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Chapter 10 : Drifting into the Deep
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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.
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