Right before dusk as the sun was slowly setting, a man appeared out of nowhere with a quiet pop. In front of him was a grand mansion with a gate guarding the walkway that led towards the elegant door. The man set off at a brisk pace towards the house, not stopping at the gate; he simply raised his left arm and walked right through. He rapped the door three times and a pale man with long, blonde hair opened it and welcomed him inside.
“Good evening, Severus,” said the pale man.
“Lucius,” Severus responded with a respectful nod of his head.
Lucius shut the door and led Severus toward a striking dining room where several people were already sitting. No one talked, they simply sat there, waiting for something to begin. At the head of the table was a man who looked as though he might have once been handsome, but now had a rather waxy appearance that was the slightest bit unpleasant to look at for too long.
The man at the head of the table looked up when the two men entered and spoke, his high voice unpleasant to the ear.
“Ah, Severus, I’m so glad you have joined us. Please, sit,” he said while gesturing to a seat on the right of the table. Lucius sat in between Severus and the waxy man. A woman, who had a sort of dark beauty about her sat, on the man’s left.
“My Lord, it’s always an honor,” breathed the woman, practically fainting from pleasure. It was no secret to anyone at the table that Bellatrix Lestrange had a very strong love, or even obsession with the Dark Lord.
“Silence,” he hissed and his voice rang eerily throughout the cold room, making more than one person shiver. Nobody spoke as they waited for their master to continue. “Now,” he continued, “as you all know, the Order of The Phoenix is recruiting new members in their attempt to overthrow me. I’m pleased to report that Marlene McKinnon, a member of that society has been killed along with the rest of her blood traitor family. Travors,” He motioned to a man father down the table, “Well done.” People around the table nodded in approvement.
“However we must not congratulate each other to heartily. The Order of the Phoenix is still at large and until we successfully infiltrate them, they, and their leader Dumbledore, will continue to do everything in their power to prevent us from cleansing the wizarding world of all impurities.” A red gleam appeared in Voldemort's eyes as he thought this. No one in the room dared to make a noise, they all knew the Dark Lord’s hatred for Dumbledore and did not wish to be noticed in his brief spell of anger.
“Severus,” Voldemort addressed Snape, “I have decided to give you the task of attempting to discover what Dumbledore is planning against me. I wish you to follow him closely but undetected, as it would not do well for him to know our plans.
“Of course, my Lord.” Severus replied to his master's summons.
“Now, Regulus,” Voldemort called down to a young, scared looking man at the far end of the table with dark hair, “I have an important job for you. I believe your family owns a house elf, do they not?”
“They do, I-I mean we do, my Lord.” Regulus stuttered.
“I will need to use him for an important task. I wish you to go home after our meeting and command it to come to me and join me on a very important journey. Do not disappoint me.”
“A-anything, my Lord.” Regulus replied.
“Bellatrix,” Voldemort turned towards her, “I wish you to-” The meeting continued with various of his faithful followers receiving orders from their master. When it ended, they all stood, except Bellatrix and Lucius, and left fairly quickly without much talking. Severus nodded a quick, silent goodbye to those he knew.
Normally after the Dark Lord summoned the Death Eaters to Malfoy Manor, Severus would find the fastest way to get out of there and back to his private life at Spinners End. But today felt different. Obviously he would do just as the Dark Lord had ordered of him, but something felt different about this task then the others he had performed. There was no doubt in his mind that he was loyal to his master, but something felt off about spying his old teacher who was a part of his life for so many years. He never had any particular issues with Dumbledore while he was in school, though most of the other Slytherins had assumed he hated him. Severus sighed in the warm summer air to try and clear his mind. What he needed was a drink.
Without another thought, Severus apparated to Diagon Alley. When his feet hit the ground, he looked around to see if anyone had noticed his arrival. He knew it was too early for the school children to be coming for their Hogwarts things and too late for most people to be out, but he still had to make sure. Being a Death Eater did that to you. The lights on the street casted shadows onto his face as he entered into the Leaky Caldron. Only three other people occupied the bar besides the barman, Tom. That was fine by him.
Severus sat down at the end of the bar where he could be slightly hidden in the shadows. Tom trudged over to him for his order and he ordered a firewhiskey. The first sip burned on his throat, but he didn’t complain. Moments after the burn, a dullness started to seep into his head. This wasn't the first time he had come to dull his mind with a drink. As a matter of fact, he was more of a regular with how often the Dark Lord had been calling to them lately.
As he finished his third drink, the quiet chatter in the corner of the room faded away as the others in the bar made their way out. Within moments, Severus was alone with Tom.
“I think it’s time that you started to leave,” Tom said quietly and Severus sighed, standing up and nodding solemnly at him. Walking out of the bar was a little bit harder than it was coming in, but eventually he was back outside. He knew he should apparate home, but he didn’t. Instead he leaned against the side of the building, his mind clouded. How long he stood there, he didn’t know, but when he finally became tired enough to force himself home, he walked a few steps into the street. But just before he could apparate, he heard a noise coming from behind him. Laughter.
He knew the laughter sounded familiar, but he couldn’t place it with his muddled thoughts. It wasn't until he turned to leave that he saw the flash of red hair that he knew.