Chapter 1 : The Epitome of Evil
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“NO! Please, no!”
Crabbe woke up screaming. His hands shook, his tears pouring hard and fast. Was the pain so intense it couldn’t leave him even in sleep? He never had a moment’s peace anymore. But he couldn’t deny that he deserved it. He thrashed around in his bed, pounding his head with his fists.
The nurse in charge came running, sedative potion in one hand, wand in the other. “Mr. Crabbe! Please calm down!” He shows tell tale signs of madness. The nurse scribbled onto a pad, before continuing the task at hand. Crabbe had been in observation for quite a while now; it was time to make a decision about where he belonged.
“I always see her.” Crabbe wept. “She looks so lost, and alone, and afraid. I can hear her screams. I can feel her pain. And I, the monster that I am, did that to her. I’m no better than Voldemort. I deserve to die.” His voice was no more than a croak, from disuse, and it was hard for one not to pity him.
An odd expression came over the nurse’s face, and she came closer to the bed, Crabbe sobbing all the while. The nurse hesitantly put the potion down, and sat herself down, against her better instincts. She took Crabbe’s hand, and comforted him, until his mournful cries for what had been finally subsided. Crabbe finally looked up with red rimmed eyes, and glanced warily at the soothing nurse.
“Who are you?”
“You can call me Kate.” She said cheerfully, her strong Australian accent showing off her sunny, bouncy personality. “Do you feel better now?”
Crabbe shook his head violently, taking the simple question the wrong way. “I’m not mad!”
“No one said you were Mr. Crabbe.” Kate said soothingly, patting his hand. “But you obviously have something on your chest, and it would help you so much if you’d just talk to me.”
Crabbe looked at Kate properly for the first time, and nearly jolted out of bed. He burst into tears again; he couldn’t bear to look at her. The similarities between them were astonishing...
“What’s wrong?” Kate asked concernedly, taking his hands in hers.
“You look- you look so much like her.” Crabbe stammered.
The sky was an interesting shade of yellow vomit.
Definitely too much macaroni and cheese. Crabbe thought decidedly, lying flat on his broad back, staring at the rapidly rising sun. Or maybe the colour of when Goyle threw up because he had consumed too much custard too quickly. Either way, it was rather nauseating, and it made Crabbe never want to eat another cream cake again. Almost.
It wasn’t often he could be found without Goyle, and his leader Draco Malfoy, hiding behind the tall blonde, flexing his muscles and looking threatening while Draco rattled off endless insults. Crabbe often wished he could be more like Draco. He wanted to be effortlessly cool; witty, thin, powerful, and have piercings. Of course, Crabbe was none of these things, and he had to be content with being the stupid bodyguard.
Contrary to popular belief, Crabbe wasn’t actually that dimwitted. His mind could actually process things faster than most, and he often thought of good comebacks to when Draco battled it out with Potter. The only problem was his speech.
Ever since he was five, Crabbe had been diagnosed with speech disabilities, as his tongue was longer and thicker than most, so he found it hard to speak without sounding like he had a dozen tongue rings; no one could make sense of it. So Crabbe resorted to grunting, and speaking whenever necessary, which gave him the illusion of being stupid. He was able to satisfy most teachers in written communication however, but since he kept his grades to himself, everyone assumed that he was failing, when he was actually an average student.
Stupid stereotypical berks. Crabbe thought bitterly, taking out his notebook, with his eyes on the sparkling calm of the lake. Crabbe could often drown his sorrows in sweets and chocolate, but not today. His mouth had a dry taste, from his depressed mood. His tongue was screaming in protest, demanding artificial sugars to placate his taste buds, but he ignored them, and peacefully started to sketch the lake.
Crabbe always found drawing to be a relaxing task, where one could simply shut everything out, and focus on his surroundings in greater depths. Crabbe wasn’t a natural born Leonardo Da Vinci, but he had mastered the basics in drawing that could only come from hard work and consistency. And best of all, no one could take this away from him. No one.
