You are viewing a story from harrypotterfanfiction.com
Word Count: 35,081
Warnings: Mild Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme
Genres: Drama, General, Angst
Pairings: Other Pairing
First Published: 12/19/2008
Last Chapter: 05/08/2012
Last Updated: 05/08/2012
banner by justonemorefic
I wish they'd done more...
They did what they could...
They could have done more...
Not all Ravenclaws are good
There was one such 'Claw
Who was a little naughty
On the wrong side of the law
This is Barty Crouch's story
Written by Indigo Seas and beta'd by x0xcaitlinx0x.
Filius Flitwick’s eyes scanned the hallway in disapproval, sighing quietly. Stones that had previously been holding the corridor’s walls in place were now scattered across the floor, leaving the hallway in a state of disarray. A dusty haze floated about the school, and, occasionally, bits and pieces of the wall fell from their previous resting places and onto the floor the tiny professor was standing on.
The sight before him was certainly disconcerting. Never in his multiple years of teaching did he ever imagine the school to be in such a state. The destroyed hallway he stood in held so many memories; he couldn’t begin to imagine trying to piece the stones back into their proper places, trying to fix it all up again.
This was nothing, of course, compared to the destruction all around the castle. Voldemort’s followers had done a good job demolishing the school. Such an attack was meant to leave chaos like this.
Sighing once more, Flitwick rolled up his tiny sleeves, pulled out his wand, and proceeded to do a silent charm. The rubble before him moved to the side of the corridor, clearing a pathway through the destruction.
“You seem upset, Professor.”
Flitwick turned, recognizing the voice.
The Grey Lady glided towards him gracefully, her ghostly robes creating an almost billowing effect behind her. “Why are you not down at the feast?” she asked, smiling softly. “You must be famished, after all of the fighting tonight.”
“Not me,” Flitwick replied quietly, gazing up into her long face. “I suppose I just needed to be alone for a while.”
“I can leave, if you prefer...”
“No, no. Please stay.”
The two stood in silence for a moment, looking around at the surrounding rubble. The clinking of forks and the excited chatter from the feast wafted up the staircase behind them, but they paid no attention.
“Shall we walk?” the ghost asked hesitantly, searching Flitwick’s eyes for approval.
“Certainly, a walk would be nice.”
The couple made their way along the destroyed corridor, periodically breaking their straight line to dodge a fallen stone. The quiet hum of the festivities could still be heard from the lower floor, and the soft noises was almost comforting as they walked through the debris and wreckage of the castle.
“It was a fine battle, wasn’t it?” Helena inquired, staring thoughtfully through a gap in the outer wall. The hole revealed a view of the castle’s magnificent grounds: moonlight illuminating splotches of copper-stained grass, while the Forbidden Forest loomed ominously in the darkness.
“Yes, indeed,” the professor replied, smiling. “We have done what most thought impossible tonight, you know.”
The Grey Lady nodded, her wisps of shadowy white hair framing her face. “We all did such a magnificent job.”
“I could not be more proud of the students.”
The ghost sighed, and Filius looked up, surprised. “Surely you are not disappointed in the students, my lady?” he asked in a tiny, stunned voice.
“Of course not; not really...”
“What do you mean?”
“Well,” she murmured, “I just wish my noble house had done more for the fight.”
“Oh, but Ravenclaw was fantastic in the battle!" Flitwick stated defiantly. "Whatever are you talking about?” His squeaky voice echoed through the fractured hallway.
“I didn’t mean to upset you, Professor,” the ghost muttered, looking out over the surrounding grounds. “I merely meant that Ravenclaw did not participate as much as I would have liked them to.”
Flitwick nodded slightly. “I assure you, many students from our house fought. They fought well.”
“But many cowardly Ravenclaws shied away, afraid of the battle that lay before them,” Helena replied quietly.
“That is true, but many stayed and struggled with the rest of us. We have multiple brave fighters in our house, my lady. Several Ravenclaws stood up against Voldemort, alongside the army Hogwarts drew.”
The Grey Lady shook her head, still looking over the castle’s grounds. “We might have fighters,” she murmured, “but some of them don’t know exactly where their loyalties lie.”
Then it was Flitwick’s turn to shake his head. “Whatever are you talking about?”
“Have you forgotten, Professor? One of our very own has spent his life fighting for the wrong side. A Mr Barty Crouch, to be specific...”
The small professor sighed a deep, heavy sigh, and turned to face his ghostly friend. “He wasn’t always that way, Helena.”
“Barty was such a good boy. I remember when he first arrived at Hogwarts. Such potential...”
A/N: A huge thanks to tell_me_what_the_truth_is for the original organizing and Alopex for taking over later on and continuing to run the show.
Written by long_live_luna_bellatrix and beta'd by ohcrapidroppedmybrain.
Lovely chapter image by Joanne K
Filius Flitwick sat down in his chair, one that which was high-backed even for Dumbledore but simply monstrous for himself. Minerva had the new first years lined up neatly in front of the Sorting Hat, and they were trembling with nerves as she unrolled a list of names.
"Crouch, Bartemius," she called out first, and Flitwick watched with interest as the first child, a boy with an unruly mop of straw-colored hair, stumbled up to the stool.
Flitwick always paid special attention to the first child being Sorted, as they were, in essence, the test case. About a third of the new children didn't even know what it meant to be Sorted, and the first child to have to witness the mystery was awed and pitied by the other students before their turn came. Flitwick had seen children strut, skip, and shuffle up to the stool; he had seen people smile reassuringly, faint, vomit, and burst into tears. And Flitwick could count on every child's unique reaction to reflect their inner personalities, but the first child could set the tone for the whole night, or longer.
The first boy this year, Bartemius Crouch, was small, his shoulders a little hunched as he walked slowly up to the stool. He glanced around at the all of the students focused on him and turned a shade paler, but his small grin didn't falter. The boy looked typically nervous, but ready to take the hat on nevertheless. Hopefully this one would be a role model for the others, and Filch wouldn't have to run for a mop this year. The hat was so big that it fell past Bartemius' ears, and he chewed his lip as the whole of Hogwarts watched him.
"RAVENCLAW!" The hat shouted after a brief pause, and Flitwick clapped loudly. Bartemius lifted off the hat, beamed, and ran to the Ravenclaw table, where students several heads taller than him cheered and slapped him on the back.
From his very first class, Flitwick saw that Bartemius Crouch, or Barty, as he preferred to be called, was an exceptional student. His enthusiasm was incredible, his hand always in the air, his essays superb.
"Mr Fox and Miss Forten, you two will be partners," Flitwick said, glancing down at the class list as he paired students up to try the Levitating Charm. "And Mr Crouch and Mr Grosset."
Everyone tittered and murmured to their friends. Barty was clearly top of the class; already teachers were partnering Barty only with the best of the Ravenclaws. Gary Grosset, however, was a sweet Hufflepuff who hadn't been able to coax a single spell from his wand yet, nor a grade above a Dreadful.
Flitwick sat back in his desk and pretended not to notice the sympathetic glances everyone was shooting Barty. The boy had already proven he could perform the best of spells, with or without a partner; surely he could only do good for Gary.
"You can try first," Barty said, once Gary had moved over to sit next to him.
Gary jabbed his wand into the air and mumbled something inaudible, while Flitwick spied at the pair from over a stack of fifth year essays.
"You need to wave your wand like so," Barty said calmly, demonstrating. "And speak clearer. The wand isn't as smart as you think it is, and it has awful hearing."
Gary cracked a smile, waved his wand shakily, and spoke the incantation once more.
"Wingardium Leviosa," he said quietly, but his feather remained firmly on the desk.
"You still need to wave it differently. Here," Barty said, not a hint of annoyance creeping into his voice. He placed his hand on top of Gary's and guided him through the movements. The next time Gary tried it on his own, his feather gave a feeble hop.
"Good!" Barty said encouragingly. "Now speak with more confidence."
"Wingardium Leviosa!" Gary cried, and his feather rose into the air, hovered for a second, then floated downward.
Barty smiled, and then tried the spell himself. Unsurprisingly, Barty's feather hovered high above his head for a full twenty seconds before he lowered his wand.
"Very good, Mr Crouch, Mr Grosset," Flitwick called out, but inside he was glowing. Barty beamed.
Flitwick didn't see Barty outside the classroom or the Great Hall for nearly a month. At dinner Barty was surrounded by chattering students, although from his vantage point Flitwick noticed that Barty ate his food mostly in silence and preferred to listen to the conversation around him rather than actively participate in it. Once, as Flitwick walked by, he heard Barty explaining the finer details of spell pronunciation to a fellow Ravenclaw.
Then as September drew to a close, Flitwick spotted Barty walking up to lunch after break. The corridors were clogged with students heading for the Great Hall.
Flitwick would have expected Barty to stick close to a pack of students, as all first years did to avoid getting separated or lost, but the boy was completely isolated from everyone around him. His face was stony, and he walked with purpose. A startled Flitwick compared this to the young man's smile usually lighting up the classroom.
"Good afternoon Mr Crouch," Flitwick said, once he caught up to the boy.
Barty turned and grinned toothily at Flitwick; all sign of his previous coldness disappeared in an instant. Warmth flooded his dark eyes and spread down to his feet, where he gained a spring to his step. "Afternoon, Professor."
"What were you reading?" Flitwick asked, glancing down at the thick book tucked under Barty's arm. It was old and the binding was coming apart at the spine, like most books in the library. However, first year classes didn't assign books with another language inscribed on the spine.
"It's some extra reading for Defense Against the Dark Arts," Barty replied brightly. "I wanted to look up some more challenging spells, and I'm studying Patronuses."
"Can you do one?" Flitwick spluttered. He himself had only learned to cast the spell properly after he graduated Hogwarts, and he had mastered many spells long before his classmates.
"Of course not," Barty blushed. "But it's a fascinating subject.
"Indeed," Flitwick agreed, as they entered the Great Hall. A wave of noise hit them and he had to raise his voice. "I'll see you in class." Flitwick watched as Barty went over to the Ravenclaw table and sat on the far end, which the first years usually claimed as their own. Barty's face had gone blank again, and he reached silently for a bowl of baked potatoes. When he had filled his plate with proper lunch food, he opened up his huge book on his lap and began to read, leaving his food untouched but for a few bites.
The first time Flitwick spied Barty wandering near the kitchens, he figured that Barty was just going to meet up with a friend from Hufflepuff. The second and third times, Flitwick passed it off as innocent exploring. But the fourth time he caught Barty downstairs, now munching on a pastry, he went to investigate.
"I see you discovered the kitchens?" Flitwick said, falling into step next to Barty, who started and turned. The boy turned crimson, but regained his cool quickly.
"It's not hard. Everyone knows house elves work at Hogwarts, and anyone who's ever been within ten feet of one knows they love to help, especially if you're hungry."
"Quite the contrary, actually. I didn't even know about the house elves until I began teaching here. And how did you gain access to the kitchens?"
"Passwords don't stop Ravenclaws for long," Barty said simply, and Flitwick knew he had a point, even if it really was just an excuse. Students weren't supposed to take food from the kitchens, but Flitwick decided to let Barty off the hook this one time. The boy hadn't meant any harm, after all.
"You shouldn't be sneaking in there, Mr. Crouch," Flitwick said. "Students aren't allowed in the kitchens."
"Sorry, Professor," Barty said quickly, and that was the end of that. He fell silent and hurried ahead. Flitwick sighed. He admired Barty Crouch, and he enjoyed the boy's quick thinking, both in class and out of it. But he had a feeling Barty had anticipated that entire conversation, and knew exactly how to act to get out of trouble. Besides, no child ever apologized that quickly without having another trick up their sleeve.
It came as no surprise to Flitwick, nor any other teacher for that matter, when Barty passed his exams with flying colors. Everyone reported that he was the first to finish his test in class, and would quietly study until the next final. And then summer flew by in a flash, and Barty was back, never failing to impress his teachers with his simple, intelligent thinking.
It was in Barty's second year that Flitwick first saw him spending more time with the older half of the school than students his own age. Flitwick already knew that Barty was completely mature in his conversation and ideas, but it still shocked him to see Barty walking down the corridor, with a fourth or fifth year bent down to listen to him. Barty was also occasionally seen chatting with ghosts. When Flitwick asked the Grey Lady what he talked about, she replied that he appeared to be soaking up the history of the castle and the mechanics of magic itself.
Flitwick took it upon himself to continue pairing Barty with students like Gary Grosset, as he had seen the less smart students thrive under Barty's guiding hand. Barty was patient to no end, and seemed to get almost as much enjoyment seeing someone else master a spell under his tutoring as he did casting the spell himself.
Flitwick appeared to have forgotten over the summer the joy of having a student who raised his hand several times a class, who asked deep questions, who always a had point to add that enhanced the class ten times over. He only wished that Barty had friends; despite the fact that Barty hung around the older students, they always flicked him away quickly, and he never seemed quite able to make friends his own age. He talked to the other second years, and sat with them at meals, but he never fit in as seamlessly as everyone else did. Perhaps it was because Barty aced things that other students, even some Ravenclaws, struggled with, or that he talked mostly about school-related subjects. Was it really Barty's fault that he was the only second year boy in his house who wasn't trying out for the Quidditch team? Was it so big a problem that he didn't like chocolate, or that he despised sleeping late and missing a chunk of the day? Flitwick didn't think so, but Barty was definitely alone more than he was in the company of others. And the oddest thing of all: Barty enjoyed the solitude.
"So you see, Helena," Flitwick said, as the two companions made their way through the destruction all around them, "Barty was such a good student in the beginning. All the teachers adored him."
"But the way you explained it, he didn't fit in from the beginning."
"He was quieter and more of a loner than other students, for sure," Flitwick replied. "But he had such a heart in his chest, and such a mind in his head! He was passionate about his studies, and I had no doubt that he would find friendship at one point. He just needed to give his fellow classmates time to get to know him a little better. And he never seemed anything less than content with his situation."
"Every other student I've known has made friends at Hogwarts from day one," retorted Helena sadly. "Filius, I fear we must have just noticed the signs too late."
"My lady, I never detected a trace of evil in Barty's eyes during his first few years at Hogwarts, I assure you," Flitwick said. "In fact, the happiest I ever saw him was in his third year, when he met Aurora Sinistra…"
Written by sun_dove and beta'd by long_live_luna_bellatrix.
It was the beginning of the first lesson of the week, bright and early on a Monday morning. Professor Flitwick watched as the third years he was teaching chattered and argued lightly while they settled down for the start of the lesson. Waiting a moment, Flitwick smiled around the room before gently chastising a few of the more rowdy thirteen-year-olds. "Miss Vaughn, Mr Ellison, please settle down and get out your Standard Book of Spells, turned to page thr- Yes, Miss MacDougall, page three. No, Mr Turnbull, you may not sit next to Mr Grieve, you caused too much chaos last lesson." He weaved through the desks, nodding at each student who had all their equipment and who was waiting quietly for instructions― which, thankfully, was the majority of the class that day.
"Now, Mr Collins, if you could collect in the essays due today and place them on my desk, please?" Flitwick called over his shoulder, passing by Miss Banes and Miss Sinistra's desks. Eventually, he reached Mr Crouch's desk, right at the back of the classroom, and turning around, he called out, "Cheering Charms today, class! Please work with the same partners I assigned on Friday." He walked briskly back to his desk and sat down, getting out a pile of essays his fifth year class had handed in. He sighed as he scanned the first page. His fifth years obviously hadn't taken in anything he'd said about Colour-Changing Charms.
There was a hubbub of noise as the third years moved around to work with the partners he'd chosen, and suddenly a shattering sound echoed through the classroom, as well as a gasp.
"Oh, I'm so sorry!" Aurora Sinistra cried, clasping her hands anxiously and looking at Barty Crouch, her cheeks growing red. "I'm awfully clumsy! Tergeo! Tergeo!" She pointed her wand at the ground, prodding at the spilt ink, but the puddle remained no matter how many times she attempted the spell.
"Tergeo. There. Never mind, no harm done." A smile stretched across Barty's face, as he looked back at Aurora. Aurora smiled back, her expression changing from anxiety to relief as fast as the ink had been cleaned up.
"Thanks, Barty! Er― don't suppose you have another nifty spell to get rid of the broken glass, do you?" Aurora asked, looking hopeful.
"No, sorry, I don't," Barty answered, shaking his head. "Vanishing Spells are still a bit above my level." Professor Flitwick, who had been listening vaguely, walked over and flicked his wand, so that the vial of ink fixed itself and flew back onto Barty's desk.
"Now, Miss Sinistra, could you please go and work on Cheering Charms with Miss Vaughn, as I decided last lesson, and Mr Crouch, please go and find Miss Banes," Flitwick said, thinking to himself that Barty could hopefully help Gertrude Banes, who was rather poor at wand-work, although she wrote brilliantly thoughtful essays.
Flitwick marched along the corridors, humming softly to himself and checking his watch from time to time. It was a year after the spilt ink episode, during October or November. The time was nearing midnight, and he was patrolling the Astronomy tower, due to a sudden lack of healthy Prefects from the bout of mild dragon-pox going around the school.
He heard talking in the distance, and, checking in case it was some badly-behaved students, he walked towards the noise. He came out on top of the tower, and saw two familiar fourth years sitting next to each other.
"See, look, Barty," said one of the students, pointing up into the sky. "There's the North Star, and there's Sirius, the Dog Star, and, if you look very carefully, you see those specks over there? What're those, do you know?" she asked, looking from the sky to Barty.
"Er― Jupiter? And… Mars? Saturn?" Barty guessed.
"No! Haven't you learned anything?" the girl said, irritated but good-natured.
"Never mind. They're the Taurus constellation― note that down." Barty's head bent as he scribbled on a piece of parchment.
"This is the one subject I can help you in," Aurora added with a giggle, "I'm going to make sure you nail it."
Flitwick decided to venture forward and interrupt their conversation. They were breaking rules, after all, much as he knew they were doing no harm.
"Miss Sinistra, Mr Crouch," he said, and the fourth years jumped and turned around, “please return to the Ravenclaw common room and go to bed, as it is a long time past the fourth year curfew. You must come to my office tomorrow morning to receive your punishment." The students hastily gathered the Astronomy equipment laid out on one of the desks and scurried off down the stairs, Aurora still teaching Barty all the way.
"Now, you'll remember what I taught you, won't you? If you don't, just tell me and I can teach you again – but during allowed hours," she added hurriedly.
"Yes, all right," Barty said, with a warmth in his voice that Professor Flitwick suspected meant he was smiling, though he couldn't see because of the dark. "Thanks, Aurora."
"No problem!" Aurora said, just as they entered the Ravenclaw common room, Flitwick watching to ensure they didn't sneak out again.
Flitwick leaned back in his chair. The room was hot and stuffy, the pile of essays to mark seemed as if it wasn't getting smaller however much work he did on it, and he was incredibly bored. He could hear voices from outside, as if they were drifting in on a draught of spring air. Sighing, he closed his eyes and relaxed, listening to the voices but at the same time, not quite meaning to listen in.
"Nice, isn't it, out here?" came the first voice, one Flitwick recognised. Aurora Sinistra.
"Mm," came the second voice, a fainter mumble.
"C'mon, Barty! Liven up! What's wrong?" Aurora persisted. Flitwick smiled to himself.
"Nothing," grumbled Barty so quietly that Flitwick barely caught the words.
"Barty!" exclaimed Aurora loudly. "Either cheer up and start talking to me, or tell me what's wrong!"
"Nothing's wrong!" Barty said, indignant.
Aurora giggled. "Sure about that?" she checked.
Aurora giggled again. Then, there was a silence, while all Flitwick could hear was the twittering of birds and faint voices of other students. He wondered if the two fourth years knew they were sitting right below his window.
"I like it here," Barty said, breaking the silence abruptly.
"Me too!" Aurora said happily. "Just why didn't we discover this place earlier?"
"I don't know," Barty mumbled. There was a content silence and then Barty coughed. "Aurora… didn't we come here to do homework?"
"Oh! Yes, yes, we did," said the girl quickly. Filius heard a rustle as they both got out their schoolbooks. "Okay, Barty," Aurora began, "What's the favourite food of a Bowtruckle, d'you know?"
"No idea," Barty admitted, after a brief silence. Aurora chuckled.
"Me neither," she said.
