Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all elements thereof are the property of Ms. J.K. Rowling. The following story was written solely for entertainment purposes and, as such, no profit is being made and no copyright infringement is intended.
AN: The hardest part was getting inside Vincent Crabbe's head. Hopefully I've done a passable job. Suggestions and constructive criticism are welcome.
Only the Cold
He's glaring at her somethin' fierce. She's too busy listening to Flitwick an' taking notes to see. There's a muscle ticking under his jaw an' at the rate he's holding his quill it's gonna snap any time now. He's mad 'cause he almost never gets to her, she just doesn't mind him that much, unlike Potter an' Weasley who'd beat him up real good if they had a chance.
"Vince," Greg rasps, "pass those jellybeans over here, will ya?"
I hand him the packet of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. He thanks me, bites into one an' makes a face. "Yech. Coconut again. I always get coconut. 'S'not fair."
People'd be shocked to know Greg an' me call each other by our first names, 'cause we've always been Crabbe and Goyle at school. But him and me've known each other since we were kids. Draco came a little later. Everyone thinks he's a sodding git an' they're right, never been a bastard meaner'n Draco, but that's just his way. He can be right decent, so long as no one else is around. He looks over our homework, f'r example, but he snarls at us when we thank him, says he's only doing it so we won't flunk out an' he won't have no one to carry his things 'nymore.
I watch him tense up when Weasley leans over to whisper somethin' in Granger's ear. She laughs an' swipes Weasley playfully on the shoulder, an' the quill in Draco's hand snaps, just like that.
"Here," I grunt, fishing another quill out of my bag an' holding it out to him.
He throws the broken pieces on the floor in disgust, grabs the new quill, starts scribbling down what Flitwick is saying. Jagged, angry strokes. Not his usual neat handwriting that Zabini once said was like a girl's. Draco'd hexed him good for that one.
"All right?" I ask him.
"Fine," he growls. He's gone pale--- well, paler'n usual--- an' he doesn't look at me, or at Parkinson who turns 'round to say somethin' to him. He ignores her. She snorts an' lifts her nose in the air an' turns back. Uppity little bitch, her.
Draco just continues scowling an' draggin' the quill on the parchment so hard I think for a second he's about to rip holes into it.
He doesn't know I know. He hasn't told anyone, though sometimes it's mighty obvious and he has to work extra hard to cover it up. It'd make his parents an' the other Slytherins go off their rocker, Draco Malfoy fancyin' a Mudblood. It really would.
It prob'ly started in third year, when she slapped him. I still remember the sound of her palm thwacking 'gainst his face. Greg and me'd looked at him for instructions--- although I wasn't too keen on laying hands on a girl--- but 'stead of telling us to get her or somethin' like that he just stood there, holdin' his cheek an' staring at her like he'd never seen her b'fore. Then he muttered "C'mon" and we slunk away.
Things slowly started changing after that. Not that he's stopped bugging her or anythin'--- in fact sometimes he goes out of his way just to rile her--- but he looks at her in secret, with a face like he's seeing somethin' he wants but can't have and he's bloody pissed about it. At the Yule Ball in fourth year he'd been unable to take his eyes off her, an' he packed away his poster of Krum the next morning.
Then there was the time we saw her kissing Weasley on the cheek. Draco'd been in a right nasty mood after that, snapping at us for little things, kicking aside the chairs in the common room, not even so much as smirking when Zabini set a first year's hair on fire.
An' there was one of the few times he was able to get under her skin, by telling her that her Muggle parents would be among the first to go when the Dark Lord came back. Her eyes'd watered a little, an' when Draco saw that he'd just suddenly stopped and walked off. He didn't say anything all day.
People think I'm thick, but I notice stuff like that, 'specially since I've known Draco for a bit. Took me quite a while to catch on, but finally I started payin' attention. I notice the way he gets very still , almost like he's afraid to move, when she walks into the room. I notice the way his fists clench when she's tellin' him off, like he can't decide whether to hit her or to grab her. I know he hates himself for liking someone who's everything he's not s'posed to like, an' I know he blames her for making him feel this way when a few years back he'd hated her like anythin' It's funny to watch, actually--- when he's 'round her he doesn't stutter or stumble all over himself like most people in love, he just gets angrier an' angrier.
Flitwick dismisses us in his squeaky voice an' we troop out of the classroom, Greg an' me flanking Draco as usual an' shouldering people who get in our way. Somehow we find ourselves walking behind the Dream Team in the corridor. Greg makes to push past 'em, but Draco holds out an arm to block him. Greg blinks, looks at me in confusion. I shrug.
Granger's talking rapidly. "I don't see how I can possibly get everything done by tomorrow. Essays for Charms and Potions, my Arithmancy homework, that page I have to translate for Study of Ancient Runes--- oh, I knew I should have practiced the Switching Spell last night, if I had I wouldn't be worrying about it anymore! Now, Harry, I know you have Quidditch practice, but you absolutely cannot go out until you've finished your essay…"
As she continues blabbering on, Potter and Weasley look at each other over her head, grin, an' roll their eyes in that way my older sister does b'fore she ruffles my hair, then they both sling their arms over her shoulders.
Draco grits his teeth. He gives the nod, and Greg and me shove the Dream Team roughly aside, causing 'em to break apart.
"I'd walk a little faster if I were you, Granger," drawls Draco. "Your bushy head and Potter's ego combined fill an entire corridor. It's dreadfully inconvenient. Good thing Weasley's too poor to have enough of anything that takes up space, eh?"
Greg and me snigger dutifully as we walk past 'em. I hear Weasley mutter, "That little prat--- I oughta---"
"Oh, ignore him, Ron," says Granger. "He just wants the attention. He can be so insufferably childish sometimes---"
The spasm that crosses Draco's face makes me want to pat him on the back, but I stop myself. He doesn't like being touched. Soon enough he's got his feelings under control an' is swaggerin' down the hallway like it's his, like nothin' happened. That's part of bein' in our House, the not letting anythin' get to you for too long. Only the cold can call 'emselves Slytherin, y'see. Draco'd gone his whole life knowin' that.