Crabbe set down his notebook again with a gusty sigh, and stared deep into the depths of the enormous lake. What was the point? He couldn’t even get the shading right. Practice makes perfect. He reminded his impatient self. He was so eager to see the fruits of his labour, he had forgone the actual effort and work required.
As he stretched out his hand to pick up his notebook once more, something suddenly shoved against him, plunging him into the freezing depths of the black lake. He gasped, and water entered his lungs, as he spluttered helplessly. He frantically tried to kick his way to the surface, but his robes weighed him down, and he couldn’t find the energy. He screamed, wasting precious air bubbles, and was conscious of a firm, slimy grip upon his ankle. He kicked again halfheartedly, as the light slowly disappeared from his line of vision. Suddenly, death didn’t seem so bad, slowly but surely it was tightening its grasp on Crabbe. As he choked up the final air bubbles, he saw an unearthly vision; one of creamy brown eyes, and toffee coloured hair. He smiled, silently thanking the heavens for sending an angel in his time of need, before blackness overtook him.
Light entered his eyes at an abnormal rate, blinding him, dazzling him, and bloody killing him. He sputtered, and rolled over, trying to block it out. He didn’t know where he was, and he didn’t know what was going on, but he sure as hell knew he didn’t like the light filtering through his eyelids. He’d take his chances again with the grindylows.
“Crabbe, wake up! Oh crap, I’ve killed you!”
Crabbe was aware of a faint pressure on his face, where the person continually patted him, (or were they slapping him?) and he blearily opened his eyes. He greeted with a sight of an irate Hermione Granger, her hair frizzier than usual, and her eyes dancing with worry.
“Thank merlin!” Hermione said happily, slowly helping him lift himself so he was sitting up straight. “I thought I’d killed you!”
Crabbe looked at her slowly, and raised an eyebrow questioningly. She blushed profusely, and replied to his unasked question, “I um, accidentally pushed you in the lake. I tripped over a rock you see.”
He grunted, and cleared his throat to show there were no hard feelings. He looked around for his notebook, to see Hermione suddenly waving it under his nose. He snatched it from her, feeling a sense of dread. No one knew he drew. Not even Goyle.
“Possessive much?” Hermione quirked a brow. “But for what it’s worth, I think your drawings are amazing.” She added, her tone softening. He gulped, and stared at his knees, feeling a fiery flush rise on his cheeks. No one had ever complimented him before, unless it was on his phenomenal eating skills.
A small smile graced his face, as they sat there in silence, watching the sun rise high, a giant boiled egg yolk in comparison to the rapidly paling blue sky. It was somewhat calming to sit watching the sunrise with Hermione, and Crabbe rarely felt a sense of peace with anyone else. He didn’t care she was a mudblood. He didn’t care she wasn’t fit to wipe the floors of Hogwarts with. He was just Crabbe, and she was just Hermione, and they sat, with Hermione occasionally making comments, with Crabbe nodding in return. That was how it should be.
Why is it that time speeds up when you want it to slow down the most? Crabbe wondered, as he watched Hermione make her excuses, and leave him, hurrying along the cobbled pathway, her hair bobbing along with her. She had a fast walk, Crabbe decided, watching her every step closer to the castle. Every step further away from him. Time would obviously stop for no one. Crabbe looked back his notebook, held loosely in his hand, and grinned. Yes, Vincent Lionel Crabbe actually grinned, as he thought of a bushy haired girl, who had complimented his drawings. Crabbe flopped back down onto the grass, and stared into the clear skies. Was it possible to explode with happiness?
He didn’t know, but he intended to find out. It didn’t seem like such a bad thing after all.
A glowing aura seemed to surround her, as her soft curls swished around her shoulders.
