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Shadow by PhoenixPulse
Chapter 1 : A Father's Shame
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 2


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“Barty, love, I have made you sandwiches for lunch.” A soft voice spoke as a woman poked her head into her son’s room. The five year old was sprawled out on top of a navy blue rug, flipping through the illustrated pages of his favorite story book, The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

“But mum!” The boy whined, exasperatedly looking up at his mother. “I’m reading!” He stressed, and jutted out his lip into a pout, earning an eye roll from the wispy woman. She drank in the features of her beloved son—his straw colored hair, his brown eyes, and the freckles that littered across his face. He was her sweet, innocent, boy. Her baby.

“Now Barty,” she began in her no-fooling-around tone, “a growing boy like you needs to eat! You don’t want to be small like me, do you?” She asked as she allowed herself to fully appear from around the door frame. Barty allowed the pout to drop from his lips, but none-the-less, stayed put in his spot on the floor, staring at his mother stubbornly with the best poker face a boy his age could manage. Elaine quirked an eyebrow upward in amusement, crossing her arms across her chest.

“Now really Barty?” She asked in vexation, sighing loudly in emphasis. Barty grumbled under his breath before he stood up grudgingly, stomping towards his mother.

“Oh, alright.” He mumbled as he made his way past her, heading towards the stairs. Elaine watched her son stomp and groan, loudly plodding down the carpeted steps on purpose. She chuckled silently to herself as she looked into her son’s bedroom. He had a few books spread all over his bead, his favorite blankets heaped in a pile on top of the rug where he was laying, and an open notebook was sitting at his desk.

Barty himself could be a rather sassy child when he wanted to, but he was clever and for the most part, a quite well-mannered boy. It was times like this which made her wish her only child never needed to grow up. In her heart he would always be her Baby Barty.

In the middle of her day dreaming, a loud crash sounded from kitchen, causing Elaine to wince and rush down the stairs at the same time. As she approached the kitchen, she found her son struggling to broom away the glass shards strewn everywhere. A puddle of red was starting to spread across the ivory linoleum flooring, seeping its way under Barty’s foot.

“Barty!” She breathed in an enraged whisper. Barty jumped when he saw his mother, flushing into a deep red.

“I didn’t mean to!” He squeaked. “It was an accident!”

Elaine studied her son, and then caught sight of her wand tucked in his back pocket. She shook her head in disproval before motioning the boy forward. Obediently, Barty shuffled towards his mother, head hung in shame. Shame of breaking glass, or shame of being caught, Elaine did not know. The wispy woman then fished her wand from her son’s pocket before murmuring “Evanesco” towards the mess of glass.

Barty watched his mother intently, studying the way she moved her wand, and the way she said the spell. As he watched the glass disappear, he made a mental description of everything to himself. He would scrawl this in his journal later after lunch.  He had heard stories of Hogwarts from his mother, how their lessons could be prestigious, whatever that meant...

“Mum, what does pre-stidge-ous mean?” Barty asked suddenly, pronouncing the word while scrunching up his face, in hopes of getting it right. Elaine, who was readjusting a framed photo on the kitchen counter, turned to Barty, amused.

“You just broke your father’s favorite cask of Ogden’s Old Firewhiskey, and you ask what prestigious means?” Barty shrugged in nonchalance as he walked over to the kitchen table.

“I was just wondering.” He said shrugging, making a grab for one of the sandwiches on the plate that sat before him. Elaine softly smiled at her son’s odd sense of curiosity, before sitting in a seat beside him.

“It means significant. Important.” Elaine simply said, as she reached over to push away her son’s fringe from his eyes.

He needs a haircut. She thought to herself, realizing how long his hair had grown.

“Barty, why did you use my wand?” She asked, feeling it was her turn to be curious. Bart blushed and coyly turned to face his mother.

“I wanted to see why dad liked that drink so much, but I couldn’t reach it…” Elaine rolled her eyes, before taking hold of her son’s hand.

“I don’t like you using my wand without permission, Barty.” She scolded. “And you shouldn’t touch your father’s Firewhiskey either. It’s not for children!” She watched as her son looked down at his lap glumly, and her stern face softened.

“Come now, Barty. You know I don’t mean harm by it.” She said, sweeping his overlong hair from his eyes.

“Yes, mum.” Barty murmured. And then his head shot upward, a frown on his face. “Will dad be mad at me?” Elaine pursed her lips. Now that was a good question. After a few moments of gathering her thoughts, she merely shook her head no.

“I don’t think so Barty. Maybe he’ll be upset, but he shouldn’t be mad at you.”

“Then can we buy him a new bottle then?” Barty asked softly. He didn’t want his dad mad at him. Maybe he could give it to his father himself when he got home from work… Elaine’s face broke into a smile at her son’s thoughtfulness.

“Of course, Barty,” She said. “But you have to finish you lunch first.” Barty’s smile turned into a pout as he stubbornly shook his head.

“I’m not hungry.” He said defiantly. “Let’s go to Hogsmeade and buy dad his favorite drink!” With that, he hopped out of his chair and hurried upstairs, most likely to fetch his pair of shoes, as he was only wearing mismatched socks. Writing that vanishing spell can wait, and Elaine chuckled at her eager child. If only Bartemius appreciated him just as much as she did…

 

 

“I think your father would be very happy to receive that, Barty.” Elaine whispered as Barty tried to tie a ruby, silk ribbon around the whiskey’s bottle neck. Barty beamed when he finished and reached over to a box of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavored Beans. He had just finished dinner and had persuaded his mother to let him eat some candy that had purchased at Honeydukes, while waiting for his father to arrive home.

“I hope so.” was the only thing Barty said, before standing up from his seat. Elaine raised a questioning eyebrow as she watched her son drag the dining room chair out towards the front door.

“Barty?” She asked, but her son didn’t answer. It was then when the missing piece clunked into place. He was truly going to wait for his father. She silently watched her little boy, watched how he was sitting crisscrossed in his chair, the cask of Firewhiskey lying down on his lap, the box of jelly beans in his hand as he hummed to a cheery tune. Sighing, she stood up to go make some more tea, something to calm her nerves. It wasn’t Barty that made her nervous. It was her husband. Bartemius never worked reasonable hours at the ministry. It was always work; work, work, and she feared that by the time he came home, Barty would probably be tucked into bed, asleep.

Indeed, her fears were confirmed as she remained at the dining room table, sipping tea and reading a Muggle book she found rather interesting. A couple hours have passed, and it was nearing midnight. When she looked up, she already knew Barty was fast asleep, and like she thought, he was. His head was bowed forward and his hand still clutched his box of candy. Not wanting her son to suffer a stiff neck, she stood up and approached her sleeping child.