Professor Flitwick smiled, tipping his head back and basking in the warm sun. He was patrolling the grounds, taking over while Hagrid was out sick, and he quite enjoyed it despite the extra work. It was early summer, the weather was very warm for such a day at Hogwarts, and with the students wandering around the castle and grounds, it all made for a pleasant atmosphere.
Flitwick looked around as he walked, watching the students pass. There was a group of chattering fifth years, a few lost-looking first years, though how they could be lost after more than six months living in the castle, he didn't know. Over further away there were two students, one tall and one shorter, standing with their backs turned away from him.
Flitwick walked over, following the patrolling route he had decided on, and came close enough to catch a snatch of conversation.
"Barty, how do you know of these things?" said the taller student incredulously. "You're only fifteen!"
"Oh, I hear around, I understand what I hear. Then I think of my own ideas and opinions of such things." Barty said airily. "Honestly, Patrick, it's really not that hard!"
Flitwick didn't want to appear suspicious so he carried on, striding along as if nothing had happened. His brain was whizzing.
It wasn't the first time he'd seen Barty Crouch with an older student, but Patrick Esling also wasn't the type to seek out help from a fourth year. Flitwick shook his head slowly. What they'd been discussing, he didn't know, but Mr. Esling had always been a sullen boy, mixed up with a dodgy group of older students. Flitwick sighed quietly to himself. If Barty was hanging out with those types, he didn't know what to do, if anything. But then again, there was no way of telling what Barty and Mr. Esling had been talking about.
"I knew it, Filius," Helena sighed, shaking her head, "He was bad from the very beginning!"
"Helena, I've been trying to persuade you that what you're saying is far from the truth! Barty was a model student, or as close to model as an ordinary teenager could get. I merely pointed out that I found Barty speaking with an older student of questionable character. Barty helped anyone who asked," Filius pointed out.
"But Filius," the Grey Lady said suddenly, as the thought struck her, "Barty knew far from ordinary teenagers, didn't he? Just think of Rabastan Lestrange!"
Written by ohcrapidroppedmybrain and beta'd by PrincessPadfoot.
Over the next few weeks, Barty and Aurora grew close. Flitwick noted how much time they spent together and how he could never find one without the other's company. Even in class, the duo tried thier best to stay together― Aurora sometimes traded seats with Barty's neighbor.
After class one day, they stuffed their books in their bags and walked out of the classroom, exposing themselves to the fresh air. They stumbled over the hills as they roamed the grounds, gradually making their way to Care of Magical Creatures class. Aurora ran faster, leaping towards the sky whenever an obstacle flew in her way. Barty, on the other hand, looked partially embarrassed. He stumbled on rocks and tree roots, sometimes falling to the ground. Aurora always looked back, offering him a helping hand he gratefully took. They sat down in the usual forest clearing. Other kids were already there, mainly Ravenclaws such as themeselves. A few Hufflepuffs were there as well. The only ones who looked out of place were three kids with maching green and black uniforms. The biggest and toughest-looking guy shoved his way through the students, and his companions eagerly followed. Aurora rolled her eyes.
"That's Avery," she whispered, pointing to the bloke. "He has a skull as thick as a bludger, and a heart cold enough to match."
Barty nodded, watching one of Avery's friends cackle. They looked shrewd and tough... more like hitmen than students.
"That's Mulciber, and Lestrange, I think," she continued. Barty glanced over at them and felt a shock ring through; the one called Lestrange was gazing at him with the faintest hint of a smile on his lips. It looked like he was actually encouraging Barty or something. "It's obvious what they want to be."
"Hmm?" Barty asked. He'd always thought that Aurora was a well-meant girl, if not a little instantaneous. He'd never heard her sound so hateful.
Her gaze hardened as she stared at them. "Death Eaters."
Flitwick rubbed his eyes wearily, the full day of teaching causing unwanted fatigue. He was grading the Third Years' essays on Cheering Charms, and with each tick his quill made, his eyelids closed further.
"Patrick, for the last time, I can't help you!"
The voice had sounded close, and it was a saviour to Flitwick. He grabbed his coat, threw it on him, and saw two boys fighting at the end of the hall. The voice wasn't coming from someone he expected... instead, Barty Crouch was leaning towards Patrick Esling, looking more formidable than Flitwick could ever remember. Patrick stood his own, giving Barty a particularly nasty glare.
"I thought you were my friend, Barty. You act like you haven't thought about it."
"There is nothing to think of. If I wanted to be a... monster, I would've asked!"
Patrick laughed. "He's getting powerful. Imagine all the infamy you would recieve for being the Dark Lord's servant. He's rising Barty... you can feel it, I can feel it, and our pal Lestrange most certainly feels it. Don't act like you don't fit in―"
"What's going on boys?" Flitwick had finally decided to step in. He pushed them away from each other, although several feet shorter than them. Barty threw his arms around his chest, but Patrick continued to look at him.
"It's well past the curfew, Esling," Flitwick said, ushering the boy off. "Crouch, you can come with me."
Flitwick could taste Barty's hatred at being called upon. Nevertheless, he walked with Flitwick back to the Charms room, more hopeless than before.
"Helena," groaned Flitwick, twiddling his thumbs anxiously, "I think that this is the only thing we will agree on. Rabastan Lestrange was nothing short of a monster, but I hardly doubt that Barty would have put up with him for a minute if he thought that. Rabastan could have said something to him, something that would make Barty want to know him. I remember when Rabastan was in my Charms class. I never thought that he would be as bad as he is now; in fact, I thought he was a kind lad. A bit of a follower if you will, but very kind."
The Grey Lady laughed coldly. "I've heard much worse out of him. He has a bad humour, Fillius. He and his formidable sister-in-law both do; I've heard that they actually planned the whole Longbottom fiasco much dirtier than it actually was. They are an odd sort... very off indeed."
Barty and Flitwick made their way back to his office, neither of them talking. Barty felt sick to his stomach, trying to take in all the things Patrick had said.
Flitwick noted Barty's white face and shook his head, wanting to guide the boy in the very least. It was amazing how Flitwick always had the urge to take Barty under his wing. But, thinking back on it, Barty's brilliance and exclusion of others reminded him of himself. He could see himself, albeit younger, walking where Barty was now. A hopeless little creature the boy was. With this thought in hand, he moved his legs faster, opening up the door.
Barty sat in the chair, the moon making his skin look like cream. His eyes were bloodshot, his hands shaking uncontrollably. The thing that bothered Flitwick was his eyes… Barty's eyes that were so wide he could almost see into his soul, yet couldn't at the same time. Many questions were answered, but so many more weren't.
"Professor," Barty mumbled, his voice carefully controlled. "I agree with you if you want to give me a detention. It wasn't right of me to sneak after hours. Or you can dock some points off of Ravenclaw, I deserve it. Maybe you could―"
Flitwick raised his hand for silence, looking extraordinarily powerful for such a tiny man. "That's not why I called you in here. You didn't think that I would let you off that easy?"
When Barty said nothing, Flitwick continued. "I called you in here because I read the paper this morning. It's none of my business, but you were really distracted in class today. And when I saw you talking like that to Patrick Esling, I didn't know what to think."
Barty stiffened, folding his arms protectively around his chest. "You are right," he sniffed. "It isn't any of your business."
"It's okay if you are scared of him, Barty. I know that I am. And, even though He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is out there, it doesn't mean you have to join him. Don't let others fool you into thinking otherwise."
"I don't want to join him," Barty sniffed. "I don't know why people think I do. I'm not a killer."
As the Grey Lady nodded after her statement, Flitwick only had one thing to say. "Barty was never easily swayed; Rabastan Lestrange was just his friend. They connected."
The Grey Lady nodded again. "That's what I'm saying. Lestrange never showed his true colours to anyone, at least while he was in school. But Barty connected with him; they were probably planning to be The Dark Lord's minions from day one."
"Oh no," Flitwick said. "Barty was probably scared when Rabastan showed him who he really was."
Written by HarrietHopkirk and beta'd by PrincessPadfoot.
Chapter image by HarrietHopkirk
The day was cold and the sky was an impenetrable layer of cloud. Fog hung eerily about the grounds of Hogwarts, and Hagrid loomed dangerously out of the mist, his hulking frame barely visible. Students walking to and from the greenhouses wrapped their scarves tighter around their necks as the cold devoured them, quickening their steps so as to reach the warmth of the classrooms. The corridors inside the castle were equally gloomy and dark, the candles offering little light. It seemed that the whole school was locked on a comatose state. Students and teachers walked from classroom to classroom as if asleep.
Aurora Sinistra seemed to be the only one in the entirety of Hogwarts with any sort of life left in her. She smiled and laughed and talked (although mostly to herself) during lessons and break times. Her loud voice echoed through the cold corridors. Barty Crouch was always trudging wearily at her side, listening to her as she talked about nothing in particular and sometimes, during the times when she paused for air, he uttered uninvolved answers to her questions. His voice remained monotone throughout.
He hadn’t been the same, not since his talk with Professor Flitwick after curfew. Aurora noted the obvious change in him, his desire to prove himself whenever the opportunity arose. He was quiet now, only speaking to answer a question in class or the general small talk the two now shared. She had tried desperately to change the topic of the conversation whenever it fell on Flitwick or the Slytherins.
“But then he told me that my essay was not good enough! Can anyone even get lower than an E on an astronomy essay, Barty? Well I know you don’t but it’s virtually impossible! It’s really easy but he was going on and on about how it’s so difficult to get the telescope positioned right! He’s mental! I mean it’s not like I’m going to take up teaching it when I leave this place...”
“So when that finished I had to run down to the dungeons because I was late for Potions and Slughorn had already assigned seats so that’s why I had to sit at the back with Mulciber. He’s horrible and completely awful at Potions and I saw you sitting next to Lestrange...”
Barty had been waiting for her to finish for a while; waiting for her obscene hand gestures and long, hysterical stories to stop. They had stopped walking, and were standing in the doorway to the Great Hall. From this vantage point, Barty could see the four house tables, and on the right, the Slytherin table was almost empty apart from a group of threatening boys sitting at the far end.
“I left my book in the dungeons, do you mind going back to get it? I have a meeting with Flitwick.”
His voice was quiet but strained. Aurora watched as his jaw clenched slightly.
“Of course,” she replied, before hurrying off towards the dungeons. Upon reaching the top of the stairs, she turned her head to see Barty entering the Great Hall and walking over to the Slytherin table, his head held high. With a curious look, she disappeared down the staircase to the dungeons, wondering whether Barty’s potion book was actually left behind.
Barty Crouch walked over to the Slytherin table and, without hesitation, walked towards the menacing gang of boys. Rabastan Lestrange was sitting in the centre of the group, silent and intimidating, shuffling a pack of magic playing cards. His hands moved quickly over the cards, and his dark eyes remained fixed on them. Mulciber and Knot were eating plate loads of food, shoving it into their mouths ferociously.
“Lestrange,” Barty said. On his arrival, Mulciber stood up ominously and Knot clenched his fists. Rabastan looked up, staring at him. His lips twisted into a smile, and he put his cards down.
“Why are you here, Crouch?”
Barty paused, uncertain how to proceed. They had talked a little in Potions, mostly about the potion they were meant to make in a pair, but Lestrange had mentioned something else, something that intrigued and interested Barty. He bit his lip nervously.
“Mulciber,” Lestrange said, ignoring Barty’s silence, his voice was quiet but authoritative, “go find Esling. I have to talk to Mr. Crouch, here.”
Mulciber stared at Barty, and then rushed off towards the entrance to the Great Hall. Knot merely returned to his meal, the knife and fork clattering against the golden plate.
“Please, sit,” Lestrange said but Barty remained standing and silent.
“Listen, Bartemius,” he continued, and Barty flinched at the use of his full name— only his father called him that. “I’m not one for going round and spilling the family secrets to anyone...”
“Then why did you tell me?” Barty blurted out the words and Lestrange returned to looking at his playing cards. It was his turn to be silent. After a long, pregnant pause, he looked up at Barty.
“I thought it might interest you. That’s why you are here, isn’t it? I can’t imagine any other reason why you would be here.”
“Is what you said true?” Barty asked.
“I’m hardly going to tell you again,” Lestrange replied, flipping over each playing card one by one. “Your father is big in the Ministry, isn’t he? Why would I tell people like you who could easily rat my family out?”
“I hate my father,” Barty responded quickly. His curiosity was growing now. Rabastan Lestrange had told him that his family was holding something powerfully magical and dark in their house, something that would be of great power in the Dark Lord’s hands. Barty wanted to know what it was.
“That’s a shame.” Rabastan was smiling up at him now.
“I won’t tell anyone.”
“How can I trust you?”
“You just can.”
Rabastan Lestrange laughed. It was a horrible sound, dark and sinister. It reminded Barty that he shouldn’t be talking to people like the Lestranges. He told people over and over that he wasn’t going to be one of them, but here he was, persuading Lestrange that he could trust him.
“I heard from Esling that you didn’t want to be a Death Eater.” Lestrange had lowered his voice, and Barty, who was still standing awkwardly by the table, leant in to hear him.
“I don’t. I’m not like that.”
“Yet here you are.”
Lestrange was just confirming what Barty was thinking. He could hear Aurora calling to him from the other side of the Great Hall, and he wanted to leave this strange conversation that was happening at the Slytherin table. Barty turned his head to glance at Aurora, who was looking at him curiously. He signalled her to wait a moment. His curiosity was making him stay.
“Tell you what,” Lestrange began, obviously enjoying himself, “you need to prove to me that I can trust you.”
Barty wanted to accept the challenge. His desire to show that he wasn’t going to be a Death Eater was eating away at him, but he reminded himself that his curiosity didn’t need to be satisfied. He didn’t need to know what dark and dismal secrets lurked within the confines of the Lestrange household. He couldn’t risk being lured into that world of darkness, he wouldn’t let himself stray that far.
“No, Lestrange. I don’t care whether you can trust me.” Barty moved to walk away, but Mulciber and Patrick Esling had arrived out of nowhere and stopped him. Patrick was smiling smugly and crossed his arms.
“I thought you weren’t ready to join our little gang, Crouch,” he said. Barty glared at him. Rabastan Lestrange stood up and rested a hand on Patrick’s shoulder.
“Listen, Bartemius. I know you are curious, and I like that about you. I don’t want to force you into anything.”
Lestrange was smooth talking, charming, dangerous when he wanted to be. Barty knew that he should keep away from him and his gang of future Death Eaters, but somehow they took him in. It was almost like he was being seduced by the power he knew that dark magic could provide.
“I don’t want to be a Death Eater,” Barty repeated, and he saw Esling open his mouth to speak, but Lestrange stopped him.
“That’s fine.” He smiled. “Tell you what, how about we just be friends for now. Maybe you can introduce me to your little friend over there...”
The group turned to look at Aurora. Rabastan waved. She replied the gesture half-heartedly, still looking confused. Barty clenched his fists slightly, and his tongue darted out to touch his lip. He wasn’t sure where he picked the mannerism up, but he always seemed to do it when he was angry. Rabastan noticed it.
“Oh, sorry, didn’t realised that you liked her like that,” he said, slapping Barty on the back and smiling. “Maybe another time, eh?”
Barty nodded. His fists relaxed, and he looked back over at Aurora, who was now talking to another student.
“So Bartemius, friends?” Rabastan held out his hand. Barty hesitated for a second before shaking it, a smile stretching over his face.
“Brilliant. We’ll see you at dinner then.”
The group moved off and Barty returned to the Ravenclaw house table, where Aurora was waiting for him. They sat down and began to pile food on their plates.
“What were you doing with Lestrange? I thought you had a meeting with Flitwick.”
“Just talking about Potions, that’s all.” He hated having to lie to her, and knew she probably saw right through it, but he knew she wouldn’t approve of his budding new friendship with a possible Death Eater.
“Barty didn’t need much persuading, Filius,” the Grey Lady continued. “His curiosity obviously got the better of him. Even though he didn’t think that he would become a Death Eater then, he was definitely seduced by the power of it.”
The ghost and the professor turned a corner, and began to descend a flight of stairs.
“It’s sad. Did Rabastan even have anything in his house?” Flitwick asked.
“No, not in the end. He knew that Barty’s father was Head of the Law Enforcement and so he believed that his son would be a powerful ally. Barty was young, curious and emotional. He could be easily swayed. Lestrange made the whole thing up to get his attention.”
“Poor Barty,” the Charms teacher shook his head sadly.
“It’s his own fault. You go on about how he was a bright boy, and he was. Barty knew the risks. He just failed to acknowledge them.”
Written by PrincessPadfoot and beta'd by Rayn.
"Yes, Barty was always one of the most gifted students I ever had,” Flitwick remarked as he made his way up a moving staircase with The Grey Lady floating beside him.
“But weren’t there signs? Something that was odd at the time, rather than something you've figured out after years of pondering. Surely someone must have seen something that would cause alarm,” the Grey Lady responded as they waited for the staircase to stop moving.
Flitwick looked down with a small frown on his face. “Yes, my dear, there were signs.” He sighed heavily and wouldn’t make eye contact with her.
“Filius, you know you can trust me with anything.” The Grey Lady put a comforting hand through his shoulder. He shivered at the touch and looked into her transparent face.
“I saw the signs, but I was too… I don’t know, blind might be the right word. I wouldn't let myself believe what was happening.” He looked ashamed.
“Well, when did you first notice the signs?” the Grey Lady asked, and to her surprise, Flitwick smiled.
The year had started like most others, but with one exception. Everyone was ‘together’. Couples littered the halls of Hogwarts, and frankly, it was sickening. Flitwick didn’t ever recall having to give detentions for public displays of affection before this year.
Seventeen students were currently seated in the Charms classroom after hours. And all but were one writing lines along the line of “I will not snog in the corridors like a wild beast in heat while professors are present.” The exception to the aforementioned line was Patrick Esling, who was absentmindedly twirling his quill and looking at the back of June McMillian’s head.
“Mr Esling, unless Ms McMillian’s head is on fire, do not stare at it. It will perhaps go up in flames from the intensity of your lovesick gaze.” Flitwick smiled as Patrick straightened in his chair and started writing lines.
Flitwick walked amongst his students, occasionally having to break up whispers and mend broken quills. He walked past Patrick a few times to make sure he was indeed focused on his paper and not his other pursuits. However, Patrick didn’t stray from his paper again.
After another hour or so, Flitwick called an end to the detention. As the students were handing in their lines, Flitwick noticed that Patrick was chatting with June and writing something on a spare bit of parchment. She giggled and hurried off clutching the paper to her chest.
Flitwick watched as Patrick swaggered out of his classroom and heard the distinct scoff of Rabastan Lestrange waiting for his friend outside the classroom. Flitwick sighed and got up to tell the boys to move along. He stopped before the doorway and listened to the young boys’ idle chatter.
“… lines.” Patrick finished with a smirk.
Rabastan responded with a short laugh and said, “Bet the coot couldn’t handle anything other than that.” Patrick and another young boy laughed, and Flitwick heard them begin to walk away. He peeked his head out the door and could have sworn he saw the back of Barty Crouch’s head.
Two days later, Flitwick was sitting in his office grading papers on Cheering Charms, when he heard laughter from outside his window. He got up to reprimand the students for disturbing his peace, and stuck his head out the window to look below.
Sitting in an alcove below his window, he heard the distinct voices of Barty Crouch and a young female he was almost sure was Aurora Sinstra. A talented match if he ever saw one. Deciding to spare them an interruption, he stuck his head out a little farther in order to reach the clasps of the opened window. In the process, he clearly overheard the couple in the alcove below.
“Barty, don’t be silly,” Aurora was saying. Flitwick frowned at her tone of voice and secretly hoped that she wouldn’t break the young man's heart.
“Aurora, I can assure you that the correct spell for a patronus is Expecto Patronus.” Barty laughed heartily and stepped out of the alcove. “Watch, I will demonstrate.” And with that, the Charms professor saw his brightest student raise his wand, shout the wrong incantation, and fly backward from a rebounded spell.
Aurora squealed in fright and ran to Barty’s aid. “Barty! Oh my God! Barty, are you all right?” Flitwick breathed a heavy sigh and made to close the window and rush down, but shortly after he touched the clasp of the window and had pulled it halfway shut, he again heard laughter from below.
Barty was sprawled out on the grass laughing at the look on Aurora’s face. Flitwick smiled in relief and watched as Aurora offered a hand to help Barty up. He took her hand willingly and pulled her down next to him.
Flitwick heard her sweet laughter and smiled as the two lovebirds laughed on the grass and embraced. He sighed to himself and pulled the window closed to give his students a bit more privacy. He then went back to his desk and continued to grade papers, a permanent smile spread wide across his face.