The next few days were spent carelessly, almost recklessly as Crabbe wandered from class to class, his mind occupied with nothing less than Hermione Granger. He stared at her, as she carefully added one potion ingredient after the other, sweat dripping off her nose, her eyes giving off sparks of impatience. He saw when she accidentally stomped on her best friend’s foot. He was there when she scoffed a ton of strawberry cheesecake flavoured ice cream. He had been given countless detentions, but he didn’t care. It was worth it, to watch her.
His strange mood did not go unnoticed by his fellow Slytherins. Even Goyle would notice if his best friend suddenly stopped eating. He was concerned for Crabbe, and often tried to press sweets on him, thinking he was sick. Crabbe refused all meals, and any proffered food. Any time that wasn’t spent watching Hermione, he stayed up in his room, and mulled things over.
One morning, Draco forced Crabbe to go to the Great Hall, sick of his moods, wanting his tough, brainless, aggressive henchman back once more. The smell of food did not have the desired effect however, and Crabbe just felt sicker than ever. He moodily sat down at the Slytherin table, absentmindedly hitching up his trousers, and staring at the Gryffindor table.
“You’ve lost weight mate.” Zabini commented from across Crabbe. “It works for you.”
Goyle looked sadly at Crabbe, and offered him a chocolate muffin. It used to be his favourite. But now, Crabbe wouldn’t even spare it a glance, which puzzled Goyle. Crabbe could usually eat about five in one go.
“There’s something wrong with him.” Draco muttered in an undertone to Zabini. “He hasn’t eaten for days, and he always seems depressed.”
Crabbe ignored them, and hastily gulped down a goblet of pumpkin juice in an effort to prove them wrong. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to eat. He simply couldn’t. Noticing his fellow Slytherins staring at him, he was rather glad of the interruption of the post arriving.
He couldn’t see his owl anywhere; but it wasn’t time his for his mother’s weekly letter anyway, so Crabbe wasn’t too concerned. He went back to staring at his empty golden plate, when suddenly a cacophony of hoots and jeers arose from the surrounding tables. Crabbe’s head shot up, and he watched as Malfoy gaped at his copy of Witch Weekly, his expression changing from disbelief, to anger, and finally loathing. Malfoy glared at Crabbe, and tossed the magazine at him.
“What are you playing at?” Crabbe barely heard Draco’s growl, as he frantically scoured the article. What he found sunk his heart to a new low, ignoring the fact it might be considered odd that Malfoy subscribed to a girl’s magazine.
Witch Weekly’s ‘Spotlight’ Pairing of the Week!
Article by Rita Skeeter, Daily Prophet Reporter
Rumours have been flitting around Hogwarts for a while now, and I see it as my duty to shed some light on these otherwise rather confusing accusations. It concerns none other than Hogwarts resident ‘Maneater’ Hermione Granger.
This girl can simply never be satisfied. Flitting from famous boyfriend to famous boyfriend, it can be of no surprise as to how she gained her nickname. Even Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lived, couldn’t satisfy the apparent carnal needs of said girl, as she has taken to consorting with a certain Slytherin by the name of Vincent Crabbe.
The two were seen canoodling by the lake’s edge, obviously hoping to deflect the public eye, but alas, I see it my need to inform the world of the true extent of the selfishness of this girl.
Currently dating Gryffindor Ronald Weasley, I can only imagine the rage he must feel at the news of his cheating girlfriend. My sources tell me Ronald is well known for his fiery temper and it will come to no surprise to me if Ronald chooses to let her go.
Well wishers of Ronald Weasley advise him to ‘dump the tramp, and find someone who deserves him.’ I couldn’t agree more. I am willing to stake my job on the fact that Hermione is too leading the young Slytherin on. End it, while you can Crabbe. It can lead to nothing but heartbreak. This is Rita Skeeter, live on WWN.
Crabbe gaped gormlessly, re-reading the article over again. He didn’t try to deny the accusations, nor did he confirm them. He simply stared at Hermione, and waited for her reaction. She turned, her face red with fury, and her eyes met his. For a second, he thought he saw a regretful flash, before she turned to an irate Weasley, and Potter.
