Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

The Loyal Man
By Silver Sailor Ganymede

Gregory Goyle had always been a loyal man, despite what his status as a member of Slytherin house would immediately had led one to believe.

He was loyal to his family; he had begged to be in Slytherin despite the fact the Sorting Hat had said he ought not to go there, that being sorted into that house would crush his character completely rather than allow him to thrive. It would not suit him at all, the Sorting Hat said, but Gregory knew that that was what he had to do. And so it was that he went into Slytherin and thus remained loyal to his family.

He was loyal to his friends; he had not even chosen Draco and Vincent as companions (their families had long ago done that for them), and no matter how much he disliked them in reality, he always went along with what Draco said because that was what was expected of him. Besides, Gregory's family were Slytherins through and through, and as such he knew that to be subservient was better than to be vulnerable. And so it was that he followed Draco and Vincent and thus remained loyal to his friends.

He had never quite understood his relatives' and companions' disdain for anyone who wasn't a pureblood; after all, even he had to privately admit that many of the mudbloods were cleverer than he. He would have had to have been either exceptionally dim-witted (like Marcus Flint) or blinded by his own arrogance (like Draco) not to see that. But of course he knew he couldn't risk being branded a bloodtraitor; no, he definitely could not risk that; he was a Slytherin after all, and Slytherins valued blood purity above all else. And so it was that he scorned mudbloods and bloodtraitors and thus remained loyal to the ideas of his house.

When Gregory was seventeen and the Dark Lord had fully returned to power, he took the Dark Mark and followed the rest of his family into a life of service to the Dark Arts. Privately he neither agreed with nor understood the Dark Lord's ideas, but he knew better than to open his mouth and argue against so powerful a man. Better just to submit and follow and save his own neck, just like he had done with Draco all these years. And so it was that he went into the service of the Dark Lord and thus remained loyal to what others expected of him.

In their final year of Hogwarts, he and Vincent found themselves to have rather a talent for casting the Cruciatus Curse. Vincent cast it with malicious glee, but Gregory did not. No, the only reason he was good at that particular curse was because there was so much rage inside of him; rage at the fact that even though he had been loyal all his life, no one seemed to want to acknowledge that. It brought him no pleasure to see people writhing in agony at his feet, and yet he still cast the curse if only because he had to. He was a Death Eater now, after all, and Death Eaters valued blood purity above all else. And so it was that he tortured mudbloods and bloodtraitors and thus remained loyal to the movement of which he was now a part.

Yes, Gregory Goyle was a loyal man indeed; the only thing he was not loyal to was himself. Had he been loyal to himself then he would have been a Hufflepuff rather following the rest of his family into Slytherin so willingly. Had he been loyal to himself then he would never have followed Draco so stoically. Had he been loyal to himself then he never would have followed the Dark Lord so blindly.

But Gregory Goyle was loyal to everything other than what he truly wanted, and so it was that he was waiting for the Aurors to descend on him now and punish him for simply having been loyal to a cause and a man in whose ideas he didn't even believe.

Had he been loyal only to himself, he could have been a great man, but in the end his loyalty proved to be the very thing that damned him.