In Which Mad-Eye Moody Continues His Audits
Moody removed a handkerchief from his pocket and mopped his forehead. "Well, Malfoy, I must say that she's certainly got the most skill in her age group at the quarterstaff." He was watching Pevensie intently while he said it. "I congratulate you both, however, I must point out, superior skills with one weapon does not a versatile warrior make."
He asked the girl, "Have you been introduced to any other weapons? Blades, of any kind? Crossbows?"
"Yes, sir," Pevensie replied. "I have been training with knives and sais with Li Jiao. I just started the crossbow. I want to learn how to swing a mace properly, but so far I'm crap at it."
Draco was watching Moody suspiciously. He didn't want the man saying anything negative about his slayer. Draco felt she was doing very well, despite all mishaps with the non-sharp wooden mace she had been practicing with. It was like nunchucks. You had to be careful.
"Yes," Moody agreed. "The mace can be tricky. Much like a wand left in one's pants pocket, is that not correct, Mister Malfoy?"
"I stick mine in my back pocket all the time, and I have never once hexed off a buttock."
Pevensie grinned. "Did you know he locked me in a crypt with four vampires?"
"You want to see the knife? I'm not my best at it yet, but it's coming along, I think."
"Why are you even evaluating her?" Draco groused. "She's doing quite well."
"I would, of course, love to see the knife." He ignored Malfoy. "And yes, I did hear that."
He cast some minor protective charms on himself, and pulled his MOD knife from his SAS days. He motioned for her to begin.
Draco cast a protection charm on Pevensie.
"Look, we've discussed this. I have issues with you getting damaged. Humor me."
Pevensie took her knife from her boot and tossed it from hand to hand to get a feel for the weight. She still was not used to it. She was used to the weight of a stake.
"Come along, then." He raised an eyebrow. "I need to gauge your offense as well as your defense."
"Well, I don't really want to attack you."
"Oh just attack him," Draco shouted. "He can take it. Like a bloody cat with lives. Get him!"
Moody sighed, and stepped out of the way.
Pevensie sighed and turned on him. She looked down, not giving him her full eyes. She was certain that was how he was knowing her moves. She was trying to recall everything she had been taught. Pevensie cleared her mind and came at him again less blindly. Move like water, be fluid. Even if he drops your ass, look graceful going down. You're a slayer.
Moody knocked her knife hand away by hitting her arm with his, and then thrust up toward her sternum with his knife. The shield charm glowed red where the knife would have penetrated Pevensie's ribs.
"Not too shabby, but you might want to think about staying looser until you begin your attack." He turned her loose. "You give yourself away, and it's too easy to avoid you."
She jumped backwards, did a two back handsprings with a twist, landed with her back to him, then swung around and threw the knife as hard as she could. With small weapons, this was her strength - get distance and hit from afar.
Moody's magical eye was already tracking the knife. He leaned back, snatched it out of thin air, spun, and let it go in Pevensie's direction.
His own knife followed.
She managed to catch hers, but his would have nicked her thigh if not for Draco's charm. She was not much for attacking unarmed people, but Pevensie attacked him anyhow. He was pretty spry for his age, and she was getting quite the workout from him blocking her jabs.
"Keep in mind that your thigh is figuratively bleeding right now," Draco called.
He flicked his wand and did a mild binding charm on that leg so that it was more difficult to move. Moody knocked her, and she went tumbling.
Pevensie glared. "Goddammit, Draco! Whose side are you on?"
"The side of keeping you alive. Get up. Shake it off."
"Well, get up then. Or are you through, girl?" Moody raised an eyebrow.
"Hardly," she said, getting to her feet.
Pevensie moved experimentally. Her leg was hindered by the charm. She needed to figure out how to work with it as it was, and quickly - because Moody was advancing.
"Shit," she muttered.
His hand darted out and struck her on the temple and ear, but instead of causing the disorientation that he'd been expecting, her opposite arm came up with the knife.
He had to block with his other arm to keep himself from being cut.
"Impressive. Are you just naturally resistant to that sort of attack, or has young Malfoy given you a bit of a boost?"
He brought his right fist back down and hit her in the ribs.
"I can take a beating," she said through her teeth. "And have."