Such a shame. I don’t want to wake him up, but I have to… She thought sadly to herself. She saw the cask of Firewhiskey still sitting on his lap.

“Barty, love.” Elaine whispered, gently shaking her son. Barty groaned and blinked. Looking up, he found his mother kneeling before him, her face sympathetic.

Why does mum seem so…sad? He thought to himself as he reached upward to wipe the sleep from his eyes.

“Is daddy here already? Did I miss him?” He asked as he dropped his hand from his face.

“No Barty.  Your daddy’s not here yet.” Elaine softly whispered, and she watched as her son’s face dropped in disappointment. “But I think it’s time for you to go to bed, regardless.” Again she watched as Barty’s hurt became evident on his face. She felt a sickening pierce in her heart.

“But I wanted to surprise him.” Barty whispered. “I never see him in the daytime. And I hardly see him at night. I wanted it to be special.” Elaine forced herself not to cry in front of her son.

“I know, love.” She replied with a gentle soothing voice. “I know.” Barty then looked up at his mother, tears forming in his eyes as well, but Elaine noticed he too was trying not to cry in front of her.

“Does daddy love me?” He asked. Elaine froze at that question. Of course Bartemius loved him! He did! Barty was his son! Their son! Their only son!

“Well, does he?” Barty asked, causing Elaine to blink. She could see the horror dawning on the young boy’s face.

“He does, Barty.” Elaine finally replied. “He truly does, he just has difficulty showing it.” Barty nodded in acceptance to the answer, but something told Elaine that his little mind was racing and that he wasn’t convinced of her words. “C’mon, bed time.” She said, finally taking his hand. Barty didn’t fight, contrary to what she expected. He just merely obeyed, allowing himself to be pried from his seat. However, he did not give his mother the luxury of walking upstairs with him, hand in hand. He just slouched off, leaving a depressed trailing mood behind him, the Firewhiskey and candy left behind. Sighing, Elaine followed her son upstairs, to find he was climbing into bed, not bothering to change into his pajamas.

“Do you want me to tuck you in?” She offered gently, her hand on the light switch. Barty shook his head as he simply pulled the covers over his head. When he was completely covered by the duvet, Elaine timidly asked, “Do you want the door shut?” There was no answer and the shunning attitude of her son broke her heart. Taking that as a yes, she flicked off the light switch. Her hand on the knob, she was midway through shutting the door when Barty asked in a small voice,

“Why does dad work so late?” Elaine paused, and then re-opened it; the light from the hallway was enough to illuminate her son’s face, which was peeking out from under the blankets.

“I don’t know Barty, but the ministry demands so much from him.” She responded softly. It wasn’t exactly a complete lie, but it was a lie none-the-less. She could see Barty’s head shift up and down in a nod stating he understood.

“It’s not fair.” He whispered. Elaine bit her lip and nodded towards her son.

“I know Barty, I know.”

“I love you, mum.”

“I love you too.” Elaine then shut the door behind her and closed her eyes. Making her way to the staircase, she wondered if she should put away the beverage, empty candy box, and chair to their respective places.

No. Make him see that his son waited for him at the door. Her conscious hissed, and she turned to the kitchen, waving her wand so the lights turned off. If Barty was asleep, and Bartemius wasn’t coming home anytime soon, she might as well go to bed herself. Dressing into her sleeping gown, she slid beneath the covers, but her nagging mind wouldn’t let her sleep.

Around an hour later, she heard the keys to the front door slide into the key hole. She heard the distinguished click of the door. She heard it swing open and gently close. She heard footsteps that belonged to Bartemius Crouch Sr. come up the stairs, and then make their way towards their room. She felt a stab in her heart when she noticed he didn’t even check on Barty. Did he even acknowledge his favorite alcohol sitting before him at the door? She listened as he got ready for bed in the bathroom, the sound of rushing water from the tap. It wasn’t long until someone slid into the bed next to her, and Elaine felt her muscles stiffen.

“You didn’t even check on Barty.” She whispered.

“Why should I, Elaine? The boy’s asleep.” Bartemius answered quietly back. Elaine wanted to smack her husband for his blunt thick-headedness.

“He’s still your son. He was quite upset earlier for you not coming home.”

“I was working.” Bartemius countered back tiredly. Elaine snorted.

“Of course you were. That’s all you ever do.” She huffed.

“So who left me a bottle of Firewhiskey at the door?” Bartemius asked in a sudden interest.

“Your son did.” Elaine hissed.

“Barty?” Bartemius asked in surprise. Elaine sighed.

“He accidentally used my wand in the kitchen and broke your other cask. He felt bad so he wanted to go out and buy you another.”

“He used your wand?” Bartemius growled. Elaine felt her heart sink. Was that the only thing he got out of what she just said?

“He’s five. It’s natural for a child to be curious.” She reasoned. Bartemius grumbled, and Elaine didn’t know what else to say.

“At least stay until he wakes up tomorrow morning. You can only imagine how much that would mean the world to him.” Elaine gently whispered. Bartemius remained silent for a bit.

“I can try.” He finally said. “But there’s a lot to be done in the office tomorrow.” It wasn’t the answer Elaine wanted, but it was still a valid attempt. At least he said try.

“Thank you.” She whispered.

“For you, Elaine. I’ll do it for you.” It was the wrong thing to say. Elaine turned to her side and began to cry. He didn’t mean that. He’s just tired! She thought to herself. But the words echoed in her mind. He was doing it for her. Not Barty. Her.

 

 

Barty Crouch was now ten years old, sitting at the foot of his bed, sketching a picture of three figures sitting on the grass. One was of a wispy woman, smiling, the other was of a female house elf, and the other was of him. There were trees in the background and a lake, the sun looming from above the treetops.

“Barty?” Asked the boy’s mother poking her head from the door frame. Barty Crouch Jr. Looked up at his mother, giving her a smile and held up his sketch pad, proudly. Elaine, who was always elegant with pen and paper had spent the majority of her time teaching her son how to draw, amongst other things, like simple potions and demonstrating her wand work.

Pleased that her son wanted her presence, she walked on into the room, gently taking the sketch book from her son’s hands. A fresh smile broke out on her face as she looked up to her son, whom she was sitting beside.

“This is beautiful Barty.” She whispered, placing a thin arm around him. She kissed the top of his head as he blushed.

“It isn’t that good.” He said in a low voice. Elaine shook her head in disagreement.

“It is so!” She countered back. Not wanting to fight, Barty just shrugged. He did watch however, as his mother frowned, and couldn’t help but wonder what she was disappointed about.

