|SIYE Time:7:20 on 18th October 2017|
When Harry Missed the Trick Step
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Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Romance
Summary: Ever wondered what would have happened if Harry's foot hadn't sunk into the trick step, when he went to investigate Barty Crouch's sudden appearance in Snape's office in his fourth year? Read on to find out! Compliant till a part of the chapter "The Egg and the Eye" of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Chapter 10 up - please read and review!
Hitcount: Story Total: 12663; Chapter Total: 1308
This might not be too much of a deviation from canon, but... oh well :)
When Harry Missed the Trick Step
Chapter 2: The Confessions of Bartemius Crouch
Previously on “When Harry Missed the Trick Step”…
The question burst forth from Harry’s lips before he could help it. ‘Who is this man?’
Dumbledore’s expression hardened slightly, but he answered nevertheless — an answer that rocked Harry completely.
‘This man is Bartemius Crouch Junior, son of Bartemius Crouch, Head of the Department of International Magical Co-operation at the Ministry of Magic,’ said Dumbledore. ‘This is the man who has been impersonating Alastor Moody since the start of this school year.’ He paused for a moment.
‘And, if I’m not mistaken, he was the one who put your name in the Goblet of Fire.’
Harry gaped at Dumbledore. This man — Mr Crouch’s son — had been impersonating Mad-Eye Moody, and had put his — Harry’s — name in the Goblet of Fire last October? For a wild moment, he thought Dumbledore was having him on — but the look on Dumbledore’s face as he’d said those words dispelled that notion almost immediately.
Harry’s gaze shifted to the man, still out cold, leaning against the wall near Dumbledore’s enormous desk. His head lolled to one side as his chest rose and fell deeply as he breathed. If it weren’t for the chains that still bound him tightly, Harry was sure he would’ve thought that this man had just fallen asleep in Dumbledore’s office; he would have definitely been hard pressed to figure out that this man had performed the Cruciatus Curse on Snape not more than forty minutes ago.
But Mr Crouch’s son? Harry was definitely finding that extremely difficult to believe. For one, Mr Crouch loved rules — Harry wouldn’t soon forget the way he’d dressed for the Quidditch World Cup the previous summer — and for his own son to be doing such…odd, law-breaking things: impersonating a decorated ex-Auror, flouting the rules to enter Harry’s name in the Triwizard Tournament…
And for another — judging by what he remembered of Mr Crouch’s reaction when he’d found out that Winky had disobeyed him — the man was quick to distance himself from anything that tarnished his reputation, his image of a law-abiding, respectable Ministry official. If Mr Crouch did have a son like this, it would have been a matter of deep shame for him — he probably would have disowned him immediately.
But it still didn’t make any sense at all. Why would Barty Crouch Junior want to enter Harry’s name in the Tournament? What would he have gained from Harry participating in it — probably even winning it in the end?
And from somewhere deep in the recesses of his mind, the answer came to him — the answer to this question that instantly answered almost every other question that was whizzing about in his brain: Mad-Eye Moody’s words in the chamber off the Great Hall, the chamber where the champions had all congregated after their names had come out of the Goblet of Fire, echoed clearly in his head:
‘Maybe someone’s hoping Potter is going to die for it.’
The fake Professor Moody — this man — had said those words…and instantly, as thought he’d figured out the first definitive piece in a large jigsaw puzzle, Harry knew he hadn’t been joking: Bartemius Crouch Junior had entered Harry into the tournament because he wanted him dead…
Or did he? Harry didn’t know this man at all — he’d never met him before in his life, and was fairly certain that this man didn’t know him either. So why would a random stranger want him dead? Why go to such great lengths to ensure that Harry died during the Triwizard Tournament, when he could have killed him at any point in time earlier or after that?
Harry knew the answer was staring at him in the face, knew that these were simple questions that, had Hermione and Ron been with him just then, he could have figured them out…but his brain had given up. The night’s excitement had slowly worn off him, and his head was pounding with pain once more; he tried to think, to understand…but it was no good. The more he thought about those questions, the more his head hurt, and the answers he’d already managed to find out were now slipping away through the haze of pain. He leaned forward in his chair, gripping his hair tightly and rubbing the back of his head where it had collided, twice, with the cold stone dungeon floor, his eyes shut tightly with pain.
