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Remember What You Must

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There weren't no body to bury. Goyle went back after, once nobody was looking anymore, but there wasn't anything left at all, just walls and ashes. It didn't feel right without a body, but maybe it was better that way. Goyle knew what the Dark Lord's followers liked to do with dead bodies.

Without a body to see and touch and smell he could almost believe Vince had just gone to Transylvania with his mum and dad for the summer again, that he would be back for September first like always, same as it had been their whole lives. Except there was no Vince anymore, and no mum and dad, and no Hogwarts to look forward to neither. Crabbe wouldn't be coming back to Hogwarts again, and Goyle didn't think he'd be coming back anymore either.

He didn't want nobody else visiting this room again, not ever, not now that it was the only place that could be called Crabbe's grave, so his last act as a Hogwarts student was to throw thirteen different hexes at the door to the room to close it forever, or at least for long enough for everyone to forget all about it, including Goyle.

The trip home after was as lonely as he could ever remember feeling.

His own dad might not have been dead but he was in Azkaban by now, and his mum had been gone a long time already. His dad told him, he told him the day before it all happened, he told him that he was in deep now and he had to follow the Dark Lord to the end, whatever the end might be. Only afterwards did Gregory feel like his dad was saying to him that that end maybe wasn't going to be what he'd always said it was going to be.

When Gregory was sorted at Hogwarts he already knew he was going to Slytherin, but just for a second the hat said he'd do okay in Hufflepuff. He was pretty horrified at the time, especially since he thought the hat said it all out loud, but now he thought it was maybe because his family was always so loyal. His dad was loyal to the Dark Lord, even after he'd started to have doubts, and Gregory, he was still loyal to Draco long after it was really practical.

But Draco's mum and dad weren't letting him talk to anybody who'd had anything to do with the Dark Lord anymore and that meant Goyle too, even though the only person Gregory Goyle had ever promised anything to was Draco Malfoy.

 

*

 

The house was dark. Not dark in the way it always had been, with mahogany furnishings and leaded glass in the windows, or dark like people were doing Dark deeds, but dark in a way that meant nobody was home. It was like even Gregory wasn't there, when he didn't have nobody else to talk to or fight with.

He hadn't ever been on his own before, not really. Even the elves seemed to have fled, inherited by some distant relative or maybe just dead. Probably dead. He wasn't sure what to do at first except do what he always did: eat, sleep, and fly around the grounds on his father's broom (Gregory's own lost in the fire and not yet replaced). He thought he ought to have been doing the things his father would've been telling him to do as well, like practicing his curses and hexes, but he didn't have much of a taste for it anymore.

Nobody came to visit him, and he didn't have nobody to go visit, nobody who'd want him to, anyway. Vincent was his best friend, and without his best friend he wasn't sure what he was supposed to do anymore. He wasn't sure he was ever supposed to be a whole person by himself.

Nobody ever told him they were sorry, and nobody told him they missed Vincent too. Not even to lie about it to be polite. Nobody much seemed to remember that he was gone, and Gregory wasn't.

But it was important that people remember him too, even just a little bit. Vince was a friend, even when he did bad stuff, and that mattered.

 

*

 

Gregory was very careful with his note, printing it painstakingly with his father's quill and setting a charm to warn him when something was spelled wrong. (It went off so often his owl fled the room in self-defence before he'd got halfway through it.) It took him so many tries that his fingers were covered in ink when he was finished, that he couldn't quite remember the charm to remove, but in the end he had a respectable, if short, tribute to Vincent Crabbe.

The letter to the Daily Prophet took even longer.

After all, they'd run all those big notices about other people who died at Hogwarts. You couldn't miss 'em, even if you were trying. But they hadn't listed all the students who were gone now, and Gregory wanted to fix that. He wasn't sure what it cost to get something printed, and all the little numbers in the back of the newspaper made his head hurt, so he just attached a bunch of galleons from his father's desk and sent his owl off to the Prophet's offices.

He got a reply before he'd even sat down to eat his midnight snack.

Dear Mr Gregory Goyle,

While we appreciate your generous contribution towards our publication, at this time were are not printing this sort of memorial announcement in an effort not to sully the celebration of the heroes of the war. Please feel free to submit it again in about ten years.