“Barty,” she began slowly. “As lovely as this picture is, where’s your father?”

Bugger.

“Well,” Barty began, uncomfortably prying himself from his mother’s hold. “He’s in those trees. You can’t see him, but if you look close enough, that speck is his elbow jutting out.” Barty decided to take the easy way out, hoping to get a laugh instead of a scold.  He pointed at a reasonable spot in the shaded forest, no speck to be seen. Looking up, he granted his mother a lopsided, wary grin, and felt relief to see his mother slightly smiling back.

“Barty, you horrible boy, draw your father!” Elaine finally laughed, playfully smacking his thighs with the sketchbook, before standing up and kissing the top of his head. Barty chuckled weakly and watched his mom exit the room, the smile never leaving his face. He loved his mother dearly, however as he looked to his picture, he felt his heart sink. The absence of his father in the picture made him feel empty, no more, nor no less than how he felt in reality. It was a shame really. He couldn’t even draw a picture of his father, he felt that alone, saw it that unrealistic.

One more year… Barty thought to himself. One more year and you’ll be in Hogwarts, Barty. There will be professors that would be proud of you just like mother. And maybe father will learn to be proud of you as well.

Barty stared at his picture and began to sketch a figure of a man, sitting beside his mother. He tried to draw him smiling, but he just couldn’t. He could barely recall a time he saw a grin crack upon his father’s face. When he finished, Barty looked at it and felt disgusted, not knowing why. He began to erase the man with all his might, the eraser running short, and it wasn’t long until there was no eraser left at all. Looking back at it, the lingering, ghostly outline of his father stained the sheet, causing Barty to swear under his breath, the colorful language adopted from one of his father’s co-workers that have visited one night for dinner.

In frustration, Barty tore the picture from his notebook, crumpled it into a ball, and threw it as far as he could. He wanted no part of it anymore. Flinging himself onto his back, Barty curled up into a ball. He had no clue why he took his father’s absence deep into heart. He saw him sometimes at dinner, and faintly heard him when he came home, but still, his presence was no better than if he was dead. Barty cringed at the thought.

Don’t say that Barty! He scolded himself. Mum says he loves you. He just has trouble showing it…

Barty wanted to cry. He just wanted his father to beam at him like his mother did, to tell him that he was proud. And though he would never admit it, he ached for his father to tell him he loved him.

He might’ve just given up hope if he only knew that his father would never show him the affection he always craved for…

 

 

“Wand ready?” Elaine asked, as she knelt in front of her son. Barty nodded coolly, as if attending his first day of school was nothing.

“Trunk all set?” She asked in an even softer voice. Barty rolled his eyes.

“School uniform folded, pressed, and clean?” She teased gently, and Barty grinned, enveloping his mother in a hug. He would miss her, but their embrace would be something that would stick with him for the rest of the day at least.

“I’m so proud of you! You’re starting school at last!” His mother joyously whispered, tucking a lock of hair behind his ear. She patted his face gently, before pressing her lips on his forehead. Barty blushed, but didn’t complain.

“Make the Crouch name proud this year.” She said, tucking his hair once again. She gave him a sad smile. “It’s a shame your father couldn’t make it.” Barty’s eyes flashed at the mention of his father.

“I don’t care. I’m sure the office is busy anyway.” He muttered bitterly. Elaine looked at him sympathetically.

“Barty,” She began, and watched her son painfully look away, “He really did want to see you off.” Barty snorted, and Elaine’s shoulders slumped in defeat. “I love you. Promise to owl me?” She whispered pleadingly, changing subject. Barty turned to face his mother and stared, wearing the poker face he learned to perfect over years. The hurt in his mother’s eyes made him regret his appearance of indifference. It wasn’t her fault that his father was an obsessive workaholic.

“I will, and that’s a promise.” Barty felt his heart lift when his mother flashed him a pleased smile. “And you’re right, I am being rather hard on father am I?” he asked, but there was a steely cutting edge to his statement. Elaine’s smile faded, but she drew him in for a hug one last time.

“The whistle will blow shortly, I think its best you run ahead and find a compartment. They get rather full when it’s about time to leave.” Elaine advised, and Barty nodded at his mother’s tip. Bidding the woman goodbye, he clambered aboard the express, settling into an empty compartment not far away. However as he glanced out the window in search of his mother, what he saw made his skin crawl.

A man had just walked out from the magical barrier between the muggle and magical world. His hair looked a little windswept as he smoothened out his suit and tie. Bartemius Crouch Sr. made his way towards his wife, scanning around the platform, searching, most likely for his son.

Barty was torn between running out the train to greet his father, and the choice to press against his seat and sink down; in hope they wouldn’t spot him. Making his decision, he decided to keep himself hidden from his father and avoided exposing himself through the window at all costs. Crouch Sr. didn’t make an effort to come with them earlier, so why did he bother showing up so late? Barty stared hard at his shoes, wishing he understood his father.

The whistle blew, and soon enough, a loud commotion began to echo through the train’s hall. Laughter, and talking pounded at his ear drums, and Barty couldn’t help but feel alone. His mother had told him the train ride to Hogwarts could take a few hours, and they wouldn’t arrive there until dark. It wasn’t that he didn’t like silence. He just didn’t feel comfortable not talking for a long stretch of time. The compartment door then swung open and a young face popped out from the other side.

“Do you mind if I join you?” The boy asked quietly. “Everywhere else is full.” Barty nodded and watched as the boy entered, shutting the door softly behind them. He had long, dark hair the fell neatly onto his shoulders, and soft gray eyes. He had an aristocratic air to him, something that hinted Barty that he came from a sophisticated Pure-blood family. The boy grinned at him, sticking out his hand.

“Regulus Black,” He introduced himself, “first year.” Barty smiled and took the handshake. Perhaps he wouldn’t have to keep to himself for the whole train ride.

“Bartemius Crouch Jr. But do call me Barty.” He watched as Regulus’ eyes widened in shock.

“Your dad, he works at the ministry. Father talks loads about him!” Regulus muttered. Barty rolled his eyes. Talking about his father was the last thing he wanted to do, let alone, it being the first thing he talked about with this new boy.

“So what house are you aiming for?” Barty questioned in hopes the subject would change. Regulus shrugged as if his answer wasn’t anything extraordinary.

“More than likely it’s Slytherin.” Regulus said in nonchalance. “My whole family’s been there. It’s sort of expected.” Barty noticed how the young boy winced at the said explanation.

“Your whole family, you say?” Barty asked in interest. Again, Regulus shrugged.

