Disclaimer: Most of the characters mentioned in the following story are borrowed from JK Rowling and are not of my own imagination. Any characters in this story that are not mentioned in any of the Harry Potter books are my own.

Chapter 1

It was done. Finally, Dumbledore was dead. Severus sneered into the darkness. How proud his Master would be! But still, that small feeling of regret tugged at his heart. As much as he hated Dumbledore, the old wizard had been very kind to Severus over the years. He pushed the feeling aside, as he entered the main chamber. The air was freezing inside. Severus felt his skin prickle and become clammy, but the presence of the two dementors did not bring bad memories upon him- his Master had made sure they wouldn't. The dark grey rock around them kept the cave colder then a refrigerator. The room was roughly the shape of a circle, about forty feet in diameter. The rock sloped upwards, forming a high ceiling with a point in the middle. Two doors led from the room. The door Severus had just used led to another chamber, then on to the hidden entrance of their caves, which was guarded by several protective shields and a few dementors. It could only be entered by one with the dark mark imprinted on their arm. The second door of the main chamber led deeper into the mountains, which contained a maze of underground tunnels and chambers.

The main cave was where his Master spent most of his time. In one side of the cave, was his seat, or as Severus called it quietly to himself, his Master's throne, as that is what it looked like. It was elevated on a slab of rock, enabling his Master to view the whole room and both entrances from where he was sitting. The snake Nagini spent most of her time next to the throne. The rest of the room was taken up by various objects of interest and use to his Master. These included various tables with maps and dark objects containing curses and all sorts of enchantments.

Severus approached the throne, sinking to a bow before his Master. When he looked up, he met the slit-like eyes of the most feared wizard of all time, Lord Voldemort. His red eyes flickered, as his gaze lay on Severus. He held out a pale, skeleton hand and motioned for Severus to stand up.

"It is done, My Lord," Severus said quietly. "Dumbledore is dead."

"But not by Draco," Lord Voldemort stated. His voice was cold and quite calm. "Did I not state specifically that the deed was to be done by Draco?"

Severus could not hold his Master's gaze as he replied. "You did My Lord. Draco could not."

"Could not - or would not?" came the reply. "Do not lie to me Severus, I know all. I knew before you entered this room that you had not obeyed my orders. I know what happened at Hogwarts."

"Forgive me, My Lord," Severus pleaded, a not of urgency in his voice. "Forgive me. I killed Dumbledore because Draco could not. Dumbledore is dead, we have succeeded. I do not think it matters who killed him, as long as he is dead."

A high, cruel laugh came from his Master. "It does matter that Draco did not kill him." Lord Voldemort's voice was becoming louder and angrier. It sent a chill through Severus' body. Voldemort drew his wand from his robes, and stood. He towered over Severus, the light from a candle behind him illuminating the outline of his figure and throwing a long shadow over Severus, making him pull his robes closer around himself to trap out the cold.

"If you had not provided many years of service as a spy at Hogwarts, I would kill you right now," he told Severus, who was shivering slightly, from a mixture of cold and fear. "But you have been loyal to me and I cannot forget that. I warn you though, do not disobey me again. Perhaps this will serve as a reminder." He pointed the wand at Severus and in a cruel, cold voice, shouted "crucio!" . Severus fell to the ground, writhing in pain, although no sound escaped him. It felt like his insides were bursting. Red hot pain had filled every inch of his body, it was inescapable and unbearable. Finally he could bear it no longer. He opened his mouth and gave a low groan.

Voldemort held him under the curse for at least ten seconds before releasing him. He pulled the wand up, watching the heap of robes on the floor with a look of victory etched on his pale face.

"Get up, Severus," he snarled.

Severus pulled himself to his feet. His body ached all over. When he moved, pain shot through his feet and fingertips. Footsteps sounded behind him but he knew better then to turn and see who they belonged to. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Draco sink into a bow next to him.

There was silence for a moment, as Lord Voldemort regarded the two figures before him. He knew they were frightened, and this only increased the feeling of power. It gave him great satisfaction to know he was able to control almost anyone he wanted to. Now with Dumbledore out of the way, the Potter boy was not nearly as guarded as he was previously. This was a great advantage, Lord Voldemort thought. The Potter boy could be very useful.

"Draco," he said loudly to the two figures before him. "We will still proceed with our plan. This mistake you have made is but a minor setback."

Draco gave a slight nod of his head. He knew his Master could sense the fear radiating from him, and also the tiny amount of regret, which he tried to deny existed. They would go ahead, he told himself, thinking of the power he would receive through this plan. Lord Voldemort's eyes were on the boy. He knew what Draco was thinking, and it filled him with glee.