Yours in good faith,
Lascivia Ludwick

"He weren't a Death Eater," grumbled Goyle, crumpling the letter in one hand and tossing it at his owl. And even if he had been, Vincent Crabbe was a wizard too. He had people who missed him just the same as anybody.

And if they weren't gonna print it, they shouldn't've kept the galleons.

 

*

 

The Daily Prophet weren't the only place he could get people to remember Vincent. There were loads of other papers that witches and wizards read. Maybe not Witch Weekly, though. They probably wouldn't want to run a notice for a bloke, even if they did put Potter on their cover all the time.

Folk at Hogwarts read the Quibbler all the time, though, and if there were people out there who cared about what happened to Vincent, they'd be the folk at Hogwarts.

They'd sent back the little obituary so Gregory attached it to a new letter, this one addressed to a wizard named Xenophilius which Gregory thought had to be difficult to spell on purpose.

At least this time the owl came back with the Galleons still attached to his leg.

Mr Goyle:

Your galleons are no good here.

Sincerely,
X. Lovegood

Galleons ought to have been good everywhere. That's what they were for. But if X. didn't want them, then someone else would.

 

*

 

Dear Mr Goyle,

Unless Mr Vincent Crabbe made some heretofore unknown advance in potions during his brief life, we're not interested.

Regards,
Algernon Thrush
The Practical Potioneer

 

*

 

Dear Mr Goyle,

I haven't any idea why you thought of our publication for your business, but we do not, and have never, run this sort of notice.

Sincerely,
Barnabus Burlingame
British Bowtruckle Breeders

 

*

 

Goyle-

Piss off.

Alicia Spinnet
Broomstick Quarterly

 

*

 

Gregory didn't want to admit that nobody cared but him.

He wasn't as dumb as people thought he was, not about some stuff. He knew what Vince done. He didn't like to think about that day too much, but he knew. Vincent never had any second thoughts. He never stopped and thought maybe he shouldn't be doing what he was doing. But he was only seventeen. There would've been time to do other stuff, better stuff, if he'd lived.

Someone else should've cared, that's all. Not just Gregory.

Nobody was going to print any notice about him. Gregory was running out of places to send it. But that didn't mean he was going to give up. If nobody was going to print it, then Gregory was going to have to print it himself someplace. There weren't any gravestone cause there weren't any grave, but he'd put something up on his land somewhere. That way nobody could say nothing about it and he could keep it up forever.

He owled out messages to everyone he knew from school, but he didn't expect nobody to show up. Even weeks after the battle, nobody wanted nothing to do with each other anymore.

But when he went down to the pond at noon, like he told everybody he would, Draco Malfoy was already there waiting for him.

"You came," he said. "You're here."

"Well spotted," said Draco dryly. "Is this it then?"

Gregory just shrugged. This was it, he guessed. Here at the big rock that he and Vincent had used to hex grindylows from. It was plenty big enough to carve a little note on.

"It's not long," he said, looking at the well-worn bit of parchment that he'd sent out time and time again only to have it returned to him every time.

"Well I didn't think you'd written an essay," said Draco. "You hardly even did that when someone was forcing you."

"I wanted somebody other than me to remember him. He weren't all bad."

Draco snorted and didn't reply to that, but he wasn't, he'd been Goyle's friend since they were old enough to crawl. Seventeen years meant something, and he didn't deserve to be forgotten.

Vincent Crabbe died in an accident on May 2, 1998 at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. He was a good friend who liked to play Quidditch and eat sweets.

Goyle wasn't good at writing essays, or making potions or casting spells that made pretty things. But using a charm to carve an inscription into stone, that he had no trouble with. It was harder writing it up in the first place than setting it in stone now.

When he was done he lowered his wand and just looked at the stone for a little while. They were never going to hex grindylows again, or jump off the rock into the pond, or chase each other around the grounds on their brooms. They weren't ever going to do anything together again.

"Bye, Vince," he said, and that was it. That was all there was.

Draco gave him a nod, and Goyle could see that he was sad too, even if he didn't say it. Then he looked away again and Apparated back to the Malfoy family home.

Goyle looked at the spot where he'd been for a little while, then started the walk back up to his own empty house again.