SIYE Time:15:04 on 22nd January 2019

Harry Potter And The Twists Of Fate
By bengpotter31

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Category: Alternate Universe
Characters:All, All
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Fluff, Humor
Warnings: Extreme Language, Sexual Situations, Violence
Story is Complete
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 475
Summary: What if the fates let Harry's parents live that night he got his scar, plus gave him a younger sister and become friends with the Weasleys, especially Ron earlier. What would be different?
Hitcount: Story Total: 220758; Chapter Total: 6935

Author's Notes:
Here's the chapter you've all been waiting for, the Second task. I hope you like the changes I've made. Thanks to those who voted for me in the last Silver Trinket award.


Chapter 52: The Second Task

After making Rose go back to bed, Harry read for only another hour before deciding to get some early breakfast while the majority of the students population was still in their dorms. He changed into his swimming trunks and placed his robes over them.

When he arrived in the Great Hall, there were only about a half dozen students inside but they watched Harry walk inside and take a seat at the Gryffindor table. Harry felt his stomach churn as his mind turned to the task he was going to go through in a few hours especially since he still didn’t know how to breathe underwater for more than a few minutes. Now unable to eat, he simply stared at the food.

After an hour of staring at the food, he became aware of Ginny stirring from her sleep.

“Harry? Are you awake already,” she asked through their Bond.

“Uh, yes, Gin,” he answered her in the same way.

She became aware of where he was and what he was feeling, “I’ll be there in a few minutes, Harry. Don’t you dare go anywhere without me.”

She arrived ten minutes later, which was an evident indication of her concern. Sitting beside Harry, she took his hand in both of hers and squeezed it gently as she sent calming thoughts to him. Finally, when he was calmer, she said, “All right, sweetie, you should eat something now.”

She proceeded to pile food on his plate then looked expectantly at him. Harry took a deep breath and started eating. Ginny smiled and started on her own breakfast.

Ron and Hermione came in a few minutes later and sat across from them.

“Thank goodness the food’s here,” Ron said, “I’m starving and thirsty.” He reached over and grabbed a glass full of pumpkin juice, drinking deeply from it.

“Ron,” Ginny exclaimed, “That’s my juice. Get you own.”

“But it was already filled,” Ron said, as he placed the glass down. He then started to pile food on his own plate. After a minute or two, he yawned, with his mouth full.

“Ron!” Hermione admonished, “Swallow first before you do that, it’s gross.”

Suddenly, Ron’s head thumped onto the table and he went limp.

“Ron, honestly,” Hermione said, as she started shaking his shoulder, “you’ve had enough sleep. Wake up!” Her shaking grew more violent as Ron failed to stir.

Finally, Hermione drew her wand and said, “Ennervate!” When Ron didn’t respond, she gave Harry and Ginnya panicked look .

Harry felt alarm course through his body. He took the glass from which Ron had drunk and sniffed it. It smelled like pumpkin juice. He was about to take a taste when he heard Dumbledore’s voice unexpectedly say, “Stop, Harry! Don’t drink that.”

Harry and the others turned to the Headmaster, who was walking toward them, “Why not, Professor? What’s wrong with it?” He had an idea why Dumbledore had stopped him but wanted it confirmed.

“I’m afraid that it is probably poisoned. It appears that Mr. Weasley is now part of the second task.”

Harry paled, “He’s now my ‘someone dear’ who is in danger of sleeping like Sleeping Beauty. But it was Ginny’s glass that he drunk from. She was the one who was supposed to fall asleep.”

“I’m afraid so, Harry,” Dumbledore said, his voice grave, “I’m sorry for this but this task is Ludo’s idea and Barty supported it fully.”

“Sir,” Hermione said, “isn’t it dangerous to give someone this poison. What if one of the champions fails to bring back the plant for the antidote? He’ll sleep for a hundred years!”

“I don’t think it will come to that, Miss Granger,” Dumbledore said, “but rest assured, we are prepared for that possibility. Now, it would be best if we move Mr. Weasley to the hospital wing.”

