The Sugar Quill
Author: MrTibbles  Story: MORSMORDRE: A Death Eater's Tale  Chapter: Chapter One
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DISCLAIMER: The Harry Potter world and characters belong to J

DISCLAIMER: The Harry Potter world and characters belong to J.K. Rowling. I am not JK Rowling. (Duh) I'm not making any money from this, this is merely amusement. Yada yada yada. You get it.

A/N: Thanks to Wombat, my wonderful beta reader and Iviolinist, my non-SQ beta reader. You are both awesome. Thanks to J.K. Rowling of course, for creating this wonderful world for my imagination to run wild in. And thanks to my best friend who refused to let me throw this in the rubbish bin.


A Death Eaterís Tale . . .

by MrTibbles

   Amidst the hustle and bustle of Platform Nine and Three Quarters a teenager with straw-colored hair remained quite unnoticed as he silently maneuvered through the crowds and boarded the crimson train, the Hogwarts Express. He walked down the corridor, lugging his heavy trunk behind him. The train was nearly empty and as he walked toward the edge of the corridor, he saw only three other students. The boy smiled to himself as he slipped inside a compartment near the end of the train, sliding the door shut behind him.

   He shoved his trunk onto the luggage rack and sat down next to the window. He always tried to arrive early; he loved to sit on the quiet train and hear the engine puff impatiently. As the boy watched the crowd on the platform thin, his heart leapt in his chest. He was going to Hogwarts. Hogwarts! The one place he felt most at home. The boy was so lost basking in his thoughts that when the compartment door abruptly slid open, he leapt to his feet, wand raised.

   "Oi!" A boy with dark curly hair stood in the doorway. His hands were up as if to say ĎI surrender!í "Bit jumpy today, arenít you, Barty?" he asked as he pulled his own trunk inside the compartment. He shoved it up next to the other and sat down across from Barty.

   "Oh, itís you," Barty said, smiling. "Had a good holiday then, David?"

   "Ah! Couldíve been better," David said, lifting his feet onto the seat beside him. "Though it was probably more satisfactory than yours, Iíll wager," he paused and snickered. "Old Crouch, Sr., might make life a mite unpleasant."

   Barty shot him a dark look. "Donít make me think about that," he said, shaking his head. David laughed heartily and, after a moment, so did Barty.

   David sighed. "Howís your mum?" he asked, his face taking on a more solemn expression. "I heard that she had fallen ill again."

   Bartyís face turned to stone. "You heard right," he said simply. He stared resolutely out the window. "She was in St. Mungoís for a time, but the healers couldnít do anything for her. They sent her home a few weeks ago."

   David now looked like he regretted having brought up the subject at all. He stared at his feet, as though they might tell him what to say. He took a deep breath and said hesitatingly, "Thatís . . . I, er . . . " he sighed. "Iím really sorry, Barty."

   "I know," Barty said, his voice cold. He turned and looked at David with sad eyes. "Letís not talk about this, okay?"

   "All right. Anyway, have you -"

   David was cut off by the door sliding open yet again. A large burly boy with shoulder-length red hair stood in the doorway, looking flustered and grumpy. He, unlike David and Barty, was already dressed in his school uniform. His green and silver Slytherin tie hung haphazardly around his neck. He stumbled inside and practically threw his trunk up onto the rack.

   "There are ruddy first years everywhere!" said the boy. He shoved Davidís feet to the ground ("Oi!") and sat in the now vacated seat. He ran his fingers through his unruly hair and slouched. "I tell you, theyíre like midgets!" he said, exasperated. "And they look at me like Iím a great, terrible monster thatís going to swallow them whole!"

   Barty and David laughed.

   "You show that much in a first impression, MacDougal?" asked David through his laughter.

   MacDougal, rolled his eyes and whipped out his wand. He brandished it at David. "Watch it, Wellington," he said.

   "Now, Bryan," Barty said, sighing in a good-natured tone, "do you really want detention before the term even begins?"