“My older brother, he’s in his third year now, was sorted into Gryffindor. He broke tradition. It gave mum a heart attack and sent dad choking on his tea when my cousin Narcissa owled them the news. She was always the family gossiper. She’s a seventh year now. But the whole family’s been giving him hell for it, Sirius. The friends he hangs out with seems to get under my family’s skin as well, though I don’t understand why.” Regulus chuckled. “His best mate James seems alright. He sent me some chocolate pudding last Christmas despite the fact he doesn’t even know me yet. Then again, I’m the only one in the family Sirius actually has some bond with. I suppose it was a thank you gift for not giving his best friend hell.”

Time passed and Barty found himself comfortable with his new companion. They talked about their favorite Quidditch teams, compared the Hogwarts houses, what classes might be like, and their families, but Barty was cautious when talking about his father. The compartment door then slid open and Barty watched as a tall, well-built boy prance right in without introduction. The boy’s crude manners would’ve irritated Barty if the boy didn’t sit beside Regulus. It was then did he realize that this must’ve been the tradition breaking Sirius, the brother of his new companion. Sirius stuck out his hand in a confident, friendly manner, earning an eye roll from Regulus.

“Sirius Black.” The eldest Black brother grinned.

“Barty Crouch.” The boys shook hands and Barty watched Sirius lounge in his chair with ease.

“Why aren’t you with your friends?” Regulus finally asked his brother curiously. Sirius shrugged.

“It’s a crime to visit my brother who I probably won’t see all year?” he asked smoothly. Regulus ignored the cutting comment and shook his head.

“Look Reggie, don’t let Narcissa, mother, or father get to your nerves, if you ever need anything, just swing by the Gryffindor common room. I’ll fetch you and let you in.”

“But how will you know?” Regulus asked in disbelief. Sirius’ reckless grin re-emerged from his face as he stood up and winked.

“That’s for me to know, and for you to eventually find out.” Sirius leered and then left the compartment, leaving Barty and Regulus staring at each other, eyebrows quirked upward in wonder.

 

 

Later that night, Barty’s parents sat in the sitting room, sipping their cups of tea as their House Elf, Winky, did the dishes. Elaine was reading her usual book by the crackling fireplace, not bothering to look up and watch as her husband stand up and pace the room.

“I don’t understand.” Bartemius groaned. “The feast must’ve ended an hour or so ago, surely he’d be sorted by now!” The aging man gazed out the window, in hopes that an owl might come flying their direction. Elaine scoffed as she looked up from her reading, a frown of disproval on her face.

“You brought this upon yourself, you know.” She said pointedly. Bartemius blinked, as if he did not clearly hear what she had said. Elaine rolled her eyes.

“Bartemius,” She began in a different approach. “Barty’s just a little sore you didn’t see him off this morning.”

“I tried to be there, Elaine. I truly did!” her husband groaned, running a hand through his greying hair. Elaine waved her hand dismissively, before sympathetically looking up at her husband.

“I know you did dear, but it wasn’t soon enough.”

“I tried—”

“Bartemius,” Elaine cut across him, this time slightly sharper. “Barty will come around. He’ll send an owl tomorrow morning I’m sure, and if not, then after dinner. Just give him time. It hurts him you know.” Bartemius looked up at his wife, questioningly.

“It pains him,” Elaine sighed. Then she shook her head. “No, that isn’t even the root of it. You pain him.” At this, she watched her husband look slightly affronted. Elaine felt instant guilt.

“He just wishes you were there for him.” Elaine whispered. Standing up, she kissed her husband on the cheek before leaving upstairs to go to bed.

The following evening, Barty indeed sent an owl, only it was addressed to his mother without acknowledgement to his dad, who was once again, working overtime. Elaine couldn’t have been more proud. The Crouch family had produced a bright Ravenclaw. And deep inside, Elaine knew Hogwarts was blessed with such an intelligent, sweet young man.

 

 

Two third year boys stood in front of a tight-lipped woman, fuming with fury as she stared down at the delinquents. Sopping wet was Regulus Black and Barty Crouch Jr., their hair drip-drying as water droplets crashed onto the stone floor, goose bumps blanketing their skin from the wet clothes that clung to them.

“Explain!” She barked angrily, nostrils flared. “Explain why you both decided to tackle each other in the lake, and then encourage a mud fight between you and a number of students in the courtyard! Such behavior is preposterous! It’s juvenile!” Barty looked shamefully down at his shoes, while Regulus countered right back.

“Sirius and his friends would do the same thing!”

“Yes, and they would suffer the same consequence as anyone would. Just because I have your brother in my house, does not mean I take advantage and pick favorites!”

“But—”

“Mr. Black, don’t think for one second it would be wise to question my authority. There will be no buts!” Minerva snapped impatiently. Regulus shut his mouth and silently fumed. “And as a result, I will be deducting 25 points from both Slytherin and Ravenclaw. You will serve detention with Filch, mopping the corridors of the school, seeing how you found it so fun to soak in the mud. And as for your soiled uniforms,” their Transfiguration professor broke off, eyeing their mud-splattered uniforms with distaste. “It will be your responsibility to clean them yourselves, washing them the Muggle way.”

Both boys groaned in displeasure, as Minerva scoffed at their complaints. “You are both dismissed.” She shooed them off, and as the boys spun on their heels, she called out to them, “Bear in mind, your parents will be notified of this.”

Bloody hell.

 

 

Barty toyed with his food, pushing around the broccoli in his plate. He was wearing clean clothes now, and had been, since the rough-housing incident that afternoon, but he couldn’t help but dread detention with Filch…and his horrid cat. Soon then there were three owls that came swooping in, all three of them separating to three different house tables; Slytherin, Gryffindor, and Ravenclaw. Barty swallowed and licked his dry lips as he noticed that the owl coming towards Ravenclaw house was an owl from the ministry postal room…an owl his father quite enjoyed using.

Flying above him, a smoldering letter was dropped in his mashed potatoes, causing Barty to groan with dread. So his father was going to humiliate him now, over something so little?

“I’d open it if I were you. It’ll tell you off, anyway.” one of Barty’s classmates whispered at him, noticing Barty’s reluctance to even touch the damn thing. Barty scowled at the boy.

“I know very well what it is and what its purpose serves, thank you!” Barty snapped as he picked up the letter, its seal still smoldering.  Ripping it open, he shut his eyes tightly for the worst.

BARTEMIUS CROUCH JR!

HOW DARE YOU HUMILIATE ME LIKE THAT! AND TO THINK YOUR MOTHER AND I HAD RAISED YOU BETTER! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO BECOME MINISTER, TO SET AN EXAMPLE FOR A SOCIETY WHEN MY SON IS WREACKING HAVOC IN SCHOOL! THAT WAS SELFISH OF YOU, BARTEMIUS, AND I AM VERY ASHAMED! IT WAS JUVENILE.

