1. The Death Eater

Severus Snape appeared in Hogsmeade in the dead of night with a crack loud enough to trigger the alarm spell, which subsequently woke everyone on the street. "Oi!" shouted a masked Death Eater, hurtling around a corner with his wand drawn. "It's past curfew! What are you doing out of your house?"

"Relax, Travers," Snape said coolly, holding up his hands in surrender. "It's me."

"Snape," Travers said, lowering his wand. "Didn't expect to see you."

"Clearly."

"Is it true what they're saying?" Travers asked in hushed tones. "About, you know . . . is he really gone?"

Snape nodded shortly. "He's gone."

Travers cursed. "For good? He ain't coming back this time?"

"So it would appear."

"Shit," Travers said, pulling off his mask and dropping it in the street. "It's over, then." A wave of panic hit him, and he seized Snape by the front of his robes. "I can't go back to Azkaban!"

"Calm yourself," Snape drawled, pulling away from Travers' grip. "You must have known this could happen again. You must have some sort of plan."

"Plan?" Travers repeated, eyes wide. "I never had a plan! Obviously I never had a plan, or I wouldn't have been caught the last time, would I?"

"Well, make one," Snape said uninterestedly. "Flee the country, perhaps. Take a nice vacation. You've earned it, I'm sure."

"I have," Travers muttered. Snape offered a tight smile and started to walk away. "Oi! Snape!"

He stopped, but didn't look back.

"What do I do if they catch me? D'you think I should - you know, name names?"

A slow smirk spread over Snape's face. "If they catch you, I suggest you focus hard on every happy memory you've ever had. Because you won't be keeping them for long."

He walked briskly down the cobblestone street, ignoring Travers' shouts after him, keeping his eyes fixed on the large silhouette of the castle in the distance.