This is to tell you that I have started work making this something other than a stand alone piece. I am posting the re-do of the work as chapter two, but the rest of the story will come out under the title Rise Up O Flame.

Thank you,

Saavik

Whene'er You Make A Promise

Author: Saavik

Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. I do own the plot, the dialogue, and everything else I can get my grubby little hands on.

Summary: Re-write of original. This version is not mean to stand alone like the first. Pre-quel to Rise Up O Flame. Severus finds a certain cell to be different.

Warnings: If I tell you, it would spoil the story. Besides, the sequel undoes the only real warning I can give you. Damn, I just gave it away.

Whene'er You Make A Promise

Whene'er you make a promise,
consider well its importance.
And when made,
engrave it upon your heart.
WW. Sheild, 1828

The cell looked like all the others: cold, damp, small, and it held a single occupant. It looked like any other dungeon cell, from the blood coating the floor to the smell of human feces. It was an ordinary cell, so ordinary that its contents shouldn't matter.

At least that's what Snape told himself as he approached it. "Find out who ssssshe isssss SSSSeverussss. SSSSShe is quite uncooperative and veritassssserum doessssn't appear to affect her. I want to know. Do what you mussssst but find me ansssswerssss." The voice of his master the Dark Lord Voldemort followed him, reminding him what he must do. The war was raging and Snape wondered what new casualty he would find behind the oak door. The others had laughed as he gathered his potions into the customary black bag. He didn't know what was going to be behind that standard iron and oak barrier, who he would be questioning nor what he would do when he found out.

Lucius wanted to watch; he always wanted to watch. Snape refused him with an easy glare. The man was so much like his son. So controllable if you knew how to push. And Snape knew; the knowledge had been painful to discover, but he knew. Malfoy left him to prepare in peace.

The door was waiting. The cell was waiting. Snape marched down the stone corridor with his two guards flanking him. Their silver masks gleamed eerily in the torch light and their footsteps sounded hollow. Snape ordered them to wait at the end of the cellblock. He would not need their protection nor his own mask. The woman inside the plain ordinary cell had been there for three weeks. Any normal, mundane, unimportant, insignificant, unnecessary woman would not be a threat after such a long stay in the Dark Lord's private dungeons. At the very least It would never see the light of day to incriminate him. Or so Snape said. He was so tired of the routine, the spying, the missions, the death, the ordinary cells and their everyday contents.

The door looked like the others. It opened just like the others always did. The figure huddled in torn robes shrank back like the others. The faded Hogwarts crest made Snape pause, a student, seventh year by the size. It raised its head to meet his eyes. Recognition flashed in the brown lifeless vessels. This creature knew him, he was right. She had been a student. Snape closed the door, just like he always did. The dull clank of the lock sliding into place and the snickers of the guards made the thing in the corner cringe. He paid the sounds no mind; he had grown accustomed to the knowing laughter. What the others thought he did to get the information was not his concern. He didn't care if they thought the worst; they expected the worst. They did the worst daily. The only difference appeared to be that Snape's worst always provided answers while theirs ended in corpses.

"Professor?" The thing on the floor spoke. They were not supposed to speak to him like that, not with hope, not with awe, and not with such spirit left. She should be broken. She should be a mess of tears and pleas. She was not like the cell. She was not ordinary. She never had been. A mudblood Gryffindor with the mind of a Ravenclaw and the tenacity of his own house. Its foolish bravery and calculating logic were doing it no good now. Nothing could be of help to it in this standard stone hell.

"Professor, is that you?"

Snape set his bag down and made sure the door had indeed locked and that the room was unmonitored. The moss covered walls were dripping moisture. He swept his black Death Eater robes back away from the pile of detriment in the corner and conjured a long low table of some unremarkable wood. The pathetic pile of rags was trying to stand but its legs were not at the right angles. The blood on the floor was thicker than normal. The cell seemed smaller.

"Do what you have to, professor. I understand. Just.please tell him.tell him he would have been a wonderful father."

No, not normal at all. The cell was a half-foot smaller than the others and the smell twice as noxious. He cast a spell to make the thing stop moving and it sunk to the floor.

