Farley Goyle had always been told he was thick by his mother, and slow by his fellow students at Hogwarts, but he'd never quite believed them. He'd figured out how to get the sorting hat to put him in Hufflepuff, hadn't he? At the very least, Farley had always liked to think he had some wits about him. After all, Scorpius Malfoy hadn't stopped himself from getting put in Slytherin. Anyone who had even the slightest bit of intelligence and a little knowledge of the war, and where the Malfoys fell could tell you that had looked quite bad.
The whispers that had risen up from the Hufflepuff table at the time had even proved it, Farley thought. He could distinctly recall an older girl muttering to her friend across from him, "He must be just like his father to go there."
They'd never said the same about him. Though, none of his fellow Hufflepuffs knew much about his father. It wasn't like a Goyle had ever ended up in the badger house before, after all. The most any seemed to be aware of was that his father had been friends with Malfoy's, had no trouble hurting other students during the dark days at Hogwarts and spent a year in Azkaban after the war.
All in all, his father was a lot like many of the young men and women who'd fought on the wrong side during the battle. The fact he'd gotten himself in Hufflepuff, though, had done well for his reputation. It lulled those around him into believing he was harmless, after all, so few Hufflepuffs ever became something villainous. And of the few atrocities committed by the mold-breakers, they were quickly forgotten in the face of their brethren's innumerable good deeds for wizardkind.
For every Barty Crouch Junior, there was a Fat Friar. That was how things were and how they always would be, as far as Farley could tell.
It was almost sickening to a bloke like him how goody-goody those around him were. It may have made his time at Hogwarts smooth, once he was sorted into Hufflepuff, but he had no plans to do his kind any good when he finished at the end of the year. No, in fact, he'd already been told by his father that he'd be learning how to run his mother's less than reputable family shop, Trackleshanks Locksmith. It'd belonged to his grandmother's family, the Trackleshanks, but seeing as she was a woman and the only child out of two to make it to adulthood, it'd been given to the Bulstrodes once his great-grandfather passed on. More than once, his mother had cursed the shop and complained about how tedious it was to run such business. Once in a blue moon, Farley would even hear her grumble about how it'd have been better if her uncle hadn't "accidentally" drowned in an attempt to make his magic manifest when he was eight.
Farley knew he wasn't smart - not like Rose Weasley, who had already figured out how to charm unsmart moblies to work at Hogwarts - but he wasn't as dull as mother or his fellow students believed. He knew that when his mother said his great-uncle had drowned by "accident", she really meant he'd been drowned for being a squib.
Distantly, as he stared down at the bright red scars that ran up and down his leg, he wondered if his mother would do the same to him once she figured out he'd gotten himself turned into a werewolf. Lord Voldemort may have died in the war, but it didn't mean the cause he stood for had. For people like his parents, the gagged generation, having a werewolf in the family was like marrying a muggle or mudblood, it was believed to taint not only the family name, but the bloodline as well.
Shuddering as he brought his knees up to his chest, Farley reminded himself he only had to keep it hidden a while longer. He'd be back at Hogwarts to finish the last half of his school year in two days time and there, he could let the Headmistress know and she'd help. Fiona Rothschild was known for her willingness to help a student in a tight spot. Plus, she'd been a Hufflepuff like him. Surely that'd be enough for her to agree to help him conceal his condition long enough so he could get out of Hogwarts and as far away from Britain as possible once he graduated?
Farley might not like the fact he was not a werewolf, but he didn't want to die at the hands of his mother or father, either.
Looking out the little window of the garden shed he'd warded to hold him for the night, Farley regretted sneaking out of Hogwarts with Abbot and Cornfoot to smoke muggle drugs. He regretted ditching the pair when they started snogging and most of all, he regretted walking straight into the Forbidden Forest on a full moon.
He may have never believed himself to be the dummy people thought him to be, but Farley had to admit he'd been really daft that night. It was just luck Cornfoot and Abbot had heard him screaming and come to help him out. It was just luck he'd convinced them it was scratches and not a bite. It was just luck Abbot had started to learn spells healers used, because she wanted to be one. It was all luck and now it was about to run out.
Tonight was the moment of truth.
Either his warding would hold and he'd get to go back to Hogwarts in two days time, where the Headmistress would help him, or it wouldn't hold and his werewolf-self would break free from the shed and be killed by his father when it came too close to the estate. A full-body wave of pain overwhelming him, Farley grunted and curled even tighter into a ball as the transformation began.
Please...he pleaded to the nighttime sky. Please don't let Dad kill me, I want to...I want to live.