Moments later, Harry felt a hand on his shoulder; looking up, he saw Dumbledore standing next to him, his other hand holding a small vial of purple-coloured potion.
‘Drink this,’ he said, holding out the vial to Harry, who took it with a quizzical look. ‘Pain-relieving potion,’ added Dumbledore as Harry looked at the vial curiously. ‘You seem to be in quite a bit of it, Harry.’
Harry nodded slowly — his head hurt if he moved it too much. ‘My head hit the ground in the dungeons, twice,’ he said as he unscrewed the top of the vial, and gratefully swallowed the potion in one gulp. Instantly, his head felt clearer, more stable…the pain was gone.
Dumbledore returned to his seat and continued to gaze at Harry through his half-moon spectacles. It was exactly the sort of piercing look that he’d given Harry before — it made Harry feel as though Dumbledore was seeing right through him. Harry looked back into those brilliant blue eyes, knowing that if anyone would know the answer to the question buzzing in his mind, it was the old man before him.
‘He wants me dead,’ said Harry slowly. It wasn’t a question, but Dumbledore nodded nevertheless. ‘But why?’
Dumbledore sighed, and it suddenly struck Harry how old and weary Dumbledore looked. He’d always thought of Dumbledore as someone who was getting on in the years — his white hair and beard bore testimony to that — but he’d never thought of Dumbledore as an old man — a man who’d seen and fought in two almost destructive battles with dark wizards and their forces.
‘I have my suspicions, Harry, but these are merely suspicions — simple surmises that I may not be able to confirm immediately,’ said Dumbledore. ‘I can, however —’ Dumbledore stood up, moved to a black cabinet behind Harry — the doors of which were slightly open — lifted a stone basin from inside it, carried it over to his desk and placed it upon the polished wooden top, ‘— show you what I know.’
Harry leant forward curiously to look at the stone basin. It was shallow, and had odd carvings around the edge; runes and symbols that he did not recognise. The basin’s contents, however, were something he’d never seen before in his life — he could not tell if the substance was either liquid or gas. Silvery white and shining brightly, it was floating (or was it flowing?) ceaselessly around in the basin; one moment, it would become ruffled and clustered, like water beneath wind, but the next moment it would smoothen out, all its creases ironed out.
Harry looked up at Dumbledore, who was still standing — the light from the contents of the basin shone upon the aged, wise face of the Headmaster, and once again, Harry was struck by how quite old he looked.
‘This is a Pensieve, Harry,’ said Dumbledore, who had drawn his wand when Harry had been staring at the basin. ‘It is a device that is used to store thoughts and memories, and allows one to review them later.’
‘This stuff’s your thoughts?’ said Harry, as he stared at the contents of the Pensieve — Dumbledore had touched his wand to it, and instead of the substance rippling away from the point where the wand had made contact, it had turned completely transparent. Harry could see the image of a hilltop, a man looking very agitated and windswept, turning on the spot and looking around…
But the image disappeared almost immediately as the man’s face came into clearer focus for Harry. The surface of the contents in the Pensieve rippled once more before becoming transparent, and now Harry found himself looking down into an enormous room, a room into which he seemed to be looking through a circular window in the ceiling. It was dimly lit — just as the corridor in the dungeons had been earlier that night — but he was sure this room, which was surely underground, was nowhere sequestered in Hogwarts. Torches holstered in brackets lined the walls of what he could see of the room; below them, benches rose in levels from the floor, upon which sat a number of witches and wizards — all of them, Harry noticed, seemed to have a fancy and elegant insignia of the words ‘CML’ inscribed upon the chest pocket of their robes.
Harry didn’t know what ‘CML’ stood for; indeed, he didn’t recognise any of the people in the room, much less the room itself; bewildered, he looked up at Dumbledore again, who had pocketed his wand and was motioning Harry to stand beside him.
‘We must hurry,’ he said; Harry could detect an odd note of urgency in Dumbledore’s voice as he stood up and moved next to Dumbledore, the Pensieve now before the two of them. ‘It should not take long…after me, I think.’