"Professor, make it quick. Please, I can't keep this up. I lost it, Professor."

The large bag was half full now. His array of vials took up a good portion of the table he had conjured just as they always did. He picked up a small yellow one and held it up to the meager light from the small slit in the wall that let in the cold February air. He always started with the yellow one. It would not be long till the water on the walls would freeze, he thought absentmindedly. It always froze in February.

"How long have I .it doesn't matter. I'm allergic to wormwood, sir."

He put down the yellow one and picked up a purple potion instead. He didn't need to look at it; he knew what it was. He normally waited till later.. The cell was not like the others. The cell was asking something of him.

"I know you can't take me home. Just please.tell him I never told them anything. I never gave away his secrets. Please Professor, tell him that for me. Tell him I will always love him."

Snape turned his back and tried to understand why the cell was different. Why this one hurt him and the others didn't matter. Why should this filthy mudblood matter so much? Just an ordinary mudblood, just an ordinary cell.

"You can always say it was an accidental reaction, or I pushed you too far. Two words, professor. That's all I need you to say. Just two words. Please. Just two words." Its voice was cracking with near panic. That at least was normal; if the content was unusual it could not be helped. Panic was always a constant in the dungeons.

The vial in his hand had warmed. He clutched it closer. Just a mudblood, a meaningless mudblood. No name, no bloodline, - not important. Like the cell, the creature was replaceable and all too familiar. She, it, was just like the others.

"Tell them who I am after...give them what they need. Go home, sir. Go home and tell him for me. Tell him he would have been a wonderful father. Give him that for me."

Snape set his purple vial down. No, not replaceable. Just ordinary. She .IT was ordinary, like all the others. The cell was ordinary, the creature was ordinary, the task was ordinary.

"Wormwood sir. I can't take it in potion form. I go into shock."

He picked up a dark brown one instead. Ordinary and annoying. The mudblood had always been both. Brown haired, brown eyed, simple robes, simple.no not simple minded. Never that.

"Thank you. Promise me...please, PLEASE!" Hysteria had taken over the pleas. Things were back to normal. Pleas he could handle; hysteria was expected.

He walked over to it and poured the vial down its throat. It did not fight him. The cell was still different. The cell was grateful. The creature started to shiver and its eyes closed. He watched the light in the cell go out.

"I promise." His voice echoed. There was no longer anything left to fill the cell. His hand reached out without his command and cut a chunk of the brown, filthy as it was, hair and slipped it into his robes.

The door opened like all the others. The guards came like always. Lucius was not happy. His toy did not respond. Snape watched the cell empty of its meager contents. He looked back inside. It really was like all the others, the blood, the walls, the death and the cold, all there, all waiting. Why had he thought differently?

He told them what they needed. He told the other Death Eaters her name. He told them who she was and why she didn't answer under their Veritaserum. She had been trained not to. He had trained her like the others at the school, the ones the old man had ordered him to teach. The special ones, the bright ones, the extraordinary ones, Dumbledore's favorites, the future of the Order of the Phoenix. He felt the punishment. He did not scream. She had never screamed; he somehow knew that. He bore his master's displeasure and suppressed the desire to flee from the Dark Lord's snake- like gaze. They let him go, stumbling and bloodied. They let him go home. He would be needed in another plain cell later. Another ordinary cell with its standard blood and its regulation smell. His unending penance for a moment of misplaced youthful idealism.

Snape made it home to Hogwarts and his barren room in the castle's dungeons. He never escaped the dungeons. The fire grate was empty, as usual. The large stack of worthless first year essays sat in their customary place on the ancient desk in the corner. The house-elves kept the dust away but they could do nothing for the smell of dampness in the depths of the castle. He passed through his colorless, lifeless sitting room and into his equally stark bedroom. He ignored the bed hung with its normal heavy velvet drapes. He went straight for the large wardrobe and pulled the regulation teacher's robe from inside. He changed his robes, black to black, and made sure his silver mask and Death Eater robes were hidden.

