After spending so much time in the bright sunlight, it took awhile for my eyes to adjust to the dark room I woke up in. A dull ache returned to my left shoulder and head. ‘Welcome back to reality,’ I thought sarcastically. That’s when I noticed something peculiar about the smell of the room that made me feel uneasy. I squinted trying to make out where I was. No. Please no. I felt my stomach clench when I realized I was in the Hospital Wing at Hogwarts. Snape. Where was Snape? Had they found out about the link? Was Snape being held by Dumbledore or even the Ministry at this very minute?
I couldn’t wait here, I needed some answers. I sat up quickly, too quickly, and my head started to spin. I reached up and was surprised to find a bandage above my eye. I gently pressed on it, feeling a bit of pain. I wasn’t sure how I’d gotten hurt but that wasn’t the pressing issue at the moment. I removed the light blanket covering me and saw I was still in my own clothes, no shoes though. I slid off the hospital bed and nearly fell over. My right ankle throbbed horribly when I put weight on it.
“Bloody hell,” I whispered as I attempted to test it out carefully. It wasn’t broken, I could tell that much but wow, did it hurt. A sudden noise scared me and I turned around hastily, forgetting about my tender ankle. After muttering a few selective curse words and shifting my weight over to my left side, I peered through the darkness in the direction the noise had come from. Potter. Sleeping Potter, damn him for scaring the hell out of me.
Relying heavily on my left foot, I searched around the bed I’d been in. After finding my shoes I scanned around the rest of the Hospital Wing. I could make out what resembled a person a few beds down, near the end of the room. Hobbling over there with my shoes in hand, I eventually saw that it was Moody. Something was different about him. He looked…older I suppose. Or like he’d been ill which didn’t make sense because he’d been perfectly fine hours before.
As curious as I was about Moody, something else caught my eye. Another bed, well I assumed there would be a bed, was hidden behind a curtain. Cautiously I approached, checking around the room to make sure Madam Pomfrey or someone else didn’t sneak up on me.
On the other side of the curtain there was in fact a bed. One with a white sheet draped over a figure. A part of me wanted to back away but I couldn’t. I needed to know who was under that sheet. Slowly I walked up and pulled the sheet down.
Hadn’t I said I would do whatever it took to save them all? I’d already failed. Cedric Diggory shouldn’t have died. He didn’t deserve to die, he didn’t sign up to fight Death Eaters. He only wanted to compete in a school tournament and have a chance to bring some glory to the overlooked Hufflepuff house. How many more innocent people were going to die?
The sound of chimes startled me, breaking the trance I’d been in. I still needed to find out about Snape. I placed the sheet back over Cedric and headed for the door. Thinking I should use a Disillusionment Charm, I flicked my wrist to get my wand, er, at least I tried to. Nothing happened. I still had my wand holster on but no wand. I went back to the bed I’d been in and looked around. Nothing. Where the heck was my wand?
Someone must have taken it or I lost it somehow. More likely that someone disarmed me while I was unconscious. First find out about Snape and then I worry about arming myself.
I felt very exposed walking down the corridors. Every creek and swoosh worried me that I was about to run into someone. And this was only the second corridor from the Hospital Wing, I was going to be a nervous wreck by the time I made it to the kitchens to find Dobby and ask him what was going on.
A sudden pop as I reached a staircase nearly gave me a heart attack. I whipped around (painfully due to my still hurting ankle, though it was getting better) and found Dobby, just the elf I’d been looking for.
“Dobby is waiting for miss,” he said quietly.
“Dobby what happened? Where’s Snape?”
“Sir is asking Dobby to watch miss while sir is away.”
“Away? Where did he go?” I asked nervously.
“Sir is not telling Dobby, but Dobby is thinking it has to do with…with He-who-must-not-be-named,” he said fearfully.
“The Dark Lord?” Hadn’t Snape told me he would go back and resume his role as Dumbledore’s spy? Was he doing that already? “Nobody found out about the spell? The link?”
“Sir is not letting them find out miss.” We were safe. Dumbledore never found out. Still that didn’t explain why I was in the Hospital Wing. “Dobby and miss must move,” Dobby squeaked.
“Sir is ordering Dobby to bring miss to sir’s room before others wake up and talk to miss.”
“Before they talk to me? Why?”
Dobby looked nervous now. “Sir is wanting to talk to miss first,” he said, not meeting my eyes.
“Something’s wrong. What happened?”
Dobby started wringing his hands, a sure sign that he knew something but was forbidden to say anything. “Dobby is not to say –”
“Alright,” I replied quickly, not wanting to push Dobby into hurting himself because he couldn’t answer me.
“Dobby is sorry.”