   "Speaking of which," David asked, "shouldnít you be in the prefectís carriage?"

   "I was going to wait-"

   The train whistle cut him off. It emitted three sharp blasts and the train engine roared to life. As the train lurched into motion, Barty sighed.

   "-until the last minute." He stood up and straightened his jacket. "Iíll be back," he called as he left the compartment. He flicked his wand as he walked out into the corridor and the compartment door slid shut. As he strode toward the front of the train, he peered nonchalantly through a few of the clear glass compartment doors. There certainly did seem to be a lot of first years.

   They are smaller, Barty thought. One tiny girl with long dark hair looked far too young to be heading to Hogwarts. Another boy just sat with his jaw dropped, staring at everything in wide-eyed wonder.

   Must be a Mudblood, thought Barty. A slight grimace snuck onto his face and he stopped glancing through the doors. At the end of the corridor, he reached a plain black door. As he reached for the knob, it opened abruptly and a tall girl about Bartyís own age glared at him.

   "Youíre late, Crouch," she accused him, her green eyes ablaze.

   "Iím terribly sorry, Maggie, dear," Barty said sarcastically. The girlís eyes narrowed and she walked away, leaving the door open. Barty smirked to himself as he stepped inside, the door swinging shut behind him.

   The room was much like the rest of the train except that it wasnít divided into compartments with a corridor. Two dozen teenagers sat in chairs scattered around the room, chatting amiably. Most of them were already wearing the black Hogwarts robes.

   Maggie stood at the head of the room, tapping her foot impatiently. She glared at Barty as he casually walked to a chair in the corner where a Slytherin boy with black hair was looking at him excitedly. Barty nodded to the boy with a sophisticated air and sank into the chair gracefully. He leaned it back on its hind legs and looked expectantly up at Maggie, his arms folded across his chest.

   "Now that someone," said Maggie, glancing pointedly at Barty, "is here, we can begin." She withdrew a roll of parchment from the pocket of her robes. As she unrolled the parchment, it brushed the blue and bronze Ravenclaw tie that was tied smartly around her neck. Encouraged by a tap of her wand, the unrolled parchment floated in front of Maggie, whose eyes flew over it with incredible speed.

   "All right," she said, looking up from her notes. "New prefects need to pick up one of those flyers," she pointed to a stack of papers that lay on a chair, "before you leave. It contains all the information about what you have to do as prefects." A boy stood up and began to walk over to the chair.

   "After Iím done, please!" Maggie snapped, eyeing him with annoyance. He quickly sat down.

   "And," she said, her eyes sweeping the parchment again. "Professor Dumbledore has placed additional safety precautions on the school -"

   "More?" a Hufflepuff boy exclaimed.

   "What else could they do?" a Gryffindor girl demanded. "A Fidelius Charm?"

A Ravenclaw boy rolled his eyes and said bossily, "You canít do a Fidelius Charm on Hogwarts!"

   "Why not?" the Hufflepuff boy asked.

   "Weíre getting off the subject!" Maggie broke in impatiently. "He wonít reveal what the precautions are, but he says they wonít affect the prefectsí duties." She looked back at the parchment, which had floated a few inches to her left, and guided it back with her wand.

   "Mr. Filch has a new list of banned artifacts that we'll need to familiarize ourselves with and Professor Kettleburn has sworn that if any more nifflers disappear, the thief will find themselves Ďhanging from the bloody ceiling.í " She looked up at the prefects and raised her eyebrows. They laughed, except for the Slytherins, who rolled their eyes.

   "I think thatís all," she said, prodding the parchment with the tip of her wand. It rolled itself obediently and she stuffed it back into her robes, "unless you have anything to say, Chris?"

   A tall Gryffindor boy with wavy golden locks and bright, shining brown eyes rose. "I think youíve covered just about everything, Mags," he said, smiling at her with impossibly white teeth. Maggie blushed to a deep crimson and looked at her feet.

   "But before we leave," Chris continued, "I need to see the Gryffindor prefects and Maggie needs to see the Ravenclaws to tell them the new password. Hufflepuffs and Slytherins can go."

