Severus Snape sat on an old bench, made of haphazardly painted green wood and wrought iron in the park nearby Spinners End, reading his book. The student was home from school for Easter Vacation, when most of the other students preferred to stay at Hogwarts for this vacation, because the staff there held many holiday festivals, but being around such jovialness made Severus as sick as being with his father. Here he could stay away from the old drunk. The park by Spinners End, if you can call it that did not have lush flora like most. The crabgrass was un-mowed and had turned brown years ago from neglect, and in the center of the park sat a black pond where no life could survive since it became clogged with litter from the careless passerby and vandals. While at home, Severus liked to spend as much time out here as he could, because people left him alone. To them he was that strange kid whose dad had to send to St. Brutus’s Center for Incurably Criminal Boys.
The only times Severus went into the house were when he had to study, and just before bedtime. At all other times, his father sat in his recliner watching that horrible television, and if Severus were inside Tobias would beat him. Ever since the Plants closed at Spinners End, work was a difficult thing to find around here, especially if you sat around the house all day. Tobias was the reason Severus was sorted into Slytherin, because the boy refused to turn out like him. Severus had ambition. He’d love to take his schoolwork out here to study, so he could spend less time inside, but if anyone happened to see what he was really studying, there would be trouble with the Ministry.
While on the bench, Severus liked to read his Mother’s Romance Novels, because while romance wasn’t exactly his thing, the books helped him keep his mind from becoming lax. But, sometimes Severus liked to imagine himself in the storylines with his true love. Hands slipped over Snape’s eyes, “Guess who?” asked a sultry voice.
“Oh you’re no fun. You could’ve tried to be wrong,” complained his girlfriend jokingly as she moved to sit next to Snape.
“I’m sorry dear; I’ll try to guess Lily next time.”
“What is it with you two anyways? She’s obviously in love with that creep James Potter.”
“Please don’t say that name around me,” revolted Severus. After regaining his composure, the lanky boy looked Narcissa in the eyes, and continued “She’s talented in potions, and we work well together in class.” Severus looked at his true love and realized that her expression was becoming sour. “You know that is my favorite class. There’s nothing else between us. I swear!”
“I know. It’s just that I just have some bad news. My father is forcing me to marry Lucius Malfoy. He won’t let me marry you, because you’re not a full blood,” informed Narcissa.
Severus looked forward, down towards the dead pond, and uttered, “I swear Narcissa, you’ll be mine someday.”
“There’s a way Severus. You’re equally talented in Dark Arts, so perhaps that could be your new favorite subject, and then you could join the Knights of Walpurgis. Nobody will care of your heritage there, because it’ll be forgotten.”
Severus Snape sat upon his borrowed broom with a grimaced face flying low and fast over the cold North Sea. Severus was never thrilled with riding brooms, but for this mission it was the only way to travel, so he endured, because with him flew a large group of Death Eaters in formation. The pack of Death Eaters was on its way to Azkaban, to release their confined comrades. Spirits were high in the attacker’s ranks, for they knew that the feared Dementors were gone, and it was only other wizards now in their way.
The formation flew very close to small rock islets that jutted from the ocean at a close proximity with each other to prevent any Muggle ships from getting too close to a slightly larger island near their center. That island with no life growing on it was their target. “This is going too easily,” heckled Bellatrix Lestrange.
Severus glanced in her direction with contempt in his eye and yelled back, “Now that we’ve neared Azkaban without authorization, we should soon be facing the first of its defenses.” As they flew closer to the island fortress, the few Death Eaters at the front of the formation fell off their brooms abruptly from an invisible wall that protected the perimeter. So this wall is the first line of defense, thought Snape and continued, this was suspected, and for this reason, we put the least important and most expendable Death Eaters to the front. A half grin formed on Severus’ face as he halted his broom just short of where the wall stood, pulled his wand out of his robes, pointed it towards the invisible barrier and muttered a few unintelligible words. The few riders that hit the invisible wall just a few moments ago had remounted their brooms and dried their robes with a quick wave of their wands. Snape motioned for them to try again. They did as instructed, and this time the first made it, but the others were again rebounded. Snape paused a moment, recast his previous spell, and again motioned the group to try the wall. None passed this time.
