A/N: This is the final chapter of "A Fate Worse than Death." I'm sorry it took so long (grimaces) I hate college.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. I didn't create Harry Potter. Harry Potter isn't even in my story, just his world. Harry Potter, and his world, belong to JK Rowling and is her creation.
"Hufflepuff." His father said slowly, as if tasting the way it felt on his tongue.
"Hufflepuff" His lip curled in distaste.
Eleven year old Barty stood nervously in his father's study, his eyes fixed firmly on the gleaming hardwood floor. His father towered over him and Barty couldn't stand to look at his furious gaze.
"My son was sorted into Hufflepuff."
He squirmed nervously, "I.... I tried to tell it, father, but the hat wouldn't listen to me... I tried to..."
"Silence!" his father thundered, his face reddening in anger. Slowly he advanced on his son, "You are a disgrace to me, a disgrace to this family! Our family has been in Ravenclaw for generations. Then my son, my only son, is sorted into the most worthless house at Hogwarts!"
"Father...I'm..." Barty tried to defend himself.
"No." his father said coldly, "I don't want to hear it. Get out of my sight."
Get out of my sight... get out of my sight... out of my sight... the words rolled around in his head as the dementor left to suck the happiness out of another prisoner, giving Barty a rare reprieve.
As Barty came back to the present he opened his eyes and found himself curled up in a fetal position on the cold stone floors of Azkaban. Tears were streaming down his face and he was shaking uncontrollably. He had no idea how long he had been there, but it felt like he had been in Azkaban his entire life.
He remembered that day. He had come home on Christmas break, anxious to be with his parents again and to tell them about the wonderful time he was having at school. However, his father barely acknowledged him. He carefully avoided Barty until the last day of the holidays. Then, as if he could not bear to keep it inside any longer, he let his son know what a horrible disappointment he was. Although the subject was never brought up again, Barty was always careful not to mention his house around his father. Oh, Crouch Sr. would brag about his son's grades, but Barty had never seen anything but disappointment lurking in his father's eyes since that day.
Barty shook his head. He didn't want to focus on his bad memories when he didn't have to. The few minutes break that he got from the dementors was the only time that his mind was his. Pulling himself up, he wiped his eyes and crawled over to his water bowl. He drank the water eagerly; it felt cool on his parched throat. Suddenly he felt it. The dementor gliding back to him, bringing it's feelings of coldness and despair.
"Barty!!" He was now seventeen years old, lying on his bed, he had been thinking about the decision he had to make when he heard his father thunder up the stairs. Closing his eyes to prepare himself for the argument, he didn't even jump when his father slammed open his door.
"What is this I hear? You've been seen all around Hogwarts with the likes of Dennis Avery!" His father shouted.
"What about it? He's a good friend of mine." Barty asked, swinging his feet over and slamming them down on the floor. He had grown considerably since he was a scared eleven year old. Standing up, he was now tall enough to look his father in the eye. Barty regarded his father warily, ready for the argument he had known was brewing since he became friends with Avery.
"His father is a Death Eater! And from what I hear he's not much better!"
"What do you mean, his father is a Death Eater?"
"I personally arrested his father this afternoon. He was caught torturing Muggles!"
Barty's eyes widened.
"I forbid you to see this boy anymore. Just ignore him when you go back to school in September." His father continued.
"I won't!" Barty protested, "It's not his fault his father is a Death Eater, anymore than it is my fault that my father works for the ministry!"
Crouch stared at is son, his face beginning to redden, "How dare you! How dare you compare me to a Death Eater? Are you ashamed of me? Is that it?!"
Suddenly Barty couldn't take it anymore, anger flooded through him, it felt like it was radiating out of his very skin, "Maybe I am! You're never around! All you care about is your work! You never..."
"Silence!" His father thundered, "I won't take this from you! Now you listen here, You will not be seen with this boy anymore! Do I make myself clear? You will not cause a scandal..."
"Is that all you care about? Your precious reputation? Who cares if you become the next Minister of Magic!" Barty shouted, "I don't care! I don't think that you should be the next Minister of Magic! You don't care about us! Mum's sick and you don't even care!"
"How dare you! You ungrateful little brat! You've been nothing but a failure and a disappointment to me since the day you were born!" Crouch abruptly stopped, a look of horror flitted across his face.
Barty could only stare at his father, coldness clenching his heart. He'd always suspected his father felt like this, but to hear it him say it? To his embarrassment he felt tears prickling in his eyes.
The silence hung heavy between them for a moment until his father's face returned once again to a stony mask. "Now you listen here, young man." He said coolly, "You will not be seen with this boy anymore. You will not have anymore contact with him. You will not cause a scandal. Do I make myself clear?"
Carefully blinking his tears away Barty composed his face into a mirror image of the cool mask his father wore. "Yes, sir." He said coldly.
