Chapter 1 : Periphery
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You scamper over to father’s office, conveniently forgetting the fact he never allows you to be in there. He does not wish to be disturbed, your mother constantly repeats. She says it to you so often you begin to wonder whether she says anything else. The door is pushed open, no caution taken.
“Father, father, there’s a quidditch match on this weekend. The Wimbourne Wasps are playing! Will you take me?” you ask anxiously. You know his answer, but there’s still the hope that he may say yes. He is your father, after all.
“Barty, how many times have I told you?” Your father glares at you when asking this. You are only a boy of eight years old. You cannot understand why he is glaring.
“Told me what, Father?”
“To stay out of my office,” he snarls. “Now get out. I have no time for you; can’t you see that I’m busy?”
You look around and see that his desk is high with papers. It looks like the tower of cards Winky sometimes builds for you to knock down. It doesn’t look like work, you ponder. You pause for a moment longer, gazing around this room you're banned from. You think it's wonderful here.
“Did you not hear me? I have work to be getting on with, Barty. Get out now!” your father shouts at you and begins waving his arms around to motion you out. You understand this time round and quickly run out of the room. Not to your mother. She doesn’t understand. She will just say you shouldn’t have disturbed him. You run to Winky. The only person who does.
It's your first day at Hogwarts. Your mother accompanies you to Kings Cross. Your father didn’t even say goodbye this morning. Your mother says it’s because of the war. You don’t know what war they are talking about. Everything at home is fine. Father is away more and more, but him being in the house is considered odd rather than him being out of it.
On the rare outings outside of the house you don’t see anything strange. It's only now that you are at the station that you begin to notice something’s different. There are whispers. The whispers follow you as you walk down the platform. They almost make you trip up out of fear. Your mother tuts at you; she talks about you ruining your clothes, but she’s oblivious to the whispers.
Your mother hugs you tightly before you board the train, saying she’ll write once a week, more if you want her to. She says she’ll miss you, and you know it’s true because you’ll miss her too.
It’s only when you are walking down the train attempting to find a compartment, that you realise why the people were whispering. A band of boys, clad in black and green, accost you when you are down the far end of the carriage.
“If it isn’t Barty Crouch,” one of the bigger ones states. He sneers at you, and the other boys begin to snigger.
“How do you know my name?” Your hands have begun to tremble, and you pray that they don’t notice them.
“Who doesn’t know your name? Everyone knows your father. He’s put a lot of people in Azkaban, and we’re not happy with it. Do you know what that means, Crouch?” the big one asks you. You’ve only heard of Azkaban through muttered conversations your father’s had with your mother. They always stop talking when they notice you standing there.
“No,” you say hesitantly. Your knees have now begun to tremble too. Luckily your robes can hide it this time round.
“Well, if we have it our way the Dark Lord will win, and your father will end up in there instead. You tell him he had better watch his back. You should watch your own one too, mind.” With one final smirk, the boys soon disperse leaving you on your own. You don’t understand. You know your father isn’t always that nice, but you didn’t think others thought the same.
You’re in fourth year. You have spent another Christmas holiday at home with your mother and Winky. Your father makes one brief appearance. He doesn’t inquire about anything. He talks at you, not to you. He tells you to stop talking to so many Slytherins; he doesn’t think it is very wise to do so.
You’re braver now and try to stand up to him. You ask him why you shouldn’t. He tells you not to be impertinent and then leaves. You haven’t heard him from since. You don’t miss him much. You barely know him, so how can you? He’s a stranger to you like you are to him.
The Slytherins who accosted you in your first year have long stopped doing so. You began retaliating against them too, screaming insults at your father. You think of how he hurt you, how he ignored you, how he never cared about you and that powers you on. They soon learnt that you spoke the truth. You are on the periphery of them now. Still undecided whether to be united in your hatred or to remain as foes.
You aren’t entirely sure whether you hate your father. He is your father, after all. You secretly wish that he’ll take you to that Wimbourne Wasps match, or any match for that matter. You know wishing in this case is futile but you can’t help but you hope that one day, when you need him, he will be there for you.
It’s seventh year. You haven’t spoken to your father in more than a year. He sends messages through your mother about how he loves you, misses you, wants to see you. You doubt that they’re true. He’s never shown affection towards you, so why begin now? You’ve almost given up on him. The glimmer of hope is going.
You’ve formed new allegiances. They are honest people, true people, people who want to be you with you. They have spoken of this group. The Death Eaters. They want to join, some actually have. Regulus, Severus, Avery. They have left and joined. They are united with the mark. They are wanted. Their love for the Dark Lord doesn’t go unnoticed unlike your love for your father.