Severus looked around, and mentioned, “It would seem… this caster has talent.” He rubbed his smooth chin as he thought about this for a moment, and then he pointed the wand at himself and non-verbally cast the bubblehead charm on himself. Severus plunged his broom into the water and came out on the other side of the wall. He flew to the lone Death Eater that hovered on defender’s side and motioned for the others to follow. After all of the Death Eaters had successfully gotten to the other side of the wall, Snape gave a quick snipe, “Well, that’s a waste of perfectly good talent.” The Death Eaters sniggered.
The group of attackers reformed and again headed toward their target. As they neared the giant gloomy ramparts of the prison, beams of red light hit the attacking group as they froze and fell into the cold murky ocean. Three of the assaulting forces number fell as the rest of the Death Eaters sped up their attack on the wall, focusing all of their attention on one position to overrun it with their vast numbers.
The defenders from the one embattled strongpoint put up a rather valiant battle as they stunned two more of the Death Eaters, but the attacker’s vast numbers and their willingness to use curses that were more potent proved too much for them. As the Death Eaters entered the prison through this one strongpoint, they stepped over the bodies of the wizards who staffed this fortification, and quickly broke up into squads so they could perform their assigned tasks.
Narcissa and Draco wanted to be there to free Lucius, but were assigned ambush duty to prevent the other prison guards from entering this section. The mother and son team joined Snape as they entered the prison, and the trio marched to a strategic intersection to take up their positions.
The three sat patiently at their assigned position, listening attentively for the sounds of battle between the cut off guards in this block and the Death Eaters. The trio also listened for guards in their assigned hallways coming to assist their comrades. Soon Severus, Narcissa, and Draco heard the sounds of running guards coming their way. Draco was the first to say anything, “they’re coming!”
The first of four guards turned around the corner, and Severus exclaimed “Expelliarmus,” causing the wand of the front guard to fly from his hand as he flew into the air against the furthest wall. Draco gave a quick look at Severus as if he just recognized something important, causing Severus to give a dour expression back at Draco, and say “Focus Malfoy.”
The second guard to turn the corner was a witch, so Narcissa yelled “Petrificus Totalus,” causing her victim to stiffen up and fall flat on the floor. The two remaining guards took up positions on the near side of their hallway as one began firing blindly at the ambushers as the second pulled the two downed guards to safety.
The three ambushers and their two remaining targets took sniping shots at each other until the trio heard their comrades yelling, “We’ve got them, fall back! Fall back!”
Severus who usually was not worried with chivalry said, “You two, go join Lucius, and I’ll hold off these guards.” When Severus Snape’s two charges finally joined the others, he cast a spell that shortly stunned the two remaining guards, and then headed towards his companions.
The group of Death Eaters mounted their brooms to fly to an area where they could apperate back to their base of operations. “Narcissa, Draco you two take the point,” yelled Bellatrix. Both Narcissa and Draco looked at each other with worried expressions, because they knew what that meant, and they really wanted to be close to Lucius, but the other Death Eaters weren’t going to let that happen. The band left the prison with Narcissa and Draco in the lead, minus three of the five fallen comrades, but no one paid them any mind since all of the fallen were acting under the Imperius Curse.
As the Death Eaters flew away from the island fortress, the remaining angered guards flew high above them in swarms that swooped down for their attacks. The guards stood no chance against the departing Death Eaters, because the escaping party moved too quickly and they were casting an impervious barrage of magic to keep the guards at bay. Severus cast mass stunning curses on his targets, while Bellatrix and most of the others cast their various unforgivable curses. Bellatrix noticed the curses that Severus was casting and made the snide remark “What’s the matter Snape… Don’t have the stomach to cast real curses?”
