't the only one.
"The fuck is wrong with you, Montague?" Malfoy hissed.
Aidan spat out another wad of blood. "I'm sick of lying," he slurred. "Sick of it. We did it, Pagber. But the only one who enjoyed it was Flint here," he pointed.
"Someone shut him up," Pansy hissed.
"He has a concussion," Malfoy said suddenly. Theo knew the situation was dire if Malfoy was now being openly useful. "He has a concussion, King Pagber, he is talking nonsense. We would never have murdered a good friend of the giants."
"You know what I think, tiny blonde one?" Pagber said slyly. "I think your concussed friend is the only honest one here. I think the rest of you are liars. Killing, weak, liars, who murder little children because all you do is obey without question." At this, Pagber and his two companions stood, revealing their true, horrifyingly large sizes. "And do you know what giants do to liars, and murderers of tiny children?"
"But we told you, we didn't do anything!" Sheep Shit screamed, sounding terrified. Theo almost had enough feeling in his body to feel pity for him, and the other two recruits. But then he remembered what they were. What they all were.
"We didn't!" Jones echoed, sounding like he was about to start crying. "We swear!"
"Your words mean nothing, lying human," said the giant on Pagber's left. So their stupidity had been a ruse as well. "We will spare none of you, not even the truth teller," he nodded at Montague.
Montague spat out some more blood, and Sheep Shit pushed him over in a rage.
"This is all your fault, you stupid asshole!" he yelled, and Montague coughed out some more blood into the dirt.
"Pick him up!" Theo snapped, trying to regain an ounce of control.
Sheep Shit kicked Montague in the stomach instead.
"I said pick him up!" Theo screamed at the top of his lungs. "One of you pick him up or I will make you!"
Goyle lumbered over and attempted to heave Montague, who was gasping for air through broken ribs and a bloody face.
Theo's sense of self preservation outweighed his guilt and shame at what they had done to the Boot family. It wasn't just his life, he argued with himself. It was Granger's life. It was Bell's.
"King Pagber," he said, attempting to sound calmer, "please accept my apologies. We must do what we are told. We were told that the Boots were traitors. We would never have hurt a friend of the giants if we had known."
Pagber stared at him, his small eyes gleaming. He cocked his head to the side.
"I see this is the other one who has sense out of you fools." He smiled a little at Theo.
Theo smiled back, shocked and relieved. Thank Salazar. They might make it out of this yet.
Pagber, still smiling, moved closer to Theo and Jones. "Here is how I feel about your words, smart one," he said genially.
Fast as lightning, Pagber hit Theo and Jones with his fist, sending them both flying. Jones hit a rock with his skull with a horrible cracking sound that echoed. Theo fell into the dilapidated fence, which splintered under his weight. He screamed as his broken knee jolted against the ground again.
All hell broke loose.
"Jones! Jones!" screamed Sheep Shit.
Montague vomited a stream of blood.
Flint drew a knife and threw it at the closer of the giants, striking him in the ankle. The giant roared, and came charging at the death eaters.
Pansy lunged for her forgotten wand, too slow, and the third giant picked her up by the foot, shaking her in the air, his other hand holding Bletchley.
Crabbe dove onto Draco and used his own body as a human shield while Draco screamed shrilly at him to get off.
King Pagber knocked away the streams of curses and hexes that bounced off of his hide and threw Higgs as well, forty feet away into a stream.
Warrington cast every nasty hex and unforgivable curse he could think of at the giant holding Pansy.
Pansy started screaming for Theo as the giant swung her and Bletchley through the air like lassos. Theo, for his part, was choking for air. Jones nearby, was twitching, but Theo knew through the pain and his own probable concussion, that it was his dead body twitching its last.
Flint sprang at his giant, drawing another knife which he stuck in the giant's stomach, twisting it from side to side.
Pansy and Bletchley went flying into the stream after Higgs, and the second giant pulled Flint off of the third giant, who was yelling and spraying blood. Flint bit the second giant, who dropped him with a yell.
