Severus Snape was not a happy wizard. He had been relaxing in his dungeon looking forward to two student free weeks when the headmaster knocked on his door and shattered his peace. Now two hours later he was dressed in muggle clothing and about to experience the nasty effects of long-distance portkeying. He grimaced at the battered "do not disturb" sign in this left hand. Sometimes he wondered how he let the headmaster talk him into these situations. Who could say no to Dumbledore? He shook his head in self-disgust. A familiar tugging at his navel as the portkey key activated flinging him into an unwanted adventure.

Snape stumbled as he materialized halfway across the world. Instinctively, his right hand tightened around his wand. He straightened carefully taking in his surroundings and thanked Merlin that the bar was both dark and empty. With relief he tucked his wand back up his sleeve and dropped the portkey into his pocket. Why me, he thought taking in the smoky ambience of the bar. And why for Merlin's sake could Albus not have arranged the damn meeting in Diagon Alley!

He dragged a hand through his hair in disgust. How the hell did Albus expect him to contact this wizard anyway? No name, no photograph, the bloody fool wasn't' even expecting him. "Gah!"

"Whoa," said a gruff voice startling Severus from his revelry. "Where'd you come from?"

He looked up and met the scrutiny of a tall gray haired man with piercing Grey-blue eyes. The man's eyes widen as he took in the figure in front of him. Severus wondered for a moment if he was incorrectly dressed. He mentally checked his appearance: black denim trousers, black turtleneck sweater, dragonhide boots and an ankle-length black cashmere overcoat. No he thought, everything was fine if perhaps a little monochromatic. Even that little know-it-all, Granger, would have approved of his costume.

Severus kept eye contact with the bar man and waved vaguely towards doors in the distance.

"Damn it, could have sworn I'd locked that." Said the man shaking his head.

"Do you want me to come back?"

"Naw, I was just going to open up anyway. If you don't mind waiting a moment..."

"Not a problem," said Severus as he swept towards the bar his black overcoat billowing behind him. The barman tracked his movements silently. Maneuvering himself onto a stool at the far end of the bar, Severus shrugged out of his coat. He turned as if to check for a coat hook, gave his wand a quick wave, sending an unlocking charm toward the front door just in case, before folding his overcoat into a small bundle and dropping it into the seat next to him.

From the corner of his eye he saw the barman relax. Strange thought Severus, perhaps the muggle was afraid of outerwear. A few minutes passed as the bartender shuffled awkwardly behind the bar rearranging bottles and drying newly washed glasses. Finally after turning on the cash register and a pink neon sign that screamed "Joe's" the man slowly walked back to Severus' end of the bar.

"So what can I get you?" the man asked.

"Scotch straight up." Severus leaned forward and rested his elbows on the bar steepling his fingers.

"Sure, anything particular?" said the man deftly reaching for a tumbler under the counter.

"Something old and smooth," said Snape.

"Gotcha, one old and smooth coming up," the man turned towards the back wall of the bar and paused. "Lapdraig okay."

"That would be fine." A moment later a glass half filled with amber liquid materialized in front of him. Severus took a small sip savoring the bitter taste of the liquid. It burned going down.

"So where are you from?" asked the bartender.

"Scotland," sneered Snape hoping to discourage further personal conversation.

"Funny you don't sound Scottish?"

"Oh," said Severus voice dripping with sarcasm.

"Well," said the bartender undaunted "know I have a couple of friends from the Highlands. You just don't sound anything like them."

"Yes, well I'm originally from England."

"That explains it." The man grabbed a towel from behind he bar and started to polish some shot glasses. "So what brings you out this way."

"I'm here to meet someone." Said Snape taking another sip.

"Right then." Said the man. Sensing the conversation was at an end he continued "I'm just going to fetch something from out back. Just give me a shout if you want anything else." The gray haired man turned, leaning heavily on his cane, he walked back towards the other end of the bar and then through the double doors that led to the kitchen.

Thank Merlin that's over with, thought Severus. What is with American bartenders? He had less asked of him the last time that he was interrogated under Veritaserum. Damn Albus. Slowly he reached into his back trouser pocket and pulled out a small brown patch the size of a postage stamp. Placing it gently in front of him, he murmured an expanding charm. In the blink of an eye it became ancient leather bound tome.

Strange book thought Severus. Albus had rushed it into his hand just minutes before he apparated out of Hogsmead. It was the first time that he had the opportunity to examine it closely. His fingers caressed the book like a new lover. The leather was soft to the touch. The gold lettering on the spine worn. Opening it carefully, he was surprised to find it filled with slanted scratchy handwriting. Simply fascinating he thought. A journal written in what appeared to be a mixture of ancient languages and filled with moving wizard sketches. Topics ran the gamut between political rants to recipes for beer. Detailed descriptions of battles vied for space with commentary on daily life.

Severus was so caught up in the book that he did not notice the bartender's return. The man's face went pale as he spied the tome. Before Severus could look up the man backed into the kitchen.

Forty-five minutes and two drinks later Severus was startled from his reading by a loud bang of a door closing. He turned his head to see a nondescript young man with short-cropped brown hair lope into the bar. The man was all arms and legs yet there was a surprising grace and control to his movement. Severus watched as he man approached the bar and sprawled into the stool next to him. As the bartender reappeared from the back room, a mischievous grin flashed across the newcomer's face. Without missing a beat the man reached over the counter and poured himself a pint.

A loud snap was heard as the bartender flicked a towel at the intruder. "Jeezus Adam, how many time have I told you not to do that."

"Sorry Joe. Thirsty, " said Adam taking a healthy swig.

"Yeah. Yeah. What ever old man." Joe grinned.

Severus glared at the pair and returned to his reading.

"So where's the fire Joe" said Adam. Joe replied with a grunt and a raised eyebrow in Severus' direction.

"Oh really. That's strange." There was a pause and then Adam continued, "No no Joe. Definitely not. You're right about that though. It could be one of mine." Severus lost interest in the conversation.

"Do you mind?" said Severus in a chilly voice as a shadow fell across the page.

"What, oh sorry." Said the young man undaunted. "Where did you get this?"

"None of your business." Spat Snape.

"Joe tells me you're from Scotland." The young man continued inching closer to the book for a better look. Severus slammed the book shut. Who was this fool anyway?

"I'm Adam," said the fool. Severus gave him his best sneer. Unfazed Adam held out his hand.

"Charmed," said Severus crossing his arms across his chest in defiance.

The young man smiled amused.

Snape gave the young upstart his best sneer hoping to make him go away. If anything the young man's smile brightened. Maybe I can hex him away, thought Severus. His hand inched towards the wand up his sleeve.

"Uh uh uh! I don't think so," Adam's youthful eyes danced with mirth. And then his face changed. In an instant the amusement was gone, in its place age and wisdom. Severus was confused. How could a man so young suddenly feel so old? As smile flitted across the stranger's face, Severus' survival instinct twinged. He braced himself for the unknown but nothing could have prepared him for the force of the blue aura that suddenly flared around Adam's body. He gripped the bar for support hanging on for dear life as the flames roared engulfing his consciousness. Even the muggle bartender flinched.

Severus sighed in relief as the stranger leashed his power. The blinding blue disappeared without a trace. Severus stared at Adam. Who in Merlin's name was this man? His power was staggering not even Dumbledore had this much magical force. His mind reeled at the implications. Suddenly Severus smiled. Oh Albus you sneaky goat, you knew he was here all the time. He straightened and let out his breath as a flicker of hope returned to his heart.