HBP SPOILERS! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Disclaimer: HP belongs to Rowling, who I can't say I'm very happy with at the movement.

Taiho Kuroshi

Price to be Paid

"You've failed me." The man looked down at the kneeling figure by his feet, ruby eyes glowing eerily in the dark. "Two tasks I gave you…and two tasks you have failed. Can you do nothing, Draco?"

"I'm sorry, I-"

"Crucio."

Draco remained silent, his hands clenching into fists and a trickle of blood falling down his chin from his split lip. His body shook with spasms, but not a single noise escaped him.

Voldemort lifted the spell and continued. "I do not want your excuses. You are just as pitiful as your father. Does failure run in the Malfoy blood?"

"I told you. I-"

"Crucio."

Voldemort glanced over to where Snape stood quietly, his fists white knuckled beneath his robes, but hidden so the Dark Lord wouldn't see. "You are dismissed, Severus. You have done well."

Snape nodded and turned away from the duo, his eyes livid as he stalked back towards a circle of other Death Eaters and Greyback, the werewolf having escaped Hogwarts in the confusion following the small battle.

"Your first task was to kill Dumbledore. And you failed, Draco. You couldn't even harm that old fool. You had back-up. A wand. And you couldn't do it. May I ask why?"

Draco looked up from the ground, tears shining in his silver eyes. "He…Dumbledore…he said I didn't have to kill…that he'd protect my mother and father…"

"Silence," Voldemort snarled, mouth turning into a scowl. "What do your precious parents need protected from, pray tell?"

The reply came so soft, that it was hard to tell if Draco had even spoken. "You."

Voldemort chuckled mirthlessly. "Me? You were told, Draco, that your family would be safe if you completed your tasks. It is your father's own fault that you had to fulfill his duties. If he had been smart enough to avoid capture against six mere children, then you wouldn't be in this position."

"And if you'd had enough guts to go back and get him, then he wouldn't be in Azkaban," Draco spat, his face showing unbridled fury.

"CRUCIO!"

This time, Draco did scream, falling back to the ground and clutching his head, as if that would help relieve the pain.

"And your second task," Voldemort sneered, his voice hard to hear over the Slytherin's cries. "You failed that as well. You had your excuses. She was always by Potter. You couldn't just grab her during a class. You couldn't get into the girl's dormitory. But those weren't the real reasons now, were they?"

"If she's so important," Draco ground out, the curse having been taken off but the pain still running through his trembling body, "then why don't you go get her?"

Voldemort smiled, the act causing his skin to stretch across his skull. "What a question to ask, Draco. Why, you wonder? You had the perfect opportunity. Yet you failed. By having her we could have been farther along. A mind like that isn't found easily."

"And what makes you think she would have helped you? She loved Dumbledore…she's friends with Potter and Weasley. She won't willingly join you."

"There are ways in which we can force this Granger girl to help us."

Draco snorted. "I guess that's the polite way of saying it? I know what you're going to do."

"It will be an enjoyment. After all, I want you to take part of the festivities as well. But something is troubling me, Draco. There is something you are not telling me."

"We all have our secrets," Draco responded evenly.

"But servants do not keep them from their master. Legilimens!"

"Stop!" Draco cried, trying as hard as he could to block the probing. But against Voldemort, his efforts were futile.

"So you have feelings for this girl?" Voldemort asked softly, his voice deadly, a few minutes later. "That you don't want to bring her to us since you know what me could do to her? Rape her? Oh yes, I'm sure many here would find that amusing. Torture? Not a doubt. Blackmail and threats? Possibly."

"I won't bring her to you!" Draco whispered. "I won't let you harm her."

Voldemort's eyes narrowed into crimson slits. "What you're saying, Draco, is that killing Dumbledore was do-able, but simply capturing a girl is not?"

"That's what I'm saying. Killing Dumbledore would not harm him after he was dead. But you're going to keep hurting Granger…no matter what. And I hate her…but I just can't let you hurt her like that."

"So you will sacrifice your family for her sake? Very well then, I see where your loyalties lie."

"No! That's not what I meant! Please, don't hurt them!"

"A Death Eater is not supposed to have any ties," Voldemort said slowly, eyes boring into the sixteen-year-old. "You act alone. For with no one there, no one can hold you back. But yet you cling to your family. You want to keep them safe. You have a decision to make, Draco. I'll spare your family…but only if you bring me Hermione Granger. So, who are you going to choose?"

"I…please, my Lord. I don't know."