Over the next few days, Flitwick smiled wherever he went and when asked why he was grinning, he replied with a shrug of his shoulders and that same smile. It was a bit creepy actually, but he didn’t care.
It was with this smile that he patrolled the corridors after hours. It was his turn to pull the late shift and help catch students out of bed. The two prefects assigned to help him had slipped off a while ago. There was no doubt in his mind what they were doing, but he didn’t much mind. He preferred to patrol by himself.
He was on the fifth floor meandering past dozing portraits when he heard a crash from a nearby broom closet. He rushed to the door and pulled it open. His jaw dropped. Inside the closet were none other than Aurora Sinistra and Barty Crouch, she on the floor next to an overturned box of cleaning supplies and he kneeling over her.
Flitwick automatically shut the door and quickly turned around and walked hastily away, trying ever so hard to not think about what he had just walked into. Not only that, but he should've admonished them and sent them off. However, in the unlikely turn of events he'd been unable to even look his favorite student in the eye and could not fathom going back. He heard a door opening behind him and the quickened pace of heavy footfalls. He turned to see Barty hustling to catch up to him.
When Barty had finally caught up he said, “Er, good evening, Professor.” Flitwick was dumbstruck and could only nod at him.
“Look Professor, we weren’t doing what you thought we were doing,” Barty said in a rush, a blush creeping onto his face. Barty looked at his feet and waited for his professor to respond.
“Er, how do you know that I know what you were or weren’t doing?” Flitwick asked, desperately hoping that the boy had a logical brain. Even after years of teaching, Flitwick was still terribly awkward about student romances and the embarrassing thought only caused him to blush further.
Er… well I think that I know that you think that we were doing something which we weren’t because you actually don’t know that we weren’t doing that thing that you thought we did,” Barty said, a small smile appearing on his face.
Flitwick could do nothing but laugh. “Boy, I didn’t follow a word you said. But here is what I’m going to do. I will walk down to the fourth floor to look for the prefects, and you and Ms Sinistra can go back to the common room and no one will have to know that we met up.”
Barty’s small smile turned into a large grin. “Thanks, Professor.” With that, Barty turned and met up with Aurora, who had been waiting by the door. He took her hand, and they made their way to the staircase, speaking in whispers about what had just happened.
Flitwick made his way down to find the prefects, and that same smile crossed his face as he thought of the easy escape he had just given to his brightest student.
Two weeks later, Flitwick was again covering night patrol, this time in place of Professor McGonagall. She had a bad cold and had been in the infirmary all week, so Flitwick had offered to cover her shift.
He sighed as he walked down corridor after corridor, occasionally meeting up with a ghost or a prefect. He was really bored and half wished that he would catch a student out of bounds. It was a mean thought, but he was tired and really needed some excitement to keep his eyes open.
He found himself on the fifth floor, and smiled as he remembered that night not too long ago. And like déjà vu, he again heard a crash from the same broom closet. He sighed and smiled, ready to yet again reprimand young Barty for being out of bounds.
He opened the door and said, “All right you two, that’s enough of this kissy kissy business―" Then he stopped short and actually saw who was in the broom closet. Rabastan Lestrange was on the floor, legs sprawled over the contents of the box of cleaning supplies. It looked like he had tripped. Barty was trying to help Rabastan to his feet. Both boys were frozen in position.
Flitwick frowned. “What are you two doing out of bed at this hour? Get back to your dormitories at once.” Filius marched the two young men out of the closet and made sure that they were on their way back to their respective common rooms.
Flitwick noted the way Barty looked at him, like Flitwick had interrupted something important. Filius didn’t like that look and had never seen Barty stare at anyone with so much hate in his eyes. It was unsettling to say the least.
Flitwick finished his story with a frown. “I never did find out what they had been talking about. But that look on his face has haunted my dreams many a night.”
The Grey Lady put a comforting hand through his shoulder again. “You didn’t know he would turn out like this. You couldn’t possibly have known. There was nothing you could have done.”
“Nothing?” Flitwick asked this question more to himself than to her. “There was plenty I could have done, but I was too stupid to see it. You don't need to comfort me, Helena, I know you have never believed in Barty.”
“Maybe not, but I believe wholeheartedly in you, Filius. You are one of the smartest people I know. If you couldn’t have seen it coming, no one could’ve.”
Written by Margravine
"There must have been some turning point," Helena said thoughtfully, turning her piercing gaze to Flitwick. "There always is, isn't there? Something which sets the path for the events to come... though what, considering all the boy had, is beyond me. Was there, Filius?"
Flitwick smiled, a sad tugging of lips framed by laughter as much as cares.
"My dear, it is so rare that we recognise these moments at the time. Some, of course, are impossible to miss, but for the most part, it is only years later that we realise what has come to pass."
"So we'll never know, then?"
"I have ideas, no more than that. I did get one hint, that in hindsight seems so painfully obvious."
Professor Filius Flitwick lifted the heavy silver knocker― goblin made, he recognised at once― and let it rap against the polished mahogany door. It was as impressive as the rest of the tall Victorian house it belonged to. Rather grand for his taste, but he was a simple man, and entertained rarely. The Crouches, on the other hand...
Before he had time to finish the thought, the door swung open and a house elf peered cautiously out at him. She was small, as they all were, but not much shorter than him, and her huge brown eyes widened even further to see someone so close to her height.
"'I'm Filius Flitwick. I'm expected for dinner," he reassured her.
"Is it her? Is she here? Lys? Oh, hello Professor," came a crestfallen voice. Flitwick stepped into the hallway and smiled at his most promising student.
"I don't expect you to be too pleased to see me. It is the holidays, after all," Flitwick said lightly.
Barty immediately flushed with embarrassment. "No sir, that's not what I meant― it's only― you see, my cousin is due back in England, and I haven't seen her in a such a long time, and I thought you were her..." he trailed off. Flitwick wondered if he had ever seen the normally serious boy so animated. There was a glow in his eyes that Flitwick had only glimpsed when he passed by Barty holding hands with Aurora. It was a glow that disappeared when a third man stepped into the hall.
"Bartemius, don't keep your Professor standing in the hall. What are you thinking, son? So sorry, Professor, wonderful of you to join us. I know you're a busy man."
"Not at all," squeaked Flitwick, allowing himself to be gently but determinedly guided into another room by the taller man. The sitting room was large and well lit, decorated tastefully in subdued colours and with minimal decorations.
"It's a pleasure to spend time with the family of one of my most brilliant students," Flitwick insisted.
"Ah yes, we were quite happy with his grades, most pleased, although we do think he can apply himself more― you've met my wife?"
"Delighted," Flitwick said, bowing over Mrs Crouch's hand as best he could from his short stature. She was a small woman, with pale hair and large, kind eyes in a slightly harassed face.
"Barty speaks very highly of you," she said warmly, looking fondly at her only child, who fidgeted uncomfortably.
"He's an excellent student and does our house proud," Flitwick assured her. She looked pleased, and would have questioned him further if the house elf had not come in and bowed.
"Dinner is served, sirs and miss," she squeaked, and Flitwick found himself propelled into a yet another room of the Crouch residence.
An analyst at heart, as all good Ravenclaws were, Flitwick could not help but analyse the difference in Barty as he watched him interact with his parents over dinner. Amongst his peers, he never seemed to quite fit in, but then that seemed almost intentional; he held himself unconsciously aloft, aware as they were that he was no ordinary wizard. With Aurora, he gave a rare smiles, and with his studies, an intense pursuit. However, in the family that reportedly doted on him as the only son and heir, he was a muted version of his normal life, slouched silently in his seat with a slight curl to his lips as his father talked politics.
"Yes, it's a very exciting development, but I've known him a long time― charming family, really, quite exemplary models of― Bartemius, sit properly, I do hope you don't hunch like that at school! As I was saying..."
Flitwick responded politely to Mr Crouch's conversation and the occasional contributions of Mrs Crouch, but his mind was elsewhere as he toyed with his perfectly glazed pecan pie. It was a pity, really. Were the Crouches even aware of how gifted and brilliant their son― no longer a boy, but on the cusp of manhood now― really was? His grades were good, certainly, but it was the depths of opinion, his moments of dazzling insight, that had earned him his reputation at Hogwarts, although both seemed glaringly absent here in his home place. He was about to make an attempt to draw out his student in conversation when the house elf re-entered and tugged urgently on Mr Crouch's sleeve.
"Winky," Crouch said warningly, shooting an embarrassed glance at Flitwick. "What― oh no. Send her away."
Barty's ears pricked up at this, and he looked about to speak when the door of the dining room swung open violently.
"I'm back," sang a throaty voice. Its owner shocked Flitwick; in this house of muted pastels and floral drapes, the stocky young woman in tight black leather looked glaringly out of place even without the angry crimson streaks running through her black hair.
"Lysandra," Mr, Mrs, and Master Crouch all said in tones varying from anger, horror and delight.
She grinned, a bold flash of white teeth.
"Did you miss me, Uncle and Aunt? Yes, Barty, I know you did!"
"While I am very glad you have returned in one piece," Crouch began, sounding as if the words pained him, "we are currently entertaining and it might be best if you returned later?"
"Father," protested Barty, but he was ignored.
"Have you visited your parents yet?" Mr Crouch asked coldly.
Lysandra shrugged in reply, ruffling Winky's hair as she passed her.
Flitwick stood to leave. "No, but I insist," he protested, smiling warmly at the long awaited cousin. "You are family. I am sure you have much to catch up on, and my own family complain enough that they barely see me for most of the year. Thank you for a wonderful dinner, Bartemius, Sephrenia. Barty, enjoy your summer, m'boy. I expect great things of you in N.E.W.T. year!"
As he departed, assuring a flustered Mrs Crouch and a mortified Mr Crouch that he could not be persuaded otherwise, Filius wondered why he had never heard of Lysandra Crouch before. Who was she, to provoke such a reaction?
"Lysandra, you are brave," Barty said fervently later that night, looking up from his telescope at his older cousin. "Just waltzing in here as if Uncle hadn't threatened to disown you... knowing full well Father agrees with him. You could have been a Gryffindor if you went to Wizarding school."
Lysandra, who had been prodding the Ravenclaw banner in his bedroom in disgust, only smirked.
"Not at all, dearest cousin, and they're perfectly right, I am a shocking disgrace to the family, and I'm sure I will come to a bad end. But I could hardly leave you to die of boredom here all summer!"
Lysandra took out her wand, a long piece of ebony, and smiled wickedly. Barty groaned. He knew that look, and it always led to trouble.
"Come on, then," she said brightly, tossing her spiky hair. "You know I only swung by to jail break you for the night. Let's go have some fun!"
"We can't just leave," Barty said in mock horror, opening his large eyes wide. His laughter rang in counterpoint to Lysandra's as they both recalled the countless times she had swooped through his window to drag him out to some seedy adventure in the middle of the night. How much his parents knew of this was something Lysandra had never given a thought to and Barty far too many.
"My God, your voice is so much deeper," Lysandra chuckled. "My baby boy is all grown up, almost of age and everything!"
"Next month," nodded Barty.
"Well, that settles it," Lysandra said seriously.
"Well, I was going to take you to a Muggle concert, but since you're so close to coming of age, you leave me no option. I have to see you royally smashed while it's still illegal and any fun!"
"I don't like drinking!" Barty protested, before being swept up, not for the first time, by Cyclone Lysandra.
"I love, love drinking," Barty said three hours and several shots later. His head was spinning a tad, so he sat down abruptly on the cold stone floor of the pub Lysandra had dragged him to. She was flirting outrageously with the bartender, but that did not stop her noticing and coming to haul him up.
"Come on, you," she said good naturedly, dragging him out the back. The pub, like most openly wizarding sanctuaries, was in the middle of nowhere, and they found themselves in a clearing looking out to a mass of woodland. A river ran by the side of the pub and disappeared into the darkness of the forest, and while some would have found the rush of water beautiful, Barty found it made him want to―
"There you go. Everyone gets sick the first time," Lysandra said comfortingly, holding his head up as he vomited into the river. "Be thankful you weren't at a Ministry event when it happened."
"Thanks," he said sourly, lying down by the river bed wishing the world would stay still for just a moment.
"Anytime, cuz," she said lightly. They were silent for some time, Barty fighting the urge to retch despite having emptied his stomach and Lysandra struggling against laughter. When Barty spoke again, his tone was quite different.
"Thank you for everything," he said seriously. "I don't know where I'd be without you."
Lysandra snorted. " I saved you from drowning when you were a child. You don't have to be grateful for that forever, you know. I could hardly let you die in front of me, could I?"
"Not just that," Barty continued doggedly, though the words were thick on his dry tongue. "You're the only person in our whole damned family who is real. Who doesn't put up a front. You're unashamedly you, no matter what."
"Barty," began Lysandra, but before she could finish her sentence, she was interrupted by a piercing scream coming from the forest. She stiffened, and Barty jumped dizzily to his feet.
"Get out of here," Lysandra said urgently. "Go back into the pub, and Floo, Knightbus it, whatever, but get yourself back home now," she ordered.
Barty shook his head. "I'm not leaving you," he insisted.
She sent him such a look that he quailed, but before they could argue further, they both turned as a mighty crash came from the forest, and a stream of red light sizzled past them, leaving a burn mark on a tree.
Lysandra pushed Barty behind her and took out her wand, her eyes scanning the forest furiously.
"Take a step back," she demanded, stepping backwards and forcing him back also. "That's it, slow but safe, now another, and another."
They were not the far from the pub when the occupants of the forest burst into the clearing. Barty could never remember clearly what had happened. He remembered Lysandra shoving him backwards but stepping forward herself. He remembered the rushing sound of the river, so close to him. He remembered the flashes of blinding light, the humming sound of spells ripping the air and the shouts and snarls of the what seemed like hundreds of witches and wizards. Even in his drunken state, Barty knew it was most likely much less than that. And that if the hooded figures were not Death Eaters― perhaps relatives of boys he knew― then he deserved to be a Hufflepuff.
And he remembered, would remember forever, the sight of a purple streak of light streaming from the wand of an unmasked dark haired man, missing a masked and robed figure by inches to squarely hit Lysandra in the chest. She gasped for one long moment, her head turning slowly to Barty, her lips moving painfully, before falling into the river and disappearing under its deceptively gentle embrace.
Someone screamed― Barty worked out later that it was him― and rushed to the riverside, heedless of the spell fire still blazing. He plunged into the river and was almost waist deep, buffeted dangerously by strong currents, but searching desperately for his cousin. She had saved him from drowning once. She could not be dead. Barty was about to go deeper into the water when he was caught by the same dark haired man whose spell had hit Lysandra.
"It's too late, son," the man said hoarsely, his eyes huge in the pale face. Barty recognised him. He was Frank Longbottom, a popular young Auror. An Auror had done this.
"I'm so sorry," Frank said hollowly, dragging Barty back to the riverbank. "So very sorry. It was an accident― I didn't see her there― there's nothing we can do, she's gone now."
"Let me go," screamed Barty, kicking and screaming like a child. Frank complied, but stood close by, even when Barty collapsed on his knees, uselessly pawing through the water at the riverbank as if he could scoop up Lysandra with his hands.
"You'll pay for this," Barty promised him, turning furious eyes on the dripping wet young Auror. "You will pay for this."
"I heard about Lysandra's death only though Dumbledore, many years later," Flitwick told Helena. "It was hushed up, you see― Crouch didn't like the Order at all, but Frank was one of his own, and they managed to get most of the Death Eaters in custody. Most of the early deaths were kept quiet to prevent public panic, but it probably only made Barty more livid, that his own family did not seek the revenge he craved for the death of the cousin he loved so much."
"It doesn't excuse what he did to the Longbottoms," Helena said sharply. "Frank made a mistake. It could have happened to anyone."
"True, but this is what happened, my dear. And if ever there was a point of no return, this was it."
Written by foundriapenguin and beta'd by long_live_luna_bellatrix.
Barty's vision was blurring.
The solemn and dementor-like atmosphere was drawing him into the confines of his cynical, grieving mind. He could no longer see the coffin in front of him, but Barty knew that Lysandra wouldn't appreciate her bland resting place, absent of any color or decoration. Barty wanted to duplicate Lysandra's hair colors onto the coffin, splashing her vibrancy there for the whole family to see. Couldn't they tell they were missing out on what life had to offer, what they themselves were devoid of?
Lysandra was always the one who kept things in the Crouch family interesting― no, she kept them alive. Half the ordeals, dangerous or not, that Barty experienced throughout his life were with Lysandra, his guide to the real world. She was, to say the least, an amazing creature, and the best relative Barty could have ever wished for. She was undoubtedly real without a need to hide behind a facade. And now what? He closed his eyes and saw the purple vision flit across his view once more. Frank Longbottom was the one who shot that jet of purple light at Lysandra. He was the one who killed her, who killed Barty's rescuer, Barty's hero...
Where was that devil's spawn, anyway? Did he not feel any remorse for his actions? He had obviously chosen not to show up at Lysandra's funeral, sparsely populated with just the few members of the Crouch family and the Ministry wizard there watching over the burial process. Barty knew that Frank had not been punished severely for his cousin's death by the Ministry as of yet. After all, Barty grudgingly admitted to himself, it had been an accident. However, that did not make Longbottom's actions inexcusable, and Barty's eyes flitted angrily over the scene. Lysandra wouldn't be lying in that coffin if Frank Longbottom had aimed his wand elsewhere.
"Bartemius," his father said to him sharply, "it's time to leave."
Barty kneeled down in front of Lysandra's gravestone, a mulish expression gracing his features. "Please, Father, I'd like to stay here a bit more."
"We can't afford to stay, Bartemius," Crouch told him exasperatedly, anxiously looking around so he could try to avoid making a public scene. He was the Head of Magical Law Enforcement, and the press was surely following his every move. It had taken him great pains to lose the gaggle of cameras following him to attend this small funeral, and Crouch surely didn't want to take any more unnecessary risks.
Barty's mouth pressed into a firm line, and he couldn't care less about his father's political worries. "Father, I told you, I want to stay."
"Oh, come, Bartemius, do let the boy have some time with his cousin," Mrs Crouch pleaded, placing a trembling hand on her husband's arm.
"No," said Crouch, his word laying down the law like always. "I told the boy that we need to leave. It's about time he cut ties with his foolish, rambunctious cousin and it's going to happen now."
Bitterness rose up in Barty's throat as he looked down at Lysandra's drab gravestone. His father had always been this way, limiting his options, controlling him every way he turned, just so he could further his ambitions. He knew his father had never liked Lysandra and had wanted to disown her, but cutting ties with his foolish, rambunctious, and lovable cousin right at this very convenient (in his father's eyes) opportunity? Never!
Crackling hate burned in Barty's eyes like a roaring fire as he turned his gaze upon his authoritarian father. However, Crouch didn't even flinch. Although Barty could feel his father's choking hold gradually dragging his resolve away, he made a last desperate attempt to hold it firmly in his grip.
"Father, please, just a few more minutes!"
"Bartemius―" Crouch started forward but was quickly intervened by his wife.
A tense silence hung in the air around the Crouch family as they looked down upon Lysandra's grave. Barty traced the engraved lettering on her gravestone with his fingertip, the action helping him cool down a bit. "Father," he murmured, "where's Longbottom?"
"Longbottom?" Crouch asked. "Well, of course, he's at the Ministry in the Auror Department!"
"I mean," Barty said quietly, "why isn't he here at her funeral?"
Crouch gave his son a disdainful look. "Bartemius, imagine all the fuss that would occur if Longbottom even showed his face at the funeral. No, no, I asked Longbottom not to attend. I don't want the murderer anywhere close to us, clouding the Crouch family name."
Furious flames jumped up once more in Barty's eyes. It was too late for the Crouch family name to be prevented from a bit of tainting― his lovely cousin, Lysandra, had already fulfilled that job. However, it was not the fact that his father asked Longbottom to skip out on the funeral that irked Barty more than anything. That, of course, was expected, but he could barely believe that Longbottom had actually followed his father's orders. He had heard that this famous young Auror was brave, noble, and kind-hearted. Evidently, he was not kind-hearted enough to show up at his victim's funeral. Barty vehemently vowed that Longbottom would not only pay for one, but two, unforgivable crimes.