And without warning, Dumbledore bent forwards, touched the tip of his long, crooked nose to the strange substance — his own thoughts — and with the blink of an eye, he had disappeared into the bowl.
Harry let out a yell that disturbed the peaceful silence of Dumbledore’s office. He could see some of the occupants of the portraits hanging on the walls glowering at him — one of them, a clever looking wizard with black hair, dark eyes, a pointed beard and thin eyebrows, was actually shaking his fist at him, looking thoroughly irked at the disturbance of his sleep. Harry paid them no mind — he was too busy staring into the bowl, stunned at the sudden disappearance of Dumbledore inside it.
He peered inside, trying to make out the faces of the many people in the cavernous room, but he could have as well tried to identify a needle in a haystack for all the good it would have done — there were just so many people. He couldn’t make out the tell-tale silver beard and hair, the plum-coloured night gown which Dumbledore had been wearing when he’d disappeared into the basin.
The room was square, though, and the basin circular; Harry could not clearly make out what was taking place in the corners of the room. He leant forward, closer to the surface of the substance, trying to see…
The tip of his nose touched the surface of Dumbledore’s thoughts.
Dumbledore’s office gave an almighty lurch — Harry felt himself being pitched headfirst into the basin; he let out a yell at the prospect of hitting the stone bottom of the extremely shallow basin — he screwed his eyes shut, waiting for the impact of bone on stone —
But it never came. A rushing sound filled his ears, the sound of water being sucked into the drain after the plug is pulled — he could sense, through his eyelids, black — something — swirling around him — it was icy cold —
It was over as soon as it had begun. Harry slowly opened his eyes; he was sitting on a bench at the end of the room inside the basin, a bench raised high above the others. He looked around him, still breathing fast at the sudden rush of adrenaline from the unexpected lurch and fall. Almost two hundred witches and wizards were seated inside the room, and all of them seemed to be ignorant of the fact that a fourteen-year-old boy had just dropped into their midst from the solid stone ceiling.
All of them, except one.
‘My apologies, Harry. I realised you did not know how to work a Pensieve only after I had entered the memory.’
Harry almost fell out of his seat on the bench in surprise. Steadying himself, he turned around and came face to face with Dumbledore, who had an apologetic expression on his face.
‘That’s alright, Professor,’ he said. Dumbledore smiled kindly at him.
Harry looked around, and almost jumped again. A second Albus Dumbledore was sitting right next to him, wearing robes of the exact shade of plum as the present-day Dumbledore’s night gown — in stark contrast with the rest of the crowd, who were all dressed in shades of grey and black.
This Dumbledore looked almost the same as the present-day Dumbledore, but he was paying Harry absolutely no attention. He wasn’t surprised though: Harry had had an experience with someone’s memory before — that time, he’d fallen through a page in an enchanted diary…and that time, it had been a situation where nobody else in the memory could see or hear him.
‘Nice robes, sir,’ said Harry before he could stop himself. The Dumbledore behind him merely chuckled, but he broke off almost immediately as another sound broke the total silence in the room.
A frail, wispy-looking witch was seated a few places away in the middle of their bench, right next to a man who Harry recognised as Bartemius Crouch Senior. Crouch looked only a little younger than he did in the present-day: his hair was starting to grey, and his face had begun to line, he looked quite gaunt. He looked almost…angry. Betrayed. There was a vein twitching in his temple.
‘Bring them in,’ he said, his voice cold and echoing.
Harry looked around. There was a door in the far corner of the room, which had opened on Crouch’s command. Ten people entered the room — rather, four people, flanked by six tall, hooded creatures — Dementors.
Even though he knew that they couldn’t harm him here, in a memory, Harry’s insides went cold at the sight of the Dementors; they were among the foulest creatures to ever exist, forcing their victims to relieve their worst nightmares and glorying in their despair. Harry had had problems with them ever since the beginning of his third year, and had only recently mastered the Patronus Charm — one of the few methods of repelling the horrifying effects of Dementors and driving them away. He shuddered involuntarily, and felt Dumbledore squeeze his shoulder reassuringly.