Dumbledore conjured a stretcher then levitated Ron onto it. Harry, Hermione and Ginny followed Dumbledore as he guided the stretcher toward the Great Hall’s doors.

Just as they reached the doors, they opened and Rose and Ti came through them. Their eyes widened when they saw Ron on the stretcher with Dumbledore, Harry, Ginny and Hermione accompanying him.

“H-Harry,” Rose said, “What happened to Ron?”

Harry frowned, “He’s been poisoned, Rose, with the “Cure to Insomnia” poison. This makes him the one I’m supposed to get the Maiden’s Hand for.”

“Then it wasn’t Ginny who was chosen,” Ti said.

“Er, actually, Ti,” Hermione said, “The poison was in Ginny’s goblet but Ron drank from it before she could.”

“Where are you taking him?” Rose asked.

“The Headmaster thinks it would be better for Ron to be in the hospital wing now,” Ginny answered.

“We had better go,” Dumbledore said, “We need to settle Ron in the hospital wing before the task starts.”

When they reached the Entrance Hall, they saw Neville hurrying toward them through the front doors.

“What happened to Ron?” he asked them.

Hermione quickly explained what had happened earlier to Ron.

“Oh boy,” Neville said, “That really awful. Uh, Harry, can I talk to you for a moment, in private?”

“Uh, sure, Neville,” Harry said, “You guys go on ahead to the hospital wing. We’ll catch up.”

They moved to a corner of the Hall, across from the broom cupboard.

“What is it, Neville?” Harry asked.

“I’ve found a way for you to breathe underwater,” Neville said, “Here, take this.” He pressed a mass of what looked like slimy grayish green rat tails into Harry’s hand.

“What are these, Neville?” Harry asked.

“It’s Gillyweed, Harry,” Neville said, “It causes gills to sprout at the sides of the neck and hands and feet to become webbed once you’ve swallowed it. It’ll allow you to breathe underwater for about an hour. That should be enough time to find some Maiden’s Hand. Remember, the Maiden’s hand is greenish, translucent and is shaped like a long-fingered hand. It grows in the bottom, near the middle within forests of seagrass. Just watch out for Grindylows.”

Grindylows were small, horned water demons that hid in the weeds and attacked swimmers, trying to drown them so they could eat them. Harry had learned about them the previous year from Remus’ Defense Against the Dark Arts class.

“Thanks, Neville,” Harry said, “I’ll try to remember all that. Well, we better catch up to the others. I want to make sure Ron is settled in the hospital wing before going down to the lake.”

When Harry and Neville arrived at the hospital wing, they saw that Ron had already been placed in one of the beds at the side of the room. However, he was not the only one who had been poisoned for the task and the wing was crowded with people.

Madame Maxime was hovering over another bed where a girl with dark brown hair and wearing Beauxbatons robes lay, apparently asleep. Fleur was seated beside the unconscious girl, holding her hand. Two other Beauxbatons students, one boy and one girl were standing behind Fleur, looking grave.

On another bed was a boy dressed in Durmstrang furs. Viktor Krum was seated beside the boy, his face sour and glum. Propanov was off to the side, talking with Dumbledore.

Occasionally, Viktor would glance in Hermione’s direction but she didn’t notice since she was too focused on Ron, causing the older boy to frown. Hermione had been polite with Krum since she started dating Ron but didn’t talk to him as much as she used to.

Both Fleur and Viktor were wearing bathrobes. Their swimming wear was probably under the robes.

As he gazed at the sleeping victims, Harry was a bit glad that he wasn’t the one in bed, though he felt guilty having that feeling since it was Ron who was sick and he was that way because of the task.

“Harry,” Ginny’s mental voice broke into his thoughts, “you have nothing to feel guilty over. It’s not your fault. Ron shouldn’t have taken a drink from my glass in the first place. But the one really responsible is the one who entered your name in the tournament.” She was with Hermione, Rose and Ti, seated around Ron.

