This is a non-profit tribute to the works of JK Rowling who, together with her publishers and licensees, owns the characters and situations elaborated herein.

A/N: Spoilers, now HBP-compatible

There's no indication in canon of either Goyle or Crabbe having hidden depths but we only ever see them through Gryffindor eyes. How would the Gryffindors notice?

"What you got?"

Vin looked up from the book in his large square fist and handed it over to his slightly shorter friend with a shrug. Their mothers and Aunt Narcy had been best friends since school so they'd grown up together, them and Draco, almost like brothers and they were used to sharing everything.

Greg sat down next to him on the bed. His low heavy brow wrinkled as he read, lips moving as he sounded out the words.

What does it mean to be growing up green.
The colour of envy, the colour of spring?
Why do I feel that I'm growing up empty,
Serf to a serpent and living his dream?

Green is the colour of growth and renewal,
Green grass and green leaves and seaweed and seeds,
Meadows and paddocks where little lambs frolic,
The healthy food each fluffy little lamb needs.

For green is the colour of things that get eaten,
Heads nodding, arms waving, feet in the ground,
Trapped in a destiny nothing can sweeten,
Slither-in fly-trapper into your shrouds.

So avidly Avada, cut up my cadaver,
Wheat's made for reaping and soon so am I,
Send me a sweet dream so I keep on sleeping
And plant me again till the next time I die.

He looked up at the end with a puzzled frown.

"This is no good," he said.

Vin pushed the hair out of his eyes but it flopped down again as soon as he removed his hand. That was the problem with a pudding-bowl cut but he'd always had his hair this way and saw no reason to change.

No good. That was an understatement. It was no good as poetry – Its rhyme scheme changed from verse to verse, not like that Muggle anthology he'd sneaked out of Hogwarts library last year and hidden, reduced, in his broom-care kit – and getting these ideas felt no good either. He looked at his friend and shrugged agreement.

"Draco said something short and snappy," Greg explained earnestly, "like that 'Weasley's our king' song you wrote last year."

"Why's he care? Thought he was talking 'bout dropping it?"

He didn't have to spend all his time mugging up remedial DADA in hopes of passing the OWLs this time around like they did but somehow he always seemed to be busy. Strange to be too busy for Quidditch! He kept hinting at an exciting secret that he couldn't tell them about but what could be more exciting than being Seeker, especially with the match against Gryffindor coming up next month?

Greg shrugged and rubbed his nose.

"Says we can still lead the cheers even if we can't play."

Vin nodded and let his head fall onto his inky left hand. It left a smear of ink on his cheek but he didn't notice. He screwed up his face. A short snappy Quidditch cheer? Who cared anyway? They'd never beat the Gryffs. Even when they did old Dumbles always pulled some sort of swifty to put the Gryffs back in first place. Or he just cancelled the competition like last year. But he'd been giving Draco what he wanted since the first time Draco had held a hand out for his toy basilisk when they were babies. He might as well continue.

"Green is keen and red is dead; Gryffindors go boil your heads," he produced after a moment. His knuckles were itchy again. He rubbed them.

There was a lengthy silence as Greg let the words roll around his head.

"Yeah, that'd do." He borrowed his friend's quill and a spare piece of parchment. "How'd it go again?"

Vin sighed and grabbed them out of his friend's meaty hand. It would be quicker to do this himself.

"Never mind, I'll write it."

Greg ran a hand through his wiry stubble of hair as he watched his friend. These days Vin was awfully twitchy.



"Vin?" Greg's voice was even lower and raspier than usual. His small deep-set eyes were troubled. "Don't you like being in Slytherin?"

His friend's hand jerked, dropping an inkblot over the parchment. Then his head jerked up too, eyes narrowed and lips pursed.

"Where else would I want to be? The other houses are useless."

But that was an evasion. True there was nowhere else at Hogwarts: the Huffies were too plodding, the 'Claws too boring and the Gryffs – ugh! Too gryffie. But he was beginning to think of a world outside Hogwarts. A world where there were no house expectations to limit him, where he could just be Vin Crabbe and nothing else. Did it even exist or was the whole world divided into just those four groups?

"I dunno, " Greg pondered. "But you don't seem happy."

"Nothing's been the same since our dads got put away." Vin's hand tightened around the quill and his mouth went thin and pinched. "I still don't believe it. Our dads were too – old. Why would they be in a secret organisation or running around in masks at night? Sure dad doesn't like Mudbloods – who could? - but he's never seemed to care about politics. Why did he bother?"

Greg shrugged and cracked his knuckles. He always started with the little finger, one, two, three, and worked his way, one, two, three, one, two, three, one. two, three, up to his thumb, one, two. When he'd done both hands he looked up.

"I guess they thought it was important. It's all about saving the world, innit? Keeping the muddies from polluting us."

The other boy sighed as he handed over the parchment. Why did it feel like the three of them were growing apart?

Draco had always been the clever one who thought up all the games and turned even dull days into adventures. When they were little he'd made up the stories about the daring exploits of Barney Basilisk, Liu Ching Liondragon and Greg's Maxi Manticore. He'd always led the expeditions and chosen the destinations whenever they played explorers. He was a terrific mimic too. He used to keep them in stitches in the Common Room on long cold winter evenings after curfew, especially his impersonations of McGroanagall and Hag-ridden.

After their hospital stay at St Mungos last summer somehow he seemed to have run out of ideas. He was too busy hiding behind icicle eyes, pretending he was all right, or waving his covered left arm at them with a smile that wavered between triumphant and terrified. He couldn't really have joined You-Know-Who, could he? Not still in school! And why? It just didn't sound so exciting any more, not now they knew they'd be following in their dads' footsteps instead of rebelling against their parents' boring respectable Ministry-supporting lives.

It didn't seem to bother Greg. He was still as simple and direct as a farmer plowing a field in straight stripes, never deviating an inch from his destination. He never worried about whether white was white or black or fifty shades of grey. He did what he'd always been taught was right and that was that.

Vin watched him walk away and sighed again. If only he could be so certain.

A/N In OotP, Draco asks "How do you like my cheer?" but his claim could come from having "commissioned" it, i.e. had the idea or asked his friend to write it.

Canon doesn't mention a hospital stay but they were rather badly hexed by the DA on the train home in 5th year.

The explanations are mostly Crabbe's thoughts,and are therefore not always strictly grammatical.