"And I thought that you were smart. That's the reason you're here, Draco. You don't see me making Crabbe and Goyle's children part of my loyal group, do you? You have nerve. A sharp tongue. Smarts. But you lack the skill in following orders."

"Then go get Crabbe or Goyle to get Granger for you," Draco growled, wiping away the blood on his chin with the back of his hand. "I'm sure they wouldn't mind."

"No, they wouldn't. But you need to prove yourself. And besides…your kind is very valuable to me. For many years I have looked for one such as yourself, and never have I succeeded. But then you were found…just a small boy with no knowledge of the powers you possessed. And once I manage to tame you, I will be your only master."

"I'm not an animal that you can just boss around. I'm not your precious snake or any of your other brain washed Death Eaters. Unlike them, I can decide what I want. I know things that I want to do. And I'm not going to listen to you," Draco snarled, rising to his feet and pulling out his wand.

"Then you sentence your family to death," Voldemort said, rising as well and fixing his wand back on Draco.

"You underestimate them. My mother was head girl when she went to Hogwarts. She knows how to defend herself. And I doubt you could reach my father in Azkaban."

"Then why do you hesitate in cursing me?" Voldemort asked. "Perhaps I'd best show you something before you follow through."

The Dark Lord bent down and made to pull something away next to his chair. A second later, a bound and gagged Narcissa Malfoy rested on the grass, an invisibility cloak clutched in Voldemort's hands.

The woman's pale blue eyes were wide with fear, her normally placid face now showing tears. The elegant bun she normally wore her hair in had fallen apart so that the blonde locks fell around her face.

"Mother!" Draco cried, rushing to kneel beside her.

"She has been here this entire time," Voldemort said, twirling his wand between his fingers. "Listening to our conversation. Would you like to say anything, Narcissa dear?" he asked, flicking his wand and undoing the gag.

Narcissa used her bound wrists to push herself to her knees so that she was almost level with her son, who had dropped to the ground beside her. "Draco, listen to me," she whispered, voice heavy with tears. "Please…listen."

"I am," he said softly, taking her hands in his.

"What our Lord says is true. We are too close. Don't you see? No matter what you do, he'll continue to use our bond over you." Voldemort stiffened, but didn't interrupt. "I don't care what happens to me. I don't want to be the cause of your guilt. I forbid you to bring Hermione Granger to anyone here."

"Mother, please-"

"Be quiet," she snapped, although tears were streaming freely down her face. "You still have not done anything to mark you as a Death Eater. You are still free, Draco. You aren't going to go throwing your life away for me or for your father. I love you so much, Draco. And I refuse to let you go and destroy your life along with that girl's."

"What thoughtful words, Narcissa," Voldemort sneered. "So, Draco. What will it be?"

"Mother…I…I can't," Draco cried, clinging to Narcissa. "Please! You can't die."

"And I can't let you suffer like this," she replied, picking her bound arms up and looping them around Draco's head so that he was encircled. "I am begging you to not bring that innocent girl into this. If I am gone, then you will have nothing to fear. If you truly love me, then you will let me go."

"I love you," Draco sobbed, burying his face into Narcissa's torn purple dress robes.

"You heard him," Narcissa said, looking up at Voldemort. "He will not be going to get Hermione Granger for you. You can't hold myself or Lucius over him any longer."

Voldemort smirked. "Lucius never was part of the bargain." Draco looked up, eyes confused. "Yes, it's what I told you, but he informed me differently. As Lucius says, he is ashamed that you are his son. And should you choose to sacrifice yourself, then I shall help him get out of Azkaban so that he may teach you a well deserved lesson."

"You monster!"

"I know I am. Now come, Narcissa. You must pay for your son's failure."

"Mother, please," Draco begged, clinging to her robes. "Don't go."

"It is my time, Draco," she murmured, placing a kiss on his forehead. "Be safe. Watch out for yourself. You're free now, my dragon. This is my own doing…not yours. You made the right choice…it is I who will answer to it."

"No!"

"I love you, my Draco." Standing up, Narcissa made her way over to Voldemort, her eyes proud and defiant.

"You have both chosen foolishly," he hissed, pointing his wand at the woman. "Good bye, Narcissa. Avada kedavra."

Narcissa fell gracefully to the ground, her form lifeless like a porcelain doll and her eyes closed forever in eternal sleep, hair forming a glowing halo behind her head.

"This is the price for failure, Draco," Voldemort smirked. Draco looked up from the body, his eyes holding barely suppressed rage. "That's right, Draco. Be angry…let me see how you really feel. Or better yet…how about I just look?"