The six Dementors led their captives to four chairs that were situated in the centre of the large room. Harry noticed them only now, and almost immediately felt repulsed by them. Chains encircled the arms and legs of the chairs, as though their occupants were usually tied to them.
The four people sat down on the chairs; immediately, the chains on the chairs glowed suddenly gold and snaked their way up the arms and legs of the prisoners, binding them there; and Harry, getting a proper glimpse of them for the first time, inhaled sharply.
There was a thickset man who stared blankly up at Crouch, a thinner and more nervous-looking man whose eyes darted rapidly around the room, and a woman, with thick, shining dark hair and heavily hooded eyes, who was sitting in the chair as though it were a throne. Harry didn’t recognise any of these three people; it was the profile of the fourth prisoner that had triggered his reaction.
A young boy, not older than nineteen, with a mop of straw-coloured hair, a pale, freckled face, looking nothing short of petrified, shivering so hard the chains clinked against the arms of the chair…
And as the frail witch began to rock forwards and backwards in her seat, her face buried in her white handkerchief, as Crouch stood up, his face full of rage and hatred, as the boy opened his mouth and said ‘Father…Father please…’, Harry began to connect the dots.
‘Bellatrix Lestrange, Rodolphus Lestrange, Rabastan Lestrange…’ said Crouch clearly, his voice echoing above the pleas of the boy and the whimpering of the woman next to him, ‘…and Bartemius Crouch Junior,’ he finished coldly, staring down at the prisoners.
The crowd in the room, which had already began to mutter at the sight of the young Crouch junior, were now openly staring at Mr Crouch; some others were whispering to their neighbours, not bothering to keep their voice down. But they didn’t need to: Mr Crouch was speaking again, and his voice was the loudest of all, its echo drowning out every other noise in the room.
‘The four of you have been brought in front of the Council of Magical Law —’ Harry instantly realised what the word ‘CML’ stood for ‘— so that we may now pass judgment on you, for a crime so heinous, so despicable,’ Crouch spat out the last word, the vein in his temple now pulsing horribly as his rage increased, ‘that had it not been a part of the procedure of this court, it would not be mentioned once again!’
More mutterings were heard from the crowd, even as Barty Crouch Junior continued his pleas — presumably for mercy — from his father.
‘We have heard the evidence against you,’ said Mr Crouch, his voice, ringing with fury, increasing in volume over the renewed mutterings in the room. ‘The four of you stand accused of kidnapping the Auror, Frank Longbottom, and subjecting him to the Cruciatus Curse, in the belief that he would have knowledge of the whereabouts of your former master, He Who Must Not Be Named —’
Harry inhaled sharply. Longbottom…was Crouch talking about Neville’s parents? Now that he thought about it, Harry realised, with a horrible jolt, that he had never heard his round-faced, forgetful classmate mention his parents at all in the last four years; Neville had always spoken about his grandmother, a formidable looking witch who had raised him…but his parents?
‘Father, please!’ shouted the young Crouch, straining desperately against the heavy chains binding him to the chair. ‘Father, I didn’t do it, I swear I didn’t, please!’
‘You are also accused — when he did not reveal anything — of inhumanely torturing Frank Longbottom’s wife, Alice Longbottom, with the Cruciatus Curse! You planned to use the information to look for your master and restore him to power, thereby allowing you to resume the lives of violence, murder and terror you presumably led while he was strong!’
‘Mother!’ screamed the young man, his skin now deathly white, making his freckles stand out so clearly. ‘Mother, please, tell him I didn’t do it Mother, tell him! I don’t want to go back to the Dementors, Mother, please, please!’
The frail witch — apparently Mr Crouch’s wife — began to sob into her handkerchief, her wails muffled by the thin piece of cloth. It made no difference whatsoever, however — Mr Crouch was speaking again, completely ignoring his sobbing and wailing wife, and his pleading, screaming son.
‘The time has come,’ he bellowed, ‘for the jury to make their decision known to all. I now ask them, by the power vested in me by the Ministry of Magic, in my capacity as the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, to raise their hands, if they believe, as I and the rest of this Council do, that these crimes merit a life sentence in Azkaban!’