“It’s fine. Let’s just go to Snape’s quarters, right? Then I’ll wait for him there.” Dobby nodded and led the way down. As we were nearing Snape’s door, a dilemma came to mind. “Dobby, I can’t open his door without a wand.”
“Sir is letting Dobby in,” he responded simply.
Apparently so since all it took for Dobby to open the door was a snap of his fingers. Inside Dobby insisted that I sit on the single chair in the living room area. After reassuring him I was fine he popped away for less than a minute, bringing a large platter of food when he returned.
“I don’t need all this, Dobby.”
“Miss is needing to eat something,” he said stubbornly. Then he popped away again and came back seconds later with a cold compress which he wrapped around my right ankle. “Miss is needing something else from Dobby?”
“No, Dobby. Thank you. Go get some sleep.” He looked ready to protest but I spoke again before he had a chance. “Really, I’m fine. I’ll sit here, promise. Go get some sleep.” He hesitated a minute before nodding and popped away again. Now there was nothing to do but wait for Snape as I replayed the last few hours in my mind.
It felt like hours passed. I’d eaten a bit of food and then moved on to staring mindlessly at the ceiling. Finally I heard a door open. For a moment I was worried someone else might walk in. I would have an awkward time explaining what I was doing here. Thankfully it was only Snape, he spotted me immediately.
“You’re awake,” he muttered, closing the door. Something was off. He looked pale and extremely tired and maybe just a bit relieved. I suppose being tired was expected, he probably hadn’t slept all night. But his hands kept twitching randomly and he was walking gingerly. I stood up to give him the lone chair. “Sit down,” he ordered after giving me an irritated look.
“You need it more than I do.” I recognized the signs, Snape had been under a Cruciatus Curse, probably a few to be honest.
“I’m fine –”
“Are you really in that bad of a mood that you’re going to fight about sitting?” He gave me an annoyed glare for quoting him but he did sit down. I moved towards a small cupboard against the far wall. I opened it, finding spare bottles of potions. On the second shelf I noticed a pain relieving potion and brought it over to Snape. I held it out for him and even though he took it, he made no move to drink it.
“How did you know that was there?” he asked suspiciously.
I frowned, glancing back at the cupboard. I had no idea how I’d known, it had just felt natural to do. Of course now I was wondering if the Snape in my head wanted me to know or if it was the me in this Snape pushing me forward. For some reason I didn’t quite feel comfortable telling Snape this yet.
“Intuition?” He narrowed his eyes and stared up at me shrewdly.
“You’re hiding something.”
“So are you,” I replied. “Drink that, it’ll help.”
“You’re not supposed to be the one taking care of me,” he muttered darkly.
“Getting you a pain reliever hardly seems on par with all you’ve done for me.” After scoffing he reluctantly took a small sip. Next he pulled out his wand, summoning a chair for me. “Thanks. I’m not really sure where my wand is,” I admitted. He cast a Summoning Charm and my wand flew out of the large bookcase taking up over half of wall closest to us. “I never thought to look there,” I mumbled.
“You wouldn’t have found it even if you had.”
“Oh that’s convenient. Cheers,” I said, holstering it.
“How much do you remember?” Snape asked after a short pause.
“Er…” After I’d woken up on the rock island? Everything. What happened before? Not so much. “I know the Dark Lord’s back. The other details are a little fuzzy.” Snape let out a sigh and rubbed his head. “I can wait until later. You should be resting.”
“No, you need to know sooner rather than later.”
“Something’s wrong but Dobby said no one found out about the link.”
“No one did. Where is that elf? I told him to stay with you.”
“I told him to get some sleep. You had him watching me all night on top of his other duties, he looked dead tired. Nearly as bad as you.”
“He was still supposed to –”
“He helped me get down here then brought enough food for a family of ten, there wasn’t anything else for him to do so I told him to go,” I said impatiently. “Stop stalling and tell me what’s wrong.”
Snape closely observed me for a minute but didn’t speak. It was beyond frustrating. I was about to ask again when he spoke.
“Let me see into your mind.”
“Tell me what’s wrong first.” His tone had changed, confusing me. His right hand moved a bit, it was different from the Cruciatus Curse though, it was almost like he wanted his wand. Then it clicked, he thought I was acting off and was worried. That’s why he wanted to arm himself. “I’m myself,” I said, rolling my eyes. “Just annoyed that you won’t tell me when I can tell there’s obviously some bomb shell you’re ready to drop.” Instead of reassuring him, my words had the opposite affect and he looked even more distrustful. “Honestly,” I scoffed, opening my mental barrier and showing him only when I’d woken up, searched the Hospital Wing, and then came down to the dungeons to wait for him.
“You’re acting differently,” he responded, still eyeing me.
