The Right Choice
by Saber ShadowKitten
No pairing. Coda for HBP.
Severus Snape Apparated with a crack outside of Malfoy Manor and burst through the front door with little aplomb. His boot heels rang on the black marble floor as he rushed through the grand hall and up the sweeping staircase to the second floor. The portraits censured and chastised him for his uncivilized run down the carpeted corridors.
Narcissa Malfoy stood outside the closed door to Draco's bedchamber, hand poised to knock. She turned swiftly and pressed her hand against her breast at his sudden appearance. Her face paled to match the color of her hair. "Severus…"
"You have less than a minute. Pack your things and meet me in the main reception chamber," Snape said tersely.
"I'll get him. Now, go!"
Narcissa's muffled cry of distress followed her as she lifted her robes and hurried down the hall.
Snape opened Draco's bedchamber door without knocking. Draco sat up quickly and wiped his hands over his wet, splotchy face. Sitting in the center of his ornate bed, he looked small and afraid, despite the tilt of his chin. "Professor."
"Get up." Snape motioned with his wand and Draco's belongings began flying from his dressers and wardrobes. Several trunks hopped out of a cupboard and opened their lids. The clothing folded itself before dropping inside the trunks.
"Are you taking me to him?" Draco fisted his hands in the bedcovers in front of him.
Snape marched over to the bed. He ignored Draco's cower, seized his arm, and half-dragged him off the bed. "I said to get up. There is no time to waste."
"I don't want to die," Draco whispered, staring up at Snape with fear in his eyes.
"You're not going to," Snape said, releasing his arm.
"But, I failed."
"No, you didn't."
Draco's tear-stained features twisted in confusion. "I was supposed to kill him and I didn't. You did."
"I know." Snape shrank the trunks and accioed them into his hand. He stuffed them into Draco's robe pocket. "Do you have your wand?"
"Yes," Draco said.
"Good." Snape's robes flicked behind him like wings as he turned on his heel and strode rapidly out of the bedroom.
In the reception chamber, Narcissa wrung her hands, pacing before the massive black stone fireplace. She stopped and rushed to meet Draco partway across the open room, embracing him tightly. "Draco…"
"I couldn't do it, Mother." Draco buried his face against her neck. "I failed."
"Shh. It's all right, Draco." Narcissa smoothed a hand down his back.
"Narcissa, Draco, there isn't time," Snape interrupted them. "Narcissa, where is your floo powder?"
"Here." Narcissa released Draco and fetched the bag of powder from the mantle.
"Listen to me carefully," Snape said, drawing closer to them. "The other Death Eaters will report that Draco did not complete his task, even though Dumbledore is dead."
Narcissa gasped. "You did it."
Snape inclined his head. "But I cannot guarantee that the Dark Lord will view it as a success or a failure. It is not safe for either of you to remain."
Draco took his mother's empty hand. "Where will we go?"
"I am sending you to my own safe home on the continent. It is protected by the Fidelis Charm and is on the outskirts of a muggle town." Snape gave Draco a narrowed-eyed glare at his sneer. "You will have to learn to live with them, Draco, or I may as well cast the Killing Curse on you now."
"We'll go," Narcissa said, squeezing Draco's hand tightly, forestalling further argument.
"You will have to remain there until the war has ended and only if Potter is victorious," Snape warned quietly, "and even then, you will not be able to return to the UK without being in danger."
"I understand, Severus," Narcissa said. "What about my husband?"
"I will send him to you if I can." Snape motioned at the fireplace with his wand and a name wrote across the wall in a gold glow. "Your destination. Memorize it before it disappears."
The words began fading almost immediately. Narcissa reached out and took Severus's hand briefly, the bag of floo powder dangling between their palms. "Thank you. I know how much this might cost you."
Snape gave her a thin-lipped smile. "I doubt it, Narcissa. Now, go."
Narcissa gathered her robes and ducked into the fireplace. She unlaced the floo powder bag. Draco entered the fireplace with her and looked back at Snape from its shelter. "Why are you doing this?"
Snape was silent for a long moment, before answering softly, "Because you made the right choice, Draco."
Draco appeared startled. Narcissa threw a handful of floo powder onto the ground and shouted out their destination. "Integrity Hall!"
They disappeared in a rush of green flames.
Snape watched until the last spark flickered and died out.