Chapter One: The New Mission

The dark night sky seemed to show the fact that something horrible had happened. Yet, it could never truly tell the atrocities laid forth on that sinister night. Two figures tore along the forgotten roads that lead to the deepest fears of most mortals. No words were exchanged, for there were no words that could explain what had just occurred. The most callous act of betrayal was nothing compared to what Professor Snape had just done.

Draco Malfoy felt Severus Snape's hand tighten around his arm as the two rounded another shadowy corner. There was no time to pause. Draco made a motion to speak, but Snape quickly silenced him with a single glance. The Unbreakable Vow had been forged and completed. The impossible had been accomplished and nothing would ever be the same again. Albus Dumbledore was dead.

Draco felt his body shudder. The Dark Lord would not be pleased with the course of action he had failed to take. His mouth grew dry as he recalled the last words Dumbledore had spoken to him. Even in his gravest hour, he had offered him solace and protection.

"This way," Snape hissed as he started towards another direction.

Draco glared at him; "Where are we going?"

Snape didn't answer. The further they traveled the more winding the road became. This was a place Draco had never seen before. Was Snape taking them into hiding? Didn't he realize that nobody could hide from the Dark Lord?

"I'm not going any further until you answer me," Draco said sternly as he snatched his arm out of Snape's grasp.

"I'm taking you to your mother," Snape said in a low murmur.

Draco narrowed his eyes. "Why?"

"Foolish boy!" Snape lashed out. "Do you realize what has just happened?"

"Yeah," Draco retorted. "You did the job I was meant to do. You disobeyed a direct order from our Master."

Snape's cold dark eyes locked on to Draco's false face of confidence.

"Murder isn't as simple as it seems, is it?"

"I would have killed him, if you--" Draco started.

"You failed! If I hadn't killed Dumbledore you would be dead. He doesn't accept failure," Snape spat viciously. "He may still…"

Draco fell silent as the fear that was in his eyes spread across his face. "So, why are we going?"

He couldn't finish; his mouth was too dry.

Snape turned back towards the trail. "There isn't much time."

The dark figure of Snape had almost disappeared from sight before Draco found his footing and trudged behind. The trail finally started to narrow and a small cottage appeared in the darkness. As the two approached the door flew open. A woman dressed in a long hooded clock ran towards them.

"Is it over then? Did you?" she pleaded desperately.

"No," Draco said in barely more than a whisper, "Professor Snape did, because of your Unbreakable Vow, Mother."

Narcissa threw her head upwards and a look of agony stretched across her face. She stood motionless for a moment before lowering her head to face Snape.

"He's safe and what had to be done is done," Snape said quietly.

Narcissa closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. "Thank-you, Severus."

Draco stared at his mother with a look of disgust. This was her doing. She had been consumed by her motherly intuition. She had not realized death haunted them whether he succeeded or failed.

"The Dark Lord will not be pleased," Snape began.

"He will understand though. Dumbledore is dead, it doesn't matter who killed him," Narcissa argued. Desperation crept into her voice as her hands shook lightly.

Snape frowned, "You must leave and go into hiding. Draco will be punished for his failure. He is expendable."

"I'll accept my punishment. I will not run," Draco spat as his mother let out a pointed sob.

"Don't be a fool," Snape replied. "There are things worse than death."

"Oh please, Draco, listen to me. Severus is right we have to hide. The Dark Lord will take you away from me. I've already lost Lucius."

Draco yanked his hand from his mother's grip. "It isn't my fault. I had Dumbledore right there. I'm the one who figured out how to get the Death Eaters into the castle. I'm the one who disarmed Dumbledore. I was about to do it, but you had to push me out of the way. This is your fault, not mine."

"I suppose you always lower your wand before you cast a spell then?" Snape retorted.

Draco didn't answer.

"We can go to France, we have relatives we can hide with," Narcissa said suddenly as she claps her trembling hands together.

Snape swallowed hard. "The Dark Lord will expect that. Did Lucius have any place where he could hide in case something like this happened?"

Narcissa shook her head, "No, he was the Dark Lord's servant until the end. He would never run."

"And neither will I," Draco said in a short voice.

