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 . . .
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.
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.
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.
itís you," Barty said, smiling. "Had a good holiday then,
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
him a dark look. "Donít make me think about that," he
said, shaking his head. David laughed heartily and, after a moment, so did
sighed. "Howís your mum?" he asked, his face taking on a more solemn
expression. "I heard that she had fallen ill again."
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."
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
know," Barty said, his voice cold. He turned and looked at David with sad
eyes. "Letís not talk about this, okay?"
right. Anyway, have you -"
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.
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!"
show that much in a first impression, MacDougal?" asked David through his
rolled his eyes and whipped out his wand. He brandished it at David.
"Watch it, Wellington," he said.
Bryan," Barty said, sighing in a good-natured tone, "do you really
want detention before the term even begins?"
of which," David asked, "shouldnít you be in the prefectís
was going to wait-"
whistle cut him off. It emitted three sharp blasts and the train engine roared
to life. As the train lurched into motion, Barty sighed.
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
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.
late, Crouch," she accused him, her green eyes ablaze.
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.
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
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
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.
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
Iím done, please!" Maggie snapped, eyeing him with annoyance. He quickly
she said, her eyes sweeping the parchment again. "Professor Dumbledore has
placed additional safety precautions on the school -"
a Hufflepuff boy exclaimed.
else could they do?" a Gryffindor girl demanded. "A Fidelius
A Ravenclaw boy rolled his
eyes and said bossily, "You canít do a Fidelius Charm on Hogwarts!"
not?" the Hufflepuff boy asked.
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.
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.
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?"
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
Chris said icily.
Barty said in a tone equally as cold.
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.
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."
eyes bore into Bartyís. "Unfounded?" he repeated icily.
"Professor Dumbledore doesnít seem to think so. This pleasant conversation
is on his orders."
raised an eyebrow and opened his mouth to say something, but Chris cut him off
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
expression was blank, his face stone.
be watching you," Chris continued, his hand still clenched in his pocket.
be sure to keep an appropriate distance," Barty said coolly. "I donít
fancy having your Mudblood stench following me all year."
rolled his eyes.
that the best youíve got, Crouch?" Barty withdrew his wand with a snap and
brandished it threateningly.
donít have to stop at words," he said icily.
-" Chris was cut off by a girl on the other side of the room calling his
watching you, Crouch," Chris said, turning and walking away.
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
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.
Brian, who had been engaged in a heated argument, looked up and realized
that Barty was back.
they said in unison, then promptly looked away and resumed their argument.
(Barty caught the word "Gobstones.")
the heads this year?" the girl asked.
and Smith," Barty said darkly as he sat down next to her.
Bryan asked incredulously, looking up from the argument.
the girl sneered. David rolled his eyes at her.
we all knew Andrews was going to get Head Girl," David said, "but Smith?"
shrugged his shoulders. He forcefully suppressed the anger that was still
racing through his chest.
only picked the filthy Mudblood because heís a Gryffindor," Bryan said,
frowning. "Why didnít Dumbledore pick you?"
"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.
he try anything?" David asked, a nasty look on his face.
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.
did he -"
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,
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."
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.
uncle was killed," Bryan said indifferently. Barty turned to him,
surprised. Murders were commonplace, of course, in these times, but not among
sorry," David said.
not." Bryan said simply. "The fool married a Muggle woman!"
shuddered involuntarily. That explains it, thought Barty. There was an
uncomfortable lull in the conversation.
Edith said, raising her eyebrows, "did you three pass your Apparition
did," said Barty.
turned red and looked away. Edith raised her eyebrows higher.
about you, MacDougal?" she asked, her voice tinted with amusement.
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.
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."
around at his companions. "Barty, you and David need to change into your
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.
stepped off the train onto the platform at Hogsmeade station, Barty pulled at
the tie around his throat. Bloody school uniforms, he thought irritably.
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
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.
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.
itís so sad," Edith said suddenly. She was following Bartyís gaze out the
sad?" Bryan asked stupidly. He looked out the window. "Why is
this is our last year," Edith said, her voice heavy and sorrowful.
"Weíll never see Hogwarts from this point of view again."
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.