Chapter Twenty Six - A Confession
Fred sighed heavily, and motioned for her to pass the book to him. “I’ll read the next one.”
Chapter Twenty Six
“No prizes for guessing what this one’s about.” Sirius remarked.
“Sirius …” Addie sighed.
“What?” Sirius asked. “You could cut the tension in here with a knife.”
The man’s eyes blinked open, staring blankly across the room.
“Good.” David said. “That means it’s working.”
“Can you hear me?” Dumbledore asked quietly.
“I would like you to tell us how you came to be here.
“Shouldn’t he ask a control question, Dad?” James asked.
David grimaced. “If he was in a courtroom, yes, but since the potion was administered while Crouch was unconscious, it would be near impossible for him to throw it off, even with Dark Magic.”
How did you escape Azkaban?”
Crouch Jr. took a deep breath and began to speak in a flat, emotionless voice. “My mother saved me. She knew she was dying. She convinced my father to rescue me as a last favour to her. He loved her as he had never loved me. He agreed. They came to visit me.”
Lily sighed. “I know it was wrong, but … I’m finding it difficult to condemn his mother.”
“So am I.” Alice whispered, stroking Neville’s hair.
“But, Mum, what he did …” Neville protested.
“Oh, I’m not saying he didn’t deserve Azkaban.” Alice assured him. “He did. He does. But that doesn’t mean I can’t understand that a mother would never want her child in that hell no matter what they’d done.”
“Ours would.” Sirius muttered.
Addie rolled her eyes. “We’re not talking about demons, Sirius; we’re talking about mothers.”
Sirius couldn’t help laughing, and she squeezed his hand with a small smile of her own.
“… Crouch and his wife were allowed a death-bed visit …”
“They gave me a draft of Polyjuice Potion containing one of my mother’s hairs. She took a draft of Polyjuice Potion containing one of my hairs. We took on each other’s appearances.”
Winky was trembling. “Say no more, Master Barty, you is getting your father into trouble!”
But, under the influence, Crouch Jr. was forced to continue. “The Dementors are blind. They sensed one healthy, one dying person entering Azkaban. They sensed one healthy, one dying person leaving it. My father smuggled me out, disguised as my mother, in case any of the prisoners were watching through their doors.”
“Which I was.” Sirius put in.
David shook his head. “There should be better screening around Azkaban – we have far too much faith in Dementors.”
“… he had to practically carry her out …”
“My mother died a short while afterward in Azkaban.
David shook his head. “That poor woman. As you said, Sirius, I hope she thought him innocent. Because to die in that hell for someone who had done something like that …”
She was careful to drink Polyjuice to the end.
“Where did she hide the bottle, I wonder?” Sirius murmured.
She was buried under my name, bearing my appearance.
Mandy frowned. “But Polyjuice wears off if the person using it dies, doesn’t it?”
“The Dementors buried the body.” Sirius explained. “No humans ever went near him – her – and they were too far away from the windows for me to see any different.”
Everyone believed her to be me.”
“… he died about a year after they brought him in …”
“And what did your father do with you, when he got you home?” Dumbledore asked.
“Staged my mother’s death. A quiet, private funeral. The grave is empty.
David shook his head.
The house-elf nursed me back to health. Then I had to be concealed. I had to be controlled. My father used a number of spells to control me.
Jen scowled. “And he hated me?”
“He was a hypocrite.” Sirius said.