AND YOUR MOTHER—SHE BEGGED ME TO NOT SEND YOU THIS, AND SHE ALMOST HAD ME CONVINCED WELL, BUT I COULDN’T LET YOUR WRONGDOING GO! YOU’RE TURNING INTO A YOUNG MAN, BARTEMIUS!

YOU ARE NOT A CHILD ANYMORE! LIFE ISN’T ABOUT FUN AND GAMES! YOU ARE AT SCHOOL TO LEARN AND EDUCATE YOURSELF—TO FOLLOW IN MY FOOTSTEPS AND BECOME AS SUCCESSFUL AS I HAVE EVER BEEN OR IMAGINED, TO BECOME A GREATER MAN, WITH THE TALENT AND ABILITIES YOU RETAIN. I DO NOT APPROVE OF THE ACT OF CHILDISH PLAY YOU HAVE PROVEN TO STILL POSSESS, BARTEMIUS. IT DISSAPOINTS ME GREATLY THAT THIS IS HOW YOU WASTE YOUR FREE TIME—WRESTLING BOYS IN A LAKE! IT’S A SCANDAL!

IF I HEAR FROM ANOTHER PROFESSOR ANY INCEDENCES ALIKE THIS HAPPENING ANYMORE, I WILL ARRANGE APPROPRIATE  MEASURES THIS SUMMER, WHETHER THAT BE CONFISCATING YOUR BROOM, OR FORBIDDING YOU FROM ANY CONTACT WITH FRIENDS FOR A MEASURED AMOUNT OF TIME.

YOUR FATHER,

BARTEMIUS CROUCH SR.

p.s.; your mother sends her great love…

With that, the envelope began to burn and tear itself up. Barty could hear the shredding of the parchment, and smell the scent of smoke. He was shaking, shaking from the humiliation, shaking from the bubbling rage inside.

How dare his father question his maturity? How dare he scold him like a child? How dare he bring his precious occupational position into this, when it has nothing to do with anything at all? And how dare he question what he did in school?

Was it that bad a crime, to have a little fun in his life? He studied hard, everyone knew that. Everyone knew that the best in his year was him, so didn’t he deserve to relax and enjoy what youth he had left? Yes, he wrestled with Regulus, tumbling into the lake, but only because the silly prat had teasingly splashed him first. And yes, it turned into a mud-fight fiasco, but no one got hurt, and everyone involved had fun. It was a hot and mucky day. Who wouldn’t have joined?

As Barty boiled inside, he can hear the enraged screams of Mrs. Black, lecturing both of her sons who sat at opposite sides of the Great Hall.

“—HOW CAN YOU REGULUS? HOW CAN YOU TAINT THE FAMILY’S NAME? I EXPECT SO MUCH OUT OF YOU, MY ONLY SON, SEEING HOW I MUST’VE DROPPED THE OTHER ONE ON HIS HEAD WHEN HE WAS BORN!” Regulus was flinching at his mother’s words, and Barty could feel his best friend’s growing terror and shame.

“—YOU FILTHY BLOOD-TRAITOR! YOU SOILED MY SON! HE DIDN’T NEED YOU CORRUPTING HIS MIND, YOU LOUSY, GOOD-FOR-NOTHING…GAH! STAY AWAY FROM REGULUS, YOU HEAR ME, SIRIUS ORION BLACK! STAY. AWAY!” Through his squinted eyes, Barty could see the color draining from the face of Sirius Black, his best friend’s brother. He could feel the radiating rage bubbling up inside the 15 year old’s body, and it wouldn’t surprise him much if the Hogwarts popular heart breaker ended up having a shouting match with the howler. Though he didn’t talk much to the eldest of boys, Barty could establish one thing he had in common with Sirius—they both hated at least one of their parents with a burning passion.

 

 

“Oh Barty, this is wonderful!” Elaine cried out in joy, taking the parchment her son was holding into her own hands. “A prefect, you’ve been assigned as prefect! This is more than wonderful, darling.” She looked up to her son who was still standing beside her, and gave him a beam of pride.

“Prefect, eh?” Crouch Sr. asked from behind his issue of The Daily Prophet. His wife and son looked over at him, surprised that he was actually following what was being said. “Congratulations, Junior.” Bartemius folded the newspaper and placed it down on the table before giving his son a rare, small smile of appreciation.

“Er, thanks?” Barty said in a questioning tone. His father barely ever spoke to him, and when he did, it was always about ambitions and school…

“What would be better, however, is if you get that Head Boy badge. That would be impressive.” Bartemius added on, before reaching over to his coffee. As he sipped it, Elaine’s smile faded, and Barty’s heart sank.

He was still not good enough.

“Well, I’ve got to get to work. I suppose I’ll see you both later, if you aren’t both in bed by then.” Bartemius Sr. announced, as he stood up from his chair and grabbed his coat that was hanging behind him.

“I’ll see you off,” Elaine said quickly, her eyes darting to her son for a brief second, noting how vacant his expression was. Following her husband out the door, Barty stood alone in the kitchen, still stung by his father’s nonchalant words.

“Ready to go to Diagon Alley?” Elaine asked when she returned. She stood beside her son, an arm around his shoulders. She couldn’t help but note how tall he was getting.

“At this time in the morning?” Barty asked, quite taken back at how early they were going to go shopping for school supplies. Elaine gave him a motherly smile before pushing a lock of his hair behind his ear and patting him on the cheek.

“Well, you’ve got to have a reward for your achievements, don’t you?” Elaine asked, and Barty grinned.

“Can I have a new broom then?” Barty asked hopefully. Elaine graced him a bright beam.

“Of course, Barty.” She said and gave him a swift hug before going upstairs to get ready. However, as Barty watched her leave, she spun around and gave him a sympathetic smile.

“And don’t mind your father.” She said gently. “Him wanting you to be Head Boy is his way of saying he’s proud of you.” At that, Barty snorted. He decided that he wasn’t going to let his father’s stupid comment bother him or bring him down. Elaine’s smile of sympathy vanished as her expression became somber.

“He loves you, you know. He just—”

“Has trouble showing it. I know mum, I’ve heard you say it before. I’ve been listening to it for years.” Bart said indifferently, waving his hand in a dismissive fashion.

“Yes, Barty. And understand that it’s true.” Elaine responded in a quiet whisper. Barty eyed his mother in defiance.

