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

A/N: Thanks to all my reviewers and especially to my previewers, Bellegeste and Lady Memory. DH took Crabbe to a dark place, and in order to stay canon, my story had to follow. Caution advised...

Vin sat on the bed, idly tracing the last line with his eyes. That was the whole point, wasn't it?

Your eyes accuse,
Your cries bemuse.
Should I recuse?
What did you choose?

When I was you
And fallen too,
Hexed into goo;
What did you do?

When you were me
Your wand hand free
You did not flee.
You laughed in glee.

The heifer moos.
The pigeon coos.
The woodsman hews.
Not new; not news.

The lover woos.
The drunkard spews.
The curse subdues.
The losers bruise.

(The blacks and blues
The loser rues,
And cheek bedews
With aarghs and oohs.)

Your eyes accuse.
Your cries amuse.
The picture skews.
I win. You lose.

They were all such hypocrites. Liars. As if they wouldn't do the same in his position. Even Draco.

Draco hadn't said anything, but he'd seen it in his eyes, in the inward pinched quirk at the corner of his mouth where his teeth were chewing on it. 'How can you do it?' His eyes had said. 'How do you somehow enjoy it?'

How? Like it was hard? Like he needed to do anything but call up a memory of the three of them, wedged into an overhead rack on the train ride home after fifth year, helpless, limbless, guts cramped with wanting to go, gullets dry as a bone, and everyone who walked by stopping to point and giggle and whisper. Hours of that, days, years it had seemed. He was top dog now, and if they didn't like it they had only themselves to blame.

("Practise, boy!" Snape had said last year in those endless remedial classes. "Practise again and again until you do it right."

Practice, yes, that was the key. With every detention he got better and faster. With every curse cast, he grew stronger and more precise.)

Crucio, Crucio, Crucio the lot of you!
Avada Kedavra 'til at last I will be shot of you.
Pinch away from me the stinking reek of all the rot of you.
Stamp you into dust until my boots have made a blot of you...

The problem with Draco was he was weak. When saving your family meant killing a dotty old man you didn't like, you killed him. Hell, you killed him even if you did like him, if it was your family at stake. Draco was weak. He'd always been weak. Vin was not. Not anymore.

All his life he'd heard "stupid boy ... dunderhead ... can't do anything right!" Not even Snape had ever praised his work. Not even Umbridge had ever valued him in his own right. Who'd have thought that seventh year would reverse the fortunes/failures of a lifetime? No more bashing bludgers about; he'd seen the Snitch, and it was his for the grabbing.

There were new teachers now, good teachers. Teachers who cared about him, Vin; teachers who wanted him to excel. And excel he would. Professor Carrow Sir knew a whole heap of curses and Vin was going to learn them all.

A/N The second and third stanzas of the first poem refer to the train ride home in fifth year, when Draco and his friends were cursed into slug form and left that way. It seems likely to me that, by seventh year, Draco's friends would know he'd tried and failed to kill Dumbledore, and why.