Narcissa knelt down and grabbed her son's hand again. "Please, don't leave me. He'll kill you, Draco. Then, he'll kill me."

"You had nothing to do with it," Draco snapped as he stared at his pleading mother.

Snape narrowed his eyes. "She had everything to do with it. She is a traitor; she disobeyed the Dark Lord's orders. She convinced me to do the task if you could not."

Narcissa glared up at Snape, "I had no choice. He is only a child. There was no way he was going to succeed. The Dark Lord knew that it was a fool's errand."

"Do you honestly think it matters? The reasons?" Snape asked.

Narcissa suddenly released her son's hand and her own head fell.

Draco took a deep exaggerated breath.

"I have a place where you can stay," Snape suddenly said. "It isn't in England and it's among-- you won't be able to use any magic at all."

"No magic?" Draco said resentfully. "Are we suppose to live as Muggles then?"

Snape nodded as he attempted to help Narcissa to her feet.

"I'd rather face the Dark Lord's wrath than live as a Muggle," Draco snarled.

Snape's lip twisted. "I can arrange that, but I sincerely doubt you mean it. If you had let me help you during the year it would have never come to this."

Draco made a motion to move towards Snape but his mother held a firm hand against his shoulder.

"No, Draco. Severus is just trying to help us," Narcissa pleaded.

The dark sky gave a great rumble as the clouds began to build. Snape took a narrow breath as he pulled a small scrap of parchment out of his robe.

"You haven't much time," Snape said slowly as he pushed the parchment into Narcissa's hand.

"How do we know he won't tell the Dark Lord where to find us?" Draco asked in an accusing voice.

Snape raised his eyebrows in annoyance. "Use your head! Don't you think if that had been my intentions I would have taken you directly to the Dark Lord?"

Narcissa left no time for the quarrel to continue. She quickly kissed Severus' cheek and whispered a soft 'thank-you.'

Draco didn't let his eyes leave Snape's face. Narcissa quickly grabbed Draco's arm, and without another parting look, Disapparated both herself and her son.

The loud crack rang in Snape's ear. The anger that was raging inside of him for the past several hours had not lessened, and he knew that the Dark Lord would not be pleased with his course of action. He could only pray that Dumbledore's murder would be enough to appease his master.

He could run. However, running would mean all he had sacrificed and done would be in vain. No, running away was not the solution. The Dark Lord would hunt him down and strike him dead. Draco was right about one thing: there was no way to hide from the Dark Lord.

Snape took one last fleeting look at the cottage. It could very well be the last sight his eyes every viewed. If he lived, he would still be punished. He could feel the pain searing through his veins even now.

"Is this what you wanted, Albus?" Snape said suddenly. "I'm exiled and Potter will not rest until your murder is avenged."

The wind howled loudly as if it were answering Severus' plea. A distant rumble of thunder seemed to break the barriers of time. He knew his lingering would soon come to a close and he would face fate. As if chance's humor had run thin, a sharp pain burned through his sleeve. He slowly pulled the cuff of his robe and revealed the charred flesh that burned black into his skin.

He didn't hesitate. His eyes closed and his mind left behind all traces of the past few moments. Suddenly, the cottage was gone and a dank low-lit room replaced his view.
A figured cloaked in black whose eyes glowed with insanity approached.

"My sister?"

Bellatrix's voice was barely above a mumble, but Snape didn't need to hear her words to know the question she was asking.

"Now is not the time," Snape said briskly as his eyes scanned the walls of his master's abode.

Bellatrix grimaced. "I'm just asking. Are they?"

"Yes," Snape said quickly, signaling an end to the conversation.

Bellatrix nodded as her eyes cut towards a room at the far end of the corridor. "He's not pleased. I knew the Vow was a cursed scheme. If he knows I performed it…"

Snape glanced at Bellatrix and made a motion to walk towards the room.

"It's true? Dumbledore is dead?" Bellatrix pushed.

"Yes," Snape replied. He physically tried to keep his voice from catching in his throat but Bellatrix didn't seem to notice.

"And Draco? He didn't?" Bellatrix asked, already knowing the answer to the question.

Snape nodded, "I did it for him. It had to be done and my time at Hogwarts had expired. I seriously doubt the Board of Governors will allow the school to reopen."

