i You are not a killer, Draco. /i

Dumbledore's words replayed over and over again in Draco's mind.

i You are not a killer... /i

He snorted disdainfully. He? i Not a killer? /i That was ridiculous.
He had practically been born to be a killer, learned since he was a child that it was to be expected of him. His father had taught him the Unforgivable Curses when he was 13 years old… he'd been given the most difficult job of all by the Dark Lord.

Who was Dumbledore to say that Draco wasn't a killer? What did Dumbledore know?

But... Draco remembered the fleeting moment when he'd had his wand pointed straight at Dumbledore in the Astronomy Tower barely two weeks ago.

He'd tricked Dumbledore: had disarmed him: could have killed him...
And yet it had been Snape who had done the deed, not Draco.

i Because Draco had chickened out. /i

He was thankful that his father had not been a witness. He knew the lecture that would be given, knew it almost by heart.

His father would rant on and on about family honor and what it meant to be a Malfoy... i You are not a killer, Draco… /i

Something had changed inside of Draco when he had Dumbledore cornered.
Dumbledore's offer, that the Order of the Phoenix shelter and protect Draco from the Dark Lord, was almost... tempting.

He would have agreed. He had been about to, but the others -his fellow Death Eaters- had arrived then.

And Snape, Draco's godfather, had done it. He'd killed the mighty Headmaster.

He wondered if the Order would even consider taking him in now.
Chances were they wouldn't. They'd probably think he was a spy. He couldn't blame them, not really.

Getting to his feet, Draco stretched. He wandered downstairs to Snape's study.

Snape's house was neither as big nor as grand as the Malfoy Manor, but Draco had found it comfortable enough. The musty smell had been unbearable at first, but with time he had grown used to it, and no longer sneezed every time he walked into a room.

He and Snape had gone into hiding after Dumbledore's death. No one but the Dark Lord knew where they were, as the entire Wizarding World was on the lookout for Snape, who was wanted by the ministry. Draco knew that he himself was probably not particularly popular, either, for having played such a big part in Dumbledore's death.

It was smarter to stay in hiding.

Knocking on the study door, Draco entered.

The study was large - much larger than most of the rooms in the manor.

The walls were lined with bookshelves and small tanks of creatures unlike anything Draco had ever seen before. He shivered in disgust as they pushed themselves against the glass of their tanks, staring at him.

He looked over to Snape's desk in a far corner, which was littered with scraps of parchment and quills. In the center of the room was a large, well – worn, forest green armchair facing a fireplace.

Snape was sitting in this armchair. He was leaning forward slightly, his hands resting on the arms of the chair. Black eyes reflecting the light from the fire. He was staring into the dancing flames apparently lost in thought, not even noticing when Draco shut the door behind him.

"Severus," Draco said loudly.

Snape looked around at Draco. If he was startled to see his godson, his features gave nothing away.

In a voice as smooth and cool as ever, he said, "Yes, Draco. What do you want?"

Draco took some time before answering.

At last, pale eyes meeting dark ones, he asked, "What can you tell me about the Order of the Phoenix?"

Snape looked at him for a moment and Draco hastily closed his mind, like his i dear Aunt Bellatrix /i had taught him the previous summer.

His godfather had a tendency to use Occlumency to get information but he hadn't been able to use this tactic on Draco for quite some time. This secretly pleased Draco.

"Why," Snape asked slowly, "would you like to know?"

Draco paused, considering his reasons carefully, not wanting to give away too much.

"I'm curious," he said sarcastically. "Not a crime, is it?"

"Watch your tone." Snape looked at Draco as if sizing him up. "I won't tell you anything about the Order."

"Why not?" Draco demanded furiously.

"I do not feel that you are...ready to receive that information," Snape replied sleekly.

"Liar," Draco hissed before he could stop himself.

Snape raised an eyebrow.

"Excuse me?"

"I know you didn't kill Dumbledore just because of my mother's Unbreakable Vow," Draco said in a rush. "Maybe that was part of it, but it wasn't the real reason."

"Oh? And what was the true reason?"

"Dumbledore made you promise - he made you swear to kill him if it was necessary, so that way you wouldn't blow your cover and let everyone know that you - you were really working for Dumbledore the entire time!" Draco finished triumphantly. "You are not the only one who is an accomplished Legilimens," he told him mockingly before adding, "You shouldn't let your guard down around anyone, you know." That was another lesson from his i lovely aunt. /i

"Well aren't you the clever one," sneered Snape after a drawn out silence. "Tell me, then. Why am I not with the Order right now?"

"Because... because... they never knew!" Draco guessed wildly. "They never knew because you never told them. And they won't take you back now."

Shock flickered across Snape's face for the briefest of seconds before it became an emotionless mask again.

"And what about you, you sneaking, spoiled, coward of a little boy? Seeking shelter from the Order of the Phoenix, are we? What will your father say?"

Draco's face paled, and his palms began to shake and sweat slightly.

"Oh yes. Yes, I knew about your little plan. Three or four lessons with Auntie are no match for my years of experience with Occlumency, Draco. So, tell me - what i will /i your father say? Shall we find out?"

Draco's eyes glittered with angrily and his jaw clenched with the effort of holding back a retort, but he said nothing.

"Yes… that's what I thought. You will say nothing to anyone about this conversation… or Lucius will receive some very interesting news about his son... and I don't think he would be particularly pleased, do you?"

Snape watched in satisfaction as Draco ground his teeth.

"No," he growled at last.

"You may go."

Turning on his heel, Draco left the study furiously, his fists still clenched in anger, fingernails digging into his palms.

Stalking up to his room, he picked up a quill and a piece of parchment, ignoring the sudden searing pain on his left forearm, and began to write a letter addressed to the members of the Order of the Phoenix.

Author's Note:

It is truly an honor to be the apprentice of someone as talented as YelloWitchGrl! I greatly appreciate her patience, talent, and all of the time that she has given to help me write this!