   Bartyís chair landed hard on its front legs as he got up. Along with the rest of the Hufflepuff and Slytherin prefects, he started toward the door.

   "Crouch," Chrisí voice was tinged with a sudden hardness. "I need to speak with you before you leave."

Barty whirled around and stared at Chris with narrowed eyes. He sat down in a chair near where he was standing, his icy gaze never faltering. Chris turned his back on Barty and began to speak to the Gryffindors who had assembled around him.

   Gryffindors, Barty thought bitterly. They think theyíre so superior. Theyíll learn, theyíll - There was laughter from the Gryffindors and they broke their huddle. Chris got up, a smile still shining on his face. He looked over at Barty and the smile faded; his eyes turned to ice. His face was hard as he strode confidently across the room to Barty. Barty rose to his feet as Chris approached, his wand clenched in his fist.

   "Crouch," Chris said icily.

   "Smith," Barty said in a tone equally as cold.

   "You know what I need to talk to you about," Chris said, shifting on his feet. Barty noticed his hand slipping into the pocket of his robes and tensed.

   "No," he said innocently. "Iím afraid I donít. And someone with so prestigious a position as Head Boy," he spat out the words, "should hardly sink to making unfounded accusations."

   Chrisís eyes bore into Bartyís. "Unfounded?" he repeated icily. "Professor Dumbledore doesnít seem to think so. This pleasant conversation is on his orders."

   Barty raised an eyebrow and opened his mouth to say something, but Chris cut him off sharply,

   "Youíre on the verge of losing your badge," he said with a note of disgust in his voice. "If you keep abusing your position, you will be relieved of it."

   Bartyís expression was blank, his face stone.

   "Iíll be watching you," Chris continued, his hand still clenched in his pocket.

   "Well be sure to keep an appropriate distance," Barty said coolly. "I donít fancy having your Mudblood stench following me all year."

   Chris rolled his eyes.

   "Is that the best youíve got, Crouch?" Barty withdrew his wand with a snap and brandished it threateningly.

   "I donít have to stop at words," he said icily.

   "Then -" Chris was cut off by a girl on the other side of the room calling his name.

   "Iím watching you, Crouch," Chris said, turning and walking away.

   Barty rolled his eyes and slid his wand back into his pocket. He strode to the door and walked out, slamming it behind him. An occupant of a nearby compartment jumped. Barty muttered something indistinct and walked back to the compartment at the end of the train. He shoved the door open unceremoniously and slammed it behind him, moving to sit down by the window, but someone was already sitting there.

   "The Prodigal Prefect returns," the girl said. She was smiling up at Barty, her violet eyes shining merrily. Her skin was eerily pale as though she had never seen the sun. Her jet-black hair was a sharp contrast to the whiteness of her skin as were her black robes and green and silver tie.

   David and Brian, who had been engaged in a heated argument, looked up and realized that Barty was back.

   "Hey," they said in unison, then promptly looked away and resumed their argument. (Barty caught the word "Gobstones.")

   "Whoíre the heads this year?" the girl asked.

   "Andrews and Smith," Barty said darkly as he sat down next to her.

   "Smith?" Bryan asked incredulously, looking up from the argument.

   "Andrews?!" the girl sneered. David rolled his eyes at her.

   "Well, we all knew Andrews was going to get Head Girl," David said, "but Smith?"

   Barty shrugged his shoulders. He forcefully suppressed the anger that was still racing through his chest.

   "They only picked the filthy Mudblood because heís a Gryffindor," Bryan said, frowning. "Why didnít Dumbledore pick you?"

   Barty snorted. "Apparently our dear Professor Dumbledore is under the impression that I am -" he paused and screwed his eyes up at his head, in mock deep thought, "oh yes - Ďabusing my positioní, as Smith was so kind to inform me at the end of the meeting." The malice in Bartyís voice was unmistakable.

   "Did he try anything?" David asked, a nasty look on his face.