Harry sighed and walked over to them with Neville. “You’re right, Gin,” Harry said to her, mentally, “It’s just that I feel like I’m a puppet being controlled. I feel so helpless seeing Ron like this. I really want to find out who placed me in this bloody tournament.”

“Don’t think about that, Harry. The best thing you can do right now is go out there and find that plant.”

“All right,”
Harry said, “that’s what I’m going to do. Uh, Ginny, who are the two other victims?”

“Oh, the one with Fleur is Marie Jeconais, her best friend while the one with Viktor is Igor Stratislav, his best friend,”
Ginny said, “Apparently, both were poisoned like Ron while having breakfast. Both headmasters were not pleased, especially Propanov.”

“I know how they feel,”
Harry said.

Ginny took his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze, “it’ll be all right, Harry. I’m sure you’ll find the Maiden’s Hand in time.”

Just then, Dumbledore came up to Harry, trailed by Madame Maxime, Fleur, Propanov and Viktor Krum.

“Harry,” Dumbledore said, “It’s time to head down to the lake for the task. Don’t worry; by the end of the task, there should be enough time for the antidote to be brewed.”

“All right, Professor,” Harry said, “if you say so.”

He nodded to Fleur and Viktor, “Don’t worry. We’ll get our friends out of this.”

Both looked at Harry with gratitude.

“Thank you, ‘arry,” Fleur said, her eyes wet with unshed tears, “Marie ‘az been my best friend zinz we started at Beauxbatons. I do not know ‘ow I will go on wiz’out ‘er.”

“Da,” Viktor said, “Igor is being like zat for me, also.”

Ginny gave Harry a peck on the cheek before he left the hospital wing. The three champions walked in silence, side by side down to the lake, trailed by their respective headmasters/mistress.

When they were able to see the lake, they saw that there was a gold-draped table near the water’s edge and seated there were Ludo Bagman and Barty Crouch. On the opposite bank of the lake, stands were erected with the seats from around the dragon’s enclosure. Students were already filling them.

When they arrived at the lakeshore, Harry, Fleur and Viktor glared at Bagman and Crouch. Dumbledore, Propanov and Madam Maxime took their seats at the table.

“Er, good morning,” Bagman said, nervously as he noted the hostile looks being given to him by the three champions, “I hope you’ve, ah, all figured out what you have to do.”

“Oh, yeah,” Harry said, in a sarcastic tone, “it’s a great task you’re having us do. Find a plant underwater to save our best mates from sleeping for a hundred years. Great, wonderful, right up with that first task where we saved a loved one from a mad dragon. Just who cursed you with the brains of a monkey, Voldemort?”

Bagman winced, “N-n-now, Harry, there’s no need to bring You-Know-Who into this. This has nothing to do with him. After all, he’s gone and all thanks to you.”

Harry noticed a look of anger on Crouch’s face but it was gone before he could focus on it.

“Now,” Bagman continued, “we just have a few minutes while we wait for the stands to fill.”

While they were waiting, Harry gestured to Fleur and Viktor to come closer to him. When they did, he said in a low voice, “Look, it’ll be better if we work together on this. At least, we should cooperate in searching for the Maiden’s Hand. That way, we can find it quickly.”

The two were silent for a few seconds before Viktor said, “I agree with Harry. Ve must work together so finding this plant will be easy.”

Fleur nodded, “Oui, we must, so our friends may wake up.”

“All right,” Harry said, “when we get into the water, we have to split up to search as much of the lake as we can. From our research, my friends and I have determined that all we need to do is look for clumps of seagrass. They look like a thick carpet of light green weeds about two feet high. The Maiden’s Hand grows among the seagrass.”

“So, ve vill look for these plants at the bottom of the lake?” Viktor asked.

“Yes,” Harry said, “each of us should search each clump we find. Several strands of Maiden’s Hand usually grow together. So, if we find one, there should be enough for all of us. After all, we only need one strand for each potion.”

“Very vell, Harry,” Viktor said, “How vill ve contact each other once someone finds it?”