Was this what the world had come to now? Aurors were killing innocent people left and right and no one was stopping them. A feeling of disgust crept up Barty's spine at the thought and he shivered. To think that he once admired and respected such people made him want to hurl his breakfast. He turned away from Lysandra's grave in shame and stood up unsteadily.
"All right, Father, I'll go now," Barty said meekly, twisting his hands together apprehensively.
After a scalding remark from his father in response, Barty mutely followed his parents out of the graveyard, shoulders hunched and deep in thought. He hadn't forgotten Rabastan's offer last year at Hogwarts, the offer that he had barely glanced at back then considering the circumstances. However, he could see now that Rabastan was absolutely right in his ways. Surely the Dark Lord would help his cause and assist him in avenging Lysandra by making Longbottom suffer. Yes, certainly, Barty would join the Dark Lord along with Rabastan and the others.
Barty felt a thrill run through his body and smiled, excited for what was to come. As he rubbed his left arm absentmindedly, he decided that he would send an owl to Rabastan later that night, informing him of his weighty choice.
"When Dumbledore told me that Frank hadn't shown up at Lysandra's funeral, I knew immediately that Barty would've taken offense to that. Frank's a good fellow and I'm sure he stayed out of the way as to give the family some breathing room, but there's no way Barty could've known that," Flitwick said to Helena as they walked down the Charms corridor.
"So that's why Barty acted so strangely when he came back to Hogwarts?" Helena asked wonderingly.
"Yes, my dear," Flitwick replied. "I should have pressed him more about the ordeal, I know now. I was sure the boy was suffering. I should have reached out to him, attempted to convince him to not make this life-changing decision."
"By then, Filius, it would be too late," the Grey Lady reminded him. "You said so yourself that Lysandra's death was the point of no return. There was nothing you could've done for that boy by then when he returned to Hogwarts. He had already made up his mind."
Written by tell_me_what_the_truth_is.
The Grey Lady observed inquisitively as Flitwick reached inside his robes for something, digging deep into his pockets until he finally found what he was looking for. He held it up to the light, almost beaming at his discovery. The Grey Lady could almost accuse him of being too invested in this on-going mystery, except that she was most curious herself.
“What is that?” she inquired, peering at the tiny glass phial. Inside it, a strange silvery substance floated between the walls of its glass prison, glowing in the dim moonlight. Flitwick’s beard shimmered in its light.
“This is something Albus gave me many years ago,” Flitwick quipped, approaching the spiral staircase that led to the headmaster’s old office. How many times had he used these stairs? He could hardly believe so much had changed in such a short while. “He said that I would find it most instructive, and I do believe that is the case.”
Flitwick hopped onto the staircase, his ghostly companion gliding to his side. “Well?” she probed.
“It contains one of Barty’s memories,” he continued, reaching the top of the staircase and opening the door. The Grey Lady ignored his polite holding of the door and instead glided through the wall. “It is from when he received his Dark Mark.”
They approached the elegant penseive in the corner of the room. Flitwick uncorked the phial and let the silvery substance drift into the bowl, the light dancing like water on their features.
“I am not going to like what I see, am I Filius?” the Ravenclaw ghost questioned warily. Her delicate features were tainted with worry, her eyebrows knitted.
“I don’t think anyone could call this pleasant viewing, my dear,” he said apologetically. “But I feel this is an important piece of the puzzle of Barty Crouch.”
This answer seemed to placate her, for she nodded, gesturing towards the penseive. “After you, then.”
The hiss of rain fell on deserted streets as dark clouds ghosted across the watery sky, pale colours merging together like ink in the early morning light. Birds began to sing as the sun poked its head above the horizon over a sleepy northern town. It was in the early hours of that Sunday morning that Barty found himself drenched from his sandy hair to his navy socks, a trespasser.
He ignored the spasm of his heartbeat, all thoughts focussed on his destination. With a quick glance over his shoulder, he crossed a quiet road and approached an old greengrocer’s, the paint on its emerald door flaking from neglect. The jagged glass of broken windows was poorly hidden by rotting wooden boards. After checking he was alone, Barty reached out a cold hand towards the knocker, a broken dragon’s head, and gripped it firmly. It warmed beneath his touch and the door swung forward; he stepped inside, followed by long shadows. The door closed with an ominous click behind him, throwing the hall into darkness.
“So, you came after all,” a voice called softly close by. Barty jumped, a frown forming on his brow.
“I’m surprised you doubted me, Rabastan,” he responded coolly, inching towards his friend. “Have I not yet earned your trust?”
Rabastan chuckled darkly, his face coming into focus as lamps on the wall illuminated. His cheeks appeared hollow in the strange shadows disfiguring his face. “It is more a matter of nerve than trust, my friend.”
Barty shrugged as he met Rabastan’s cold stare. “I am not afraid of what I want. I am ready to serve the Dark Lord.”
The silence, a delicate cobweb between them, trembled as Rabastan eventually nodded. “Very well, Crouch. Follow me.”
In the dim light ahead, Barty could make out narrow steps, barely covered by a frayed carpet, a spiral staircase fading into the darkness above. His hand traced the splintered wood of the bannister as Rabastan led him upwards, each step creaking as they climbed. The noise was shrill, an uncomfortable disturbance of the otherwise quiet house. After reaching the third floor, Rabastan hovered outside a closed door, his palm pressed to the rotten wood. Barty wasn’t quite sure what they were waiting for, but he knew better than to question his friend.
The silence crept upon him, consuming him as he stood in the dank hallway. It ate away at his conscience, nibbling on assurance and feasting on confidence. Revenge could not be a simpler motive, yet the fear spread through him. Failure haunted him, the chance that things would not work out in his favour. Humiliation was to be despised above all other things. He was at the point of no return.
Suddenly, Rabastan snatched his hand back; the door inched forwards and Barty watched it with nervous fascination. They stepped into the room beyond, almost darker than the previous, only a sliver of light creeping under the dense curtains. He was unaware that he had been wringing his hands and he wrenched his eyes from their insect-like movements. A mirror opposite him flashed as he moved closer and he almost started, eyes fixed on his own reflection as he searched for the figure he thought he had seen. For just a moment, he was so sure that he had seen Aurora. Guiltily, he looked away, nausea gripping him. It was too late for regret.
An armchair, placed in the centre of the room, was facing away from them. Together, he and Rabastan stood, waiting for instruction. Barty was almost twitching with anticipation, his goal in sight. His soul was a small price to pay for the vengeance he craved.
Slowly, the chair turned until Barty was staring straight into the cold eyes that could offer him everything. He shivered involuntarily, but his stance remained firm. Not even when the Dark Lord brought his wand upon his inner arm did he flinch, the pain from the mark a mere inconvenience compared to his grief.
He was ready to serve, he was ready to obey; he would forget it all to pursue the one man who had gratuitously taken the life of the only family he cared about. Rubbing his wrist, Barty let slip a twisted smile; they were both marked men.
Written by Calypso and beta'd by PrincessPadfoot.
Aurora hadn’t heard from Barty since before Lysandra’s death.
School started in two weeks; she had been hoping to schedule a back-to-school shopping trip to Diagon Alley for Year Seven books, supplies, and to just catch up – she missed him.
She had sent Barty three letters since the condolence note and received no replies. She sighed, she would try once more but this would be the last note.
I miss you. Want to hang out before school starts?
No, that didn’t sound right.
I haven’t heard from you in a while. How are you doing?
That didn’t sound right either. She didn’t want to pry; to force him to talk about things he didn’t want to talk about. She needed to be casual about this.
Excited for Seventh Year? Can you believe it? We’re almost done! Just penning this note to let you know that I will be shopping in Diagon Alley next week on Wednesday, you’re welcome to join. We haven’t seen each other all summer, it would be nice to catch up don’t you think? Anyways, let me know,
There. That was okay – she didn’t explicitly invite him. She told him she would be there and he could join her. Casual, right?
Aurora smiled to herself, folded and sealed the letter, and sent it on its way. It was late; she crawled into her bed and hoped there would be a reply awaiting her in the morning.
A week quickly passed; in fact, it was Wednesday, the day of the Diagon Alley trip. Aurora hadn’t heard from Barty all week. No reply to her post; but maybe he would still show up.
Aurora made her way to the book shop; she browsed around for a while before gathering her required books and leaving. She made her way to Madame Malkin’s; she didn’t need new robes, just wanted them really. After purchasing those, she wandered outside a bit. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, a light breeze in the air. Maybe she’d help herself to a pinto butterbeer at the Leaky Cauldron; that way she could ensure that she wouldn’t miss Barty if he showed up. It was only 2 PM, the day was still young.
She walked in found a table and placed her order. She thanked the server when he brought it out and pulled out her NEWT level Charms text and slowly flipped through it. She reached the end – then she pulled out her NEWT level Potions text and flipped through it.
Aurora glanced at her watch, it was 5 PM. She was frustrated but finally accepted that Barty wasn’t going to show up. Maybe he just wasn’t getting her letters; things were always going wrong with Owl Post, weren’t they?
Nonetheless, she had to get going; she had told her parents she’d be home for dinner. She noticed that the Leaky Cauldron had started to fill up with seedier people – she didn’t want to be here alone, especially with this ever-growing threat of Voldemort her parents were always warning her about.
She quickly gathered her things, walked towards the fireplace, and flooed herself home. She supposed she’d see Barty on the train next week.
Barty was getting anxious – he was running out of time. He had two days before he had to be aboard the Hogwarts Express for his final year and he still had not received any directive from the Dark Lord to pursue an attack on the Longbottoms. It was all he thought about: exacting his revenge. Yes, he knew his other relationships were being neglected, particularly his friendship with Aurora, but he was scared that in his excitement he might let something slip.
No, she definitely would not approve.
The morning of September 1 was very windy; bemusedly, Barty thought that it reflected his mood. He had received no word from the Dark Lord and was now frustrated. He tried not to think about it, but he wanted his revenge – he had completed his tasks for the Voldemort in a very timely manner, it was time for him to uphold his end of the arrangement.
He sighed and walked onto the platform and through the barrier, he quickly turned and said goodbye to his parents, and then hopped onto the train – he was tired of simply thinking about and planning what he wanted to do, he was ready for action and tired of waiting. At least classes were starting up again; he could focus some of his restless energy there.
He started walking towards the Ravenclaw train compartments but stopped himself. He wasn’t ready to see Aurora yet –
Too late. He thought about just continuing to walk away but figured he’d have to face her sooner or later. Now was a good enough time, he supposed.
“Hello Aurora, nice to see you,” he said cordially.
“Barty, did you get my letters? I wanted to go to Diagon Alley together!”
“Oh, did you send letters? I’m sorry, I didn’t receive them...there must have been something wrong with the Owl Post system.”
“Oh well, I figured.” Abruptly, Aurora reached out and engulfed Barty in a hug.
“I’m so sorry about your loss Barty. If you ever need anyone to talk to, I’m here.”
Barty stiffened; he didn’t want anyone bringing up Lysandra.
“Yes well, it’s in the past now. Nothing for me to do but move on now. Anyhow, it’s been nice catching up Aurora, I’m going to go find my friends and a seat now,” Barty said stiffly. With that he made his exit towards the Slytherin compartments.
“And that is how, my dear Lady, the rest of year progressed,” said Flitwick sadly.
“Barty and Aurora grew apart. Barty spent more and more time alone, and in turn, Aurora grew closer with other students from Ravenclaw. I rarely saw them together in their final year and those times that I did, though they were cordial and polite to one another, there was coolness, a distance between them that you couldn’t miss.”
“Did you know at this point, Professor? That Barty had joined Voldemort’s side?”
“No, dear Lady, I didn’t know. You see, I reasoned that he was simply mourning the loss of his cousin. I supposed he had simply become more introspective – a quality he had always possessed. I thought it was his way to deal with his grief.”
Flitwick and the Grey Lady paused to stare at the broken, crumbling stair well. Flitwick sighed, but continued.
“There were no other signs. His grades were better than ever – I thought he wanted to be alone, so I left him such. I wish I had been more help.”
“I’m sure if there had been signs, Professor, you would have picked up on them,” said the Grey Lady, in attempt to reassure Flitwick.
“The year ended and that was that was the last time I saw or heard about Barty. I wish now that I had kept in touch with him.”
They slowly made their way past the stairwell, around the rubble.
“I suppose that the next time you did hear about Barty was after the torture of the Longbottoms?” inquired the Grey Lady.
“Indeed it was. That really took me by surprise –I was so shocked. In all honesty, I thought I knew the boy. He had so much potential – all gone to waste now.”
Flitwick blinked quickly, his voice was laden with emotion – he looked around at the destruction, cleared his throat and said,
“Yes, well, I suppose there’s nothing to do now but pick up the pieces and ensure that we’ve learnt from the past.”
Barty hated Severus Snape and his bloody prophecy. Voldemort was obsessed with it; he wasn’t giving Barty any time of day. He had waited so long; it had been over a year, and in that span he had carefully planned and perfected his actions.
He was sitting with Rabastan and Rodolphus at the long table at the headquarters; the two brothers were always present at the house, always tailing Voldemort – Barty gathered they were his right hand men. In fact, Barty rarely saw Rabastan outside of the house anymore.
Barty, himself, was waiting for an audience he had previously requested with the Dark Lord.
Bellatrix walked into the room out of a dimly lit corridor,
“He’ll see you now, Crouch.”
Barty got up and made the quick walk to the room at the end of the corridor, he could hear Bella trailing him. He reached the room and turned to shut the door, Bella impeded this movement by standing in the doorway. He relented and turned to address Voldemort who was facing the window in the room; he did not turn to look at Barty.
“My Lord –“
“Bartimus, you are anxious.”
“Yes, sir, I would –“
“I honour those who honour me. You are aware of this?”
“Yes, but, my Lord, I have waited –“
Voldemort turned and looked Barty in the eyes. He regarded Barty for a few minutes and then in a clear, straight voice asked,
“Do you doubt me Bartimus?”
“No, sir. However, I am ready to act now,” Barty said quickly.
“I am currently preoccupied. Tell me Barty, what do you know of James and Lily Potter?”
“Not much, sir, they were a couple years ahead of me at Hogwarts. They were Head Boy and Girl in their seventh year.”
“And that is all you know?”
“He was a pure blood, she muggle born.” Barty could hear Bellatrix tittering in the background.
“I see, you are dismissed Barty.”
Barty turned and left. He was angry now – he stormed down the hall, past Rabastan and Rodolphus and out of the house.
It was raining heavily outside, but Barty did not care – he did not attempt to shelter himself in any manner. He walked in the rain with his teeth gritted, up and down Diagon Alley, into Knockturn Alley. He walked until his legs hurt; he walked until it was night fall, until the anger was gone until he could not recognize his surroundings.
Finally tired and chilled to the bone, with a POP! Barty apparated home and went straight to bed.
Barty slept deeply and soundly that night; as well as through the morning – in fact, he did not wake until his mother burst into his room around noon. Grinning ear to ear, with great joy in her voice, she told him Voldemort was dead.
“Wait, what did you say, mother?”
“Voldemort, he’s gone! He disappeared last night! It was something with the Potters. Your father will have more news when he comes back from work. Now, get dressed and come down for some lunch. Your aunt and uncle will be here soon, we’re celebrating this together!”
“No! I don’t want to see anyone.” Barty was shocked – he had to figure out what this meant for him.
“I have to go out mother.” He began to undress, and in his anxiety, he forgot to cover his right arm from his mother.
“Barty, what happened to your arm?”
Barty did not pause for a moment.
“Nothing mother, just something I was playing around with,” he said quickly. He finished dressing and left his room; he made his way to the front door turning once to tell his mother not to wait up for him.
“But where are you going, when will you be back? Your aunt and uncle haven’t seen you in so long.”
“Mother! Please, just shut up, I’ll be back when I’ve done what needs to be done!” And with that, he walked out the door, never ever to return again to his home.
Barty made his way through Diagon Alley, there were people everywhere, all happy, joyous, celebrating, and starkly contrasting his mood. He reached the ominous door of the headquarters and after double checking no one was watching him, he slipped inside.
It was chaos. There was much yelling and screaming. Barty quickly found Rabastan and Rodolphus who were sitting in the same spot at the long table they had been in yesterday; with them was Bellatrix.
He joined them, they acknowledged him but no one spoke a word.
“He’s not dead,” Barty said quietly on purpose as he only wanted the Lestranges to hear him. This statement perked up Bellatrix.
“We need to find him.”
“How?” replied Bellatrix.
“Aurors – if anyone knows where he is, it’s them.”
“And what do you want us to do, Barty? Aurors are not easy to capture, you know,” said Rabastan sarcastically.
“No, they are not, but look at this.” He slipped out the one sheet of paper that he had carried with him each day for the past year, the one on which he had transcribed the Longbottoms address –
Bellatrix took one look at it and giggled hysterically.
“Well, well, Barty, you sure are proving your worth.” She responded.
Rodolphus looked at her, and then back at Barty. With much authority in his voice he said, “Rabastan, you stay here, in case Snape returns, detain him. We’re going to go investigate the Longbottoms.”
“Now, now Bastan, listen to big brother,” said Bellatrix with a crazy edge to her voice.
And, of course, Rabastan remained seated and watched the backs of Bellatrix, Rodolphus, and Barty shrink as they left the house.
They apparated to right outside the Longbottoms residence as soon as they reached the alleyway outside. Barty, for a few minutes stood, simply staring at the house – finally, finally, he could exact the revenge he had been planning for over a year. He walked with purpose to the front door – he pointed his wand
“Reducto,” the door blasted to pieces. Barty wanted to leave destruction everywhere.
Bellatrix laughed behind him; Barty stepped into the house. Upon Barty’s blast, Frank had run out from the room Barty presumed was the kitchen, a woman, probably his wife Alice, was standing behind him.
Barty quickly expelliarmused their wands nonverbally.
“Shut up, where is he?” chimed in Bellatrix. Frank looked from Bellatrix to Barty, and then to Rodolphus who was standing ominously in the shadows. Understanding dawned across his face. He stepped out protectively in front of Alice to protect her.
“WHERE IS HE?” shouted Bellatrix again.
“I don’t know,” replied Frank.
“Crucio!” shouted Bellatrix
Alice screamed and pushed Frank out of the way, making herself the target of Bellatrix’s curse. Frank fell into a heap, shoulders slouched. Seeing his wand out of the corner of his eye, he reached to grab it. Rodolphus put a stop to this action by walking up to him and stepping on his hand. Barty heard Frank’s fingers break.
Rodolphus grabbed Frank by the shoulders and shook him, asking the same question his wife had only minutes earlier.
“Where is he?”
Frank didn’t reply, he instead looked up at Barty.
“Rodolphus, please move,” asked Barty, but Rodolphus continued to shake Frank repeating the question.
“WHERE IS HE?”
“RODOLPHUS, please move,” asked Barty more clearly this time. Rodolphus looked up at Barty questioningly but complied. He joined his wife in the torture of Alice, doubly inflicting the cruciatus curse on her.
Frank, still on the ground, was looking at Barty.
“Barty, why?” he asked. Barty did not reply, hate boiled inside of him. He lifted his wand –
“Aaa-va...” he said.
Barty couldn’t get the curse past his lips. It hit him suddenly, he couldn’t inflict the same pain that had been inflicted upon him with Lysandra’s death onto another person, be that person Frank’s wife, mother, or child.
Barty looked at Frank. He was scared...and Barty shared this feeling. However, a tingling feeling on Barty’s right arm brought him back to reality. He rolled up his sleeve and looked at the Dark Mark.
He was in too deep.
Barty looked over at Alice; her screams had subsided some while ago, she was unconscious now, frothing a little bit at the mouth.
Barty looked back at Frank. He was looking at Alice and crying, trying to crawl over to her.
Barty looked at him and whispered, quietly but clearly –
“Where is he?”
Frank shook his hand, indicating he didn’t know. So, Barty pointed his wand –
They stood like this for some time. Inflicting great pain and suffering on those who were good and kind. The Lestranges both attacking Alice, and Barty Frank. They did not stop until the Longbottoms were lying unconscious on the ground, faces red.
Barty hit the ground. He was now sobbing, screaming –
“He didn’t have to do it! He didn’t have to do it!”
The Lestranges were ransacking the house, meaning to live it in the greatest state of devastation. Barty could hear Bellatrix laughing, objects smashing, and then just as they made their return –
Someone apparated into the room. Barty looked up from his tears, it was Rabastan.
“Barty, Bella, Rodolphus, we have to leave! The headquarters location was compromised. Aurors are looking for us!”