“Shut your mouth you stupid cow…” replied Severus, and then added, “It was I who killed Dumbledore.” Severus took a few moments to cast some more mass stunning curses, and then continued “I am making better use of my spells by knocking several guards off of their brooms at once… While you just kill one per cast… Besides they will probably die in the cold dark waters…”
Bellatrix fumed at the tongue-lashing she just received, but did not dare reply since Severus was clearly the Dark Lord’s new favorite. The rest of the group began using mass stunning curses, until they again got to where the invisible wall where the victorious formation just dived into the ocean without casting any charms for protection, and when they got to the other side, they all gathered and began apperating for home base without bothering to dry off.
Back at their home base, the spirit of the Death Eaters was high, since they completed another successful mission, and swelled their ranks again. Not many more of these missions, they knew, and they would be able to overcome their enemies by their vastness, which made them anxious to see their Dark Lord, for they knew he would be pleased.
Narcissa and Draco were a little puzzled by this mission. Draco pulled Narcissa away from earshot and asked “Mother… Why weren’t we allowed to be with Father?”
“I don’t know… isn’t it odd? What really bothers me is why your father hadn’t looked for us the whole time?” replied Narcissa.
The door to the throne room opened showing the throng a cavernous room where tapestries of various dark wizards and witches performed evil acts on their victims lined the walls and a throne of what looked like it was made of golden human skulls on the far side. On the throne sat the Dark Lord Voldemort with Bellatrix Lestrange standing at his right.
While the throng entered, Narcissa and Draco tried fervently to push their way to Lucius, but the mass of Death Eaters kept the pair to the rear. When the entire group of Death Eaters entered the room, Lord Voldemort examined them, and then said, “My friends take your positions.” The entire group moved forward to join Lord Voldemort with Bellatrix Lestrange forming a Circle of Death. Two guards in ceremonial death masks and red robes that were stationed in the room by either side of the door held Narcissa and Draco back. The mother and son had no idea what was happening and shot glances of concern towards each other.
Lord Voldemort looked around the circle of Death Eaters with the closest expression he could muster to mimic a smile, and said, “My friends, you have done well today, and I am pleased.” The Dark Lord let his words sink in, as the circle of Death began to murmur, and then he added “As you can plainly see our group has grown considerably since the last time we formed, so I will now recognize each of you so my new members can understand how invincible were truly are.”
The Dark Lord looked to the first masked clad member of the circle, and said “Alecto Carrow, you were instrumental in the success we had in Hogwarts.”
Lord Voldemort turned his head a little to the right, and said “Amycus Carrow, you too were instrumental in the success at Hogwarts.”
Again the Dark Lord turned his head slightly, and said “Avery, you have just been freed from prison. Welcome back to the fold.”
The Dark Lord Voldemort continued with this practice naming twelve more Death Eaters in alphabetical order, and mentioning either their latest victory or whether they were in prison. Narcissa and Draco both noticed that not only were they denied their rightful place in the circle, the Dark Lord had failed to mention their names, so they looked at each other grief struck. Severus Snape constantly made quick glances towards his two charges from the prison, to see how they were holding up, but he could not look for long, since occlumency would be useless if his expressions gave him away.
The Dark Lord Looked at Severus, and said after a brief pause “Severus Snape, the one Death Eater who killed Albus Dumbledore. You are my favorite Death Eater at this time… Welcome back to my circle.” Severus turned his head toward the Dark Lord as he spoke those words, and when the Dark Lord had finished, Severus gave a respectful bow. The Dark lord turned his head slightly to the right once more seeing a short and stout figure in a death mask. “Dolores Umbrage, my new spy into the Ministry of Magic. Welcome to my Circle.”
After the Dark Lord finished introducing his members, and then he called “Lucius Malfoy, come join me at my left side.” Lucius did as requested. Lord Voldemort glowered at Draco for a moment, and then called out “Draco Malfoy, come join us in the center of this Circle of Death.” Draco shot a fearful glance at his mother while he walked towards the circle. Draco entered the circle through the spot just vacated by his father a moment before, and walked to the center. He stood in the center of the circle rather meekly as he looked towards the disapproving glances of his father and Lord Voldemort.
