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Chapter 19 : Chapter 19
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Harry, Ron, and Hermione sat in a dimly lit cave across from Sirius Black. They were discussing the odd events that had been happening since last summer. Sirius was particularly interested in Crouch and his strange behavior at the World Cup. The young Gryffindors were shocked to hear that Crouch’s own son had been a Death Eater. Yet none of them could see the connection between everything. Bertha Jorkins, the Dark Mark in the sky, Harry’s name coming out of the Goblet and now Crouch sneaking into Snape’s office in the middle of the night. It just didn't make sense. They were discussing possible culprits and Snape’s name came up.
“He was part of a gang of Slytherins who nearly all turned out to be Death Eaters,” Sirius told them. “Rosier and Wilkes who were both killed by Aurors, the Lestranges –”
“Lestrange?” Harry cut in.
“They’re a married couple, they’re in Azkaban now.” Harry and Ron shared a look.
“Absolutely not!” Hermione exclaimed, knowing what they were thinking.
“What’s wrong?” Sirius asked.
“Jade Lestrange,” Ron answered. “She’s in our year.”
“She wouldn’t do this Ron. How could you even think that?”
“Hermione, didn’t you just hear?! Her parents are Death Eaters!”
“She’s a Gryffindor!”
“So was Wormtail!” Ron retorted.
“There’s a Lestrange in Gryffindor?” Sirius asked, looking worried. “She’s in your year?”
“She was in the Top Box at the World Cup!” Ron remembered.
“She didn’t send up that Dark Mark, she was with Fred!” Hermione didn’t believe Jade would do this but Ron didn’t share this view.
“She knows Karkaroff –”
“She doesn’t like him though –”
“How does she know Karkaroff?” Sirius interrupted.
“She went to Durmstrang.”
“Salem too. She only started at Hogwarts in her third year,” Ron informed Sirius.
“That doesn’t mean –”
“They questioned her!” Ron cried out. “When you broke into the tower she got called into Dumbledore’s office and the Minister questioned her,” Ron said to Sirius, ignoring Hermione.
“She didn’t do anything!” Hermione said vehemently. “It’s not her fault her parents were Death Eaters. Honestly Ron, she’s been nothing but nice to us.”
“Yeah, too nice. She helped Harry with the egg.”
“You said –”
“She helped with the egg? Helped how?” Now Sirius was suspicious.
“She gave Harry a hint.”
“She gave me the gillyweed.” The three others turned towards Harry quickly. “The night before the second task she came down to the common room and gave it to me. I asked her why. She said pity and because she liked you Hermione, and the twins. She knew we were looking in charms books and hadn’t found an answer yet. I didn’t know she had stolen it from Snape though.”
“Harry!” Hermione chastised. “How come you didn’t tell us?”
“Let me get this straight. Lestrange helped you solve nearly the entire second task? She even stole from Snape for it? She was also in the Top Box and has attended Durmstrang?”
“She could have been being nice,” Hermione suggested. “Just because she helped Harry doesn’t mean –”
“She didn’t help Krum,” Harry pointed out. “Didn’t you say she’s good friends with him? Why help me and not him?” Hermione bit her lip, unwilling to admit that Harry had a good point.
“Do you think she’s smart enough to bewitch the Goblet?” Sirius asked.
“She knows tons of spells, some even Hermione doesn’t know,” Ron answered.
“She probably knows a lot of foreign ones too, right Hermione?” Harry added.
“That doesn’t make her guilty,” Hermione told them. “She’s dating Fred, how could you think she’s trying to kill Harry?”
“Maybe she’s using Fred to get closer to Harry,” Ron suggested.
The four of them sat there wondering the same thing. Could Jade Lestrange be the missing link?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I was walking down a corridor on my way to the owlery. It was only an hour after dinner so I wasn’t in that big of rush. I could see the corner ahead when I heard him. That clunking sound from Moody’s leg. I’d been successful at avoiding Moody for a while now and the couple times I had run into him there had been several people around. Now there was nobody. I did my best casual turn around and headed back the way I’d come. I could always find another path, one nowhere near Moody. Come on, just walk normally, a bit farther…
“Lestrange.” I let out a sigh of defeat before turning to face Moody. He made his way towards me, suspicion in his narrowed eye. “Going someone in a hurry?” he questioned when he was within five feet of me. There was a hint of mocking in his voice.
“Study group,” I answered instantly. It was a horrible lie, I know, but it was a normal student thing and Moody would have a hard time proving I was lying about it.
“People with photographic memories don’t need study groups.” Ok, so I was wrong about that. Bloody Dumbledore probably told him. “Why don’t you try again,” Moody said, giving me a smug look. Something about that look sent a spark of anger through me.
“Anywhere you’re not,” I replied rudely, although I was being honest.
Moody let out a scoff. “There’s that typical Lestrange attitude. Just as arrogant as they are, aren’t you?” I glared at Moody but didn’t respond. “Mother’s looks but your father’s temperament I see,” he goaded. “She never could handle an insult without flying off the handle.”
“I’ll have to take your word for it,” I said through gritted teeth. “You knew them better than I ever did.” I turned back around to leave but Moody’s next words made me freeze after only a couple of steps.