Barty quickly got up, wiping any evidence of emotion from his face. He surveyed the pain and destruction in front of him and turned and walked out, following Bellatrix, Rodolphus, and Rabastan.
He had made his choice, and now he would live with it.
Written by PrincessPadfoot.
Barty was cold, miserable, and out of breath. The alleyway he was currently hiding in provided no source of shelter from the biting wind. He had been on the run for less than a week and already he was a mess.
The rumors were spreading, rumors that he had tortured the Longbottoms. Angry citizens were on the hunt now. They were after him and he had to keep moving. He and the Lestranges had gone their separate ways a day or two after they ran from the Longbottom residence.
They planned to meet up next week at an old cottage out in the country. The problem Barty faced was getting out of the city. Aurors were everywhere rounding up Death Eaters and their accomplices. Barty had narrowly escaped capture thus far by trying to blend into the crowd. But it was getting harder.
Everywhere he went, Barty herd snippets of conversation. A whisper here about the Potters, a laugh here about the Dark Lord. Barty didn’t know what to believe. He needed answers, but he didn’t know who he could trust.
The Grey Lady and Professor Flitwick continued to roam the castle. Neither one wanting to break the silence. But the Grey Lady had a question.
“Fillius?” The tiny Professor turned to her, “Have you ever spoken to Aurora about this?”
He pondered a moment then answered, “Yes… I well… She was always very fond of me and I of her when she was a student. She and I corresponded for many years after she left Hogwarts.”
The Grey Lady waited, and when he said nothing further she prompted him, “She wrote about Barty?”
He looked away from her and changed direction. He lead her down passageways and corridors, past broken staircases and smashed in windows. The Grey Lady had no idea where they were going.
Fillius stopped in front of a door and passed his wand over it, muttering something under his breath. He led the Grey Lady into a comfortable looking study that looked untouched by the war.
The desk was small, but a comfortable size for the tiny professor. He rummaged through a drawer and pulled out a box of letters. He flipped through them until her found the one he was looking for.
“Yes Aurora did write to me about Barty. She wrote me this letter.” He tapped the letter against the desk. “This dratted letter!” He shouted in a sudden fit of rage and threw it across the room.
He threw anything he could get his hands on until his study looked like it had been the victim of this war.
The Grey Lady waited until the rampage ended, and floated towards the tiny professor, who lay hunched on top of his pile of letters.
“Barty…” he whispered, his eyes drooping shut. His breathing slowed and soon he was asleep. The Grey Lady waited a moment, then floated over to the letter Aurora had written all those years ago. It lay open on the floor, and the Grey Lady read the contents with a little frown and wished that she too could sleep away the memories.
Aurora sat in her dressing gown in her tiny flat that she had bought shortly after leaving Hogwarts. She paced in front of the window trying to wrap her mind around the latest rumors. Barty Crouch tortured the Longbottoms… No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t accept it as truth.
The Barty she knew wouldn’t do something like that. The Barty she knew was kind and funny and super brilliant. The Barty she knew… was the Barty she had fallen in love with. She didn’t know when the realization had hit her, but she loved Barty, and would do anything for him.
A knock at her door brought her out of her thoughts. She looked at the clock, half past midnight… who in the world...? She checked that she had her wand on her, and went cautiously to the door.
“Who’s there?” Aurora called through the closed door. She heard the shuffle of feet and then someone clearing their throat. “It’s me…” a hoarse voice called, “B- Barty Crouch.”
Aurora backed away from the door, her mind racing. What was Barty doing here? How on Earth did he know where she lived? She hesitated, one hand reaching for the door, the other for her wand. What should she do?
“Aurora… please…” Barty sounded pitiful and Aurora made her mind up then. She rushed forward and opened the door.
“Hurry, quick get inside.” She ushered him in and closed the door behind him. She ran to close the curtains on the windows, while Barty stood lamely in the hallway.
Aurora finished her task and stood looking at Barty. He looked… well he looked like he had been trampled by a Hippogriff. He stepped forward into the light and she could see his pale skin and his thinning hair.
“I- I’m sorry… I didn’t know where else to go.” He said and crumpled to the floor. “Aurora, I need to know… are the rumors true? Is You-Know-Who dead?” Aurora nodded.
He let out a gut wrenching wail and continued, “I’m so messed up Aurora! I don’t know how it all went wrong!”
He sobbed and Aurora was lost for words. Tears were the last thing she expected out of him. She needed answer though so she picked him up of the floor.
“Barty listen to me, I need to know what I’m getting into. Did you or did you not, toruture Alice and Frank Longbottom?” She stared into his dark eyes and saw the truth.
“I- I didn’t… I just…”
“You complete COW!” Aurora screamed, “DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'VE DONE?!?”
Barty paled, then gained some courage, “HE KILLED LYSANDRA! HE KILLED MY COUSIN!”
“SO THAT MAKES IT OKAY?!?” Aurora was beyond herself with rage. She needed to calm down, but couldn’t seem to.
“NO!” Barty screamed, then backed off, “He killed her and they didn’t do a thing about it. The ministry just let him get away with murder!”
Aurora was silent a moment, gathering her wits, “Barty… I know it wasn’t right, but he didn’t mean to… it was an accident Barty.” The pleading look in her eyes made him understand.
“I know.” He whispered. He looked down at his feet and licked his lips, “I know it was an accident, but I couldn’t just sit there and do nothing.” The passion in his voice brought tears to her eyes.
“Barty… I…” She needed to tell him this, needed him to understand, “I… love you very much. I have for some time now. I understand why you had to act, but it still doesn’t make it okay.”
Barty looked into her eyes, and for a moment she could see past his woebegone state and see the Hogwarts schoolboy she fell in love with. He reached out and brushed her hair off her cheek.
“I’m leaving,” he announced abruptly and made his way to the door. Aurora looked at him and was lost for words.
“I have to meet up with some people, but look,” he crossed the room and took her hand, "I want you to come with me.” His eyes shined with schoolboy mischief again and Aurora was tempted.
“But Barty…” She was torn, “Who are you meeting up with?” she asked.
He backed away, “I promised I’d meet them,” he looked away.
Aurora knew who he was meeting, she had known before she had asked. A plan was forming in her mind, she would sneak out after her neighbors saw she was okay. People had been randomly disappearing since the fall of the Dark Lord and the Ministry urged people to report anyone missing.
“I have to wait… the neighbors will report to the Ministry if they don’t see me tomorrow,” she explained. “Write down the location, and I’ll meet you there as soon as I can.” She gathered parchment and a quill for him. He scribbled an address and Aurora hid the paper in her pocket.
Barty was at the door when her turned back, “I love you too Aurora.” With that he opened the door and was gone.
Aurora stood in her now empty flat, her heart racing with the plan she had just concocted. She crossed the room and opened the door to her study/bedroom. At the desk she pulled out the piece of parchment.
She waited, she knew the sun would rise in a few hours and she was too wired to sleep. She gathered her box of old letters and flipped through them for something to do. She reached a letter from her old school professor and stopped.
She hadn’t given any thought to the plan, she had made a hasty decision. Would her old professor be proud of her very un-Ravenclawish behavior? Her face fell as realization dawned on her. She couldn’t run away with Barty, he was a wanted criminal. She loved him, but she couldn’t do this.
She sat for a moment, unsure what to do next. She carefully folded up the address Barty had given her, and began to write a letter to Professor Flitwick.
The next morning Aurora woke to the sound of her owl, Lepida, pecking at her window. She let him in and gave him an owl treat.
She sat down at her desk and opened the response from her old friend.
You did the right thing in contacting me. I have let the Aurors know where Mr. Crouch and his accomplices are. He should be in custody soon.
Aurora folded up the letter and put it away. She went back to her bed, laid down, and cried herself to sleep.
Written by pennyardelle and beta'd by long_live_luna_bellatrix.
When he arrived at the secluded cottage and found the Lestranges there waiting, Barty breathed a sigh of relief. There were few people in the world that he felt he could trust right now, and the Lestranges—bound to him by what they had inflicted upon the Longbottoms—were among them.
"It's about time," Bellatrix hissed, stepping towards him as he entered the room. "We'd begun to think you weren't coming."
A small magical fire danced in the middle of the room, casting dramatic shadows on the walls. The cottage might once have been a cozy retreat, but it looked and smelled like it had been neglected for several years. Rabastan sat in a saggy armchair on the other side of the fire, and Rodolphus was standing with his arms crossed next to his brother.
"It's not as if I had anywhere else to go," Barty replied.
Bellatrix laughed derisively at this, which seemed an odd reaction, but Barty didn't spend much time dwelling on it—her behaviour was often inexplicable, and they all had more pressing things to worry about at the moment.
"What's the plan?" he asked, addressing the entire group. No one replied immediately. "We have to find a way to keep out of sight until we can find the Dark Lord—and it's not going to be easy. Everyone's after us."
He paused, but was once again met with silence. Rodolphus, whose face was set in an unpleasant expression, exchanged glances with his wife and brother.
A feeling of unease began to creep into Barty's stomach.
"What is it? Have you heard something about the Dark Lord?" he asked, and finally, Rodolphus spoke.
"Listen, kid, we've got to talking, and we think it would be best if the three of us...went our separate ways."
Barty felt as though he'd been punched in the gut. Silence reverberated throughout the room for a few moments.
"I don't see why you'd think that's the best plan," Barty finally said. "As far as I can see, the only way to get out of this is the same way we got into it: together."
Bellatrix laughed again. "What else did you expect? You didn't really think we were going to go on the run with you, did you?"
Barty felt his entire body burn with a mixture of fury and embarrassment.
"Well, why wouldn't I?" he snapped, his voice growing louder against his better efforts to control it. "It's not like I wasn't there with you when it all happened—not like I stood off to the side while the three of you did the dirty work! I was right there beside you, so, yes, I expected we'd be in this together!"
"What a shame," Bellatrix said, her tone far from matching her words. An angry retort was on the verge of escaping Barty's mouth when Rabastan interjected.
"Barty, no one's trying to claim that you weren't there. We saw you torture Frank—and for a long time, too," Rabastan said, sounding almost as if he were accusing Barty, "but the entire country's in an uproar. And you're the son of the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement."
"And I wasn't when you asked me to join the Dark Lord? Or when we went to the Longbottoms' home?" Barty exploded.
"It was different before," Bellatrix said, shrugging. Her nonchalance angered him almost as much as the accusation.
"How? You know that I hate my father! I would never in million years betray you to him!"
"All the same," Rabastan said, "it wouldn't be smart of us to hang around with you when we're trying to evade people like your dad."
If it had been anyone else standing with him in the room, saying these things to him, and if Barty hadn't gone through everything he had to reach this very moment, he might have paused, hoping for one of them to say it had all been a joke, and that they wouldn't abandon him. But it was them, saying these things, and Barty had been through a hell of a lot—he'd seen cruelty and senseless death, felt the emptiness of grief and the burning of revenge—so the only reason he paused was to work out in his head what to do next.
"I suppose I'll just be on my way, then?" Barty spat at them. None of them responded, and so he turned back to the door. As he did, a final thought occurred to him. "You know, it seems to me that it's really not smart at all to leave me on my own, considering who my family is. How do you know I won't go to my father and give him information on you, now that you're turning your back on me?"
Rodolphus looked alarmed, and Rabastan uneasy, but Bellatrix did little more than roll her eyes.
"What information? You don't know where we'll go after this, and if you tell him what happened with the Longbottoms, you'll have to explain how you have such a detailed first-hand account," she said. She looked at her husband and brother-in-law. "He's nothing but empty words."
Barty might have argued his case further, but he knew Bellatrix was right. The fact that he'd even made the threat at all was evidence of his desperation.
He turned to the door without another word, his mind racing with a thousand thoughts. He knew the only way to extricate himself from the position he was in was to find Voldemort and bring him back to power. Though he had no idea where to look for him or what he would need to do, there had to be a way. Barty wasn't an idiot; in fact, he was as smart as all three of the Lestranges put together. When he was the one to bring the Dark Lord back to his former glory, the tables would certainly be turned...
There was still one person he knew he could trust. Aurora would never betray him. She had stood by him even knowing what he had done to Frank Longbottom, and in that, Barty saw hope. Not only would Aurora be unfailingly loyal to him, but she might also be persuaded to help him find Voldemort. She didn't see things in black and white; she was too intelligent for that. Aurora would understand why he had to search for Voldemort, just as she had understood that what he had done to Frank Longbottom was justified. It might take some convincing—she had been angry with Barty about Frank at first, after all—but in the end, she would see reason.
As he stepped outside into the damp evening air, the thought of Aurora comforted him. She would understand, she would stand by him, and she would love him. It seemed incredible to him that she had said those words, after so many years, but it felt like they had always been there between them, waiting to be spoken. The memory of the first time he had kissed Aurora, on the grounds of Hogwarts, when things had seemed much simpler, made him feel less troubled. Everything would work out with Aurora by his side.
He had barely taken two steps when his eyes began to adjust, and he realized he was not alone. A wall of people surrounded the house: Aurors.
Barty raised his wand and managed to hit one of them with a Stunning Spell before trying to Disapparate, but his feet stayed planted on the ground. He should have realized there would be an Anti-Apparition Jinx set on the area.
His wand flew from his hand. Unarmed and surrounded on all sides, there was nothing he could do but admit defeat.
A pair of Aurors forced Barty to the ground and bound him from shoulders to ankles with thick cords. He spat out a few blades of grass from his mouth bitterly, silently cursing the Lestranges for setting him up like this—but then he heard crashes and yells from inside the cottage, and realized the Aurors were attempting to apprehend them as well. If they had been the ones to give away Barty's location, surely they would have made sure that they themselves would not be captured along with him?
He could not understand how this had happened. There was no one around for miles, but perhaps someone had spotted them on the way here and reported it to the Ministry. He couldn't imagine that the Aurors had the brains or the luck to figure out their meeting place without help, but who would have helped them?
The answer hit Barty like a freight train: a memory of writing down the location of their meeting, and handing it over without any misgivings...
Aurora had known where they would be. She was the only other person who had known at all.
A shout rang through the night air and broke through Barty's horror. "Crouch! We've got them!"
The realization that his father was here, among those about to cart him off to Azkaban, hardly mattered.
Professor Flitwick and the Grey Lady did not meet again until the following afternoon. People had been slowly trickling onto the grounds all day; news of Voldemort's defeat had by now spread across the country, and some had evidently wanted to see if it was true with their own eyes. Those who had been present at the battle were beginning the long process of rebuilding not only the school, but their lives. After finishing lunch on the sunny grounds, Professor Flitwick approached Helena.
"I apologize for yesterday," he said, not meeting her translucent eyes. "It's rare that I even spare a thought for Barty Crouch after so long. I suppose in going over the details, my emotions got the best of me."
"There's no need to apologize, Filius," Helena stated calmly. "Barty's story is not an easy one to stomach."
They stood in silence for a moment, looking up at the castle.
"There were people in my lifetime who could recall when these walls were built," Helena said. "I can't help but wonder what they would say if they could see Hogwarts today."
"I think they would be proud," Professor Flitwick replied. "Proud, that the school they had built, and the students and teachers within it, stood up to so great a challenge and emerged victorious."
"Perhaps," Helena mused. Noting Professor Flitwick's expression of consternation, she continued, "I am sorry, Filius. I don't mean to sound so doubtful, but our trip into Barty Crouch's past has me feeling rather pessimistic. My mother would have been horrified if she knew that someone who committed such evil acts had once called Ravenclaw Tower their home."
"Ah, but Helena, can you not see in Barty's story an example of a Ravenclaw who was not only good-hearted, but also courageous and honest?" Professor Flitwick asked wryly. Helena looked at him blankly. "I mean Aurora, of course—Aurora, who had the strength to turn in the man she loved to a life in Azkaban. Aurora, who fought last night alongside us, and today works to rebuild the legacy that your mother founded."
He gestured across the grounds toward a pile of rubble. A woman with dark hair and a determined expression was helping a group of students move the felled stone away from the castle so they could survey the damage better.
Helena still frowned. "The trouble is, Filius, that we haven't even come to the conclusion of Barty's story. He was captured, yes, but it was just the beginning of yet another chapter of wickedness."
Three days: that was how long Barty spent confined in a cell in Azkaban, awaiting transfer to his trial. At least, he was told when he was first brought to the island prison that he would be there for three days, so he assumed it was true. The constant despair he felt because of the Dementors made him unaware of anything else but the very darkest memories and emotions he possessed: Aurora's betrayal, Frank Longbottom's terrified face, Lysandra's death, his father's cold disapproval.
He did nothing but sit and stare blankly at a wall for most hours of the day. Even sleeping was a struggle; he had never imagined that nightmares could be as terrifying as the ones he experienced at Azkaban.
When they came to take him to his trial, he realized very quickly that things had changed a great deal in three days. People treated him with disgust, as if he were no longer human. They kept him separated from the Lestranges until they were about to enter the courtroom. Barty didn't mind that, since he was hoping to distance himself from them as much as possible during the trial.
He would pose the entire scenario as their idea: it was a lie, of course, but Barty felt he could tell it convincingly. It would be simple enough to reverse his and Rabastan's positions that night. Rabastan, and not Barty, had been the one to suggest questioning Aurors on Voldemort's whereabouts. Rabastan, not Barty, had somehow obtained the Longbottoms' location. Barty had been the one who stayed behind at The Leaky Cauldron—he had no idea that the Lestranges planned to torture information out of Frank and Alice Longbottom.
It was a stretch, but Barty had age and familial connections on his side. People would be much more likely to believe the frightened teenage son of Bartemius Crouch, crusader in the fight against Voldemort, than three people who came from families with ties to the Dark Arts. The mere fact that the three of them were all related worked in Barty's favour: it seemed more believable that they would have left him behind, and set off for the Longbottoms' together.
His father was the crux of it all. His father would know that Barty was lying, of course, andall he could do was hope that there was some shred of paternal love in his father's cold heart.
As soon as he set foot in the courtroom, he knew there was no chance of his plan succeeding.
The air in the room was tense with aggression, and expressions of hatred stared down at him from every seat in the room. The only sign of mercy Barty could find in the sea of people present at the trial was his mother, sobbing beside his father. Her tears made him feel even more certain that his fate had already been decided.
Barty was suddenly terrified.
His father stood and began to speak, just as he would have with any other criminal that passed before him. Panic began to rise in Barty's chest; he had never felt so vulnerable before. Reason and planning were out of the question, and no lie seemed clever enough to help him now.
His father was bringing forth the accusations against them, and at the mention of torturing Frank Longbottom, Barty erupted with panic, two words accompanying the pounding of his heart: They know, they know, they know, they know...
"I didn't, I swear it, Father, don't send me back to the Dementors—"
His father continued on as if there had been no interruption. The Ministry knew everything; they knew what they had done, and why they had done it, and Barty was being accused of torturing Frank's wife even though he had never raised a wand against her.
Barty started to fall apart, screaming out for his mother's help, though he knew there was nothing she could do for him. He could hardly hear anything over his screams and the beating of his own heart, but the next words his father spoke would have been impossible to miss.
"I now ask the jury to raise their hands if they believe, as I do, that these crimes deserve a life sentence in Azkaban."
A life sentence? Barty had barely survived three days—he was nineteen years old, the rest of his life would be decades: decades of constant sorrow, discomfort, and isolation. He was suddenly transported back to the worst moments of his sojourn in Azkaban, and the thought of enduring that for the rest of his life made him begin to scream anew.
The Dementors returned, but Barty was determined not to give in without a fight. The most he could manage was to half-heartedly pull himself out of their cold grasp once or twice, but it was no use.
Bellatrix was calling out to the crowd, but the power of the Dementors was such that Barty did not care what she was saying, and did not listen. He could only look up at his father and say one thing—the one thing he was left with, abandoned by everyone he believed he could trust, and yet the one thing he had never felt to be true until this very moment.
"I'm your son!"
The crowd was cheering, and the Dementors pressing in on him. Barty did not hear his father's response, but he saw his mouth move, and hatred and revulsion was etched in every line of his face.
As the Dementors began to pull Barty from the room, he looked for his mother's face, but she was lost in the crowd. Realizing it was his last chance, he tried to revert to his original plan, and cried out that he was innocent, but no one cared.
No one cared. Lysandra was not alive to care; Aurora had cared so little she had turned him in; Rabastan did not care, and would have left Barty to fend for himself; the court did not care to hear his side of the story; his father did not care, and never had.