Lord Voldemort whipped out his wand, pointed it towards Draco and yelled “Crucio!” Draco doubled over in pain. Narcissa wished to aid her beloved son, but she was restrained. Draco was lying in the center of the circle of Death Eaters, writhing around in pain unable to do anything else. After a few moments of this unbearable agony, Lord Voldemort let up on the pain, and looked to Lucius. “Lucius Malfoy, you have failed me again in the Ministry of Magic, and for your punishment I let you sit in Azkaban until I was ready to forgive you. Now before us lays your son for failing me as well. Are you Malfoys incapable of simple tasks?”
For a brief moment, some of the circle’s members shifted around uncomfortably. Lucius answered nervously “Yes we can my Lord, and I apologize profusely for any failures I may have made in the past.” The Dark Lord let a moment of silence pass for effect.
“You have already been punished and forgiven Lucius, it is your son who has failed me now, and I will give you a choice,” said Lord Voldemort. “Crucio!” shouted Lord Voldemort, as Draco re-doubled over in pain. While Draco withered around in agony, Lord Voldemort turned to Lucius, and added, “Your son failed in the most important mission to date, and someone has to pay dearly… Your choice is between your son and your Lord. If you choose your son, I will let him go and punish you in his place, but if you choose me, I will kill your son, and we can go on as if nothing has changed.”
Lucius looked down unemotionally to his son who was writhing in pain, then glanced to his wife, and saw the tears in her eyes. Lucius looked back toward his son, and then to Lord Voldemort, and said “My Lord has there ever been any doubt that I wouldn’t choose you?”
“No Lucius, but you are aware that your son will die?” asked Lord Voldemort. Lucius looked towards his son still writhing around in agony.
“Nooo, father, please save meeee,” cried Draco.
Lucius looked back toward Lord Voldemort, and said, “I can always make another son My Lord, but there can only be one you.”
Lord Voldemort’s face made another attempt at mimicking a smile as he tortured Draco some more. Narcissa felt all the air in her body leave her, when her husband doomed her beloved son, and tears began to flow from her eyes more freely.
After three more minutes of the Cruciatus Curse, Lord Voldemort stopped the spell and said, “Get up boy, you’ve failed me, but you were the only one of my Death Eaters who could get my forces into Hogwarts, and for that you may live today. Never fail me again…”
Draco stood up very slowly as he cried in front of the circle’s members. The pain from the Cruciatus Curse was immense, but the pain from his father’s abandonment was worse. Narcissa looked towards her husband who was staring at his Lord adoringly, and then towards Lord Voldemort who sat there smugly from his victory. All of the abuse Narcissa endured for the many years she was married to Lucius rushed forward in her mind; she always assumed their lives would get better when the Dark Lord returned, and that the abuse she endured was a part of the humiliation Lucius faced from his downfall, but now she realized there was no hope. Narcissa then silently vowed, I solemnly swear that I will make you two pay dearly. Severus Snape stood at his place in the circle, looking at Narcissa with a cold and unemotional stare, and she returned his glance. Severus held her stare for just a brief moment, and then looked towards Draco as he stood in the center weeping, trying to regain his composure. Lord Voldemort then released the Circle of Death, and clapped his hands to make green banners bearing the Dark Mark unfurl all along the walls of the room. The Death Eaters began to celebrate their daily victory.
The vast majority of Death Eaters mingled among themselves boasting of their many victories, and congratulating others of theirs. They all waited patiently for their turn to have an audience with the Dark Lord. Another smaller group of celebrants had a couple of middle-aged muggles restrained, and was torturing them with various curses.
Dolores Umbridge was among the group that was mingling, and though she wanted to mingle with her new family, as well as have a moment of her Dark Lord’s time, she knew that was impossible for the Ministry might notice her gone, so with Lord Voldemort’s permission she left the celebration, via broomstick.
