Disclaimer: JK Rowling and a few other people own everything, I don't.

Warning Note: Takes place after book six - 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' and contains spoilers. If you haven't read the book yet, I advise you to do so before reading this story.

Of Loyalty and Traitors

Chapter 1

Contemplations

A stone mansion with an appearance suggesting it had been around since the beginning of time itself stood alone in the rugged country side. It appeared to be quite deserted, with no one disturbing the eerie silence that held heavy in the air.

Despite its appearance, the mansion was, on this evening, host to a rather devious gathering. Concealed by the sturdy walls, in a room in the heart of the building, a group of people stood in dim lighting. Many of in this crowd could only be described as sinister, the type that one might go a great deal out of their way to avoid when walking alone. Most of them wore black cloaks and robes that added to this impression.

Although you may expect such a scene to have a sombre atmosphere, the witches and wizards present seemed morbidly amused and in anticipation of a celebration of sorts. The reason for this would be that the Death Eaters and followers of the Dark Lord had just tasted real victory for the first time in what had seemed like eternity. A major opponent in their battle for power had just been defeated and with no significant price for them to pay.

Relief was another emotion found in many in this room. Voldemort, the unspoken name of the Dark Lord, had been exceptionally angry as of late, with his followers failed attempts to gain a prophesy of immense importance to him. It was common knowledge amongst the Death Eaters that when Voldemort was angered, they would suffer the consequences, often in the form of the painful Cruciatus curse. This time, his commands had been followed relatively well and his goal acheived.

The owner of this mansion, a large man who perhaps seemed even more intimidating than the rest, stood near the centre, immersed in conversation with a sallow man with dark hair. As he spoke, Fenrir Greyback's pointed teeth were shown clearly.

From the outskirts of the group, a boy who was significantly younger than most in the group accidently glanced towards these two men. He unintentionally flinched, disgust evident on his pale face, and looked away. Dark shadows could be seen under Draco Malfoy's eyes and he wasn't in the mood for celebration.

Trying to avoid looking at Fenrir, Draco forced himself to look back at Severus Snape. He glared at his Potions Professor for a couple of moments, as Snape basked in the glory of being the one having murdered Albus Dumbledore. The spotlight, Draco brooded, should have been on himself if he had carried out the task that he was assigned.

He would have killed Dumbledore, Draco tried to convince himself. If Snape had held off for a little bit longer instead of trying to interfere in order to gain the praise of the Dark Lord, he would have raised his wand and shouted that fatal curse.

And now, as he thought it over, he was sure the Dark Lord wouldn't be happy at his failed attempt to prove himself loyal to the cause. The Dark Lord was hardly known to be forgiving and wasn't in the business of handing out second chances. Which, Draco supposed, wasn't a completely bad thing in general - just for him.

Dumbledore, he gave people second chances.

Didn't end up helping him a whole lot.

Draco laughed bitterly. It wasn't like he had no respect for the old man - he had been, after all, one of the greatest wizards of the time, hadn't he? But he had also been a fool, too trusting to see that Snape was indeed serving the Dark Lord until it was too late.

Once more, Draco saw the sadistic humour in that situation. Even Harry Potter didn't like Snape, or trust him, for that matter, and Harry Potter didn't, in Draco's opinion, have much in the brains department. Yet his judgement had proved superior to the headmaster's. It was really quite ironic.

Draco found himself recalling Dumbledore's words to him, as Draco prepared to kill the old wizard.

"Draco, Draco you are not a killer."

Those words, even now, made him feel uneasy. So maybe he hadn't had it in him to kill the headmaster. But, he reminded himself, he was going to kill him, he was just biding his time...

Anyway, he better be a killer. From now on. Or else he may find himself in a terrible situation with the Dark Lord, who he had been brought up to respect. And fear.

"The old fool! He's dead! DEAD!" Fenrir said loudly, pleasure and triumph on his haggard face.

Draco had lost count of amount of times he had heard the werewolf say that, in varied wordings, since the murder. Werewolf, he thought scathingly, trying to keep looking in the other direction. The cannibal-like man scared him a bit more than he would like to admit, even to himself. He was quite positive that the man, was, to some point, insane.

And he had never liked werewolves.

In all honesty, he found it a bit degrading to be working alongside one. He could see their usefullness in the field of intimidation, but he had always considered them as rather inferior, particularly the poverty-stricken one that had taught Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts in his third year.

"All due to Severus here", a familiar voice added.

Draco turned to see that his mother had arrived on the scene, smiling thankfully at Snape in a way that made Draco feel even more sick. He had no doubts that his mother had been worried of the consequences that her son may have met in attempting to kill Dumbledore, but he really hadn't considered her 'help' that helpful. He'd known what he was doing, he thought, trying to smirk, and he would have succeeded on his own.

Snape smirked proudly, obviously pleased with himself and the continuous praise he was receiving from various people. Draco couldn't help but notice many of the Death Eaters sounded less than sincere, and recognised the bitter jealousy that many contained behind strained smiles. There was no doubt that most would have given their left arms - Draco grinned at Peter Pettigrew with malice - to have had done something worthy of the recognition and higher status that Snape would no doubt receive when the Dark Lord graced them with his presence.

He didn't regard 'Severus' very highly any more, although at one stage Draco had respected the older man considerably. The man treated Slytherin house with considerable favouritism, and always had some amusing insult to fling at scarface and his crew. at one stage, Draco had respected the older man considerably. However, the way he kept pushing at Draco to kill Dumbledore had greatly shaken the boys faith in the man. Snape had had quite a bit to do with the Malfoy family over the extent of Draco's life, but Draco was well aware that Lucius disliked him. However, Lucius disliked a vast majority of people, so that wasn't necessarily saying much.

"I dare say the Dark Lord will be with us shortly" His mother whispered to him, looking anxious yet somewhat excited.

Draco forced a smile onto his face, hoping the Dark Lord wouldn't focus too long on who didn't kill Dumbledore. He gulped slightly, earning a glare from his mother's sister.

As he struggled to hold a confident smirk on his face, his mind continued to work overtime.

He would carry out whatever task he was assigned next, kill whoever he had to. He would do so without hesitation. He would outshine Snape. He would become a 'killer'. He would teach Potter, the weasel and the mudblood to fear him.

He would be worthy of receiving the dark mark on his forearm before too long. And definately before those blundering idiots, Crabbe and Goyle. He would serve the Dark Lord and gain honor and respect from all the lesser Death Eaters.

He would show them all that he, Draco Malfoy, was indeed a killer.

He didn't have a choice, did he?

Snape had just killed the only means of escape.

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A/N- Thanks for reading this, I hope to have the next chapter done by tomorrow. Reveiws are more than welcome.