Harry looked around. Crouch had turned to face a row of witches and wizards along the right-hand side of the square underground room. All of them raised their hands in unison, their faces full of savage triumph, mingled with disgust at the sight of the criminals. The rest of the crowd began to clap — a slow, steady clap in celebration of the unanimous verdict. The Dumbledore next to him, however, did not clap, nor did he have a vindictive expression upon his face. On the contrary, he looked rather sombre.
Crouch Junior’s mouth had fallen open with shock at the verdict: he looked wildly between his father and the jury with wide eyes, too stunned to continue begging. The frail witch appeared to give a great shuddering gasp, before slumping forward in her seat. She had fainted.
‘Take them away!’ Crouch ordered the Dementors, which glided from their positions near the door to the prisoners. The bindings fell away with a clink of metal on wood and stone; almost immediately, the hooded guards of Azkaban grabbed the arms of the prisoners and pulled them to their feet. While the three other prisoners stood up quite obediently, Crouch Junior suddenly managed to find his voice.
‘Nooo!’ he screamed up at his father, straining against the firm grip of the Dementor on his upper arm as it dragged him towards the door. ‘No, Father please, please! I didn’t do it, don’t throw me back to the Dementors, please!’
But Harry noticed that the boy’s protests were becoming feebler, his complexion whiter and paler than ever. The Dementors’ cold draining power was starting to affect him, even as he continued to struggle.
‘The Dark Lord will rise again, Crouch!’ called a voice. Harry, who had been focussing on Crouch Junior, looked around. It was the woman, the one with the heavy-lidded eyes, who had spoken. She had stood up from the chair as soon as the chains had left her, and was moving across the room to the door of her own accord, her Dementor escort gliding behind her. ‘Throw us into Azkaban, we will wait! We are his faithful supporters, we alone tried to find him! He will reward us beyond measure for our loyalty and sacrifice, Crouch! We will wait, for he will rise again!’ And with that, she, along with her two other companions, swept out of the room.
Crouch Junior, however, was still desperately trying to break free from the Dementor, but his efforts were futile. Harry could visibly see his strength ebbing away from him, as though it was being sucked up by a vacuum cleaner.
‘I’m your son!’ he screamed up at Crouch, just as he reached the door at the far corner. ‘I’m your son! Please, PLEASE!’
‘You are no son of mine!’ roared Crouch, suddenly apoplectic, his eyes bulging, spit flying out of his mouth. ‘Take this filth away, take him with the others, and may they rot there for eternity!’
‘It is time, Harry,’ said a quiet voice from behind him.
Harry started. He’d quite forgotten that he wasn’t alone in viewing this horrible spectacle; Dumbledore had accompanied him in re-visiting his thoughts about Crouch Junior. He looked around; the night-gown clad Dumbledore was getting to his feet, indicating to Harry to stand next to him, which Harry did.
Dumbledore put his hand under Harry’s elbow — Harry heard him mutter something indistinctly — and next thing he knew, he was rising into the air, the dungeon slowly dissolving around him; for a moment, everything was dark and black — he couldn’t see — and then, he felt himself somersaulting through the air; all of a sudden, he had landed feet first in the candle-lit office of the Headmaster. The stone basin was shimmering in front of him on the desk, and illuminated Dumbledore’s face, standing right next to him.
The night sky outside the window of the office had become, if possible, even darker. Not much had changed in the office since he and Dumbledore had entered the Pensieve; Fawkes was sleeping peacefully, his magnificent head tucked under his large wing. The same could not be said of the occupants of the portraits lining the walls of the office, however: most of them were now awake, looking interestedly at the pair of them; Harry had the feeling that they had been feigning sleep all this time.