They’ve told you the truth about your father. He is just as bad as the Dark Lord. They both use unforgivables, so what’s the difference between them? At least the Dark Lord’s fighting for a cause, what he does is necessary. They say your father’s doing it because he’s power hungry, driven, lost in ambition. You realise that it’s true; your father is all those things and more. He’s in the wrong.
You think you've made up your mind. You are going to join. You tell no one. The word may get to your father. He would try to stop you, perhaps even be successful in his attempts. You will not be stopped. You know this is the right thing; they strive for the greater good. Your father doesn’t even do that for his own family.
The Dark Lord is intrigued by you. He lets out a laugh when you tell him who you are. He talks about the irony. He mentions how fathers have a pattern of being failures. You nod at the correct times. He says he wouldn’t normally let someone like you join, but for once he will make an exception.
He says that you are different; he says that you will never betray him. This belief he has in you makes you agree with what he says. He believes in you. Dare you say it, perhaps even trusts you. Your father never trusted you. He never trusted you in his office, or who you were friends with. He never gave any inkling he believed in you. It makes you wonder whether he ever loved you.
You barely know the Dark Lord but you feel closer to him than you do to your father. You listen to the sound of his soothing voice as he reels off his monologue; it provides a form of comfort your father never did.
He suddenly snaps, “Hold out your arm.” You realise this is the moment. The moment. You’re going to be branded. You’re not scared. You’re not being branded because you are different, but because you are included in something. You like the idea of being included. The idea brings on such a sense of calm that you barely even feel pain when his wand touches your arm.
You admire the beauty of it. The dark mark. It shows you are part of a select group. His select group. You smile at him. He scowls at you in return and quickly shoos you out. You scurry out of the room, eager to please him. He has given you a place, and you don’t want it to be taken from you.
You have witnessed others do it, and now it's your turn. The victim is a man asleep on the streets, inebriated with alcohol no doubt. They tell you he won’t feel the pain, he’s a mere muggle, he doesn’t matter. Their assurances do nothing to calm your fears.
Your hand is shaking as it dangles in the air. It has been raised for several minutes now. Each minute being filled with more doubt and more fear. You don’t want to do it. You can’t do it. You can’t kill a person. The others begin jeering at you, laughing at you, teasing you. It’s as if you’re a first year again, and they're ganging up on you. You don’t want to kill him.
You’re almost about to refuse to do it when your father’s face flashes in your eyes. He was the cause of the jeering long ago, and he still is today. He caused this to happen. He caused other people’s deaths to happen. He is just as bad as you will be if you do it, if not worse. He cannot be ashamed of you if you do it. He has done the same.
Thinking of him powers you on. You raise your wand more steadily now. You say the incantation in your head before doing it. You want this to be quick for both you and the victim. The wand is high in the air now. You stutter it out, and with a flash of green he is gone. He didn’t even realise that he was going to die.
You are numb. Shaking. Their words of congratulations mean nothing to you. Nothing can penetrate into you. The flash of green is frozen in your mind. You follow their woops and cheers not knowing where you are going. Not caring either. You want to get away from him and wipe away the memory.
The next time you see the Dark Lord is the morning after his defeat. This time, it’s his face branded everywhere, not the mark. You’re shocked at first for he is the Dark Lord. The one who was believed to be unconquerable. Now, he’s just a mere human like you. You’re not saddened by his death; the only feeling other than shock is a little relief.
The feeling of comfort and inclusion he once provided you with had begun to fade a while ago. It was the muggle man who caused this, you think. He showed that you weren’t ready for this, not yet and, maybe, not ever. You still admired the Dark Lord, but you knew you had to leave. So you bided your time until the moment struck, still staying close to all of them until the clock hit twelve. You didn't want the fall out to happen too soon, it would have been too dangerous, but now it has. The wait has paid off.
An odd feeling has taken over you with the news of his death. You want to see him. Your father.
Perhaps he will be changed by the Dark Lord’s defeat. Perhaps he will want to see you. The only way to find out is by going there. You plan to do it in a few weeks; he needs time to recover from the war, you reason. He will be ready then. Or so you hope. You wait anxiously, counting down the weeks, days, hours, minutes.
Waiting is proved to be a bad idea. Two weeks, three days, six hours and twelve minutes until you were meant to see your father, Bellatrix arrives. She storms into your flat, cursing the door down on her entry. She sees you moping around, doing nothing, and she mistakes it for grief for the Dark Lord. For you, it's impatience to see him.
You're surprised to see her. You didn’t think she even knew who you were, let alone where you lived. She begins reeling off a monologue as soon as she walks in, rather like the Dark Lord. This isn’t a comforting one though, this is one fuelled by anger.