He had learned the hard way that the only person who would look out for him was himself. In a haze of numbness and exhaustion, he wondered if he would ever get the chance to do that again.
*Lines in bold are taken from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, UK edition, pages 517-518.
Written by long_live_luna_bellatrix and beta'd by Alopex
Barty focused on this discomfort with what little scraps of energy he had left, dove deeper and deeper into his own swirling despair. He relied on the sharp edges of pain to slice off everything else: shrieks of other high security prisoners, hisses of dementors, thoughts of his father.
If he thought of his father he would go mad, mad, mad. He would writhe in his cell and scream with the injustice of it all. The dirty scumbag would pay, pay for putting him here, if only Barty could get word to the Dark Lord, then his master would right it all, he and his father would switch places and Barty would rise before the world while his father shriveled away to nothing, the dementors chipping away at his cold, cold soul.
The dementors. If he concentrated on the cold, the pain, then they could do nothing. They could not make him feel worse than he already felt. If he clung to the grime under his fingernails and the violent shivering, they would glide on past. If he thought of anything else, like Aur—
It was cold. It was so, so cold. And the floor was gritty beneath his bare feet, and the wind was ruffling his matted hair, and Bellatrix was wailing next door just to hear any voice, even her own, and her voice was in his head now...
See, look, Barty. There's the North Star, and there's Sirius, the Dog Star, and, if you look very carefully, you see those specks over there? What're those, do you know?
And oh, if only he could see the stars, and he could tell her that he knew, he knew which was which, in fact he had never forgotten their names again after that night. If only Azkaban had a ceiling like the Great Hall, then he could lie on his back and look at the stars and it would almost be as if they were back together—
A cold, rattling breath. The trailing end of smoky cloak. Invisible fingers creeping down his throat, through his hair, between his fingers, and now he was drowning in his own despair.
"I get it, I get it!" Barty screamed. He flung a hand out at the dementor, but it only hit slimy metal. He cradled the limp hand in his lap and closed his eyes, as Bellatrix cackled nearby and Dolohov muttered incomprehensibly.
It was cold. He was shivering. The cells were dank, dark, desperate. The three D's. With that, he should be able to Apparate out...
He staggered to his feet and concentrated, spun in a shaky circle. For a moment he couldn't breathe, the sounds faded, and he felt a tendril of hope bloom to life. Then he collapsed to the ground, coughing, coughing, coughing, and somebody snickered.
Barty looked up through layers of greasy hair. He couldn't see. Not past the cold, the hopelessness that the dementors projected. He couldn't even bear to look at it. He dropped his eyes.
"Is he alive?"
Something rattled, metal on metal.
Cold. So cold. He wouldn't hear a thing.
A scabbed hand shot through the bars and clasped him about the throat. Barty's chin was forced up, his eyes caught by his father's identical ones. He couldn't find the strength to wrench them away. The dementor's slimy hand retreated, but Barty couldn't move. He focused all his loathing, all his collected pain, on the man standing erect before him.
"Your mother wanted to see you."
Barty's gaze finally slid past his father. A hobbling, haggard woman drooped toward the floor behind Bartemius Sr. Her breaths shook nearly as much as the dementors'.
"Hello, Mother," Barty said. He narrowed his eyes, so that in the slits he saw only her face, not the despicable man standing beside her.
"Barty," his mother whispered. It took an age for the single word to escape her lips. When she raised her arm to his cell, it quivered terribly. He could not make himself raise a hand to meet her.
"Why?" his mother asked. "She wouldn't have... wanted this. Lysandra... wouldn't..."
"Don't say that name!" Barty hissed. He lunged forward, curled his arms around the bars. "You know nothing of her, Mother. You never did. And as she is gone now, you never will. Don't bring her up just to get my attention; I have others who sympathize, who can help me."
"You think the Dark Lord cares about you?" his father chuckled. "Think again." He turned sharply on his heel, hooked his arm around his wife's, and they were being led out before Barty remembered what his comeback was supposed to be. The prison rang with the sound of their scorn, and he sunk to the floor, gasping, unable to keep the images from pouring in. Lysandra, by the river, stepping up to fight. Flashes of light. Shooting stars. Aurora, telling him to make a wish, blushing when he asked what hers was.
"Quit that moaning!" someone shrieked, and Barty bit on his tongue. The terrible wailing sound that had been irking him abruptly stopped.
"The Dark Lord will come back for us, and we will forever be in his debt for saving us from this hellhole," Bellatrix said to someone else across the room. She'd stopped talking to Barty long ago. Black spots swam in Barty's vision, his ears began ringing. He felt the ground beneath his knees, then his cheek, then his eyes.
The shivers crawled down his spine, tickled his ear. He shook his head violently and peered up.
"Come to see me so soon, Father?"
Bartemius Sr. eyed him warily. "It's been a month. Your mother insisted."
She bent and bowed, his eyes playing tricks on him. Her skin hung in folds despite the fact that she was smooth-faced in all his memories. Her eyes trailed the ground. Rows and rows of bars separated them, were swimming before his eyes, and refused to stay put no matter how many times he blinked. There were too many bars for just one cell.
"Mother," he said hoarsely, "what did they lock you up for?"
Her eyes froze on his, flooded with something new, but before he could decipher it, Bartemius Sr. dragged her off. Barty began to boil underneath, shook a fist after them. A passing dementor brushed it aside was ease and Barty hung his head. What he wouldn't give to face his father, no bars in between them, nothing stopping him...
He knew what she would think of these thoughts. He knew what she would say. But she was surely off star-gazing.
It was cold. So, so cold. The wind was cold. The floor was cold. His stiffened clothes were cold. His heart beat colder with every second.
He could have sworn his mother was behind bars the last time he saw her. But this time she was definitely on the right side of the cell. He no longer bothered to acknowledge his father's presence, even in his mind. He dropped his head, left it there even when he felt the prick of hairs being yanked from his crown, a goblet shoved in his clammy hand.
Barty finally looked up. His mother trembled before him, also clutching a goblet. He could not tell where the command had from from, who it was directed at.
Barty didn't see the sense in obeying anything. He'd been ordered about his whole life by his father-- aha, his father! He was there too, behind his mother. No way he was drinking anything that man gave him. Did he really think a bit of wine could compensate for a lifetime in Azkaban?
"Barty," his mother rasped. "For me. Do as your father says." She screwed her eyes shut and sipped from her goblet. Bartemius Sr. had to support her elbow.
Barty sniffed the goblet dubiously. It was clearly poison. They were trying to trick him into drinking it, show him his mother tasting supposedly the same wine. But they wouldn't get him that easily; a servant of the Dark Lord would never fall for so low a trick, and the assumption alone was insulting.
Just as Barty raised his arm to throw his goblet to the ground, Bartemius Sr. strode forward. The wine sloshed around a bit as his own, cold hand covered Barty's and forced the goblet to his mouth. The other held his jaw while it was poured down his throat.
It was far too thick for wine, Barty realized. He spat half of it out onto the moldy straw at his feet, but the rest made it down. He screamed and lunged for his father, was caught by the bars. For once his father did not look down his nose at him. Instead he glanced around, almost nervously, though Bartemius Sr. certainly wasn't a man to grow nervous. He drew his wand, murmured a steady stream of spells, eyes scouring the room all the while. The other Death Eaters, separated by cold stone, murmured to themselves obliviously. They wouldn't have been bothered if Barty swore and screamed, as they all fell into fits at some point or another. All the while Barty leaned against the back of the cell, waiting for the poison to take effect. He closed his eyes, and let all the images of Aurora flood in, memories he'd beaten back for so long...
"Bartemius, hurry," his father hissed. Barty vaguely felt himself being dragged out of the cell, but when he glanced over his shoulder, he was still in there, looking back at himself. His other self grimaced and coughed. Barty closed his eyes and smiled; he'd not felt a thing, other than Aurora's open arms and Lysandra's beaming approval. He and his father began the walk out of Azkaban alone.
Good bye Aurora. Only the Dark Lord can save me now.
"My dear Helena," Flitwick said slowly, as he supervised the slow process of the main staircase mending itself. "How can you possibly know what went through his head? Not only that, but if he really did began to go insane at this time, how can you trust his word?"
"The mumblings of a mad man are always informative," sighed the Grey Lady. "After the Triwizard Tournament, after Dumbledore used Veritaserum to get the truth out of Barty, he was left under Minerva's watch. The remnants of the potion in addition to his victory left his mouth loose for a while yet. I came by and didn't have to linger long to hear that neither death nor Aurora were ever far from Barty's thoughts. However, the pieces didn't come together entirely until you told me his story."
"Being magically imprisoned by his father would leave Barty plenty of time to stew in his own dark thoughts," Flitwick frowned. "You've heard all about the time leading up to Quidditch Cup, I presume?"
Written by PrincessPadfoot and aiedailweasley.
Barty’s father held all the control, and he was helpless to do anything but what his father commanded. Under the Imperius Curse and hidden away under an invisibility cloak day after day, Barty’s life turned into one big blur. He could feel his strength return to him slowly over time, thanks to the old family house elf. Winky did the bidding of his father, but with a gentle touch. Barty was soon in top physical condition, but he could not break free of his father’s control.
He would often try to resist his father’s control, concentrating all he had to break free. He never succeeded. He hated to admit it, but his father was a very skilled wizard, and Barty was as useless as a rock without a wand of his own.
So he let it go. He gave up fighting and gave in to his father’s will. It wasn’t a pleasant life, but it was easy. Barty was on a schedule invented by Winky and approved by his father. He would wake up, watch the elf cook breakfast then sit and eat with his father. They hardly spoke at breakfast. His father often liked to pretend that Barty wasn’t there, and thanks to the invisibility cloak, it was an easy task. The only real conversation Barty got was after his father left. Winky would wash the breakfast dishes and Barty would sit and talk to her. After that, Barty was allowed to read his father’s discarded Daily Prophet, keeping him up to date on the news in the Wizarding world.
One evening, while Barty was sitting in the kitchen talking to Winky, a woman showed up unannounced in the fireplace. Winky gasped a dropped a cup and squeaked out a plea for Barty to remain quiet.
She went out to greet the newcomer. “Good evenin’ miss.”
“Good evening, would you please inform your master that Bertha Jorkins is here to see him?”
“Master Crouch isn’t here at the moment, miss.”
The woman looked around the sitting room. “Who were you talking to before, then?” she asked.
Winky looked frightened. “I was talkin’ to no one, miss.”
“I heard you, elf.” Bertha said and peered around suspiciously. Winky was spared answering by the arrival of Bartemius Crouch himself.
“Why Bertha, this is a surprise! To what do I owe the pleasure?” he said as he motioned for her to take a seat. He threw a cautious glance at Winky and she scuttled away back into the kitchen, returning moments later with a tray of tea.
“Thank you Winky, that will be all.” He dismissed the elf and she returned to Barty in the kitchen. For his part, Barty thought nothing much of this particular visitor; he stayed as quiet as he could and spoke quietly to Winky.
A moment later the kitchen door was opened and Bertha walked in. “I swear I heard voices coming out of this kitchen!” Bertha glanced once in Barty’s direction and passed over his invisible form.
“It’s just my house elf in here Bertha,” Barty’s father tried to convince her, but even Barty heard the false note in his voice.
“You’re lying to me Crouch, I could have sworn I heard a male voice…”
Many things happened all at once, Barty sneezed violently, the invisibility cloak slipped, and he made eye contact with Bertha. She looked horrified and stood rooted to the spot. His father acted so quickly that Barty wasn’t sure he had moved at all. As Bertha continued to stare open-mouthed at him, Barty heard a whispered muttering from his father and as he watched, her eyes grew unfocused and a confused expression was left on her face.
“Barty, for Merlin’s sake, put the cloak back on quickly!” His father spat in his direction, steering Bertha back towards the sitting room. Barty righted himself in time to hear the swoosh of the fire, before his father was back in the kitchen.
“I’ve modified her memory and sent her home, she won’t remember seeing or hearing you,” his father said, all in one breath and then quickly exited the room, shouting for Winky to bring him a large glass of fire whiskey.
Setting aside that close call, Barty had no more encounters with any strangers, and his days passed like normal. Barty spent the next few years doing pretty much what he always did, occasionally reading up on his favorite Quidditch teams in the paper. Winky observed him closely and begged his father to let him watch a game.
After quite a lot of begging, his father agreed and occasionally he would permit him to go watch a local Quidditch match, accompanied by Winky and always under the protection of the invisibility cloak. If someone asked Winky what she was doing, she would say she was saving a seat for her master. Though not entirely the truth, this saved the elf from outright lying to anyone.
These matches were good practice for what Winky had planned. She approached his father one day after dinner and asked if Barty would be allowed to attend the Quidditch World Cup. He was hesitant at first, until Winky pointed out that Barty had been on his best behavior at every other Quidditch game, why should this one be any different?
So Barty was allowed to attend. He and Winky were put up in the top box hours before the game started. Barty watched as the stands around him filled with fan eager to witness what was sure to be the game of the century. Winky on the other hand was not enjoying herself, the poor elf was so afraid of heights that she covered her eyes and wouldn’t look down.
As the stadium filled up, Barty looked around at all the wizards assembled there. He had an old pair of omnioculars and used them to look around. He spotted several of his old classmates, and even a professor or two. He was so busy looking around that he didn’t notice Winky talking to a small group of people in front of him.
The game began and Barty watched with hungry eyes as the Irish and Bulgarian players fought it out on the pitch. Barty was fascinated with the game and with his omnioculars with which he could see everything. Something caught his attention, a shiny spot reflected through his omnioculars made him blink and rub his eyes. When he looked back through them to see what had caused the blinding light, his heart gave a little lurch.
Aurora was seated on the opposite side of the pitch, and Barty felt nothing but love for her. He had forgiven her long ago for turning him in, and the sight of her face here, after years of solitude changed something within him. Barty felt his mind clear and the chains of magic that bound him to his father snapped.
He was free. He was furious.
Furious at his father for keeping him locked up, for sentencing him in the first place, for making him live in that hell hole Azkaban. Barty acted without thinking, he quickly made sure Winky was still covering her face and he grabbed a wand out of the pocket of the boy sitting in front of him and quietly exited the box.
Barty didn’t know where to go, he didn’t even know where he was. He decided to lay low under the cover of his invisibility cloak and wait for the game to finish. He knew that other wizards would soon return home after the game, all Barty had to do was follow them and then he would be that much closer to freedom.
The game ended and as people were exiting the stands he again spotted Aurora. With more courage then he ever possessed before in his life, Barty followed her back to her tent. He entered silently behind her and watched her make tea. She looked well, happy and healthy and full of life. Barty’s love for her increased the more he watched.
He had no idea how long he stood there, just watching her make tea and clean up. She had just pulled on a coat and readied herself to leave, when a disturbance at the entrance of her tent made her stop. Barty turned and with horror saw the small form of Winky step inside the tent.
Aurora frowned slightly. “Are you lost?”
“No, miss. Winky is lookin’ for her master,” Winky replied and looked straight at Barty, who was still hidden beneath his invisibility cloak.
“Well, um, your master isn’t in here, it’s just me…” Aurora looked younger, more like the girl he fell in love with all those years ago, when she was confused, and Barty wanted nothing more than to revel himself to her.
Winky snapped her fingers and Barty felt a pull to follow the little creature. Winky looked back to Aurora, “Sorry miss, Winky will leave you now.” With that, Winky left the tent, dragging Barty with her as she went.
A scream tore through the night as Barty exited the tent. Shouts soon followed and people started running. A group of masked individuals were coming toward him; Barty recognized them as death eaters. They were the ones creating havoc and Barty was disgusted. In all the chaos, Barty fought against the hold Winky had on him. He had been so close to freedom, only to have in taken from him by a stupid worthless house elf.
She dragged him into the forest and Barty started to panic. He needed some way to break free of the hold she had on him, he tried several spells with no luck. He thought back to all the spells he had learned, and nothing in his arsenal would break this spell.
Come on Barty think. His mind wandered back to the masked death eaters and, like a light bulb, a thought occurred to him. It was dangerous, and probably very stupid, but it was his only chance at freedom. It would also most likely terrify those cowards in masks.
He raised his wand above his head, took a deep breath and shouted, “Morsmordre!”
As he expected a group of wizards soon appeared, each firing off stunners, one hit Winky and with a triumphant look on his face, Barty turned. He was about to make a run for it when a stunner hit him as well.
Barty awoke to the sight of his father’s leering face inches from his, “What were you thinking? You fool!”
Barty could only stare as the man took out his wand, “You will never be free.” A single tear rolled down Barty’s cheek before his father pointed his wand in his face and said “Imperio!”
Helena rounded a corner and continued to floating along the corridor slowly; setting an easy pace for the tiny professor and his short little legs. Her mind often wandered back to the night she heard Barty’s story, and she often felt triumphant that Barty had been captured. Now however, she was conflicted.
Now that she knew his entire story, her heart was at war with her mind. Logically, she thought he should be punished for the crimes he committed. But her heart mourned for that which Barty gave up. When he joined the dark lord, he gave up a life of happiness that could have been spent with Aurora. She showed her grief through a single ghostly tear.
Evidently, Fillius noticed the change in her demeanor. “My dear, it is not healthy to dwell on things that cannot be changed.”
She nodded. He was right, things couldn’t be changed for Barty, but she wished that she had known more about him that night.
“Fillius?” She asked, suddenly curious.
“Yes my dear?” he replied.
“Did you ever…suspect there was more going on with Professor Moody—with Barty that year than what met the eye?”
He thought for a moment, then shook his head. “Young Barty fooled us all.”
Written by TenthWeasleyWriter and beta'd by aiedailweasley.
The night after Barty had cast the Dark Mark found him once more under his father’s control, hidden under his cloak and struggling against the equally invisible bonds of the Imperius Curse. No matter how much he pushed, struggling to break free, he remained forever weaker than its spell. His father had become used to his efforts by now; he stood by the stove, stirring something in a black pot, and maintained a façade of perfect ignorance.
He did not hear the footsteps approaching the door, as Barty did.
The door was blasted off its hinges without introduction, and father was not as prepared for the explosion as son; the pot was knocked off the stove, clattering to the floor and spilling its boiling contents across the tiles. He yelled in both pain and fright as a lumpy figure emerged from the night outside, wand held aloft. Barty recognized Peter Pettigrew – and as his eyes focused on the bundle of black cloth in the man’s arms, the snake on his arm twisted briefly.
“Remove the curse, Wormtail,” rasped the cold, high voice of Lord Voldemort. He seemed to know where Barty was, and what bonds he’d been placed under, without having to be told. Barty’s eyes gleefully darted over to his father moments before he felt a wonderful, liberating sensation swoop through his bones, as it had during the World Cup when he’d gazed at Aurora from afar. He stood up and cast off the cloak eagerly.
“My lord,” he murmured, crossing to Pettigrew and kneeling before the small, decrepit being in that man’s arms. Barty Crouch Sr. was still quivering on the floor by the spilled dinner, arms over his head. His son sneered at such a display of cowardice and turned his attention back to his master.
“We have need of your services, Crouch,” Voldemort said in the same imperious voice; throughout it all Pettigrew had remained still and statuesque, a chance bystander of the occurrences before him.
“Anything,” Barty simpered, overcome with the delirium of freedom. “Tell me what to do, my lord, and I will do it.” He thought he saw the tiny form of Voldemort smirk slightly, though the grimace seemed to cause him great effort.
“Tell me, Crouch,” said the feeble creature, “what you know of the Triwizard Tournament.”
The night was cool, remarkably cool for late August, and Barty was almost sorry he didn’t have an excuse to stay out in it longer than he did. But what the Dark Lord had told him to do was far more important than the weather, and he needed all his wits about him to accomplish it; they had become far too dull in the time he’d spent under his father’s watch.
The front door to Alastor Moody’s house was locked with almost childish simplicity. Barty had to laugh, knowing the Auror’s reputation for paranoia, and wondered how on earth he could have installed a lock that was so easily tampered with by dark magic. It swung inward on its hinges noiselessly, and Barty stepped cautiously onto the threshold, awaiting an alarm or some notification of an intruder’s presence. None came – the powerful precautionary enchantments the Dark Lord had placed upon him held well against Mad-Eye’s own magic.
Once inside, his bedroom was not difficult to find, upstairs and to the left on the landing. The old man was sleeping stiffly, and from beneath a slightly bulging eyelid Barty could see that Mad-Eye infamous electric blue eye was darting about madly. He gave an involuntary grimace of disgust right as the eye seemed to stop on him. The man’s eyes flew open.
