A/N: I enjoyed the sixth movie, but I hated what the filmmakers did to the Spinner's End scene. I thought—in the book at least—the scene had great potential to translate very powerfully to the screen. I also think it would have made a better opening than that faux-Death Eater attack. So here's a little something I did…

1. EXT. SPINNER'S END—NEAR THE CREEK—NIGHT

We are flying along, low over the dark waters of the creek. The Warner Bros. Logo comes into focus as Hedwig's Theme begins to play, and soon we are sailing through the Logo and toward the 'Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince' title. As we pass the title art, the camera slows, and we drift toward the right edge of the creek. A small red fox comes into view, and we see that it's sipping from the fast moving waters of the creek. We come to rest on a wide-angle of the fox and a steep bank behind it.

There is faint POPPING noise and a figure materializes. The fox, still in the frame, eyes the newcomer warily. NARCISSA MALFOY looks around for a moment, and then sets off up the bank. The camera slowly drifts to follow.

There is another POPPING noise, louder this time, and a figure appears directly in front of the camera. We see the dark eyes and dark hair of BELLATRIX LESTRANGE. She turns away from the camera, and sees Narcissa making her way up the bank. Narcissa is almost out of the shot at this point.

BELLATRIX

(urgent)

Wait!

The fox, at the bottom of the frame, is startled, and starts to scurry away. Bellatrix in turn is startled, and she raises her wand at the object and mutters something. The flash of green fills the frame for a moment, and when it clears, the fox is motionless. Out of focus, Narcissa has stopped to look back, but she turns around and continues up the bank.

BELLATRIX

(dismissively)

Just a fox…I thought perhaps an Auror—Cissy, wait!

Bellatrix moves up the bank, and we follow closely behind her. Her robes swish across the lens, but we can still see she is catching Narcissa.

BELLATRIX

Cissy—Narcissa—listen to me—

Bellatrix catches Narcissa by the arm, and we swoop up around her to a wider shot of the both of them. We can see the dull lights of Spinner's End behind them.

NARCISSA

Go back, Bella!

Narcissa wrenches her arm away from Bellatrix, and we turn and follow her as she strides away.

BELLATRIX (O.C.)

You must listen to me!

We cut to a close shot of Narcissa's face—we can see some of her pale blond hair falling outside of her hood. We can also see Bellatrix moving to catch up behind her. She narrows her gray eyes.

NARCISSA

I've listened already. I've made my decision. Leave me alone!

Narcissa stops, and we spin around her head to see what she is looking at. She has come to an old iron railing, on the other side of which is a small, cobbled road. As the view widens, Bellatrix comes to stand next to her, and several brick houses badly in need of repair come into focus. Bellatrix rests a hand on the top of the railing.

BELLATRIX

(contemptuous)

He lives here? Here? In this Muggle dunghill? We must be the first of our kind ever to set foot—

We hear Narcissa sigh, cutting Bellatrix off, and she deftly slips under the rusting railing. She starts to hurry across the road, and we glide into an oblique shot, in order to keep them both in the frame. It allows us a view down the cobbled road, and we can see there are many, many brick houses.

BELLATRIX

Cissy, wait!

Narcissa continues on, though, and disappears from the frame into an alley between two houses. We cut to a street-level view of the opposite side of the alley, and Narcissa emerges at a brisk walk. Bellatrix is not far behind, moving swiftly to catch up. We rise up and look down on them as Narcissa continues her trek between houses, moving several rows away from the cobbled street. Some of the alleys are very dark, and the only thing letting us know they are still there are the swishing noises of their robes and cloaks. We come to rest above a working streetlamp, angled down from the bulb, and both women emerge into the light simultaneously. Bellatrix grabs Narcissa's arm and spins her to face her. We drift slowly down from the street lamp as they talk.

BELLATRIX

Cissy, you must not do this, you can't trust him—

NARCISSA

The Dark Lord trusts him, doesn't he?

BELLATRIX

The Dark Lord is…I believe…mistaken.

We are now level with their faces, and Bella looks around quickly. The light from the street lamp casts oblong shadows over their faces.

BELLATRIX

In any case, we were told not to speak of the plan to anyone. This is a betrayal of the Dark Lord's—

NARCISSA

(snarling)

Let go, Bella!