Bellatrix nodded. "Word travels quickly."

The conversation had reached its end. Snape didn't pause as he approached the room where he knew his master was waiting. As first he couldn't see much in the dim light, but an inhuman sound caused his eyes to wander into a corner where a single throne-like chair rested. A long coiled creature lay at the base.

"Ah, Severus… I've been expecting you."

Snape swallowed hard and lowered himself into a bow. "My Lord."

"You deliberately disobeyed my orders," Voldemort began.

Snape felt his eyes betray him as he watched the demon-like man curl his fingers around his chair.

"I ordered Draco to dispose of Dumbledore. Your position had great strategic importance."

Snape drew in a deep breath, "My Lord, I apologize. I feared the boy could not complete the task."

"And where is young master Malfoy?" Voldemort taunted, almost reading Snape's mind.

Snape held back a smirk as a blank page replaced the truth. "He has disappeared. Potter attempted to stop us from escaping after the task was done. I pushed him ahead and ordered him to Disapparate once past the barrier. I assumed he would go to his mother's, but I did not find him, My Lord."

"But, Albus Dumbledore is dead," Voldemort asked.

Snape nodded, "He is."

"You have disappointed me; something caused you to act against me. Tell me, what was it?" Voldemort said in a sharp voice.

"Narcissa—she came to me and asked me to help Draco with his task. I was tricked into an Unbreakable Vow. I thought the boy would be able to complete the job, but I had to be prepared in case he wasn't," Snape replied, lowering his bow as his heart-beat increased.

"You displease me, Severus," Voldemort replied. "However, the task that was assigned is done so there will be no punishment at this time."

"Thank-you, you are most gracious," Snape said, not daring to rise from his bow.

"Do not mistake my mercy for weakness. Next time I will not be so patience," Voldemort hissed.

Snape nodded, slowly lifting his head. He knew he was not safe yet. The Dark Lord was known to change his mind even after a verdict had been handed down.

"There is one more thing," Voldemort said in a sadistic tone. "Bring Draco and Narcissa Malfoy to me as soon as they are found. To help lure them out of hiding—make sure Lucius Malfoy meets an untimely demise. I think we have sources inside Azkaban that can carry that out."

Snape said instantly, "It will be done."

"I know it will," Voldemort said without hesitation. "I do not appreciate failure."

Snape nodded respectfully one last time before making a swift but appropriate exit. His face twisted with disgust, as he dared not look back at the room he had just left. A lesser wizard would have had his mind turned to mush and his deepest secrets revealed. However, Snape was not an ill-trained wizard by any stretch of the imagination.

"You're still alive," Bellatrix said as she suddenly reappeared in front of Snape.

Snape smirked, "Disappointed, Bella?"

"Deeply," she said as her eyes narrowed. "You have orders? What are they?"

"They do not concern you," Snape said coldly.

"If they concern my family, they concern me," Bellatrix pushed as she stepped in front of Snape and blocked his way.

Snape closed his eyes, praying the regret would not surface. "What does family mean to you? You have made your allegiance perfectly clear."

"Does that mean yours are not?"

"You dare question me?" Snape roared.

Bellatrix scowled, "You do not frighten me and you do not fool me. I know what you're all about, Snape."

"Do you now?" Snape continued. "Then you are much wiser than I give you credit for. I do not know where your sister or nephew are? If they are wise, you'll never know either."

Author's Note:
I'm back-- Did you guys miss me? Well, I'm on a new story. Yes, I'm disappointed my ship didn't sail (Harry/Cho), but things could have been worse. I've always been a closet Harry/Ginny shipper. They'll be some romance in this fic, but it won't be the focus. I'm going to see how canon I can stay :)

I'm planning on updating twice a month, but it will be slow going. I have a jammed packed fall. Again, if anybody would like to be added to the mailing list you can e-mail me at

I won't start sending out notices till chapter two so if you are already on my mailing list you don't have to send me a new e-mail :). This is just a introduction chapter. I haven't quite finished with chapter two, but it's almost ready. Once it is beta read then it will be posted.

Thank-you for reading this little tale of mine. I hope you enjoy this little journey. I also pray that I don't disappoint you this time around.