Wordlessly, before Moody could sit up in bed, Barty pointed his newly-fashioned wand at him; thick black ropes sprang from its tip and bound him hand and foot, a final rope snaking across his mouth and rendering him mute. Both of his eyes conveyed simultaneous fear and hatred, and even shame at letting himself be caught unawares. It was the shame that fueled Barty most of all.
“You’ve let your guard down, Moody,” Barty laughed sourly, intoxicated with a sudden surge of power. He reached over and grabbed a handful of the coarse, grizzled gray hair on Moody’s head and yanked; the man’s eyes widened again, this time in pain. Barty examined it, smirking, and pocketed the hair in his robes. It would be needed later.
“Care to take a little trip?” Barty laughed roughly again, anxious to get back to his master. He jerked Moody’s elbow and, pocketing his wand now, turned on the spot. The Auror and the Death Eater vanished.
“I still don’t quite understand how you failed to recognize his deception,” said the Grey Lady delicately, shaking her head. “Alastor Moody is a great Auror, so different from everything He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named-“
“You must call him by his proper name, my dear spirit. He has never had any power over you.”
She paused, as though remembering something, and began again. “Different from everything – Voldemort – stood for. How could somebody not notice that Barty was…?” She trailed off, at a loss for how to end the query.
“Barty Crouch is also a great wizard,” Professor Flitwick pointed out, pausing to adjust the hem of his robes, which had become caught in a twisted piece of a fallen torch bracket. The ghost nodded and turning to gaze out a nearby window. People were still milling over the grounds, continually trying to repair the perils that had befallen the castle in the recent battle.
“But to think of all the harm he could have caused if we hadn’t stopped him in time…” she whispered, more to herself than to her companion. “Surely, Filius, there was nothing brave or courageous or true in that.”
“But you are missing the very point, Helena. He could have killed Harry Potter, but the lessons he taught him under a false name might very well have saved the boy’s life…”
Barty leaned forward in his chair, watching the sixth years file out of his classroom, all much more subdued than normal. The reaction had been the same each day that week after the lesson, but they needed to know. The Unforgivable Curses, well – those were spells they’d probably need to have extensive knowledge of in the years to come, if his side had anything to say about it. Although this lot had taken it rather better than that fourth year Longbottom. Barty hadn’t made the connection that this was Frank and Alice’s son until the boy had nearly had a fit in class. Still, it was something he needed to know – something he needed to be aware of.
The Foe Glass to Barty’s left shimmered slightly, as though it had caught the light from a nonexistent candle, and his eyes swiveled to it – he still wasn’t used to Moody’s magical eye, it felt all wrong. It was like it knew the person currently wearing it was not its true owner, and wouldn’t work right for him. He scanned the vague and misty shapes in the glass, but all appeared to be relatively normal.
Things had been progressing as smoothly as could have been hoped – it had been tricky, getting Potter’s name into the cup, with all the watchful eyes, but people trusted Alastor Moody. They knew he was a great Auror. And as long as Barty was able to maintain his disguise, there was no reason why his plan should fail.
He winced, stretching out his wooden leg and trying to massage some feeling back into the stiff joint. How that old codger managed this day in and day out, he’d never know. Bloody uncomfortable – although granted, it was nothing compared to having to hide under an invisibility cloak day in and day out.
But he’d been on that stupid leg all day, walking back and forth between the students, putting the Imperius Curse on them time and again, watching them fight it… And slowly, slowly, he was gaining their trust. The plan was, for now, working.
His mind drifted, not unsurprisingly, back to the Potter boy. He’d fought it well – very well, especially for a fourteen-year-old wizard. Something about that unnerved Barty as nothing else yet had this year. He allowed himself to think for the briefest of moments if perhaps, just perhaps, the Dark Lord might have underestimated him…
But that was impossible. He was a child, a mere child. And no child was going to be able to stop the return of the most powerful wizard who had ever lived.
He was pacing again, up and down the floors of the darkened office, the night having long since fallen, but lighting a candle was the furthest thing from Barty’s mind. He dropped into the chair and almost unconsciously reached for his hip flask, taking a long draw, not even shuddering at the Polyjuice Potion’s vile consistency anymore.
He had less than two months – less than two months, and the Dark Lord would return and he, Barty, would be rewarded for all he had done.
Things had become more and more tense as the year and the tournament had gone on, and it had been increasingly difficult to keep Potter a front runner. None of the other champions were stupid, that much had become apparent right away, and it was only lucky that the boy had brains as well. But even with those brains, Barty had almost had to lead him along, from giving broad hints about his skills on a broom to priming that house elf with clues about the gillyweed. It was all so carefully laid out, painstakingly formulated, and nothing could go wrong. He was in too deep for that.
There was a sudden roar of green flames in the previously vacant fireplace, and Barty jumped, whirling about and nearly staggering over on his bad leg. The head of Peter Pettigrew was sitting in the fire, looking extremely agitated about something; it kept biting its lip and blinking its watery eyes. Barty shuffled over.
“Your father -” Wormtail squeaked, evidently being prompted by someone unseen. “Planning to confess – must stop him – headed to the Forbidden Forest – go quickly.” His eyes looked at something on his end of the fireplace, and he gave a small whimper before his head vanished with a pop. It had all happened so suddenly that Barty had barely had time to process the information. And slowly, painstakingly, his mind ground into gear.
Somehow his father had escaped the bonds that the Dark Lord had placed on him, and was planning to confess. Confess what, Barty was not explicitly sure, but he was sure it would do him no favors. He swore loudly, his heart beginning to beat erratically somewhere inside his rib cage, and he limped over to the desk as fast as Moody’s false leg would allow him. He rummaged in it, upsetting an ink bottle in his haste, and removed the parchment he was looking for.
What exactly this map was, where it came from, he had no idea. Fortune had smiled upon him when he’d managed to confiscate it – or, rather, find it, if technicalities were to be included in the consideration – and that was all that matter to him. His eyes roved over it, searching for the dot he hoped he wouldn’t see…
But there it was. A small ink blot on the outskirts of the crudely drawn castle, clearly labeled Bartemius Crouch.
Time was precious, and he needed every second if he was going to beat Dumbledore down to the grounds – nothing ever escaped that mad old man for long. It was fortunate that the corridors of the castle were as deserted as they were, and Barty met no one in his laborious walk through the castle, out the doors, and down the sloping grounds, his wand still dark and at his side, the parchment crumpled slightly inside a concealed pocket of his cloak.
A moving, shadowed figure was pelting up in the direction Barty had just come from, and he stepped quickly into deeper shadow so as not to be seen himself. He watched with incredulity as Potter himself sped past, a look of mingled panic and fear on his face, and Barty knew he’d found his father. His heart gave a nasty lurch. He had to hurry. Checking to make sure the coast was clear, he stumped off toward the trees Potter had emerged from, still staying close to the deepest of the nighttime shadows.
There were two figures at the edge of the forest – one more than he’d anticipated. They were both low to the ground, one appearing a bit more steady than the other. He could guess which one was his father. Barty inched forward, hands closed tightly around the wand at his hip, and soon the strains of the voice of Viktor Krum could be made out through the darkness.
“Erm… Mr. Crouch… ve’ll get you help… Harry vill be back soon…” He sounded a bit tense, and at a complete loss as to what to say. As Barty inched forward, making as little noise as possible in the grass, he could see his father’s face for the first time in months. A wave of resentment coursed through him, and he had to remind himself to stay his temper. Not yet.
He lifted his wand and pointed it wordlessly at the boy; Krum never saw it coming. In a flash of red light, he toppled over and fell into the grass, completely knocked out. He checked briefly to make sure the Stunning Spell had worked before he crossed to his father, who was speaking in a garbled voice to the nearest tree. Barty’s upper lip curled in disgust.
“Hello, Father,” he whispered, raising his wand. There was a flash of green light – not another word was spoken, no words were needed - and Bartemius Crouch was dead at the hands of his own son.
Written by TenthWeasleyWriter and beta'd by aiedailweasley
“Alastor, I want your word that you will make sure nothing goes wrong in this final task.” Albus Dumbledore’s back, ramrod straight and yet slightly bowed under the stresses the year had brought him, was all Barty could see from where he stood, encased in shadow. His lip curled without him realizing it, and he cleared his throat.
“With all due respect, Albus,” he growled in Moody’s voice, a voice he was still largely unused to. “But I have worked tirelessly throughout the rest of this year –“
“You have,” Dumbledore nodded modestly, glancing over his shoulder at his companion before returning to gaze out of the window. “But I must impress on you the serious dangers Harry Potter now faces. Or have you forgotten what was found only to quickly disappear? At the edge of the forest?”
Barty gave another cough to hide the exclamation of disgust he had accidentally let slip. If only the headmaster knew just how intimately he knew what the fate of the Potter boy was… And to have the old fool trusting him, playing willingly into his hands!
“Sir, I’ll place the cup in the maze tomorrow night,” Barty said firmly, trying to convey with each word that he was a man to be trusted. Dumbledore glanced again at him over his shoulder, this time with a considerable amount of interest. “I’m the best for the job,” he went on hastily, “there are protection spells – spells the other professors can’t possible –“
“Alastor, you have read my mind,” the old man said, beaming as though he had just heard a rather funny anecdote. “I was going to ask you to do that very thing.”
Barty realized his mouth was still hanging open, and quickly snapped it shut, trying not to grin. It was too easy!
Just he was about to open his mouth again, however, the door to the headmaster’s study swung open, and Severus Snape stood there, his mouth already poised to speak whatever he had come to say. Upon seeing Barty crouched in the corner, however, his mouth snapped shut, quickly turning into a frown of confusion and consternation.
“I’d like a moment, sir,” the potions master said stiffly, his cold and dark eyes never leaving Barty’s face. Barty stared back just as insolently through Moody’s large electric-blue eye, examining the man with distaste. Why this man was allowed to walk about the castle, flaunting his seeming security in his current position, was beyond Barty. He had been allowed to walk free, a Death Eater supposedly reformed, and it was not the way things should have happened. There was no justice, he thought bitterly, and came to find that he was grinding his teeth against his angry thoughts.
“Of course,” Albus said genially. “If you’ll excuse us, Barty.” With a polite nod in his direction, Dumbledore swept off down the spiral staircase outside his study. After a lingering, calculating look, Snape followed him, and the door swung shut. Barty was alone in the headmaster’s study.
It was almost too easy, after months of planning, to have it all come to such a lucky stroke as this. Barty glanced at the door to make sure no unwanted intruders would disturb him and then quickly stumped over to Dumbledore’s desk, cursing Moody’s wooden leg not for the first time. With effort, he edged around it to stand in front of a small golden shelf a few feet behind.
The Triwizard Cup was glowing softly, despite the fact that this section of the office was poorly lit. It seemed to be waiting for him, waiting for Barty to take it down and do to it was he had been commanded so carefully to do, all those months ago. He reached for it now almost reverently, handling it with the greatest care and trying very hard not to leave any incriminating fingerprints on the cup.
It would work.
The very heart of the maze was easy to find, Barty thought – perhaps too easy – but then again, the obstacles had not been put into place yet. Fighting off gargantuan Blast-Ended Skrewts and potentially murderous sphinxes would probably complicate things a bit.
He cast a quick glance around, as though to ascertain he hadn’t been followed – although who might have been following him into the Triwizard Maze into the first place was beyond him – and subtly drew his wand from an inside pocket of his robes. He tapped it once against the cup on its plinth, which was still glowing slightly.
It glowed bright blue for the briefest of moments, and then returned to its normal appearance, looking exactly as it should have. Barty grinned and replaced Moody’s wand, looked about him once more, and quickly made for the maze exit.
The red stars that had been affixed to the backs of those patrolling the maze gleamed oddly, and Barty tugged at his collar for what felt like the hundredth time that night, convinced his robes were growing tighter and tighter with every circuit he made. His hand was slippery from gripping his wand, but he didn’t dare let up – letting his guard down even for a moment might lose him the most crucial opportunity. Harry Potter needed to be the one to find that cup.
A rustling to his right halted him, and, freezing, Barty turned so that Moody’s magical eye could peek between the leaves of the maze’s hedges. The flash of long blonde hair caught his eye, and he acted before he could think to do anything else.
Before he could blink, a jet of red light shot from the end of his wand, hitting Fleur Delacour squarely in the back. She let out the tiniest gasps of surprise and instantly pitched forward, her own wand rolling out of her hand across the grass. Barty smiled grimly; one down, and two more to go.
Rubeus Hagrid, the gamekeeper, came looming around the corner at that moment, his massive frame silhouetted darkly against the comparable brightness of the star-speckled sky. He raised a large hand in greeting. “Evenin’, Professor,” he rumbled. Barty nodded back.
“Yeh know –“ Hagrid started, but whatever he had been about to say was cut off by a loud pop in the sky above them. Both men lifted their heads as a small flurry of red sparks lit up the night sky. Without hesitating further, Hagrid crashed through the hedge maze in the direction the sparks had come from, and Barty winced.
But there was no time to wonder if Hagrid had suspected anything, for, as Moody’s electric-blue eye whizzed over the maze again, it focused suddenly on the Durmstrang champion, Viktor Krum. He was too close to be ignored, and Barty had already promised himself that he would let no opportunity slip by him. With another jab of his wand, he sent a second spell into the foliage, a warm and tingling sensation making its way down his arm.
He didn’t speak aloud, but knew that Krum would know what he wanted. Find Diggory, the voice inside his head spoke. Find Diggory. He watched as Krum, his eyes glazed, immediately marched off to do so, and another grim smirk twisted his face. His plan was moving along well now, and he had to ensure that it remained so.
Barty turned on his heel and began moving quickly back toward the only clear area left of the pitch, in front of the stands, where the school’s headmasters were clustered. Fleur Delacour stood, wan and pale, beside Madame Maxime, the headmistress from Beauxbatons, who looked beyond furious.
“And eef ze champions are not going to play by ze rules - !” she was bellowing, shaking a fist at a calm-looking Albus Dumbledore. But she was cut off as a second round of sparks suddenly burst out over the maze, and Barty stopped in his tracks, whirling around to see it and rapidly searching his mind for where it might have come from.
The only explanation was that Harry Potter had interfered – and if he had interfered, then something had gone off course.
Hagrid had blundered off in the direction of the second set of sparks, and now the murmurs from the watching crowd had grown to a rather audibly concerned level. Dumbledore crossed over to Barty, who was now leaning heavily on Moody’s staff, eyes fixed on the sky.
“Alastor,” he said in a low undertone.
“There’s nothing going on beyond normal competition,” Barty growled back, praying that he would be able to convince the headmaster he was telling the truth. Dumbledore nodded, turning his eyes to the stars as well.
“Let us hope you are right,” he said gravely, and moved off once again to calm the still-irate Madame Maxime. As soon as he was standing alone, Moody’s eye whirred over the maze, searching for Potter. If he was still in there… If things were not lost yet…
Two boys – one tall with brown hair, and one shorter with black hair – caught his attention, standing by the cup’s plinth, and he unconsciously gripped the staff tighter in Moody’s gnarled hands. They were working together? He watched, frowning, as Potter argued something with Diggory. Diggory nodded.
At the same time, they grabbed the handles of the cup, and vanished.
Flitwick gave a great sniff, dabbing at his eyes with a handkerchief he had removed from the pocket of his robes. “Cedric Diggory was such a bright boy,” he lamented, and blew his nose rather loudly. “That he had to die as he did… Too soon, too soon.” He blew his nose again, and the Grey Lady wrinkled her ghostly nose only slightly, but did not comment.
“There is your proof, Filius,” she said haughtily, floating over to a banister and hovering beside, looking down at the restoration happening on the landing below. Flitwick tottered over, his eyes still bright. “That a man could send a seventeen-year-old boy to his death without batting an eye –“
“Helena, Helena,” Flitwick said, shaking his head. He did not seem to be able to grasp the concept of speaking for a moment. “I do not mean to insult your great intelligence, but after all of this, have you heard none of it?”
The Grey Lady sniffed, obviously insulted anyway. “I have listened,” she said coldly, “but my mind remains firmly unconvinced. There is not good in everyone, Filius.”
“Ah,” said Flitwick now, replacing the handkerchief at last, “but we have not yet reached the end of our tale. Or do you not recall what happened after Cedric and Harry were taken to Lord Voldemort?”
Written by StEph_M (Sony on the forums) and beta'd by PrincessPadfoot.
Barty Crouch was waiting impatiently with the rest of the teachers, he was starting to get nervous. Not that he showed it, but with all the teachers standing around wondering what was taking the last two competitors so long, had him fretting about what might have happened.
Barty wanted to know how it had gone in the Graveyard, whether his Dark Lord had gotten the boy and would be whole once more. He wasn’t sure if the Dark Lord was going to kill the boy, and if he did, what Barty would do when they questioned him.
He was coming up with a reasonable excuse when a flash of light illuminated what was once the Quidditch pitch. In it’s place were the two boys, one of them was dead.
It took a while for the rest of the teachers to notice that the reason Harry Potter was crying and huddled over Cedric was because the boy was cold and lifeless. In that time Barty had already started to edge closer to Harry, waiting for Dumbledore’s words to get him away from Cedric. He was planning to take Potter back to his office for questioning. If nothing more, Barty wanted to know if his Lord had succeeded.
As all the teachers crowded around the dead boy like vultures waiting for their chance to prey. The whole field had gone quiet; news was spreading fast over the stands about Cedric’s death. All that could be heard was sobbing and the call of his father as he made his way down the stand to where his boy lay. His cries where the loudest of all, as he cradled Cedric’s head. Barty waited patiently for Dumbledore’s word.
When they didn’t come he started to panic, Barty’s patience was
wearing thin and he wanted Harry alone so he could question him. Barty did the first thing that came to mind, after trying and failing to convince Dumbledore to let him take Harry, he moved at a quick pace to remove the lanky 14 year old from the scene and started dragging him towards the castle. If it was under normal circumstances and the teachers weren’t trying to calm down the distressed Mr. Diggory, people might have questioned the way Barty was treating Harry Potter. No one even bothered to look; they were all to fixated on what was still on the Quidditch pitch grass.
As Barty dragged Harry towards the school he made a point of questioning him about what had happened. He wanted to know if his Dark Lord had succeeded, but more to the point, if he had accepted the traitors that ran away when they thought him dead, back into his arms, without torturing them.
He let Harry ramble on about how Voldemort was back and killed Cedric. Barty didn’t really care about the trivial happens in the graveyard, he was more concerned with how Voldemort had succeeded and with his reward.
“Voldemort’s back Harry? How did he do it?” Barty Crouch asked Harry. He waited and listened as Harry explained what the Dark Lord had taken from Tom Riddle Senior, Wormtail and Harry himself. Barty had one last question that he wanted to know, he knew he would get a reward for his loyalty to the Dark Lord but he wanted to know how his Dark Lord had treated the betrayers.
”And the Death Eaters, how did he treat them? Did he forgive them?” Curiosity filling Barty’s voice. He didn’t get the answer to his question. Instead Harry started ranting on about how there was a Death Eater in the school, who was responsible for Harry’s involvement in the Triwizard Tournament. Barty already knew all this, and wondered if the boy had figured out it was him yet. He laughed when Harry accused Karkaroff of being the traitor. Karkaroff was a traitor, but to Barty he was a traitor to his master, not to Dumbledore. Karkaroff had scampered as soon as the dark marks had started burning. Barty was more then willing to sell him out to his Lord.
When Harry Potter didn’t believe Barty, he made the decision to announce to Harry that he had in fact been the one to betray Dumbledore and send Harry to the dark lord. It took a lot of convincing on Barty’s part to finally make Harry realise that he was the one who had done it. With Harry still in shock, Barty removed his wand and pointed it at the skinny boy repeating his question from earlier, only this time he was going to get his answer.
With each sentence, explaining why he wanted the answer to his simple question, Barty Crouch got angrier and angrier. He finally reached the point where he was telling Harry how if it weren’t for his helpful hint’s, poor Mr. Potter would have died in the first task.
He talked about all the things that he had done for Harry during the tasks to ensure his success, including jinxing Fleur and cursing Krum. Barty was proud of his accomplishments, bragging about never being caught by the infamous Albus Dumbledore.
Barty didn’t notice the figures in the fog glass behind him, he was too busy bragging to realise that they were becoming clearer and revealing the features of Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall and Professor Snape.