“Well the lead psychopath who’ll free my parents was resurrected, so I think my behavior’s sort of justified.”
“He isn’t going to free them.”
“What?” Hadn’t both Snapes said the Dark Lord would free all the Death Eaters in Azkaban?
“I suppose eventually he will, not for some time though. It would be too suspicious at the moment.”
“At the moment? How is it too suspicious at the moment?”
“Fudge refuses to believe the Dark Lord has returned.” A jolt of rage shot through me.
“Somebody died. How the hell do you explain that?!”
“Fudge is a buffoon. He cares more about popularity then readying the wizarding world. He’s convinced Diggory’s death was a tragic accident.”
“The Death Eater,” I remembered suddenly. “There’s one at Hogwarts –”
“Yes, I know. Dumbledore unmasked him after Potter returned.”
“Question him–and Potter. Shouldn’t that be enough proof?”
“Unfortunately no –”
“Are you kidding me? What’s Fudge waiting for? A resurrection notice in the bloody Prophet?!”
“As I said, Fudge won’t damage his popularity by claiming the Dark Lord has returned.”
“But Potter –”
“Rita Skeeter has destroyed Potter’s reliability through her articles.”
“The Death Eater –”
“Fudge has…disposed of him.”
“He summoned a Dementor to accompany him. Crouch can –”
“Barty Crouch Jr.”
“He’s dead,” I said darkly, clearly remembering what he’d done to deserve his cell in Azkaban.
“Apparently not,” Snape said cautiously.
“Barty Crouch Jr. was the Death Eater at Hogwarts?” I asked, rage boiling inside of me. How many months had he been here without me knowing? Had I talked to him, not having a clue about his true identity? The thought of him walking around freely infuriated me.
“Stop,” Snape said sharply, snapping me from my thoughts. “He’s not here anymore so any fury you’re feeling is unwarranted.”
“How is he still alive?” I asked stiffly, trying to push away the anger.
“His parents. As her last wish, Mrs. Crouch asked her husband to free their son. With the help of some Polyjuice Potion, Crouch Sr. was able to make that happen. He kept his son under the Imperius Curse for years. Crouch Jr. was able to fight it eventually, during the World Cup he stole Potter’s wand and sent up the Dark Mark. Sometime between then and the beginning of the school year the Dark Lord paid a visit to the Crouch home. He –”
“How would he know about Crouch Jr.?” I cut in.
“Bertha Jorkins –”
“That witch from –”
“It’s very difficult to explain things to you when you keep interrupting.”
“Don’t leave out key details.”
Snape glared at me and let out a frustrated huff before continuing. “Bertha Jorkins was brought to the Dark Lord by Peter Pettigrew –”
“Isn’t he –?”
“Who is the wizard that framed Sirius Black,” Snape said, talking over me. He paused and gave me a pointed look. “You don’t look surprised by that.”
“Huh…that’s a big shocker there?” I said lazily.
Snape narrowed his eyes at me. “You already knew Black was innocent.”
“Dumbledore may have mentioned it.”
“When?!” Snape asked incredulously.
“I thought I wasn’t supposed to interrupt?” Snape gave me a hard glare. “A little over a year ago,” I confessed.
“A little over a year ago? You’re just mentioning this now?”
“Somehow Death Eaters and Dark Marks seemed a lot more pressing.” Not to mention I hadn’t been speaking to Snape for months during the summer and the beginning of the school year.
“You could have said –”
“Can we just save the lecture for later? I’m tired, you’re tired, and I want to know what’s going on around here.”
“You’re lying,” Snape stated. “You’re not tired in the slightest.”
I let out a sigh and ran my fingers through my hair. “No, I’m not,” I admitted, “but you are.”
“I do not –”
“Please, I have a million different things running through my head. I want to know what’s going on with Crouch and the Dark Lord.”
“Crouch isn’t important –”
“Tell me what’s wrong.”
I rubbed my shoulder as I stared at the floor. The same question had been on my mind for hours now. “Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked softly. “Why didn’t you ever tell me I had more than my father in my head?” Snape certainly hadn’t expected this question.
After a moment of silence he answered. “I didn’t want you to feel like you couldn’t trust yourself. That you had to second guess every thought.”
“That’s not exactly an option now.”
“You’re not a puppet –”
“I know that. You still should have told me.”
“I am regretful you found out this way.”
“Don’t be,” I muttered, thinking of all the stuff I’d kept from Snape. Was still keeping from him actually. “Tell me about Crouch.”