The anger faded to be replaced by fear. "No, please don't. Don't…"

"You don't have a say in the matter. Ostensei."

Draco screamed, the blood-curdling sound causing the Death Eaters to look up from their huddle. What they saw made mouths drop.

Draco lay sobbing on the ground, his hands pressed into the damp earth with blood trickling down his arms. On his back sat a pair of wings, soft white feathers shining in the dark. Blood was staining the bottom few from the huge gashes that had appeared where the feathers had protruded.

"Still white I see," Voldemort said softly, running his hands along the wings. "Still pure, are you? How much longer can you last?"

Snape cam running across the grounds, his pace slowing as he neared the group.

"Isn't he magnificent, Severus?" the Dark Lord asked, pulling a feather from the snowy mass. "He's a Kuroshi," he said, noticing the puzzled expression on the Potion master's face. "His kind came to this world millions of years ago. However, the spirit of the Kuroshi is random on whom it decides to inhabit. But Draco was one of the chosen. He has incredible dark powers. He will be able to use the killing curse without even a verbal command, to attack and cause destruction the blink of an eye. But he will only be able to use these powers when his wings turn black…

"However, he still seems to be absolutely pure. Meaning in this case that has never been tainted nor has he directly ever killed or harmed someone so much that they could not be healed on his own and with his own will. And as soon as he obeys a command with his Kuroshi form out, then the one who gave the command will have complete control. I must just wait for him to listen and turn mostly black before assigning him an easy task to fulfill for me."

"Why is there so much blood?" Snape asked aghast, kneeling down next to the trembling and crying Draco.

"The charm to reveal his Kuroshi is painful since he does not show it willingly. It is a way to see how he is progressing…and I regret to say he is showing no growth at all."

It was then Snape noticed the crumpled form of Narcissa Malfoy. "What happened?" he asked, nodding his head. "Is she all right?"

"She's dead," Voldemort grinned. "Her price to be paid since Draco failed in both of his tasks; killing Dumbledore and bringing me Hermione Granger."

"I'm sorry," Draco whispered, his eyes staring vacantly at the body.

"It's all right," Snape said, placing a gentle hand on Draco's bloody shoulder and giving in a reassuring squeeze, while inwardly he was screaming. Narcissa hadn't deserved to die. She too had been a pawn in the game and had been thrown away for something that she couldn't have prevented.

Voldemort's eyes narrowed. "I see that Draco has made another bond," he hissed. "Well then, this will benefit me."

"What do you mean?" asked Snape, rising to his feet and wiping his bloody hand on his robes, a long red smear left behind.

"He is next," Voldemort whispered into Draco's ear. "His life is now on the line. Bring me Hermione Granger." Turning to Snape he said, "Draco just has a few people who are depending on him to live. And I hope he doesn't want to let another close friend go."

"Who?"

Voldemort smirked. "You are next, Severus. Despite killing Dumbledore, you also disobeyed my orders that that old fool was meant for Draco. And so, you are next in line to die if Draco fails in brining me Granger."

"No! Don't! Please!" Draco cried, struggling to his feet. The wings stood out on either side of his body, about six feet in length each way with the blood stained tips brushing against Snape.

"You will not talk back," Voldemort said, pointing his wand at Draco once more. "You will learn to treat me with respect and follow my wishes. Otherwise, I will make sure that he dies. Severus, please leave us. You are safe for now and I have other matters on my mind."

"Yes, my Lord," Snape said softly. Throwing a pitying glance at Draco, but knowing he'd only cause the boy more pain if he stayed, the man apparated away.

"Now then," Voldemort grinned. "I think I'll give you a little lesson to accompany your mother's death, since even that doesn't appear to have had any effect on you as I had hoped. Crucio."

Draco fell once more to the ground, screaming out from both the curse and from his shattering heart, the sound echoing in the clearing and all the way up to the heavens, where a blue eyed woman looked down from, crystal tears falling from her eyes.

In his room at Number Four, Privet Drive, Harry Potter awoke with a scream.

Author's Notes:

Hai, another fic. When I read HBP, I'll admit, I was really upset. And reading on a website with a quote from Rowling saying that Hermione and Draco would never get together only furthered my anger.

I still believe Draco and Snape are good…very good. And so, I write my own fic using my new information.

Reviews are very welcome so I can see how much you all want another chapter. The more positive comments and the 'go aheads' , the more likely I am to update. As a warning though, I do like to procrastinate and I do have a lot of other fics that need updated. -sweat drop-

Thanks for reading!