You pay little attention to her. Nodding when appropriate. She is saying something about avenging the Dark Lord’s death. She wants to find him. You don’t think that’s possible. After all, he is dead. She says you must help her in her quest. There are only a few of you left, and if you want great glory you will take part.
She tells you to meet her and others outside the Longbottoms’ house next week. She’ll talk to them about it; according to her, they knew where he is. For some reason, you don’t think that she’ll be able to keep to her idea of just talking to them. It’s too unlike her. You decide not to question it further. She will surely do something to you if you don’t turn up. It’s best just to go. You’ll be seeing your father soon anyway; he will solve everything for you.
Bellatrix’s face lights up when she sees you. She introduces you to the other accomplices, Rodolphus and Rabastian Lestrange; they give you grim nods before you begin walking towards the house. There are no protective enchantments on it. They believe they are safe now the Dark Lord has gone. Bellatrix opens the door, and you follow meekly behind.
This is it. You find them in the first room you enter. Unarmed, unprepared and almost unsurprised by what’s about to happen. They deny any knowledge of where he is straight away, and that angers her. Her wand is drawn almost immediately, and the terror begins.
They try and use muggle fighting techniques. The woman claws at Bellatrix’s neck but doesn’t even draw blood. She's thrown to the ground, and Rodolphus raises his wand on her. The man manages to make Rabastian stumble back but he, too, falls quickly. You can sense their feeling of defeat. You know you can’t take part. You know you can’t save them. So you stand, watching, waiting.
Their screams are quite at first, only causing you to wince. Then they build and continue to do so until reaching the crescendo. Their bodies wither violently, their faces contorted in pain. You want to scream out too, but it's as if you're frozen.
The man is the first to stop. You notice by the sudden drop in volume. He’s still moving, just no longer making any noise. The woman lasts a few minutes longer but then follows her husband. They’ve been broken.
Bellatrix storms over to them and spits in their faces. Your body spasms in fright. You don’t know what to do. You don’t want to say. You want to run. Run far away. They can’t run though, you could have helped them. You could have run with them, but you didn’t.
She raises her foot, as if she’s going to stamp on them. She wants to continue the torture. You continue standing, watching, waiting. The only thing that saves you from having a greater torment is Rodolphus.
He pulls his wife away from them. Muttering in her ear, saying the Aurors will arrive if they do not hasten. Surprisingly, she gives into her husband and allows him to pull her out of the door, down the path until they reach the end of it and disappear. You are confused by her sudden submission to him. You are confused by the entire situation.
You need to get away and get away fast. The only person who can save you is your father. You’re his son, even if he hasn’t treated you like it. You’ll go to him beg, plead, cry, anything. He will see sense, he will save you. After all, all you did was stand, watch and wait.
The dementors cause the memories to resurface in your mind. All of them playing over and over again. There is no end to them; there will be no end to them.
They arrested you as soon as you got to the house. You wonder whether if you had got there sooner what your fate may have been. You are pulled into the courtroom, and you are now standing in front of him. This is the closest you have been in years. Your father will save you. He will know that you didn’t do this, couldn’t do this.
Your father begins to read off the charges. You know this is your chance. You begin to beg, to cry, to plead. You still believe he will save you. Your pleading becoming more and more desperate with the lack of recognition.
You notice your mother in the crowds, tears pouring down her cheeks like they are beginning to do so on yours. You scream at her, plead with her. She will help you; help you win your father back. She gives you a weak smile before casting her eyes down to the ground.
He doesn’t even look at you. His head is kept down at the sheet he’s reading off. Occasionally, he’ll glance to the crowds. Once, he glanced at your mother. Never at you though. Not even one quick glance.
You hear him ask the jury whether you are guilty or not above your screaming. They will understand. You are Barty Crouch’s son, you wouldn’t have done this. Though your vision is obscured you can see their hands raise, not a single one remains down. The glimmer of hope has nearly gone.
The others stand and begin to walk out. You know you will have to follow them. You hear Bellatrix call out to your father, not caring what she says, only what his reply is. He doesn’t say anything back.
There’s one final chance, as you pass him you plead one final time. You admit what you are to him for the first time in years, that you are his son. He bellows back, "You are no son of mine! I have no son!" Your worst suspicion has been confirmed.
The boat you are sitting in rocks on the waves. You can hear someone muttering furiously to themself, you don’t look up to see who it is. You’re frozen. Your father didn’t save you. He didn’t accept you as his son. The brief glimmers of hope you once saw have all but disappeared.
He’s now dead to you like you are dead to him.
Author’s Note: The line Barty Crouch senior says in the second to last section is from page 518 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, UK edition, and owned by the wonderful JK Rowling.
I hoped you liked reading this, as Barty Crouch always intrigued me so it was quite fun to write. I would love to hear your thoughts, so it would be wonderful if you reviewed :)
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