Although he looked reluctant, Snape continued where he left off. “Bertha Jorkins knew about Crouch Jr. The Dark Lord cut through a memory charm and found out about him, also about the Triwizard Tournament. He placed Crouch Sr. under an Imperius Curse and sent Crouch Jr. to Hogwarts to fulfill his plan. The only thing he lacked was a cover –”
“Moody,” I said, the truth dawning on me. How else would you get past Dumbledore? Pretend to be the guy Dumbledore trusted the most and had hired to keep an eye on things. It was a brilliant plan really.
“Yes. He kept the real Moody under an Imperius so he could keep using Polyjuice and question him about his habits so he could fool Dumbledore.”
“Damn diabolical Slytherins. Moody would be the last person anyone questioned.”
“Yes, well –”
“The map! That lucky son of a – I bet it just showed Crouch. You wouldn’t know if it was a Jr. or a Sr.”
“That does appear to be what happened.”
“The cup in the maze was a Portkey. That’s why he wanted Potter to do well. He needed Potter to get to the center of the maze first and take the cup.”
“How exactly are you putting this all together?”
I looked at Snape in disbelief. “Cover stories, half-truths, pulling one over on Dumbledore, it’s what I do. It’s what we do. I suppose it’s also much easier once one piece of the puzzle falls into place.”
“Jade,” Snape said, sounding weary. “How much do you remember of the third task?”
“Er…I remember wanting Potter to take the cup. Then I needed you. I was going to find you. I don’t know what happened next.”
“You collapsed on your way to me.”
“Oh…that explains the head and ankle I guess.” Snape almost looked apprehensive now.
“The Weasleys and Granger were there.”
“How did you –”
“I had to leave you with them for a while.”
“Alright,” I replied, very worried about where this was going.
“I was gone longer than expected. They took you to the Hospital Wing.”
“You said no one found out about the link.”
“They didn’t find out about us.”
“What did you do?” Memory Charms, lots and lots of Memory Charms, that was my first guess. It was a lot of people so maybe Snape kept some emergency Forgetfulness Potion around that he could have used instead.
“Dumbledore came.” My heart sank. Snape was good, not Dumbledore and half a dozen Weasleys good though. “Madam Pomfrey wanted to examine you. I couldn’t let that happen. Jade, they know about the connection to your father.”
I sat there feeling shell shocked as Snape’s words sunk in. No one else was supposed to know about the connection, especially not Dumbledore. What had gone so wrong in a few hours that Snape would even risk that? Hadn’t he been the one insisting for years that I couldn’t tell anyone? That it was too dangerous? I’m gone for a few hours and everything spins out of control.
“Wait…they?” I questioned. Dumbledore was one thing but surely he hadn’t told –
“The Weasleys were there. Fred was with them.”
“Why would you tell him?!” I asked furiously.
“There was not –”
“You should have lied!”
“Dumbledore and Granger were already suspicious, I –”
“Then you should have told a convincing lie!”
“If there had been any other option, I would not have told them.”
“Any other option?” I said sarcastically. “There were dozens of other options! You could have told them to shut up and bugger off! That’s how you normally treat people! Today of all days you decide honesty is the best policy?!”
“You are allowed to be upset, however –”
“However?! There’s no however! For years you’ve ordered me not to say a word to anyone but then you go and tell not one person but Merlin knows how many?! I thought you were supposed to be the ruthless one, the one who wouldn’t cave under pressure!” I ridiculed. “And you fall apart and tell them at the first sign of trouble?!”
“You were not there,” Snape said calmly. “I did what I had to so that I could protect you –”
“How does this protect me?!” I asked wildly.
“You think Dumbledore wasn’t suspicious? That he wouldn’t have been more so after you collapsed? Even Granger was noticing things. I gave them something so that they would stop prying.” I knew he was right but that didn’t stop me from being angry. The thing was it wasn’t so much about people knowing as much as it was about Fred.
“I put so much time into making it work with him,” I said softly. “He’s going to think I’m some crazy, mental nutter who hears voices in my head and belongs in St. Mungo’s.”
“You do not belong in St. Mungo’s,” Snape said fiercely.
“I think I’d like to be alone now,” I muttered, standing up.
“Please don’t –”
“Get some sleep,” I told him. “I think seven Crucios is your limit,” I mumbled as I headed to the door.
It wasn’t until I reached the Entrance Hall that it hit me about what I’d said to Snape. I was also finding it impossible to be mad at him. This was the piece of me inside of him, wasn’t it? She wanted me to lay off Snape and let him rest. Figures that the first time I’m aware of her she’s making me feel guilty for shouting at Snape.
I wasn’t really sure where to go from here. I didn’t want to deal with anyone at the moment and Dumbledore had an annoying habit of turning up in unlikely places all over the school so I opened the castle doors and slipped outside.
Now where do I go from here?
A/N: The information about Crouch Jr. being behind everything as he posed as Moody is from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling, Chapter 35, Veritaserum.
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