Narcissa wrenches her arm away, reaches into her robe, and draws out her wand. It contrasts with their dark clothes, reflecting the light from the lamp much more brightly than anything else in the frame.

BELLATRIX

(laughing)

Cissy, your own sister? You wouldn't—

NARCISSA

(slightly hysterical)

There is nothing I wouldn't do anymore!

Narcissa slashes her hand down, toward Bellatrix, and there is another flash of light that fills the frame—white, this time. When the light fades, we see that Narcissa has started to walk away, and Bellatrix is still standing where she was, rubbing her hand.

BELLATRIX

(seething)

Narcissa!

Bellatrix moves to follow, and we cut to a wider view, looking now at the two approaching women. Narcissa approaches us, turning down another street just before she reaches the camera. We swivel to follow her progress, and a street sign saying SPINNER'S END glides into the top of the frame. Bellatrix rushes past the camera, trying to catch up to Narcissa. We cut to a view moving over Narcissa's shoulder as she turns down the drive of one of the homes. There is a dim light coming through one of the curtained windows. Narcissa raises a hand, curls it into a fist, and knocks on the door. Bellatrix's head comes into the frame. We can hear her muttering something unintelligible under her breath, and then we can hear some shuffling from inside. The door cracks open, letting a sliver of light into the lens. A man is silhouetted there, with his hair hanging on either side of his head. Narcissa throws back her hood, revealing her pale blond hair.

SEVERUS

Narcissa! What a pleasant surprise!

SEVERUS SNAPE throws open the door completely, and we are engulfed in the light from inside the house. We cut to Narcissa's now uncovered face, pale in the light falling on it.

NARCISSA

(strained)

Severus, may I speak to you? It's urgent.

SEVERUS (O.C.)

But of course.

We see something like relief flash over Narcissa's face, and she moves past the camera into the house. We shift over to Bellatrix's still-hooded face.

BELLATRIX

Snape.

She also moves past the camera, and we swivel around to follow her. Severus stares out into the night as she passes. A small, sly smile lifts the corners of his lips.

SEVERUS

Bellatrix.

He closes the door, and we are engulfed in blackness.

FADE IN:

2. INT. SPINNER'S END—SEVERUS'S HOUSE—NIGHT

We see Narcissa, Bellatrix, Severus, and WORMTAIL from an angled shot in the living room of the small house. There is small coffee table between them; nothing is of note in the room. There are three glasses of what appears to be wine on the table.

SEVERUS

You may leave, Wormtail. We have our drinks.

Wormtail acquires a mutinous look on his face, mutters something, and turns and leaves the room. He slams the door behind him. There is a thick silence in the room for a moment. Severus raises a glass of wine.

SEVERUS

The Dark Lord.

He drains the wine. Narcissa and Bellatrix do as well. As Severus refills the glasses, we slowly creep closer to the three. He sets the bottle down, and looks up sharply at the door Wormtail left through. Severus snarls and points his wand at the door. There is a bang and a yell, and the sound of Wormtail retreating up the stairs.

SEVERUS

My apologies. He has lately taken to listening at doors; I don't know what he means by it…

Severus trails off and looks toward Narcissa.

NARCISSA

Severus, I know I ought not to be here, I have been told to say nothing to anyone, but—

BELLATRIX

(snarling)

Then you ought to hold your tongue! Particularly in present company!

SEVERUS

(sardonically)

Present company? And what am I to understand by that, Bellatrix?

BELLATRIX

That I don't trust you Snape, as you very well know!

Narcissa lets out an exasperated sigh, and she covers her face with her hands. Severus smiles into Bellatrix's angry face.

SEVERUS

To avoid tedious interruptions, I would like to hear why it is that you do not trust me.

Bellatrix straightens in her seat, and the camera moves to her face, in all its dark beauty. It fills the frame.

BELLATRIX

Where to start? Where were you when the Dark Lord fell? Why did you never make any attempt to find him when he vanished? What have you been doing all these years that you've lived in Dumbledore's pocket? Why did you stop the Dark Lord from procuring the Sorcerer's Stone? Why didn't you return at once when the Dark Lord was reborn? Where were you a few weeks ago when we battled to retrieve the prophecy for the Dark Lord? And why, Snape, is Harry Potter still alive, when you have had him at your mercy for five years?