   "Of course he didnít," Barty snapped irritably. "Why would he? Heís Head Boy now; appearances must be maintained." He absentmindedly began toying with the zipper on his jacket.

   "What did he -"

   "Just shut it!" Barty bellowed, his eyes fierce and icy. David shrank under his gaze and looked at his feet, his face red. Barty looked mildly satisfied as he turned to the girl and asked pleasantly, "How was your holiday, Edith?"

   Edith swept her hair out from behind her nervously. "It was all right," she said, cautiously, "but my parents were really strict because of all the deaths and everything." She paused and giggled. "Probably not as bad as your dad, though."

   Barty snorted and let out a small smile. An image of his father floated to the surface of his mind. You, the image said, disgrace on your familyís name. Worthless, shameful - Bartyís smile vanished. He shook his head and the image disappeared.

   "My uncle was killed," Bryan said indifferently. Barty turned to him, surprised. Murders were commonplace, of course, in these times, but not among pure-blood families.

   "Iím sorry," David said.

   "Iím not." Bryan said simply. "The fool married a Muggle woman!"

   They all shuddered involuntarily. That explains it, thought Barty. There was an uncomfortable lull in the conversation.

   "So," Edith said, raising her eyebrows, "did you three pass your Apparition test?"

   "Naturally," David said.

   "I did," said Barty.

   Bryan turned red and looked away. Edith raised her eyebrows higher.

   "What about you, MacDougal?" she asked, her voice tinted with amusement.

   Bryan turned even redder, his face nearly the same shade as his hair. "I had to take the test twice," he said softly. Barty, David and Edith laughed. Bryan looked up, and, seeing that the laughter wasnít malicious, laughed with them. Interrupted only by the snack cart coming through, the four spent the remainder of the journey talking and laughing about their summers.

   "We will be arriving at Hogsmeade Station in ten minutes time," a magically amplified voice echoed through the train. "Please leave your luggage on the racks; it will be taken care of for you."

   Bryan looked around at his companions. "Barty, you and David need to change into your robes."

   Bartyís heart leapt in his chest. Who cared if he was already in trouble with Dumbledore? Who cared if that Mudblood would be trailing him all year? He was at Hogwarts! In that moment, nothing else mattered.

   As he stepped off the train onto the platform at Hogsmeade station, Barty pulled at the tie around his throat. Bloody school uniforms, he thought irritably.

   "Firsí years! Firsí years over here!" a deep, thundering voice echoed from behind Barty. Barty jumped and turned his head so quickly a sharp pain shot down his neck. Oh, itís Hagrid, he thought. He glowered at himself for being so easily startled. He jostled the students around him, avoiding even touching the giant man in the long brown coat. He looked up and saw David, Bryan and Edith waiting for him next to the long line of horseless carriages. He smiled to himself.

   "Could you walk any slower, Crouch?" Edith called, smiling. Barty sighed and rolled his eyes jokingly, but sped his step slightly. When he reached them, they had already begun boarding the carriage nearest them. As Barty raised his foot onto the step, he cast a nervous glance at the front of the carriage. Barty knew, of course, that the carriages were pulled by Thestrals, but he had never seen one. He hoped that Thestrals weren't as frightening in person as they were in his imagination.

   He sat down next to Bryan with Edith and David sitting across from them. He gazed out the window and saw the dim shape of Hogwarts in the distance.

   "Oh, itís so sad," Edith said suddenly. She was following Bartyís gaze out the window.

   "Whatís sad?" Bryan asked stupidly. He looked out the window. "Why is Hogwarts sad?"

   "Because this is our last year," Edith said, her voice heavy and sorrowful. "Weíll never see Hogwarts from this point of view again."

   "Well, Bryan might if Barty stops letting him copy off his work," David said jokingly. Edith laughed and Bryan glowered at David, but Barty kept staring out the window. He pressed his hand up to the glass. As he watched the castle grow larger as they drew near, he felt as though he had never seen anything more beautiful in his life.

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