“Well, we can’t use red sparks in the water,” Harry said, thinking, “I know, flash the light from your wand at maximum power on and off in quick succession five times. It should be visible for a mile or two.”

“Yes,” Fleur said, “zat should work.”

Viktor nodded, “Yes, very vell. Ve vill do that.”

“All right,” Harry said, “if you find one first, just make sure the others see where it is before leaving, okay? Oh, watch out for Grindylows. They hide in the seagrass.”

Both Fleur and Viktor nodded. Bagman called them to change and come up to the water’s edge.

When the three champions, now in swimsuits, were standing, Bagman pointed his wand to his throat and said, “Sonorus!” His voice, now magically magnified, boomed out over the water, “Good morning! Our champions are now ready for the second task, which will start at my whistle. They will have one hour to search for the plant, which is the main reagent for the potion that will awaken their sleeping friends. On the count of three, then. One…..two……three!”

The three champions walked into the cold waters of the lake. Fleur and Viktor cast spells on themselves then dove under the water.

Harry stuffed the Gillyweed into his mouth and chewed. He gagged a bit on the awful taste but managed to swallow them. As he walked further into the water, he suddenly felt as if someone had clamped a pillow over his mouth and nose and a piercing pain appeared on the sides of his neck. His head started spinning from lack of air.

“Harry! Get under the water now!” he heard Ginny say to him in his mind.

Harry dove under the water and took a gulp of water. The spinning feeling immediately disappeared and he felt the water pass through the gills he now had. Looking at his hands and feet, he saw webbing between his fingers and toes. His feet had also elongated a bit.

Grinning, Harry dove deep into the murky depths, enjoying the now warmer water. He could only see about ten feet in front of him. He glided through the water, heading for the bottom of the lake.

After several minutes, a landscape unlike any he had seen before loomed before him. Forests of rippling, tangled black weed and wide plains of mud littered with dull, glimmering stones were all about. Harry turned toward where he thought the middle of the lake was. So far, there was no sign of the other champions, Grindylows or, thankfully, the giant squid.

Harry then spotted a clump of seagrass. He dove down to it and starting shifting through the weeds. He didn’t see any other plant. Then, he felt a heavy pressure around his left leg. Looking down, he saw a Grindylow clutching his leg with its long fingers and baring its pointed teeth at him. More were starting to rise from the weeds.

Harry pulled his wand out of his swimming trunk’s back pocket and shouted, “Relashio!” Instead of sound, a large bubble came out of his mouth and instead of red sparks, a jet of what appeared to be hot water came out of his wand and hit the Grindylow, causing red welts to appear on its skin and forcing it to let go.

Harry repeated the spell several more times, forcing the Grindylows to return to the shelter of the weeds. Harry then moved away, looking for other clumps of seagrass.

After twenty more minutes and several clumps of seagrass, Harry surmised that he was near the middle of the lake. He found another clump of seagrass and spotted a group of translucent green plants whose leaves were thin and elongated.

That must be the Maiden’s Hand Harry thought. He swam up to it. After ascertaining that it was indeed the Maiden’s Hand, he raised his wand and said, “Lumos maxima!

A very bright light came out of his wand’s tip. After a second, he said, “Nox!”, extinguishing the light. He relit his wand two more times with an interval of a second.

Hoping Fleur and Viktor had seen the light, he reached down, plucked one strand of the plant and placed it in the front pocket of his trunks. Then he waited.

While he was waiting, Harry saw several humanoid figures with silvery fishtails instead of legs swim up to the edge of the seagrass clump. Merpeople! They had grayish skin, long wild hair of a dark green color and yellow eyes. Around their necks, they wore thick ropes of pebbles and had spears in their hands. They appeared to be watching him.

After about a minute, one of them pointed to the Maiden’s hand then at Harry then made a shooing gesture. Harry shook his head.

The same merman came closer and said, “You have the plant. You should go.”

“I’m waiting for the others to find it,” Harry tried to say but only bubbles came out of his mouth. He shook his head again and continued watching for the other champions.