We linger on her for a moment, seeing her heaving chest and her colored cheeks after that outburst, and then swing around to Severus, who is still pleasantly smiling.

SEVERUS

(mildly)

Let me ask you a question in turn. Do you really think that the Dark Lord has not asked me each and every one of those questions? And do you really think that, had I not been able to give satisfactory answers, I would be sitting here talking to you.

Severus pauses. He raises an eyebrow in the direction of the camera, toward Bellatrix. We hear nothing from her.

SEVERUS (CONT'D)

You think he is mistaken? Or that I have somehow hoodwinked him? Fooled the Dark Lord, the greatest wizard, the most accomplished Legilimens the world has ever seen?

He pauses and takes a sip of his drink. As he continues, we slowly drift closer to his face.

SEVERUS (CONT'D)

You ask where I was when the Dark Lord fell. I was where he had ordered me to be, at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, because he wished me to spy upon Albus Dumbledore. You know, I presume, that it was on the Dark Lord's orders that I took up the post? You ask why I did not attempt to find him when he vanished. For the same reason that many others did not attempt to find him—I believed him finished. I am not proud of it, I was wrong, but there it is…if he had not forgiven we who lost faith at that time, he would have very few followers left.

We cut to a close-up of Bellatrix's face. Rage plays across her features.

BELLATRIX

(passionately)

He'd have me! I, who spent many years in Azkaban for him!

We cut again to Severus's face, and we remain there.

SEVERUS

Yes, indeed, most admirable. Of course, you weren't a lot of use to him in prison, but the gesture was undoubtedly fine—

BELLATRIX (O.C.)

Gesture! I endured Dementors!

The first hint of impatience flashes over Severus's face.

SEVERUS

And I had sixteen years of information on Dumbledore to give him when he returned, a rather more useful welcome back present than endless reminiscences of Azkaban Prison. And as for why I came between him and the Sorcerer's Stone—that is simple. I did not know that it was the Dark Lord. I saw Quirrell as simply greedy and unworthy.

BELLATRIX (O.C.)

But you didn't return at once when your Mark burned—

SEVERUS

Correct. I returned two hours later, on orders from Dumbledore, which made it appear to him, at least, that I was acting as a spy. Pretenses must be kept, my dear Bellatrix.

BELLATRIX (O.C.)

And since? Where were you the night of the Ministry, when the rest of us ran dangers?

A sardonic smile plays across Severus's lips, and his shakes his head slightly.

SEVERUS

(silkily)

Forgive me—you speak of dangers? You were facing six teenagers, were you not?

We cut to Bellatrix. She opens her mouth, and then closes it. She considers her words for a moment.

BELLATRIX

Why haven't you told the Dark Lord the whereabouts of the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, if you're so adamant about remaining in their ranks?

Cut to Severus.

SEVERUS

I am not the Secret Keeper. I assume you know how the enchantment works? I cannot speak the name of the place.

BELLATRIX (O.C.)

And what of Potter? You are avoiding the real question, Severus.

A sneering look of contempt settles on Severus's face.

SEVERUS

Have you discussed any of these matters with the Dark Lord?

We cut to Bellatrix, who suddenly looks uncomfortable. She hesitates before responding.

BELLATRIX

He…lately, we…I am asking you, Snape.

SEVERUS

(disdainful)

I should remind you that when Potter first arrived at Hogwarts there were still many stories circulating about him, rumors that he himself was a great Dark wizard, which was how he had survived the Dark Lord's attack. Indeed, many of the Dark Lord's old followers thought Potter might be a standard around which we could all rally. I was curious, and not at all inclined to murder him the moment he set foot in the castle.

The camera slowly edges closer and closer to Severus's face, until it fills the frame.

SEVERUS (CONT'D)

Of course, it became apparent to me very quickly that he had no extraordinary talent at all. He is mediocre to the last degree, though as obnoxious and self-satisfied as his father was before him. I have done my utmost to have him thrown out of Hogwarts, where I believe he scarcely belongs, but kill him, or allow him to be killed in front of me? I would have been a fool to risk it with Dumbledore close at hand. Dumbledore…his greatest weakness is that he has to believe the best of people. Through all these years, he has never stopped trusting Severus Snape, and therein can be found my great value to the Dark Lord.