She tried to headbutt him. Mac had been teaching her. Pevensie still didn't quite have the hang of it.
She also hadn't counted on Moody's head being harder than hers.
He chuckled. "I believe proper etiquette requires the use of the phrase 'give us a kiss'." He headbutted her back.
Pevensie jumped back and felt of her face to check for blood.
"Not if you're Brody MacDougal. He says 'I've a secret to tell ya', according to Mac."
She did her feint and punch like she had done with Ian Barton, aiming for Moody's fake leg.
Moody didn't look impressed when her hand made the crunching sound of popping knuckles. "Well, I trained in the ancient headbutting arts with their grandparents, so I suppose I'm a bit old fashioned." He watched her shake her hand. "That one is wooden. One of my proteges always complained that it hurt when I used it to do this to her." He swept the wooden leg behind her knees.
Pevensie shouted when she landed on her back. She did not get up right away. Her hand hurt. Also, she's just bumped her head on the floor.
Draco watched, frowning, as she got up slowly. It always bothered him when she looked like she was hurting. She was also frowning and beginning to look defeated. He could have told her she was not going to win this one. He did admire her getting up for more, though.
"I think that's enough for today," Moody said. "We can work on your hand-to-hand if you and Mister Malfoy like. I will be leading a section on the Asian arts that many of the other girls expressed interest in which would be of use to you."
Pevensie protested. "But I'm not-"
"You're finished for today," Draco said.
She gave him a look like she would argue. Draco realeased the binding on her leg.
"Go shower. Have Daisy or Willow look at your hand."
"You know we have a healer. His name is Theo. He's actually nice."
"He's not nice. I've known him since I was a child. You did well. Go on then."
Pevensie shuffled off.
Moody waited until the door was latched. "Excellent work on teaching her the quarterstaff. She really is excelling there."
"I think that's her thing. I didn't have to teach her much. She just... knew. She's got very good instincts. I think she was meant to do this. If there were still only one chosen, I think she'd be called."
Moody nodded, filing that tidbit away for later. "How much hand-to-hand experience do you have? I know that when I reported for Auror Training, I was near the bottom of the group."
"I know how to throw a punch properly enough to stagger a grown man. Li Jiao is also teaching me some kicking stuff." Draco gave him a suspicious look. "Why? Because I'm not fighting you. I like my face how it is, thanks."
"I wasn't suggesting it. Just gathering information."
"For what?" Draco asked, still looking suspicious.
He in no way wanted a dark wizard hunter gathering any information on him.
"So that I might give an accurate reporting to Mister Giles regarding the progress of the girls. I believe that I shall be suggesting more time with Miss Li for the both of you.
"What are you - my boss now?" Draco asked, unable to keep the snap from his voice.
He'd been testy for weeks and could not exactly pinpoint why.
"As a matter of fact, no. I am fairly certain that I said 'suggesting' just now."
Draco scowled. "Sorry. I'm just a bit more... me than usual right now."
Draco scratched at the skin around his dark mark almost involuntarily. He swore it had somehow been bespelled to itch instead of burn now. He wished they could just find this Ethan person already.
"Is it burning again?" Moody raised an eyebrow.
"You're going to think I'm stupid."
At Moody's look, Draco shrugged.
That was odd. "Interesting. Has it ever itched before?"
Draco frowned. "No. Does it itching mean something? Is my arm suddenly going to develop a mind of its own and try to kill me? Oh my gods, do I have an evil arm now?"
Moody gave him a look that clearly stated that he believed that the younger man was mentally deficient. Voice dripping with sarcasm, he replied, "Yes, Malfoy. That is exactly what is going to happen."
"Look," Draco snapped. "Once you know these Sunnydale people and hear some of their stories, you'll realize that it was a valid question."
"Point," the old man conceded. "However, how likely do you think it would be for your left arm to gain sentience and attempt to, in effect, kill itself?"
Moody didn't wait for a response. "I suspect it's a side effect of whatever magics are affecting the dark mark."
"Oh well, that's just perfect," Draco snapped. "When they catch the wanker doing this, I'm going to hit his face. Hard."
"That assumes that Mr. Giles hasn't removed his face from his body by the time you get to him," Mad-Eye commented.