The merman shrugged his shoulders and joined the others. The merpeople took one last look at Harry and swam off.

A few minutes later, Harry saw a slim figure coming towards him. It was Fleur and she had an enormous bubble around her head, making her features appear wide and lopsided.

Harry pointed out the strand of Maiden’s Hand to her. She smiled and nodded her thanks before diving down toward the plant. Harry looked around for Viktor but saw no sign of him. Deciding that he had waited long enough, he turned for one last look at Fleur but froze at what he saw.

Several Grindylow were mobbing Fleur, tugging her and pulling her down toward the seagrass. With barely a thought, Harry dove toward the part-Veela girl.

When he got close to her, he sent several jets of hot water at the nasty creatures, while trying to avoid hitting Fleur. The Grindylows fled before Harry’s spells. Harry pulled Fleur away from them.

Luckily, she was unharmed. Shaking a bit, she nodded her thanks again to Harry and headed for the surface, a strand of Maiden’s Hand clutched tightly in one hand.

Harry watched her ascend for a few seconds. Then he felt a tug on his leg and looked down. Another Grindylow was clutching his foot. Suddenly, the creature bit him. Harry gasped at the sharp pain the bite caused him.

He lashed out with his other foot, hard and felt it connect with its horned skull. The Grindylow let go and floated away, clearly dazed. Harry saw more of the creatures rising out of the seagrass. He drew his wand and sent more jets of hot water at them, forcing some of them back.

However, more came out of the seagrass and started swarming his legs, pulling him down. Some of them started biting him, drawing blood.

It’s just like Rose’s vision.

He could feel himself sinking down into the seagrass. The loss of blood from his wounds was starting to make him light-headed and a bit dizzy.

“Harry! Don’t give up!” He heard Ginny call to him in his mind. He could feel her panic mounting. Dimly, he was aware of Hermione and Rose holding her, to keep her from jumping into the water after him.

Harry could barely hold his wand up. Several Grindylows were also clutching his arms, keeping him from casting the spell. His vision started to grow dim.

Suddenly, a large shadow seemed to block out the light from the surface. Then, something long and sinewy with suction cups wrapped itself around his waist.

Great! He thought Now, Edgar’s getting in on the action.

As he hovered on the edge of consciousness, he noticed that the Grindylows seemed to be letting him go. He then felt himself rising and realized that the giant squid had somehow driven the Grindylows off and was actually lifting him toward the surface of the lake.

As he was being pushed upward, Harry shook his head, trying to clear it. Then he felt a pair of hands grasp his arms and pull him further upward. Turning his head, he momentarily panicked at the sight of the creature grasping him.

It appeared to be a human body in swimming trunks with the head of a shark. He realized that it was Viktor, who seemed to have Transfigured himself, a bit badly.

Viktor gave him a look that seemed to be asking if he was all right. Harry looked up and saw that they were close to the surface and gave Viktor a thumbs-up sign. Viktor nodded as he let Harry go then he started rising toward the surface, a strand of Maiden’s Hair tucked into his trunks. There was no sign of the giant squid.

Harry pushed himself upward with his feet. He noticed he was starting to have difficulty drawing in his breath and there was pain again at the sides of his neck. He was starting to get dizzy again and water was flooding through his mouth into his lungs.

Oh, no, the Gillyweed must be wearing off.

He dimly heard Ginny in his mind giving him encouragement as he struggled upward and tried not to lose consciousness

Suddenly, he broke the surface of the lake and drew in a great breath of air. As his head started to clear, he found that he was more than a hundred yards from shore. He allowed himself to float as he got his breathing under control. Finally, he headed for shore, using strong strokes to move quickly through the water, ignoring his aching muscles.

When he felt his feet come in contact with solid ground, he started moving faster. Harry fell to his knees when he broke free of the water, gasping from exhaustion. Ginny was at his side in a flash, draping a towel over him. Hermione and Rose helped him stand up.