He looked around and wondered how much blood had flowed on the floor of his very chamber before the castle had become the school it now was. Had another like him worked his art here? Had another thought this cell ordinary? He did not want to know. Snape climbed the steps to the Great Hall, past the armor and the paintings to find the Boy-Who-Lived. Potter was sitting with the others, the special ones he had trained. The spoiled brat was not smiling now. He hadn't smiled in three weeks. His omnipresent laugh and dancing mirth had disappeared. He was not normal either. Like the woman, both did not fit in those cells. Both were beyond the blood, the rot, the fear. Both knew them only too well.

Snape pulled out the handful of matted hair. He set it in front of the one he had promised to tell. The boy took all that remained of his love in his hand. His dark hair fell away from emerald eyes as he looked up. The others stared in horror at the mass of tangles and then the empty chair at their side.

"Professor?"

"It was all I could get out. All I could bring back." Snape's voice was even, controlled. It was his normal tone.

"I don't understand, sir. Please.." The boy's green eyes begged for the professor not to say what he had to know was next. The red-headed Weasley boy got up and left the table. His face so pale his freckles looked like ink blots on parchment.

"I'm sorry. I promised." Snape lowered his eyes to hide his expression. The world did not need to know, they did not need to see that the cell had been different. This cell had followed him. They could not see the truth; children should never see the truth.

"What did you promise, sir? Where is she; do they have her? Is that why she disappeared? I thought she." The eyes again pleaded, 'make it not so, change it for me, not her, not again.' Severus did not need to look up. He knew what those eyes held all too well. The boy's mother had given the same look to him so many years ago when she found the Mark on his arm, proof of his darkness, of his submission to his lord.

Dumbledore stood at he head table and started for the group. McGonagall had dropped her dinner fork and was growing steadily paler. The other school children slowly stopped their dinner conversations to hear. Snape ignored them; he ignored Draco's half-smirk and rather well concealed terror. Snape struggled to make his voice obey him. Weakness was not a luxury he could afford.

"She is not there anymore. I am sorry." The bite behind the words made the others at the table flinch. Now was not the time to remember. One should never remember such things. The lady that had owned those eyes first was gone. Her body was burnt and her soul had left his side. He raised his head again. Show no weakness, he must not show weakness at any cost.

"Oh no, I .she can't be.." The green orbs faded a bit then became too bright to look at.

Snape closed his own eyes in response. "She made me promise.."

"..what did you promise?" The hope was still there, hovering behind the despair. Snape could feel it. The rest of the hall stopped all movement. Even the house banners seemed to stop fluttering.

"To tell you." He would finish this; he had given his word. No matter the outcome, he had given his word. The only honor he had left was his word.

"To tell me what?" The arm tugging at his own caused the potion master to flinch and spit out the words at last.

"You would have been a wonderful father." He tore free of the grasp. The full meaning of the words were clear.

The boy looked at his hands and a tear fell onto the once brown strands there. The once wild and uncontrollable brown strands that had caused their owner so much grief. "She was.I didn't know. Why did you tell me! Loosing her is.I would have been a father. She was pregnant, and I didn't know." He looked up with hurt and anger at his professor. A family is all the boy had ever wanted, the only dream the hero had retained for himself.

Snape looked down without pity; he had exhausted his personal supply before the child in front of him had taken his first breath. His response was cold, as cold as the dungeon he had left not an hour before. "Be careful what you promise, Potter. Promises can only cause pain." He turned towards the door, ignoring the hurled insults and heart wrenching sobs that followed him. The sudden cacophony of voices did not reach his ears. He failed to see the young Weasley girl steadying the Potter boy on his way to the dormitory or her brother sinking onto the floor by the fallen girl's chair. He did not hear Albus calling his name or the thud of McGonagall's head hitting the table. He did not see Draco grow quiet as Crabbe chuckled or see Zabini's sad expression be masked with glee. He failed to notice the trip to the dungeons at all. He failed to care that he did not notice.

Severus Snape simply left to work in his labs, to become lost to his simmering cauldron and shimmering flames. Wormwood and asphodel, salvation in death. The cell had looked like the others..