“I’ve tried to understand, mum. But honestly, I think it’s about time I’ve given up!” Barty snapped, and then wished he could take back his words after seeing his mother flinch. Never had he used a hard, cutting, bitter edge to his tone whenever he spoke to her directly. Mother and son stared at each other from opposite ends of the room, silence in the gap between them.

“You’re father does love you.” Elaine finally whispered. “And whether you see it or not, it’s on you, but I know your father, and I know what I say is true. He loves you, probably more than you’ll ever know.” With that that, she quietly left the dining room, and Barty could swear that he heard her cry.

 

 

“You should talk to him.” Elaine said, sipping a mug of indulgent hot-chocolate, as she eyed her husband seriously. Barty, who was home for the holidays, was flipping through the pages of an intriguing book he had received as an early Christmas present from Regulus before they had left Hogwarts.  Introduction to the Dark Arts and its History Through the Ages was printed on its rusty colored cover in a thin, spidery font. Despite its silly looking covering, Barty found its information rather enticing. And the gruesome illustrations captured his appeal.

“I don’t know Elaine.” Bartemius licked his lips as he pushed his coffee aside. “We don’t really talk, you know that, right? Last time I spoke to him, was about that prefect’s badge. I haven’t got a clue why he’s chosen to ignore me since.” Elaine looked at him pointedly.

“It’s your own fault you don’t know your own son!” she snapped accusingly. “He spent years trying to get to know you; I don’t blame him for giving up. You on the other hand, have no excuse!” She scoffed before returning to her drink. Bartemius sighed. She was right of course. Elaine was always right. She sniffed.

“Besides, it’s coming closer to Christmas. The holidays are about family. I’m getting quite tired of being the median, tending to one half of the family, and then tending to the next. You split this household Bartemius. I can’t fix it. I can only help so much.”

“Then what do you suppose I do, Elaine?” His wife shrugged.

“Take him for a walk. Try and talk to him.” Bartemius raised an eyebrow.

“And if it doesn’t work?”

“Merlin’s Y-Front, Bartemius!” Elaine shrieked. “He’s your son!” she hissed quietly. Bartemius then nodded, in hopes that Elaine would settle down. All of a sudden, Elaine began to cough violently. She had been getting sicker these past few months. Her sickness would always come and go, only to come back stronger each time.

“Are you sure you don’t need me here?” Bartemius asked softly, and Elaine shot him a piercing look. In surrender, Bartemius nodded again and made his way towards the stairs.

Barty heard the sound of footsteps, and hurriedly, he slammed the book shut, sliding it deep under his bed. Getting comfortable, he flung himself on his back, staring up at the ceiling as if daydreaming. No one was to hear or find out what he was studying. It wasn’t a subject that one would normally study.

As the door opened, Barty turned to face who had stepped into his room. He already knew it was his father of course. His mother was too small and light to have that heavy of footsteps. Sitting up, he sat cross-legged on the bed; nodding in acknowledgement to the man he was named after.

“Father,” he said coolly.

“Bartemius.” The man nervously echoed back. Barty smirked as he watched his father uneasily transfer his gaze to the bookshelf at the other side of the room. It was no doubt his mother had put his father up to this.

“So,” Barty casually started. “Does mother need me downstairs?” His face slipped on his perfect poker face mask when his father returned his gaze back to him.

“No, she doesn’t Barty. I was just wondering, whether you’d like to grab your coat and walk with me outside.”

Barty was startled by his father’s preposition, but none-the-less; he kept the cool and indifferent charade.

“I’d love to.” Barty said diplomatically, and grinned as his father blinked at him, a confused look on his face. His smile widened as he watched his father scratch the back of his neck fretfully. Sliding off the bed, he grabbed his coat that sat on top of his desk and slipped into his pair of shoes.

“I’m ready when you are father.” He said, keeping his tone smooth. Bartemius nodded awkwardly and shuffled nervously out his son’s bedroom.

“Of course, of course.”

Barty laughed inwardly at his father’s expense.

Silly old sod.

Crossing his arms, he couldn’t help but smirk at his father fumble with his shoes.

Not feeling so powerful no, eh father?

Barty snidely thought to himself. When his father straightened up to face him, Bart wiped the smirk off his face and nodded.

Following his father out into the street, he looked around at the houses; their roofs were topped with snow, like icing on a wedding cake.

Barty loved winter. He loved the chill to it, how when you ran, it left you breathless as the air froze your lungs. He loved the snow, the feel of it. The soft cold, yet somewhat grainy texture. It was tasteless and harmless, yet so beautiful…

Barty cut himself off the thoughts of winter. He sounded just as bad as those Muggle poets.

“So, what did you want to talk to me about?” Barty asked as he walked in synch with his father. Bartemius stayed silent, focusing on the icy roads.

“How’s school going?” He finally asked. Barty let out a laugh. A cold, bitter laugh. Of course, his father would ask that...

“It’s fine father.  I’m doing rather well. Actually, far better than well. Did you know that I’m at the top of my class? That I’ve been put on advanced material, because I exceed over my peers and find it dreadfully boring having to slow down and wait?” He laughed again. “Tell me father, does my grades make you proud?”

Bartemius ignored the taunting comment that contained hidden hurt. He also ignored Barty’s bitterness that lurked horribly in his laughter.

“I suppose this is all new to you, eh, father?” Barty whispered coldly. Bartemius remained silent. “Prefect, I bet you never saw that one coming.” Barty coldly chuckled again.

“So,” Bartemius tried, regaining composure, nervously licking his lips. “Do you have any clue what you want to do after school?” At this, Barty laughed again. So much bitterness…

“Your questions amuse me, father.” Barty said, after his laughter came to an end. “No. I don’t plan on working at the Ministry. I plan to stay as far from it as possible. I want no part of it in the near future.” From the corner of his eyes, Barty enjoyed watching his father flinch.

I have no intentions of working for you…

“I plan on working with a small community of people. I’ve, uh, come across a well-organized group of men and women. It serves on behalf of the Wizarding society as a whole, starting with one wizard at a time.” Barty turned to his father and grinned manically.

“Well, that’s nice to know that at least you have some plan in mind, Barty.” Bartemius said, not knowing what else to say. Barty’s grin widened even more.

“Yes, it is, isn’t it? And once we grow big enough as an association, we’ll hopefully begin to participate and work with the Ministry. Hopefully father, if all goes well, both the government and our commission will be able to work hand-in-hand, transforming the whole wizarding world.”

By taking over and taking full control…Mudbloods will be no more. And Voldemort. Well father, just say goodbye to your hopes of being Minister…

Bartemius nodded, registering his son’s words.