Most importantly, however, the Stunned and bound figure of the man — Bartemius Crouch Junior — was exactly where they had left him — leaning against the wall near the desk, his head lolling to one side as he slept, the heavy chains still binding his feet, arms and torso…
The sight of the chains reminded him of the memory he’d just seen — of this very man being bound by chains not unlike these, when he had been younger, a mere teenager; pleading with his father that he hadn’t done it, hadn’t participated in the brutal torture of the Longbottoms in the quest to find his supposedly exiled master, but had still been sentenced to a lifetime of imprisonment in Azkaban by his own father…
And yet, almost thirteen years later, he was here, before Harry and Dumbledore. So he had escaped Azkaban, thought Harry, and wanted him — Harry — dead… Was it on Voldemort’s orders? Had he re-joined Voldemort’s service — was this all a part of Voldemort’s plan to have him killed?
Dumbledore had moved towards the prone figure of Crouch Junior; Harry watched as Dumbledore bent down and knelt before the man, so that their faces were level. Dumbledore opened one of Crouch Junior’s eyes, checking to see if he was still out cold. Harry saw that the man’s eyes were unfocused and blank.
Dumbledore stood up. ‘Harry, if you do not mind…’
‘Please check if Severus has left the hospital wing.’
Harry unfolded the Marauder’s Map once more, his eyes immediately seeking out the area on the first floor that was the hospital wing of Hogwarts. The dot labelled ‘Severus Snape’ was still there, unmoving, while the dot of Madam Pomfrey was moving around in her office.
‘He’s still there, Professor,’ said Harry, looking up at Dumbledore, who sighed again.
‘It would have been convenient…but no matter,’ he said quietly. He strode over to the fireplace on the other side of the room; it had almost petered out, but the last few embers were crackling softly. With a wave of his wand, Dumbledore re-ignited the flames, causing the entire room to be flooded with light, and warmth. He then picked up a small box from on top of the mantelpiece above the fireplace, grabbed a handful of its contents, and threw them into the fire, which turned green, and rose in height, the tip of the flames tickling the top of the fireplace. Harry recognised the contents of the box at once — Dumbledore had thrown in some Floo powder — it turned fires into means of transportation for witches and wizards.
Dumbledore looked back at Harry. ‘I will not be long, Harry. Stay where you are,’ he said swiftly. Stepping into the flames, which licked around his sides but did not burn him, Dumbledore said, very clearly, ‘Bones Mansion!’, and with a whoosh, he was gone.
Harry sank into the chair behind the desk, once again aware of his exhaustion, and the fact that he felt utterly drained by the night’s events. He wanted nothing more than to go back to his nice, warm bed in Gryffindor Tower, but he needed to stay. The questions that had swirled in his mind prior to the Pensieve adventure were now back, buzzing about with renewed energy of their own. He wanted them to be answered, yet he didn’t want to think, didn’t want to force his tired brain to form conjectures and possibilities, when it was already teeming with information — Crouch Junior was a Death Eater, who, along with four others, had been found to have tortured the Longbottoms — surely Neville’s parents — into insanity, and now wanted him dead…
His head felt very heavy…his eyes were drooping…the comforting arms of sleep and blissful oblivion were so close…he wanted — no, needed — it…
A sudden whooshing sound jerked Harry out of his stupor; slightly disoriented, he looked around wildly for the source of the noise.
It was Dumbledore; he had returned to his office by Floo — but he was not alone. There was another soft whoosh from the fireplace behind Dumbledore, and a woman stepped out from it.
Harry’s first and immediate impression was that this was someone he did not want to cross — she looked extremely foreboding. She was a rather tall woman, with a square jaw, closely cropped hair (Harry could see a few grey ones poking out from underneath her hat) and a monocle on her left eye. She was wearing black robes and an expression of mild irritation — clearly she did not like having her sleep interrupted, even if it was by the Headmaster of Hogwarts.
Her eyes fell upon Harry, still sitting in the chair and staring at her and Dumbledore, and she frowned. ‘Forgive my rudeness, Dumbledore, but what the hell is a student doing in your office at this hour?’
Dumbledore merely smiled, ushering the woman forward as he swept up to the wall where Crouch Junior was. ‘This student is Harry Potter. Harry, this is Madam Amelia Bones, the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement at the Ministry of Magic.’