Attempting to placate them obviously wasn’t working as they bellowed at her, and she jumped onto the table, and smashed a goblet. The immediately got everyone’s attention and she opened her mouth. “I want everyone to know I am not dating Crabbe. Those are just stupid rumours started by an idiotic woman who has nothing to do in her life but write things that aren’t true. You are all intelligent people; you should know what Skeeter is capable of.”
She continued, her confidence rising in seeing most of the Gryffindors nod, and quite a few Hufflepuffs watch her raptly, Crabbe sinking into a deeper feeling of depression with every word.
“Oh, and for the record, I never dated Harry either.” Hermione added as an afterthought. I think I’ll start up a Rita Skeeter hate club, and eventually campaign to get her fired. Anyone care to join?” Seeing the numerous hands waving in the air, Hermione nodded, and smiled. “Thought so.” Crabbe’s heart was pounding so hard and fast, he had a hard time believing no one could hear it. The hall was so silent; you could have heard a pin drop.
Without further ado, Hermione jumped off the table, and started another argument with Ron. The other students quickly lost interest; life had returned to normal.
“Will you or will you not!” Hermione suddenly shrieked, causing several people to cover their ears. Crabbe heard one distinctly mutter, “Is she related to a banshee?”
“Sheesh Mione, no need to yell!” Noticing the girl’s furious expression, Ron wisely added, “That’s a yes. You people can go back to your own sad little lives now.” Ron addressed the Great Hall, before turning back to Hermione.
Smatterings of applause broke all over the hall, along with catcalls, and cheers. It seemed that Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger were the modern day version of Romeo and Juliet, or better yet, James and Lily Potter. Now that they had gotten together, peace could finally reign. It was nice that Hermione had finally seen sense to make the first move, even if it was due to Crabbe.
Crabbe’s muddy eyes slowly filled with tears, and he still didn’t know why. He had chosen to let her walk away, why was he feeling this? It wasn’t right. It wasn’t natural. He looked up to see Dumbledore staring at him intensely with what looked like a flicker of remorse in his eyes. Crabbe looked away from his electric gaze, knowing somehow Dumbledore understood. If only everyone else could see him that way...a person with feelings, not a heartless Slytherin.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Too bad for him, that no one could see past the brawn. Much as he hated to admit it, it was a subconscious reaction to judge on one’s looks.
Drowning in his own bittersweet deepness, he slunk out of the hall, shooting one last dark look at Ron, who was oblivious to anything but Hermione. Trudging down the halls, Crabbe saw a little grey cat washing its fur. It was quaint to see the little pink raspy tongue fly over the small ball of fluff. Crabbe stared at it stonily, and snatched out his wand. Casting a burning hex, he smirked in satisfaction as he watched the kitten snarl in rage, and pain, and practically fly away.
“An eye for an eye.” Crabbe hissed, and disappeared in a swirl of his robes. No one ever saw him again.
Many years later, as Crabbe watched a distraught Ron Weasley sob uncontrollably over the body of his dead wife, he knew. He wasn’t the epitome of evil, not was he the saint exuding light. He was Crabbe, confused, lost, and unsure of where his loyalties lay.
The battle had twisted and turned, so the side of Light had the upper hand, which was ultimately snatched by the side of Darkness, it kept going back and forth. He, Crabbe, had killed both Death Eaters and Aurors. Which side was he on? Or, more importantly, what was he?
Had you married me, I would have protected you with my life. Crabbe couldn’t help but think bitterly, as he stared at her lifeless brown eyes. What if that day had been different? What if he had called out to her? What if that had led to an unlikely friendship? Crabbe would never know, and that was the reason he stood there that day.
He had chosen to let her walk away.