Pagber went lumbering over to Montague, Goyle, and Sheep Shit, the latter two of who broke for it and ran away. Montague fell over, spitting blood, his eyes growing more dazed.
The recruit actually covered in sheep shit ran at the third giant, who couldn't grasp him due to his slippery skin, and cast the Explatterus curse at the wound in his belly from close range. The giant bellowed as his intestines poured out of his body, and kicked the dung covered recruit, who flew at Pagber. Pagber snapped his neck with one hand and continued towards the useless Aidan.
The third giant collapsed, dying, and the second giant grappled with Flint and Warrington.
Pagber paused on his way to Aidan and threw a large piece of wood from the broken fence at Goyle and Sheep Shit. It knocked them both over, and blood sprayed. Theo couldn't tell whose it was. Pagber continued over to Aidan, who was crawling on the ground.
Theo tried to stand. He fell. He tried to yell a warning at Aidan. He failed.
Pagber reached Aidan.
"So, honest one," he rumbled, "did you think I would spare you because you told the truth about how you are a murderer? I already know that. Tell me something I do not know, and maybe I won't kill you."
"I'm sorry," Aidan said, coughing up more blood, "I really am."
"Aidan," Theo tried to yell, his heart hammering in his chest. He had never felt more useless in his entire life.
"I said something I did not know, honest one," Pagber repeated. "You think I care for your apologies?"
Aidan turned over, his usually beautiful face gouged and bloody. He faced Pagber.
"I'm in love," he said simply, "did you know that?"
Theo made an agonized noise, and he realized, as he attempted to lurch forward on his broken body the thirty feet to his best friend, that he was crying. He couldn't stop what he knew was about to happen.
"In love?" Pagber repeated. "And what sort of creature would love a monster like you?"
Theo started crawling in desperation, trailing blood behind him. He had no idea where his wand was.
Flint and Warrington continued to grapple with the other giant.
"I didn't say she loved me," Montague slurred, "she has better taste than that. But I love her."
Theo cried harder at his own uselessness. No. No. Not Aidan.
"I think," Pagber said, resting his large, heavy foot on Aidan's bruised stomach, "I think I am about to do this poor girl a favor." And he pressed down, Aidan screaming in agony.
A Death Eater flew into Pagber, knocking him off balance, but it wasn't Theo.
It was Flint.
He had skewered Pagber's leg through with his last knife, and Pagber fell over, screaming. Theo stumbled over his wand in the road with his reaching hands. His mind was no longer sorrowful. It was angry.
He thought he didn't have the unforgivable in him, but he was wrong. He killed the king of the French giants, even though they had deserved to be killed by him.
The second giant screamed in outrage, and Warrington killed him while he was distracted.
Flint looked at Montague, who was vomiting more blood, his skin turning chalky.
"Marc-Marcus?" Aidan choked.
Flint gazed at him, empty. Cold.
Theo dragged himself faster towards them. He didn't like the way Flint was looking at Aidan, who was at his feet. At his mercy. He didn't like it at all.
"Flint?" Aidan said, still choking. "A little help?"
Flint cocked his head, the knife still in his hand, looming over Montague. He crouched down.
"You okay, Montague?" he asked gruffly.
Theo was so relieved he almost started crying again, and then realized that he had never stopped.
"Yeah," Montague said, still dazed, "never better." And he laughed.
A jet of green light illuminated his relieved face as Montague died.
Flint pivoted to look at Warrington, who had his wand calmly out.
"He got half the raid killed," Warrington said smoothly, "he doesn't deserve to live. He doesn't deserve Kat-"
Flint lunged at Warrington and slit his throat with his still bloody knife.
Warrington choked through a mouthful of blood, and died.
Theo heard screaming. He realized it was coming from his own mouth. Malfoy yanked him to his feet, finally free of Crabbe, and Theo got one last look at Aidan Montague's lifeless body before he blacked out.
An alternate title to this chapter: In Which the words "Sheep Shit" are used 8 million times by your author
Thank you everyone for the reviews! I got so many, I decided to put you out of your misery and update quickly. (For me.) I hope you enjoyed. And I hope you miss Montague already. I know I do.