Crouch Sr. looked at him like he would like to say more, but finally turned his heel and walked out the door.
As the door closed behind his father, Barty felt the numbness seep through his system. His final decision made, he turned his wand upon himself and apparated out of the room.
He reappeared right outside the front door of the Avery family house. He didn't have to worry about muggles here, the Averys lived in the country miles away from the nearest town. Taking a deep nervous breath he raised his fist to knock on the door. The door swung open before he could knock Dennis, stood there eyeing him.
"I take it you've made your decision?" he asked.
"I have." Barty answered, feeling suddenly at peace, "I'm in."
Dennis grinned "Good..." He stepped back and opened the door, "Everyone's waiting to meet you"
Barty could only curl up on the floor as the memories continued, pounding through his skull, exploding behind his eyes...
"CRUCIO!!" Bellatrix screamed, pointing her wand at a defenseless Barty. Barty had enough time to brace himself before the first spell hit. He was determined to take his punishment bravely and not cry out.
As the Curse hit him Barty buckled, sinking to the floor he twisted and writhed, screaming himself hoarse with pain. As the agony faded he heard a calm cool voice above him.
"Get up." She said.
Shaking, Barty forced his body to comply. As he got to his feet he trained his eyes on the floor with respect.
"The Dark Lord is most displeased with you, Barty." Bellatrix said coldly, "You failed to notify him, in time, of the Ministry of Magic's plans. We lost several good Death Eaters to Azkaban today because of you." She stepped toward him a little bit, "Look at me." She said.
Still shaking Barty lifted his eyes and held her gaze. Her eyes narrowed a second before she flicked her wand at him, "Crucio."
The spell was, if possible, even more intense. A white haze of pain overtook him, he couldn't think anymore. Once again he fell to the floor, barely registering the pain of hitting the hard stone as his nerves shrieked in agony. Then, as suddenly as it hit him the pain was gone.
"You know, sometimes I wonder if you are really with us..."
Really with us... really with us... Barty once again came out from under the dementer's power, wincing in remembered pain. It had taken a long time to convince the other Death Eaters that he was trustworthy, despite how many of them his father arrested.
Suddenly Barty smiled. Not with pleasure, no the dememtors would never let him feel that. It was a cold smile born of bitterness. That he, considered untrustworthy by many Death Eaters, had in fact proven himself to be among the Dark Lord's most loyal followers. He, unlike some, had now paid the price for serving the Dark Lord.
Belletrix's words from the trial came back to him. He will rise again and will come for us; he will reward us beyond any of his other supporters! We alone were faithful! We alone tried to find him!"
He thought of Lucious Malfoy, the pompous git. He had always acted like he was so far above the others. But when it came down to it he had acted like everyone else, he denied the Dark Lord and saved his own skin instead. A wave of fury hit him. How dare they?! How dare they betray the Dark Lord and desert him! How dare they not be rotting in this prison along with him! .
As the fury subsided Barty grinned a little. Not a grin of pleasure or bitter irony this time, no, madness glinted in his eyes as he whispered, "One day the Dark Lord will rise. One day he will reward me for my sacrifice. One day I will be proven to be the most loyal of the Death Eaters." His eyes narrowed, "One day I will kill my father."
AN: Well that's all folks. Thank you all for making this a really positive experience
for me. A special thanks goes out to Danny Barefoot and Miss Piratess. You guys have been with me from the beginning of this thing and have faithfully reviewed every chapter. Thank You!
Please keep a look out for my next fic, tentatively titled "The White Sheep." It is a one shot fic about Regulas Black and should be out with the next couple of weeks. Also keep an eye out for my Post-OotP, Percy fic, coming soon!
Other than that, please review like the lovely people below:
Blandsaft: (Chap 1) Thanks. Alice wasn't out helping capturing the Death Eaters because it was her job to protect Neville. Remember, all though Voldemort was gone there were still Death Eaters, they couldn't have been sure that they were out of danger.
(Chap 2) (smiles) hmm... I thought the Nile was in Egypt. ;)
(Chap 5) You're welcome. I really enjoyed reading them. Are you going to be posting
Danny Barefoot: I basically figured that people would assume they were fighting about what he was going to do with Barty. Guess I should've elaborated it a bit more. I hope this chapter matched your expectations. Thanks for reviewing!
Miss Piratess: Hmm... wonder if you even still feel sort of sorry for Mr. Crouch after this chapter. I'm mostly sympathetic to Mr. Crouch, but I still blame him for driving Barty over the edge. I'm glad you liked my analyzation of Mr. Crouch and Mrs. Longbottom. I love analyzing characters, I do it with everything I watch/read. Thanks for reviewing!
TeenTypist: I glad you enjoyed it. I love your story, "Conversations with a hat." Are you going to be writing more of it? Thanks for your review and for adding me to your author alert.