But he had changed for her! Crabbe screamed inwardly, fighting away the tears that were rapidly forming in his eyes, battling the guilt that was threatening to overcome him. He had retaken his N.E.W.Ts, and he had gotten an O in every single one! He had gone to university to study further! He had gotten a PhD in Arithmancy, because it was her favourite subject! He had taken lessons to improve his speech!
The changes didn’t end there. Crabbe glanced at his lean physique, disgusted at what she had made him become. He had done all of this for her, and she never noticed.
He remembered that day vaguely, when he had cursed the poor defenseless kitten, who had probably ended up half blind. An eye for an eye. But what Crabbe had failed to realize was, as Gandhi himself had said, ‘An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.’
He turned rapidly, shielding his eyes from the horrible scene; dead bodies strewn everywhere, people sobbing for their loved ones, and worst of all, Harry Potter standing in the middle of the battlefield, his eyes unfocused, his expression blank. This boy had single handedly saved the wizarding world from a lifetime of darkness. But he, Vincent Crabbe, could not even confess to his crimes.
He stared at his wand, the cause of it all. This slim eight inch piece of wood had done the deed. Caused the shimmer to vanish from her eyes. What irked him was that her eyes had held a particle of understanding, along with the fear and betrayal.
What had he done? Who had he become?
Crabbe dropped it, lifted his heavy foot, and destroyed his wand with a single stomp. Holding his hands up in a defeated manner, he swallowed as he remembered his mother’s words.
Be brave my little Lionel. I will always be with you, in your thoughts.
But what use was that to him? She was now merely a pleasant, fast fading memory.
With a sinking heart, Crabbe realized there was no one there to save him, least of all, his mother.
Wordlessly binding his hands together, he apparated to the ministry, to confess what he should have done a long time ago.
They put him in the department for insane war casualties and he found he was vaguely happy to see Harry there with him. The burden of having the fate of the wizarding world resting upon Harry's shoulders had finally cracked him. But he was happy, for the first time in his life, trapped in his own little world, where there had never been any Dark Lord.
They would sit at a table together for hours, neither acknowledging the other, but both remained lost in thought, in the few periods that they were allowed out of bed. Colouring was an excellent way of calming the mind, enough to allow lucidity to return to the both of them.
It had started with a girl. A girl with long bushy hair, and twinkling eyes.
As Crabbe stared into the emerald orbs across from him, he could have sworn he saw a flicker of a pair of laughing chocolate eyes, before they turned back to the cold green, which were just as lost and lonely as his were. Crabbe held his hand out to the boy, and after some hesitation, Harry shook it. They immediately had an unspoken pact ever since.
Crabbe flipped open his notebook, and started drawing. It was only to pass the time; he didn’t care what anyone thought anymore. He was waiting, for when he could be reunited with her again. Memories of intelligence, books, and warm eyes would slowly fade with time, until he felt nothing but her presence. And when they did, he would die. As simple as that.
Her eyes glowed, truly pleased to see him. Her untamable hair bounced around her shoulders, making her look like nothing less than an angel. His angel. Her sweet mouth opened, as she made her way to hug him.
He smiled, as she sang a lullaby softly to him, her expression alone telling him she forgave him, and that she loved him.
Crabbe sighed in contentment, as she bid him a sad farewell, and resumed her rightful position; above the clouds, watching Ron Weasley. She would continue to watch over him till the day he died, and they would finally be reunited. Crabbe could ask nothing more of her, so he descended through the pearly gates of eternal bliss, Harry waving at him from a nearby pineapple tree. This was where he belonged. No one to judge a book by its cover. This truly was the meaning of 'happy ever after.'
Why couldn’t dreams last forever?
A/N: Whee. I had fun with this. Thanks Dana (PreTeenWriter) for setting me the challenge! :) Please review and tell me what you think, I couldn't find another Crabbe/Hermione, so I hope this is original. Kudos to J.K. Rowling for Harry Potter in the first place.