“You and Snape,” he said thoughtfully. My mind filled with panic. We’d been careful, Moody shouldn’t have sensed anything out of the norm. “I bet he was disappointed when he didn’t get you.” Surprised and albeit a bit confused by his statement, I faced Moody again. “Malfoy, Nott, Crabbe, Goyle. It’s not really the full set of Snape’s old associates’ brood without you, is it? The Malfoy boy does a decent job with his cronies, plays the model role of school bully. I’m sure Lucius Malfoy sees that as perfect training, but you? You already know about the Dark Arts, don’t you? You have a taste for them. I bet Karkaroff helped with that. He didn’t realize just how far you were willing to take it though, did he? Just like your parents. They could have stayed free, claimed bewitchment like so many others did but no. The Longbottoms were too much of a temptation. The Lestranges couldn’t accept that the Dark Lord was gone because he alone let them have free reign over the torture they inflicted onto others. You’re just the same, you’ve felt what it’s like to have that much power. As much as you deny it and try to convince Dumbledore you’re different, you want that feeling again. People like you, people like your parents, they don’t stop once they’ve gotten started.”
By now my fists were clenched and my nails were digging into my palms but I wouldn’t rise to Moody’s bait. I couldn’t. Just walk away. It didn’t matter what Moody thought. He was a paranoid old wizard who saw dark wizards and murder conspiracies where ever he went. In a few months he’d be gone for good. All I had to do was walk away. It was that simple. Then why did I feel a sickly dark need in the back of my mind to hurt him? To lash out and attack? To show him just how far I could go towards hurting him?
Just walk away!
Feeling a bit disconnected from my body, I turned away from Moody again. I began walking, not even pausing at Moody’s parting words.
“No matter what color tie you wear around your neck, you’ll always be a Lestrange.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
You know after the relative calm that had settled over Hogwarts for the past few weeks, I’d actually almost considered that maybe, perhaps this year would finish smoothly. Yes I was still worried about the Dark Mark which I was sure was darkening. And yes there was something Fred and George weren’t telling me. But maybe we would all get lucky and nothing crazy would happen and the Dark Lord wouldn’t return. Damn that false sense of security.
On May 25th I woke up much like any other day. In fact it seemed like any other day until after dinner. I went to the library and was seated for all of five minutes before Victor found me.
“We need to talk,” he said, looking nervous.
I thought it would be about the third task, seeing as the champions would have been told the night before. Oh how very wrong I was. I think I need another detention with Snape.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I leaned back in my chair as I rubbed my head. “It doesn’t make any sense,” I repeated for the seventh time over the past two hours.
“I believe we have already been through this,” Snape responded in a bored voice.
I looked up from the newt tails I was supposed to be removing the bones from. “There’s so much yet nothing. Doesn’t that bother you?”
“I am better at masking my annoyance it would seem.”
“It all revolves around Crouch for no apparent reason. There should be something…anything.” There had to be a reason Crouch was connected to everything. “Aren’t you supposed to be the diabolical one? Where’s your epiphany?”
Snape sent a glare my way. “I’m not the one with the photographic memory. Where’s your epiphany?”
“Bertha Jorkins worked for Crouch. Crouch’s elf was found with the wand that cast the Dark Mark. Harry Potter’s name comes out of the Goblet, which was a competition set up by Crouch. Crouch skips the Yule Ball and then second task. He even stops coming into work but he breaks into your office at night. Then he shows up at Hogwarts talking about his mistakes and how the Dark Lord is stronger. When he’s minutes away from seeing Dumbledore, someone whisks him away. He knew something, he had to. He must have known what was causing all this.” I rubbed my head again. Why was this so hard to figure out? “Why get Potter into the tournament? Why this far through it? If it was just to kill him then the dragons or drowning in a lake would have made a good cover story. Why does he need to go through the third task? It will be watched the whole time. Moody is bound to keep his eye on Potter every step of the way.” This was maddening. “How do you attack Potter from right under Dumbledore’s nose?”
“Are you truly going to spend the next month obsessing over this?” Snape asked, sounding annoyed.
“Victor said Crouch was acting crazy. That he was confused and rambling.”
“Much like yourself.”
“Something must have made his mind snap.”
“I have a feeling I’ll know how that feels before term ends.”
“What would make you loose touch with reality?”
“The obsessive mind of a fifteen year old witch?”
“What if someone hit him…trauma to the brain…well that wouldn’t explain the other odd stuff like why he…the Imperius Curse! He could have been under it for months! That’s why he changed his behavior so suddenly. But he managed to break free and headed straight for Hogwarts. Someone stopped him here, someone had to have been waiting here for him. Would they really just leave him alone though as they were at Hogwarts? And why Crouch of all people? It could have been anyone but they chose Crouch. There are far more discreet people than Crouch if it was for Ministry access. Crouch would have been expected at Hogwarts too…maybe that was the real goal. Cast an Imperius on Crouch and have him submit Potter’s name? But Bagman would have been easier...” I cast a glare at Snape. “Don’t you have anything to say about this?”
“You didn’t appear to need any input from me.”
“I feel like I should just…know. That it should be easy. Like it’s right there in front of me.”
“Having the limitations of a mere mortal must be rather exasperating indeed.”
“Your sarcasm is not particularly helpful at the moment.”
“Your obsessive rambling is not particularly helpful to my headache.”
“You’re a Potion’s master, take a bloody headache potion and stop whining,” I snapped.
“Did you just tell me to stop whining?” Snape asked threateningly.
“Maybe we should focus on what doesn’t relate to Crouch,” I suggested.
“I’m never giving you detention again.”
A/N: Yes, Jade is very close to what actually happened, there’s a reason for that, even if she doesn’t know it. And the scene with Moody might have confused you, so I’ll explain. He was trying to get a reaction, one like during the first class. One like what happened with Karkaroff. He has in fact been watching her but he doesn’t quite understand what makes her tick so he’s prodding.
And finally, woo, back to submitting chapters. There’s about 8 or so left until the end. However I’m not even half way done with the next story. Working on it though!
Sirius’s quotes at the start of the chapter are from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling, Chapter 27, Padfoot Returns. The information about Crouch’s return is from Chapter 28, The Madness of Mr. Crouch.
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