“Harry,” Ginny said in his mind as she hugged him tightly, “I swear, if you had given up back there, I would have hexed you into next week.”

“Don’t worry, love. I’m okay now.”
Harry said back to her as he returned her embrace.

“No, you’re not, you prat!” Ginny said, “You’re bleeding from all those Grindylow bites. Come on, Harry, let’s get you to Madame Pomfrey.”

Reluctant to argue with her, Harry allowed her to pull him over to where the school nurse was examining Fleur and Viktor. Madame Pomfrey pursed her lips when she saw the wounds on Harry’s legs.

“Sit down, Potter,” she said, “I have to heal those wounds before they get worse.”

Harry sat down on a stool and allowed the matron to heal the Grindylow bites on his legs. He saw Dumbledore at the water’s edge, talking to several of the merpeople. Then, the headmaster walked back to the judges’ table and talked with the others.

Snape came up to him then.

“Potter,” the greasy-haired professor said, holding his hand out, “I’ll have your strand of Maiden’s Hair now so I can begin brewing the antidote for Weasley.” Harry reluctantly handed over the plant to Snape, who walked off back toward the castle.

Fleur then came up to Harry and hugged him, earning a scowl from Ginny. The French girl said, “Oh, ‘arry. Thank you so much for saving me from the Grindylows. Those ‘orrible creatures, they almost drowned me!” She gave him a kiss on each cheek, causing Harry to blush and Ginny to glower at the Beauxbatons girl.

Harry turned to Viktor, “Thanks for helping me back there, Viktor,” Harry said, “I’m not sure what would have happened if you hadn’t come along.”

“You are velcome, Harry,” Viktor said, smiling a little, “Of course, I thought the giant squid was attacking you but I saw it drive the Grindylows away from you.”

“I thought that was what it was doing,” Harry said, “I guess I owe it my thanks also.”

Just then, James and Lily came up to them. They quickly hugged Harry.

“Are you all right, Harry?” Lily asked as she looked him over.

“I’m all right now, Mum,” Harry said, “I had a few Grindylow bites but Madame Pomfrey healed them all up.”

“That’s good, son,” James said, “It’s just too bad you were third getting back. Oh, Ludo is about to announce the scores.” They turned toward the judges as Bagman pointed his wand to himself and said, “Sonorus!

“Your attention, please, ladies and gentlemen,” Bagman said with his magically amplified voice, “we, the judges, have come to our decision based on our observations and some testimony from the merpeople who live in the lake. We have decided to award points out of fifty to our champions as follows…”

“Miss Fleur Delacour made excellent use of the Bubblehead Charm and was the first one back with the correct plant, even though she was attacked by Grindylows. We award her forty-eight points.”

The crowd applauded and cheered enthusiastically.

“Mr. Viktor Krum performed an incomplete crossspecies Transfiguration, which was nevertheless effective and was the second one to return. He receives forty-four points.”

More applause and cheers came from the stands.

“Finally, Mr. Harry Potter made excellent use of Gillyweed and came back last. However, we have been informed by the merpeople who were watching, that he was the first to find a clump of Maiden’s Hand but refused to leave until he was sure the others could find it. In addition, he came to the aid of Miss Delacour when she was attacked by the Grindylows. We applaud him for his moral fiber and courage. Therefore, we award him with forty-six points.”

Cheers and applause broke out from the stands, louder than they had been for Viktor and Fleur. Adding up his previous score from the first task put Harry in first place.

“Well done to all the champions,” Bagman continued, “Now, we are up to the third and final task. It’ll take place at dusk on the twenty-fourth of June. The champions will be informed of the task, exactly one month beforehand. Thank you for your support of all the champions. Quietus!

Harry grinned as Hermione, Rose and his parents congratulated him. Ginny leaped into his arms, wrapping her legs around his waist, and gave him a passionate kiss, much to the amusement of Harry’s parents, sister, best friend and Dumbledore. This, however, bewildered Fleur, Viktor and the other judges.