“Well, I’m glad that you’re into diplomatic contributions and politics, son.” Bartemius said. “With a young profile, and intelligence like yours, I’m sure you’ll capture the Ministry’s attention.”

Oh, father. You silly sod. You have no clue…

 

 

He failed his master. He failed him terribly, and now Barty Crouch Jr. was left to rot in this frozen hell. He could hear the cackling of Bellatrix up above, and some cells away, he could hear the Lestrange brothers brooding in the depths of their own cages. Barty felt empty. Alone. Isolated. And his master…his master had vanished. But there was no doubt that he would return, and when he did, Barty would be waiting for him. Waiting for his beloved master to set him free.

But his father! His wretched father! He knew his so called father was humiliated and ashamed of him, but for him to hold a trial against him just like that? A public trial to disown his own son. No father would ever do that to their offspring, no matter how angered they were towards them! Not a father that loved their kids, anyway.

His hatred for his father began to bubble from his gut. The stupid man, the nerve he had! How could he?

He remembered begging at the courtroom. Pleading his father, beseeching the man to let him go. He remember his mother, sobbing for him, the way her shoulders shook from grief. It was the first time he had seen her in a while, and she had looked so frail. So weak. He remembered begging her as well, but she couldn’t stop crying…

“I hate you.” Barty growled, not knowing why he was saying this aloud. He was alone. In a cell. By himself.

To hell with it. Let them think I’m mad. He thought to himself as he began to pace.

Barty Crouch Jr. did not let go of his emotions quietly. For the next few days, Azkaban echoed of screams from the angered young man. Begging for his mother. Yelling obscenities pointed to his father. And when the wind blew into the cells, they carried the whispers of the man’s prayers towards his master.

 

 

It had been a year, and under his shabby, thin, ragged prison attire, Barty Crouch Jr. shivered. He ran his bony fingers through his matted, knotted hair. From his scalp, he let his fingertips graze his unshaven face. The prickly shadow on his cheeks and chin was uncomfortable and disgusting at the touch. Never had he felt so beneath society. Like dirt. Was this how he was supposed to live the rest of his life? Just wasting slowly away? Barty shivered again. Perhaps being dead was better than this…

Closing his eyes, he tried to picture walking through a sunny field of…strawberries. Yes, strawberries were nice. He smiled at the thought. They were his mother’s favorite fruit, and he recalled to his younger days how they would sit out in the front lawn and snack on a bowl of strawberries, watching the butterflies float from flower to flower.

His mother…He remembered how younger she looked back then, despite being a bit wispy. The sun made her blonde hair gleam, brighter than the sunflowers. She loved him. Treasured him.  Spoiled him with all the attention, giving him the focus of both parents, not just the focus of a mother. And as he remembered his mother, a pit formed in his stomach. He remembered how sicker his mother started becoming. It was gradual, but it was still sickness. Was she getting any better? How was she? Did his stupid father take time off work to take care of her? Or was work that important, so important that his wife didn’t matter?

“I miss you, mum.” Barty whispered to himself, remembering his younger mother from his childhood. He barely noticed his cell softly open. The winds were probably playing noises on him anyway. “I miss you so much.”

“I missed you too darling,” said a soft, angelic voice. Barty almost cried at that. He just heard his mother speak back to him! He could’ve sworn it!

Wait, was he dead?

“I wish I was with you mum, I need you.” He whimpered softly. He felt a weight come beside him, but he kept his eyes closed. A year in Azkaban does things to you. A year in Azkaban, and you’ll lose your mind. He felt an arm wrap around his shoulders. They were thin and bony, but none-the-less, warm, and familiarly comforting.

“Open your eyes, sweetheart.” A voice whispered in his ear. Opening them liked the voice asked; he turned to look beside him, only to jump at the sight. Staring back at him was the remaining ghostly figure of his mother. Her hair was thin, her eyes were sunken. She had a gaunt face, her skin a sickly white. Her eyes were hollowing out, as if there wasn’t much life to them left. But whatever that was left in her eyes, Barty knew it was love.

“Mother,” he croaked, not knowing what else to say. His mother took a finger and pressed it up to his lips. Barty could feel her fingers were nothing but bone. Seeing his mother this way killed him. She looked so close to dying. What was she doing in Azkaban? He let a tear trickle down his face.

“Now Barty,” She rasped, with the most motherly voice she could muster. “Don’t cry for me love. I’ve come to free you.”

“Free me?” Barty asked with his voice cracking. He felt so confused. He watched his mother nod solemnly.

“Yes, Barty, sweetheart. I’m going to free you. I can’t let you waste away. Not here, and not now. You’re too young. You still have so much life ahead of you. It isn’t fair for you, my dear. It had ached me, for me to sit in a comfortable bed when I’m dying anyways, while you are here, in this horrid place.

“Mother,” Barty croaked. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll manage.”

“Oh Barty, don’t say such nonsense! You have my blessings, love. You always have.” Barty could see the limpid tears trailing down his mother’s face. “I’m freeing you, my dear son. I’ve let you out free into this world, and I want you to know, I’ll do it again.”

“But how?” Barty whispered. He watched as his mother turn to face a shadowed figure by the cell door, a figure Barty failed to notice before. Elaine nodded, and the shadowed figure hurried beside his ill wife. From one of the pockets inside his coat, Bartemius Crouch Sr. pulled out two vials of potion.

“Polyjuice potion…” Barty mouthed, not even acknowledging his father’s presence. And then suddenly everything clunked into place. “Mother you can’t!” He yelped weakly, jumping up from his cot. “I won’t let you. Please, no. I couldn’t. I can’t!” He turned to face his mother who was crying, her frail, shaking hands clutching both vials. Barty wished his mother would just drop them and have them crash onto the stone floor.

“But Barty,” His mother whispered. “I’m willing to. I was so miserable, knowing you were here, but I’m willing to make this sacrifice if it means you’ll walk free. Please Barty. As a final wish from your dying mother? Don’t waste this chance.” Elaine implored her son, the tears freely flowing.

“I—” Barty’s voice broke. Should he do this?

“I will.” And with that, they took the vials of Polyjuice and drank. The taste was pleasant, and Barty noted how it tasted of wild-strawberries and vanilla. It didn’t surprise him. His mother was the most loving person he was given the grace to know. When he turned around, he found his mother sitting there, in the figure of himself. Barty couldn’t help but flinch.

Did he really look that bad?

“You both should go now,” Elaine whispered, and Barty looked at his mother, as if he was about to grab her hand and pull her along as well. Elaine shook her head.

“This is your chance Barty, use it well.” She whispered, and Barty nodded, feeling the tears sting in his eyes. He felt the rough hands of his father drag him out the cell and shut the barred door behind him.

