It was well known among the second year Gryffindors (and most likely the rest of the school that cared to take notice) that wherever Hermione was, if it was a place Goyle could follow, he would be there.
He liked her, she was nice to him. She called him Greg, and she helped with his homework and didn't call him hopeless like so many others. When his parents had sent him a howler for failing to be sorted into Slytherin, she had told him of great wizards she'd read about that had inauspicious starts.
Whatever inauspicious meant.
She took him with her when she visited Hagrid, and told him that he could be dragon handler, if he wanted. It was more than anyone else ever did for him.
So, wherever Hermione went, Greg followed her. He carried her books, he helped her reach things, and he made sure people left her alone.
He didn't like Potter and Weasley. They were nice to Hermione now, but he remembered the time they made her cry in first year.
Now he sat at a table in the library with Hermione, doodling on a bit of parchment while Hermione worked on an essay. He'd already done his, and looked at the flashcards Hermione helped him make, and he was waiting to walk her back to Gryffindor Tower.
"Honestly, Greg, you don't have to wait for me. I know you'd much rather be playing exploding snap with Fred and George than watching me work," Hermione said without looking up.
Greg just smiled at her, shaking his head, "Nope. Fine here."
She huffed at him, but kept writing. He never talked much, but Hermione didn't seem to mind.
Some time passed quietly. Greg drew a picture of Fang and tried to make it move with magic. Hagrid would like it.
"You're holding your wand too tight," Hermione said softly, reaching out to correct his grip. Greg felt himself blush, and quickly stood to hide it, picking up some of Hermione's discarded books.
"Put these away for you," he muttered, striding off into the stacks.
He was putting the last of the heavy books back on the shelf when he heard Malfoy's high voice rising through the library. Shoving the book haphazardly into the case, he made his way back to Hermione's table, a trill of fear going down his spine.
Potter and Weasley said Malfoy might be the Heir of Slytherin. What if he was doing something to Hermione?
You'll be next, Mudbloods.
That was what Malfoy had said in the hall.
He emerged from the stacks at full charge to see Malfoy had spilled ink on Hermione's table, and her face flushed with rage. He didn't stop to think, didn't wait to hear any more - he bulldozed his way to Malfoy and hoisted him up by the front of his robes.
"Apologize to Hermione."
Malfoy sputtered, wriggling in his grasp, and Greg shook him. Crabbe looked on, plainly torn. He wanted to help Draco, but Greg knew that Crabbe was no match for him, not if they drew wands. Crabbe was pants at wandwork.
Hermione giggled, then covered her mouth, "It's alright, Greg. He isn't worth it. Evanesco!"
With a wave of her wand, the ink vanished.
Greg dropped Malfoy, smiling to himself when the ferret landed on his arse. He waited for Hermione to gather her things, then shouldered her bag and his, and followed her from the library, Malfoy's whining about telling Professor Snape following them into the hall.
"You might get detention, you know," Hermione said as she hopped over a trick step on the staircase.
Greg shrugged, "Professor McGonagall will make sure it's with Hagrid. Maybe I'll get to visit Aragog."
That happy thought in his head, Greg gave the password to the Fat Lady and crawled through the portrait hole.