A silence stretches over the room, and we pull back from Severus to a wider shot of the three of them. Narcissa finally raises her head from her hands; Bellatrix looks hardly satisfied, but she remains silent.

NARCISSA

The Dark Lord has forbidden me to speak of this, but—

SEVERUS

If he has forbidden it, then you ought not to speak. The Dark Lord's word is law.

For the first time since entering the home, Bellatrix looks satisfied. Severus glances around the room, and then moves quickly to the curtains at the front of it. He peers outside momentarily, and then snaps them shut. He turns back to the two women, and the camera swivels so only he is in the frame.

SEVERUS

However, it so happens that I know the plan—

BELLATRIX (O.C.)

You know?

SEVERUS

Certainly.

He moves back to sit on the sofa, and the three of them come back into the frame. We see that tears have started to fall from Narcissa's eyes.

SEVERUS (CONT'D)

But what help do you require, Narcissa?

NARCISSA

(beseechingly)

My son…my only son…why, Severus. Why my son?

Severus looks away from her gaze.

SEVERUS

If Draco succeeds, he will be honored above all others.

NARCISSA

But, how can he, if the Dark Lord himself…Severus, you are the Dark Lord's favorite, his most trusted advisor…

Narcissa stands suddenly, and moves over to Severus. She grabs the front of his robes, and we cut to a view of her tear-strained face as she looks into Severus's eyes.

NARCISSA

(pleading)

You could do it instead of Draco. You would succeed; of course you would—

We cut to a shot from the side of the two of them: Narcissa's face is tilted up towards Severus's. He grabs her wrists and removes her hands.

SEVERUS

He intends me to do it in the end, I think. But he is determined that Draco should try first. You see, in the unlikely event that Draco succeeds, I shall be able to remain at Hogwarts a little longer, fulfilling my useful role as spy.

NARCISSA

(desperate)

My only son…

She falls to floor, out of the frame. Severus helps her up, and guides her over to the sofa. Bellatrix reenters the frame, and we see that she's watching the proceedings with a snarl on her face. Severus kneels in front of Narcissa.

SEVERUS

(imploringly)

Narcissa…that's enough. Listen…listen to me. It might be possible…for me to help Draco.

NARCISSA

(hopeful)

Severus—you would help him? Would you look after him, see he comes to no harm?

SEVERUS

I can try.

NARCISSA

Will you make the Unbreakable Vow?

Severus does not answer immediately, and Bellatrix laughs after a moment.

BELLATRIX

(triumphant)

Aren't you listening, Narcissa? He'll try…he'll do the usual slithering out of action…on the Dark Lord's orders, of course!

SEVERUS

Certainly, Narcissa. Perhaps your sister will consent to be our bonder?

Severus looks to Bellatrix as he grasps Narcissa's right hand with his right hand.

SEVERUS

(coldly)

You will need your wand, Bellatrix.

Bellatrix draws her wand, with an astonished look on her face, and steps up to them, placing the tip of her wand on their linked hands. We move in close to the hands and the wand, so that they fill the frame.

NARCISSA (O.C.)

Will you, Severus, watch over my son, Draco, as he attempts to fulfill the Dark Lord's wishes?

SEVERUS (O.C.)

I will.

A thin strip of bright orange flame issues from the wand and wraps itself around their joined hands.

NARCISSA (O.C.)

And will you, to the best of your ability, protect him from harm?

SEVERUS (O.C.)

I will.

Another thin strip of bright orange flame issues from the wand, wrapping itself around the first, forming a chain of fire.

NARCISSA (O.C.)

And, should it prove necessary…if it seems Draco will fail…

Severus's hand twitches.

NARCISSA (O.C.) (CONT'D)

…will you carry out the deed that the Dark Lord has ordered Draco to perform?

SEVERUS (O.C.)

I will.

A third strip of flame shoots from the wand, and intertwines itself with the other two. The chain of fire twists around their interlinked hands repeatedly, creating an angry red rope.

BLACK SCREEN.