Harry became fully awake at Dumbledore’s words — the head of the DMLE, here? He’d heard of the DMLE before: Ron had told him about it when they’d discussed the subject of Aurors prior to their first Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson early that year. The DMLE was like the police force and army of the magical world, all rolled into one. It was considered as one of the toughest departments to get into in the Ministry — in terms of endurance and physicality.
The head certainly fit the bill, thought Harry, as Madam Bones acknowledged Harry’s presence with a nod at him. She was not slim and lean, but well-built — no doubt due to the years of intensive training as an Auror. Harry, still shocked at her sudden appearance, could do no more than manage a weak smile.
Dumbledore continued to speak. ‘He was the one who discovered the intruder in our castle. I thought you may want to interrogate him yourself — hence the Veritaserum request.’
‘Merlin’s beard…’ breathed Madam Bones, stopping dead as she spotted the unconscious figure of Barty Crouch Junior. ‘How on earth…’
But Dumbledore was already kneeling before Crouch once more, uncorking a small phial that contained some clear, colourless liquid — what it was, Harry didn’t have a clue. He watched as Dumbledore forced Crouch’s mouth open and poured three drops inside it. He stoppered the phial and slipped it into his nightgown; then, he pointed his wand at the man’s chest, and softly said, ‘Enervate.’
For a split second, Harry thought the man would attack Dumbledore; the man’s eyes flickered, and he slowly came to. His face was completely slack, his gaze unfocused as he looked blearily at Dumbledore’s face in front of him.
‘Can you hear me?’ asked Dumbledore quietly.
The man’s eyelids flickered once more.
‘Yes,’ he muttered.
‘Do you know who you are? Do you know who I am?’
Crouch’s response came in a flat, expressionless voice, so unlike the fearful, horrified screams Harry had heard in the Pensieve. ‘I am Bartemius Crouch Junior. You are Albus Dumbledore.’
‘Good,’ said Dumbledore, still in that quiet tone. Harry was amazed at how calm and collected Dumbledore appeared to be — even while interrogating a known Death Eater, who it seemed had escaped from Azkaban, impersonated one of Dumbledore’s very good friends, and had entered Harry in the Triwizard Tournament to have him killed.
‘We would like to know,’ continued Dumbledore, ‘how you managed to escape from Azkaban.’
Harry stared, wide-eyed, at the man, as his confession — the confession of Bartemius Crouch Junior — unfolded in Albus Dumbledore’s office at half past two in the morning of January the twenty-eighth, nineteen ninety-five. He listened, with mounting incredulity, amazement, and anger, as Crouch told them of his escape from Azkaban, engineered by his mother and father through the use of Polyjuice Potion…of his subsequent imprisonment at the hands of his father, in his own home, left to the tending care of Winky, the family house-elf…of how he’d stolen Harry’s wand at the Quidditch World Cup last summer, and cast the Dark Mark into the sky, to punish the other rioting Death Eaters for their lack of loyalty to Voldemort…how Voldemort had captured Bertha Jorkins, tortured her until the Memory Charms put on her by Mr Crouch broke, revealing to Voldemort the fact that he was outside Azkaban…how Voldemort had used this information to free him, Crouch Junior, from the Imperiused imprisonment…and how Voldemort had ultimately designed the plan to have Harry enter the Triwizard Tournament under a different school, to station Crouch Junior at Hogwarts by impersonating Mad-Eye Moody in order to accomplish, and to make sure that Harry Potter won the Triwizard Tournament in the end.
‘And how would that help Lord Voldemort?’ asked Dumbledore, still in that calm, quiet voice.
Crouch’s eyelids flicked once more.
‘I would volunteer to place the Triwizard Cup in the centre of the maze. Turn it into a Portkey, so that when Harry Potter touches it, he would be transported to my master. He would use Potter to return to his body, to return to power, and to honour me for completing his task, but…’
Crouch gave a shuddering gasp, and tears began to well up in his eyes and drip down his face.
‘I have failed my master,’ he whispered. ‘I allowed myself to be captured by Albus Dumbledore, and I have failed him. He will not honour me…I will not be considered as his most devoted, most loyal servant…’
His expression was one of despair and devastation; he turned his face away from the disgusted looks of Dumbledore and Madam Bones, as he began to sob quietly in earnest.
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