“I love you, and I’ll be there right beside you always, my dear son.” He heard his mother softly whisper. And underneath the face of himself on his mother, he could see the once youthful woman she was, sadly smiling up at him.

“I love you too mum.” He whispered, allowing his fingers to stretch through the bars as if he could touch her hand, but his father once again dragged him away. From the corner of his eyes, he could see the tears threatening to fall Bartemius Crouch Sr.’s eyes, and suddenly freedom didn’t seem so sweet anymore. It tasted bitter and revolting, making him sick to his stomach.

I just left my mother to die in a cage, alone by herself, with no one to mourn her…

 

 
“Junior, please don’t this. You wouldn’t do this. I’m your father!” Bartemius Sr. pleaded at his son’s feet.

Don’t call me Junior… Barty kicked his broken father with contempt.

“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t.” Barty snarled. “Give me one good reason why I should value the thought of you living.”

“I’m your father,” Bartemius groaned.

“I WAS DEAD TO YOU!” Barty shouted. “ALL I WANTED WAS YOUR PRIDE, YOUR LOVE. BUT I WAS NOTHING. NOTHING!”

“Junior, you mean the world to me.” Bartemius Sr. rasped, his crumpled figure oddly disfigured on the ground.

Don’t call me Junior… Barty raised his wand at his father’s chest, his eyes wildly locked into the man he loathed. The man that publically disowned him. The man that locked him up in Azkaban. The man that had him imprisoned under the Imperious curse for thirteen years. The sodding man he was named after…

And now was the time to clean his slate. To get rid of the man that viewed him as a burden. But could he do it was the question. Barty licked his lips as sweat dribbled down his forehead and dripped from his nose tip. This was his father. The man that helped bring him into this world, into this life.

But he never valued your presence…

The man who brought him his first broomstick.

But he never attended a single Quidditch game.

The man that freed him from Azkaban.

No, that was your mother. Your father was just accompanying her. Mother never gave him a choice. He agreed for her, not for you…

“Junior…” Bartemius Sr. croaked, lifting his head, wincing in pain, and at that, Barty caved, and a flash of green light hit the older man’s chest. The man’s head fell with a thud onto the grass and Barty felt the soft wind of the Forbidden Forest caress the back of his neck.

And now he’ll never call you Junior again…

 
 

 Barty Crouch Jr. can feel the icy cold presence of the Dementors surround him. Every memory passed, both good and bad, and as he clung to the last of his soul, he couldn’t help but wonder if all the hell he had gone through was worth it.

My master lives… was one of the last thoughts to even pass his mind as he listened to the enraged cries of Minerva McGonagall chew out Cornelius Fudge. Out of desperation and hysteria, Barty let out a maniac laugh.

I guess I might just see father in hell…

In the end, his decision was final as the Dementor unlatched itself from its victim. The body of Barty Crouch Jr. was frozen still, his chest rising, his eyes staring, but they weren’t seeing. Nothing was left but an empty shell, a ghost of his maniac smile still stitched upon his vacant face.

 

 

Author’s note:

REVISED:  March 3, 2013

So here’s the “newer” version of ‘Shadow’. After re-reading my first version of it, I decided that I focused more upon Barty’s younger years versus when he was an adult, so I decided to add the part when he killed Crouch Sr. I also wanted to add in the part in which he filled as an imposter of Moody, but after much self-debate, I figured it wouldn’t follow the general story line of the idea, which is focused upon the conflicting relationship between Barty and his father.

Now, I would like to point out the slight fluffiness of Barty in the beginning—seeing how he’s a child, lived in a Dark Arts clean home, and had a mother love him dearly, I think it’s safe to say that he was rather innocent. I know it’s hard to imagine a Death Eater being innocent, but I don’t think he lived a morbid home life—unlike let’s say, the Blacks (*cough* Bellatrix *cough*) and the Malfoys (*cough* Lucius *cough*.

Personally, I do think that if Bartemius Crouch Sr. showed more affection for his son, I don’t think that Barty would’ve joined the Dark forces. I think Barty just longed for a father figure in his life, which he found in Voldemort, hence his undying loyalty to him—a loyalty that can only be matched with Bellatrix’s. Also, I think that Barty was just fed up with his father after a while, and decided to rebel. I dunno. It’s been a while since I read Goblet of Fire, but it was quoted by Sirius that Crouch could’ve stayed at home more, than just exerting all his energy and time at the Ministry.

As for Barty becoming a Death Eater, I found 15 to be a reasonable age. I don’t think him being sucked into the Dark Arts would’ve been an immediate decision. Eleven would be extremely too young, thirteen is still an innocent age, but 17 is a bit too late. I think it was more of a gradual stage in his life, as he began to be more withdrawn from his father and becoming closer to Regulus, I thought 15 was where his interest in joining the Death Eaters would begin. 16 was also a debatable age, but then I thought back to Harry’s fifth year, and he was 15 when he expressed a sudden desire in joining the Order. So 15 it was.

Barty, I always imagined being a Ravenclaw. Though he would’ve done well in Slytherin, Ravenclaw feels right for him. I don’t think all bad wizards go into Slytherin—I think they’re capable of landing themselves anywhere. Look at Pettigrew. Look at Zacharias Smith, the arrogant bloke that questioned Harry in his 5th year. The annoying one—he was in Hufflepuff. So just in case a reader doesn’t understand why I placed Barty in Ravenclaw, not Slytherin, there’s my reason. I also believe that Barty was highly intelligent. To be able to delude Dumbledore for so long into being Mad Eye is impressive, even if it was through the use of Polyjuice potion.

As for Bartemius Crouch Sr., I do believe he loved his son. He just wasn’t very good at showing it. If he truly did love his wife more than his son, he would be selfish and refuse to let his wife talk him into the switch. A father breaking a son he doesn’t love free from Azkaban? That doesn’t make sense. There’s some love in there, even if it’s masked by great disappointment. What Bartemius did would’ve cost him his job and might even land him in Azkaban. Though his wife’s sacrifice was far more obvious, Bartemius sacrificed as well, in a more subtle way, and though he used the imperious curse on his son, he did what he thought was right—he’s still human, he’s prone to make mistakes.

I’ve enjoyed writing this one-shot, it was fun, writing Barty, a character I wasn’t wholly familiar with. In fact, Barty is one of my favorite Death Eaters, second to Bellatrix. Be sure to keep an eye out by the way, for a new one shot called Protégé. It’s a Bellatrix and Barty story, and though I can’t promise that it’s a Barty-trix, dark romance sort of deal, I will say that it is dark and slightly morbid.
 
 




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