Barty raised his wand, poised to kill Harry Potter so that he could return to his dark Lord with the news that he had killed the Boy who lived. Before he could say anything, however, the door was blown to smithereens. Pieces of the heavy oak door flew everywhere, scattering to the far corners of the room. The echo of the spell ‘stupefy’ sounded around the room as Barty Crouch was thrown backwards onto the floor. He was shocked, he had thought they would have taken longer, but before he had the chance to act, Barty was plunged into darkness.
When Barty Crouch woke up, he was in a chair and unable to stand. Barty felt exactly the same as he had before; apart from maybe a looser lip he wasn’t harmed. This surprised him; in the presence of Order members, Barty thought he would have already been dead.
Dumbledore asked questions of him, and where he would usually have stayed silent words spilled out of his mouth. Barty was shocked at first, but soon he realised that it wasn’t willingly, he was giving up all his lords secrets, it was Veritaserum.
Dumbledore was able to get all the information he needed. How Barty and Wormtail had gotten Moody into his own magic chest and why they needed Harry in the first place. Dumbledore even managed to find out how he had gotten out of Azkaban and a confession towards killing is father.
Through it all a little house elf named Winky was whining in the corner, warning Barty not to speak ill of Barty Crouch Snr. She was a loyal house elf, but nothing she said could stop Barty from spilling all the family secrets. To Barty, Winky’s cries were bothersome, he wondered why no one had bothered to get rid of the house elf.
Dumbledore drew Barty’s attention back to the questioning with two final questions, he answered the first with the whereabouts of Barty Crouch Snr.’s body which had been configured into a giant bone.
The last question, wasn’t really a question, but was the most important thing
Professor Flitwick and the Grey Lady continued to walk around the school, Flitwick repairing things along the way.
“Filius, don’t you see? We had someone like Barty Crouch in our house, someone that would go to such great measures to send a 14 year old to Voldemort and then try to kill him in our own school.” The Grey exclaimed. She refused to look directly at Flitwick, proffering to watch the grounds as if recalling the events of that day.
“Yes, but Helena, he was just one man. Why are you so inclined to cast Ravenclaw in such a bad light after the actions of one man?” Filius asked, staring up at the floating Grey Lady, waiting from a response.
The Grey Lady didn’t talk at first; she just continued to float down the Hallway. Seeming to consider her answer carefully. “You have given me no reason not to believe the wizards and witches that have come from our house are not all like that man.” She finally answered.
“Helena, there are so many good people in our house. One’s that fought along side Harry at the final battle.” Flitwick sighed. “Never mind that now, there is still one last part to Barty’s story” Flitwick turned towards one of the archways, flicking his wand he waited as the stones slowly returned to their original formation.
A/N: The bits in bold are from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Paperback, Page 585
Written by pennyardelle.
Barty sat, bound, with nothing more than the bare stone walls to keep him company. He felt a sense of unmitigated euphoria, greater even than when he had managed to return to the Dark Lord’s service. He was back, stronger than ever, and it was all thanks to Barty.
The fact that Barty himself had been captured was of little consequence. Now that the Dark Lord had returned, Barty felt no fear—he remembered how heady the feeling of power was, and basked in it.
He could see a few stars through the narrow window across from him, small bits of light in the dark mass of the sky. Inexplicably, it reminded him of Aurora. Being in such close contact with her had been the most difficult part of the plot. Barty had been afraid at first that she would somehow know it was him behind Moody’s face; he had been both relieved and disappointed that she had not noticed anything awry in their brief contact with each other. He had been a stranger to her. He wondered where she was now—whether she knew that he was alive, and what he had achieved.
As time passed, he began to grow restless, the balloon of his triumph deflating slightly. Why had the Dark Lord not come for him yet? Had something gone wrong? Perhaps it had been a mistake for them to have place their trust in Wormtail, traitor that he was.
The thought that the plan might have failed in the end, and that Barty would have to face the consequences...contemplating it made his skin crawl. He could not, would not, go back to Azkaban again. He could still recall the time he had spent there vividly, brief though it had been: the feelings of misery that had gripped him like a vise, the constant replaying of all his worst moments, the lack of any respite, even in the form of sleep.
His mind was steeped so heavily in the recollection that he found he could not tear himself away; concerns about Aurora or the Dark Lord were miles away, leaving him alone with dread for the future.
It was only when he noticed that he could see his breath in the air in front of him that he realized it was no mere memory—it was real.
He tried desperately to escape, willing the magical bonds placed on him to break; he tried to get to his feet, but the heels of his boots slid against the stone floor fruitlessly. His heart was shrieking in his chest, its own chance of escape as impossible as his own.
When the door opened, the Minister for Magic stood without, flanked by two hooded figures. Barty was blinded by terror, and in his last few moments, he felt as though he were nineteen again, standing in a courtroom. This time, his screams were silenced forever.
Filus had never expected to see Barty again, nor had he. The night when his deceit had been revealed, Hogwarts had been in such turmoil that the news did not come to Filius until the next day. He had retired to his chambers that night with a heavy heart, thinking of poor Cedric Diggory and his parents, completely unaware that Barty was within the castle’s walls.
“When I think how someone could have done such a thing...” Helena said, trailing off mournfully.
Filius had to admit that the same bewilderment occurred to him when he reflected on Barty’s saga. When he had heard of Barty’s conviction, he had been filled with grim regret; when he had heard of his death in Azkaban, he felt it had been a small kind of mercy; when he heard that Barty had neither been dead nor imprisoned, he had been stunned. The secrecy, the complexity...how Barty’s father had hidden his son for so long, and how Barty himself had masqueraded as Alastor Moody for the better part of a year, were hardly possible to comprehend.
Filius smiled sadly. “Few could have managed it, Helena, it’s true. But, as we have discussed, he was one of the more intelligent pupils to pass through this school. He was a Ravenclaw, through and through.”
“Ravenclaws do not use their intelligence for the sorts of things that he did,” she replied stiffly.
Filius sighed. “I’m sure Barty was neither the first nor the last Ravenclaw who did wrong in this world—who hurt others through his or her actions. And perhaps, in the end, he regretted it after all.”
He was tired of debating the matter, and it seemed that Helena would never be convinced. After a few moments, he looked up at her, and was surprised to see a thoughtful look on her face.
“Perhaps,” Helena said, and Filius had a feeling that she was not only thinking of Barty Crouch. There might be a chance of changing her mind yet.
Written by pink_rook and beta-ed by TenthWeasleyWriter.
“A single mistake is not enough to erase all the good that has been done, my lady. Just like a single drop of ink is not enough to stain a whole piece of parchment.” Flitwick looked at the Grey Lady expectantly, hoping to find a trace of understanding on her ghostly face, but she remained silent and unreadable. He wished he could change her mind about her life, about the circumstances of her death, but if a thousand years later she was still mourning the same bad choice, the same mistake she had made out of a mixture of youngness and ingenuity, he doubted there was anything that could make her forgive herself. In the many years he’d spent on the quest, he had come to the conclusion that ghosts were blocked and immutable in more ways than one.
He kept on walking at her side, giving her the time to ponder what he had said. The lonely hallway echoed with his small steps, trying to avoid all the debris and the destruction covering the floor. Hogwarts castle carried the signs of the battle that had occurred within and outside its walls almost proudly. There were still places that had not yet stopped burning from all the spells fired during the fighting, while the walls almost radiated with all the magic they had absorbed in the past hours. Slowly, some suits of armor started to stand up from the floor, picking up all the pieces they had left of themselves, and tried to return to their original position; painted figures began to emerge from their hiding spots, and some of them found a new home when their original painting was destroyed during the great night of Hogwarts.
Poignant minutes of silence passed before Helena Ravenclaw spoke again. “So, you think our House has still something good to offer?”
“The noble and ancient House of Ravenclaw is much bigger than a single person. If we failed with Barty – even though I am sure nothing could be done with him - it doesn’t mean we failed with everyone else. Look at what we have done with all the other Ravenclaw students: We taught them kindness and justice, and here they were tonight, fighting for what they believe in.”
Anthony was awakened by a strong noise coming from the common room. In a moment, he had his wand out and ready to cast a defensive spell. The first thought that crossed his mind was that the Carrows were coming to get him, as the last remaining Ravenclaw Prefect. All the others had not come back for the school year because of their Muggleborn descent, and Luna, who got the badge in the absence of any other eligible candidate, was taken before Christmas.
Slowly and silently, he made his way down the stairs to the common room with his shoulders always to the wall, moving through the shadows. A few heads appeared from the doors of the dormitories; he made signs to Terry Boot and some others to keep quiet and come down the stairs behind him, wands raised.
He heard the Carrows’ voices; maybe they were coming to get him, after all. He held his wand tighter and took a look at his left hand, where some scars formed the sentence ‘Muggles are inferiors’ on his knuckles. As he was about to get to the common room there was another male voice he barely recognized – could it be? No, rumor had it he was very far from Hogwarts… The voice was followed by some spells being fired, and then nothing. He and Terry descended the last few steps and entered the common room.
“Harry! Luna!” Harry was at Hogwarts, and Luna was with him, alive! At their feet were Alecto and Amycus Carrow, senseless and guarded by a fiery Professor McGonagall.
“Anthony!” Luna stormed towards him. “I can’t believe you’re fine! I thought… All these months, I thought they had gotten you too!” She hugged him tightly. “I prayed to the Crumple-Horned Snorkacks to watch for you and they did! I’m so glad!”
Harry was busy talking with Professor McGonagall and quickly scurried away. Something was going on; he felt it in his bones at that very moment. Before the professor had the chance to speak, he said, “I’m staying to fight.”
“He’s been one of the bravest students today, hasn’t he Filius?” The Grey Lady smiled proudly.
“I saw him in the Great Hall before while Madam Pomfrey gave him a spoon of Skele-Grow. He has got a broken arm and a broken foot, but I am amazed at his strength. Never left his best friend’s side for a minute, they told me. He and Terry Boot were defending the castle doors, took down three mountain trolls all by themselves.” Professor Flitwick seemed to grow a couple inches out of pride and joy.
Little stones were raining from the ceiling, and dust made it difficult to see. Terry Boot and Anthony Goldstein were in the Entrance Hall, incessantly firing spells towards the castle doors, which were crumbling down due to the force of the assailants. Voldemort had giants and trolls among his army of monsters, and some of them were pushing their way into the castle, doing with brutal strength what no spell had been capable of achieving.
“Are you scared, Anthony?” Terry shouted, to overcome the noise.
“Scared as hell, my friend,” Anthony shouted back.
“Good. I am too, but I have your back.”
A huge hand broke through the centuries-old wood, soon followed by three others. The door started to slowly falling down, and no spell could stop it, no matter how bad they all tried. Neville Longbottom cried an order over the crowd. “Back down! Let the doors fall and we’ll be ready to welcome them! Fight for Hogwarts!”
The doors fell, dragging with them a huge chunk of wall. When they hit the floor, the Entrance Hall was shrouded in dust. Then the jolts of green light started coming from behind the figures of three huge mountain trolls.
Hogwarts defendants tried to fight back, but no spell could knock down their thick skin. With their huge bodies, the trolls protected the Death Eaters coming behind them, deflecting all the curses cast by the defendants. They were making them step back towards the staircase, but they couldn’t afford to make them have the entrance to the castle - otherwise they would spread through all the castle, and the school would surely fall.
“Stupefy them!” Kingsley Shacklebolt roared above the noise.
“Kill them! They must not pass!” Professor Lupin’s voice overcame his. He was with a woman with blue-purple hair, holding hands and never leaving a second between one curse and another. His eyes were on fire.
The three trolls were gaining ground, when Terry shouted, “ ‘tony, remember what Harry said about trolls?”
Two trolls were hit by their own bats, and fell on the third.
“It was brilliant!” Professor Flitwick was delighted. “I taught them that spell! It’s in days like this that I realize I made a difference in this world.”
“Ravenclaws have always been extremely resourceful,” the Grey Lady agreed. “Do you know what happened to the Chang girl, Filius? I saw her before, lying in the grounds, motionless. Is she…?”
Penelope Clearwater moved through the bodies lying on the ground, pretending not to see the dead. She was looking for living people, people she could help, but she needed to be quick. He had said they only had one hour, one hour to collect their dead and to give him Harry Potter.
She had come to Hogwarts immediately when she got her friend Percy’s owl. The letter was only a few words long, scribbled in a hurry. ‘There’s going to be a battle tonight at Hogwarts. We’ll need a nurse.’ And to be a nurse she had come. She had helped the scared children at the Hog’s Head and then she had come to the castle, right before the passage closed, ready to do her job.
She was not able to fight; she didn’t have enough courage and bravery for that, but she was a nurse.
“Penelope, come help me!” Ginny Weasley called her a few yards away. She was trying to move the body of a man dressed in black, a Death Eater. She recognized him. His name was Augustus Rookwood and worked at the Ministry; he had come to her once at St Mungo’s for some poisonous fungus. Now it didn’t matter anymore; he was dead, and not on the good side.
Under him, there was another body. A girl. Cho Chang was a Ravenclaw too, two years younger than her, and now she was dead too. “Ginny, she’s dead. We should look for wounded people first, we don’t have much time.”
“She’s not dead. I heard her crying.”
Penelope got down on her knees and felt the girl’s pulse. For a few seconds, she felt nothing, but then the vein started pulsing feebly. Cho was alive, even if barely so.
She ordered Ginny to press her hand on the wound Cho had on her side, which was still bleeding profusely. Back at the castle, maybe she would be able to make it stop, and save her life.
Cho had evidently put up a fight against that man, or maybe she had taken down others before being almost killed in the battle herself. Surely she hadn’t gone down easily; she had a swollen eye and a few small cuts on her neck. From what Penelope could gather, from the tears in her shirt and trousers, she also had quite a few bruises spread in various places on her body. She could tell she had been very brave.
As soon as Ginny blocked the blood flowing, Cho regained a bit of strength and opened her eyes. She was crying.
“She made it, Helena. Miss Clearwater saved her life.”
The Grey Lady nodded in relief.
As the circled the corner, they saw a Ravenclaw student they both knew very well in the company of another Ravenclaw ghost. They were both sitting on the floor, looking intently at a flower on the ground.
“Miss Lovegood, what brings you here?” Flitwick asked. “Shouldn’t you be in the Great Hall with everyone else?”
“I had to do something important first, Professor,” she answered, lifting herself from the floor.
“And what is so important, Miss Lovegood?” the Grey Lady interjected. “And you, Myrtle, what are you doing in this corridor?”
“We are paying our respects, my lady. Before everyone forgot where Roger Davies died.” Luna looked down,and so did Myrtle. A beautiful blue iris glowed on the floor of the corridor.
Silence fell among the four of them for a few minutes. Ravenclaw had paid their loyalties to justice and knowledge with life.
Professor Flitwick was the first to break the quiet. “He was a very smart and promising young man. He will not be forgotten.”
“Not in Ravenclaw,” the Grey Lady added.
“Not in Ravenclaw,” agreed Myrtle in her strident voice.
“Sit tibi terra levis. May the ground be light on you, Roger. You were very handsome and liked Quidditch. You were a good person, and did not die in vain.”
Professor Flitwick and the Grey Lady resumed walking in silence, side by side.
Written by Alopex and beta'd by pennyardelle.
Flitwick and the Grey Lady paused to survey the damage at a particularly smashed staircase. There was nothing left but rubble and a hole in the floor, and no one could go up or down. In the distance, Flitwick could see a staircase shudder into place with a groan of protest, not at all like the smooth and seamless way they were supposed to glide. He wondered if any of the staircases in the castle were safe any longer. Certainly, the ones on the lower levels had sustained heavy damage, and they all would have to be checked. A great deal of repair would be needed, that was certain.
He sighed. “There are times like these when I am so grateful for magic.”
The Grey Lady laughed bitterly. “Grateful? For all the destruction wrought here? ”
“No,” Flitwick responded softly, “I am grateful for how much more quickly we’ll be able to clean up and repair than Muggles would.”
He pointed his wand at a slab of stone that had crumbled from the staircase when it had been ripped away. Wingardium Leviosa – the first charm he taught his first-year students, the one that had been wielded so effectively by Anthony Goldstein and Terry Boot during the battle. He cast the spell now, gently wafting the slab over to himself. He stepped onto it and made it carry him into the gap where the staircase had been, then up to the next level. Beside him, the Grey Lady floated up too.
At the top of the chasm, he stepped off the stone slab and allowed it to settle neatly against the wall so that no one would have to clamber over it.
“Maybe so,” Helena said, long after he thought she wouldn’t answer. “Despite the bravery of our House tonight, I think sometimes that the world would be a better place if there was no such thing as magic. If not for magic, none of this would have come to pass.”
“Perhaps not,” Flitwick agreed. “Yet Muggles are more than capable of wreaking terrible destruction without any magic at all. You have not seen much of the outside world, but even in your time, Muggles were capable of great destruction, just as wizards were. If not for magic, this would have played out differently, but I don't believe nothing would have come to pass. Even without magic, there was something not right about Tom Riddle. Perhaps there was a time when his path could have been changed. I don’t know.”
“Like Barty,” the Grey Lady said. “Then it’s all his fault. Voldemort wouldn’t have returned if not for him.”
“I suspect he’d have found a way.”
“But don’t you see?” Helena burst out. “We’re the ones who allowed this, who helped him! We are! Ravenclaw house! If Barty had been good, if I had never . . .” she trailed off, her cheeks becoming a slightly more opaque grey.
Ah, and that’s the crux of the matter, Flitwick thought. He had heard Potter had gone looking for something of Ravenclaw’s in the castle tonight, and he had suspected it must be the diadem. Why else would Potter go looking for the diadem, if not for the fact that Voldemort wanted it, or even had acquired it at one point? How could a relic that had been lost for centuries fall into the hands of one such as Voldemort? The answer, he suspected, drifted along beside him.
He paused to consider his words before speaking.
“With or without your mother’s diadem—” he began. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw her start angrily. Ah, so it had been the diadem! He held up his hand—whether to stop her from speaking or to keep her from fleeing, he wasn’t sure.
“With or without your mother’s diadem, if Voldemort was determined to to return, he’d have found a way. With or without Barty Crouch, he’d have found a way. These were just tools to him, as were so many other things. You were just a tool to him. Place the blame where it belongs.”
They drifted along in silence for a while. Flitwick paused now and then to charm some larger pieces of rubble out of the way or to clear away broken glass, making note as he did so of the particularly damaged areas. Fortunately, the damage seemed to abate as they made their way to the higher levels where Ravenclaw Tower was located. The Death Eaters had not penetrated so deeply into the castle, for the most part, so the majority of the damage was confined to the outer walls, which had been breached only by giants and acromantulas.
He marveled a little that he could feel relief at damage from “only” giants and acromantulas.
“Not all Ravenclaws are good,” she said, and once again, he knew she wasn’t talking only about Barty Crouch.
“No,” he agreed. “Not all Ravenclaws are good, but they—we—are all human. None of us is all good or all bad. It doesn’t matter which House we are in, or even whether we have magic or not. In each of us there is a capacity for evil, a divide in our souls. Most of us stay on the good side, or at least don’t succumb to the bad side. How we react to difficult things, that’s what shapes our paths in life. The important thing is whether we get lost in that divide, allowing it to corrupt our lives, or whether we climb back out again.”
Flitwick could see she was considering that.
“People like Voldemort, or like Barty, got lost in the divide, and they refused to climb back out of it. Like you, I wish more Ravenclaws had stayed to fight. And yet, they are school children. We shouldn’t forget that.” He sighed heavily. “I can’t really blame teenagers, even those who are of age, for not remaining behind to fight. Fighting, standing up to evil, and facing death . . . that is no easy thing, even for adults. Many lesser things are quite difficult. Even so, we had several students remain behind, as we saw just a few minutes ago, and of those brave souls, I am immensely proud. You have reason to be proud too.”
“Those we passed below . . . you would say their souls are not corrupted?”
“And what of those who were of age but left? Or what of those who have made mistakes in the past?”
“I would say that for each one like Barty, or for every time one of us makes a mistake, there is one who chooses a different path, a better path. It is never too late to choose a better path.”
A/N: Well, this is it. I am very proud to say that, at last, The Divide That Corrupts Us is finished! I want to thank each and every person who has contributed to this story. We've had writers, beta-readers, graphic-makers, reviewers, and others who have supported this endeavor. It's been a fun experience.