Harry and Ginny broke apart then their cheeks reddened as they realized that they had an audience.

“Er, sorry,” Ginny said, “I just got carried away, what with Harry now in first place.”

“Oh, that’s perfectly all right, Miss Weasley,” Dumbledore said, the familiar twinkle in his eye, “It’s so nice to see young love like that. I remember a certain other young couple years ago, another redhead girl and a black-haired bespectacled boy. She congratulated him in the same way after they won the Quidditch Cup in their final year. They were just as in love as the two of you are, and still are, I believe.”

James and Lily’s cheeks turned red on hearing Dumbledore’s comment.

Dumbledore chuckled, “All right, I think we should head to the hospital wing now. We have a trio of people to awaken.”

Everyone nodded and started to head for the castle.

Ginny helped Harry dry off with a drying charm then held his robe as he put them on. They then headed up the path to the castle, holding hands.

As they walked, Harry noticed his dad was lagging behind, looking at something suspiciously. Harry followed his Dad’s gaze and saw that his father was watching Mr. Crouch, who was talking to Propanov as they walked up to the castle.

“Dad,” Harry said, “What is it? Why are you looking at Mr. Crouch like that?”

“Huh,” James said as he turned his attention to his son, “What do you mean, son?”

“Dad, you’ve got that look,” Harry said, “You know, your ‘suspicious Auror’ look. What’s going on?”

James sighed, “Mr. Crouch seems to be acting strangely lately. He seems obsessed with this tournament. I heard from Percy that he’s arrived late at several important meetings in the last three months, meetings not concerned with this tournament. It’s really strange since he’s always been punctual. Then, he’s gone home early often lately, leaving a lot of work undone. It’s as if he’s not interested in most parts of his job anymore.”

“That is strange, Dad,” Harry said, “you know, this morning, I got kind of angry at him and Bagman for putting Ron to sleep and told them they must have been cursed by Voldemort into coming up with these tasks. Bagman reacted the usual way people do on hearing old Voldie’s name, but Mr. Crouch actually looked angry for a moment when Bagman mentioned that he was gone, thanks to me.”

“That is a bit unusual, son,” James said, “Even I occasionally get chills when I hear V-V-Voldemort’s name. Of course, it might have to do with what happened to his son, Barty, Jr.”

“Why, James?” Ginny asked, as she was walking beside them, “What happened to his son?”

“Well, after V-V-Voldemort disappeared after attacking us, some Deatheaters captured the Longbottoms to get information on Voldemort’s whereabouts. Luckily for Frank and Alice, they were caught by Moody and some other Aurors before they got cursed for too long with the Cruciatus curse. Merlin knows what would have happened to them otherwise. Anyway, one of the Deatheaters caught was Barty’s own son, Barty Crouch, Jr.”

Harry and Ginny’s eyes widened.

“What did Mr. Crouch do?” Harry asked, a bit afraid of the answer.

James gave a bitter laugh, something Harry had never heard from his father, “Barty was head of Magical Law Enforcement and chief judge when his son came to trial. The boy vehemently denied the charges and frantically begged his mother, who was present, to save him. Barty refused to listen to his own son and sentenced him to Azkaban with no regrets, even disowned him.”

“That’s horrible,” Ginny said, “What happened after that?”

James sighed, “Barty Jr died in Azkaban a couple of years later. Barty’s wife never recovered from the shock. She died a few months after her son. Barty was a broken man after that. He was in line for Minister of Magic but his prestige suffered a nosedive after his son’s trial and he got shunted into the Department of Magical Cooperation. Of course, he worked just as hard in that department as he did in his old job. But now, he seems a bit different.”

After a few seconds of watching Mr. Crouch, James shook his head, as if he was trying to clear it, “Well, never mind about Crouch. Let’s catch up with the others. You have a friend to awaken and need to celebrate a successful task.” He then increased his stride to catch up with his wife and daughter.

Harry and Ginny looked at each other but decided to leave the matter alone for now. They hurried to catch up with James, eager to be there when Ron woke up.

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