As the majority of Death Eaters strolled around and mingled, they purposely avoided Draco and Narcissa Malfoy. Narcissa walked towards her son who was still in the middle of the room, enduring all of the unfavorable stares the Death Eaters could muster, but she did not care, and only wanted to get to her beloved son to ease his pain.
Narcissa guided Draco away from the room into a deserted hallway and then hugged him. “Get off of me woman,” wept Draco, “You’ll get both of us killed.”
“No Dear… and you’ll never talk to me like that again. Am I clear?” replied Narcissa.
“Yes Mother!” sobbed Draco. “What are we going to do? Now that father…” asked Draco, but was unable to finish his question, because the full weight of his Fathers betrayal now fully hit him. Draco gave his mother a cold, but determined stare, as he straightened out his posture to show her that he could cope.
“I don’t know, but I have my suspicions,” was the response his mother gave as she peered over her shoulder. “Stay here,” said Narcissa as she left to re-enter the room and look around for Severus Snape. Severus looked back towards Narcissa and realized that she needed to speak to him. Severus subtly made a muggle sign with his right hand tapping his left wrist. Narcissa only caught the signal because she was looking for it, and had no idea what that meant, but then thought, Wait don’t Muggles wear mechanical devices on their wrists to tell time? Oh! Severus is saying now isn’t the time. Narcissa left the room.
After the celebration had ceased, Narcissa and Draco stayed around the Headquarters’ front doors, and stood speaking to each other about nothing in general, because nobody else would. Many of the Death Eaters gave Narcissa and Draco evil looks as if they should be going home now, but no one said anything because they did not know if the two stayed per Voldemort’s orders, and did not want to over step their bounds.
Severus Snape knew that being seen near Narcissa or Draco at this time could be extremely risky now that they‘ve fallen out of favor to the Dark Lord, but Severus thought, with great risk comes great reward.
Severus left the room through the doors, which Draco and Narcissa loitered by, and strolled down a quiet and dark hallway with purpose in his stride, and for that reason, no one paid him any attention. The Dark Lord Voldemort was too busy being fawned over by his cronies to notice, and Severus knew that Narcissa would soon follow. He also knew that she could prevent the Dark Lord from penetrating her thoughts, but was a little worried that Draco with his limited training might come, and not be up to par. There was no real need to worry, for Narcissa soon came alone. “Where… is Draco?” asked Snape.
“I left him around the corner to give a signal if anyone approached,” said Narcissa.
“Good,” said Severus, as he looked around for any traps to spring on him.
“He is to apperate home in five minutes,” added Narcissa.
“Marvelous…” said Snape, and then asked, “What can I do for you Narcissa?”
Narcissa paused for a moment, not sure how to proceed, but then blatantly said, “I’m not sure what you’re up to here Severus, but I’m willing to bet it isn’t good for the Dark Lord, and I want in.”
Severus Snape looked at Narcissa for several moments, trying to determine her sincerity, and then he answered, “I have no idea what you’re talking about Narcissa.”
“It’s just that I saw you in the prison… You were holding back on those guards, and then again on our escape,” replied Narcissa.
“Really, Narcissa… That kind of talk could get us both killed…,” said Snape looking around again.
“I don’t care!” responded Narcissa, then added “I made a vow to make the Dark Lord and Lucius pay dearly.”
Severus stood there a few moments taking turns to look into each of Narcissa’s eyes trying to discover if she told the truth. “Are you trying to use magic on me?” asked Narcissa.
“No. There are easier and better Muggle ways of telling the truth,” replied Severus.
“Am I lying?”
“No, I think not…” said Severus, and then asked, “What about Draco?”
“He is with me, especially after his father sold him out,” replied Narcissa.
“We cannot talk anymore, here or now. When the time is right, I’ll let you know how to proceed,” whispered Snape. Narcissa nodded, and then apperated home, to join her son, and tell him the good news. Severus waited a minute to go home, then gave a slight smile, because he now had the beginnings of an army, and then with a whoosh left for Spinner’s End