Phillip Farrow wasn't sure of where he was going or what he was doing. Raindrops slowly soaked his hair and clothing as he wandered aimlessly, feeling alone and more than a little morose.

Few noticed the pale, brooding chemistry professor but the ones who did slid quickly out of his path, skirting the nearly physical presence of his mood.

Why hadn't he just stayed at home? There was nothing for him in the street. The spring term was over and he was at a loss. He should be starting to prepare for the next fall's crop of students but his heart wasn't in it at the moment. He had nowhere to go and no one to visit. He'd managed to do nothing but get himself soaked and push his mood to new lows. He paused to brush back a lock of raven hair that was clinging damply to his cheek and jaw.

As Phillip moved forward through the bleak afternoon shadows, he had no awareness of the man named Severus.

Severus Snape had no patience for the barkeep and as his drink was smacked onto the burnished wood of the bar, his displeasure with the hapless man's surly attitude was evident in his tightly pressed lips and stiff posture. Muttering a barely discernable diatribe about poor service, he paid for his drink, flinging the coins upon the bar and turning with a weary sigh to peruse the room. What a wreck of humanity it was. Several groups of wizards and witches were lounging about the bar or sitting huddled in dark corners, each group playing out its own small drama.

Severus had intended to sit and compose his class outline for the coming term at Hogwart's but so sickened was he by the various petty vignettes playing out before him that he quickly changed his mind. Tossing back the brandy in his glass and impatiently running long, elegant fingers through his unruly shock of inky-black hair, he snorted, "Simpletons!" Again, the elegant white hands twitched, smoothing the staid front of his frock coat, his fingertips brushing the long row of buttons. He straightened, gave a last derisive sneer and slipped smoothly into the shadows on his way to Daigon Alley.

Thirst was beginning to gnaw at Phillip and though he had no love for bars and public rooms he felt compelled to enter the humble looking establishment. The Leaky Cauldron, it was called and its crumbling fa├žade gave witness to its long-standing presence.

His teeth worried the full curve of his lower lip for only a second. No one would ever have noticed the small nervous slip. Cracks in the polished wall of his psyche seldom appeared and when they did, they were quickly hidden behind flashing eyes and a quick sneer. He'd learned a long time ago that to show weakness was to herald the coming of your own downfall.

Impatiently, his strong white hands brushed the fine mist of rain from his shoulders. Taking a breath and schooling his features into what he hoped was an unreadable mask, he pulled open the door and entered quickly.

In the gloom, he did not see the dark figure of the cloaked man ducking impatiently out the back door. So assaulted were his senses that he could do little more than gape, his carefully composed countenance slipping quickly into something more like a gawk.

The dark room was filled with a haze of smoke and men and women in all manner of costume, ranging from the mundane to the fantastical, were scattered about. His nostrils twitched as an odd melange of spicy scents curled past his nose and suddenly he remembered himself. Quickly rearranging his features into their usual icy stillness he stepped up to the bar. On an impulse he decided to forego the water he'd been craving and instead chose to have something a bit stronger to bolster his quickly flagging confidence.

As the barkeep turned to face him, his brows shot up and his face flushed an alarming shade of indigo. "Back to 'ave another go at me, eh Professor? What kinda game are ye playin' now? Yer a strange one and there's no mistakin' that! I suppose that you'll be wantin' a brandy?"

Phillip could only nod in shock at the rough-hewn man and as his drink was slapped onto the bar he muttered a confused thank you.

"Oh fine, and now yer thankin' me, are ya? Would ya like me ta add this to yer tab or will you be wantin' to fling more money at me?"

"Ummm, my tab will be fine." He was gradually pulling his features back into some semblance of calm. Knitting his brow slightly and snapping his hand out in a dismissive gesture he quickly told the man off. "Yes, my tab will do nicely and I'll thank you not to pester me. Just leave me to my drink."

"Same ol' Professor, eh? I thought you'd gone off your rocker when I saw that get-up yer sportin," he gestured wildly at Phillip's very presentable black slacks and white button-down shirt.

"Sir, I'll thank you not to criticize my choice of clothing and I'll also thank you to mind your own business!"

Who did this yahoo think that he was to insult him in that manner and for that matter how did he seem to know Phillip?

He turned, drink in hand, to take in once again the several odd groups assembled. There was a trio of older women who called to mind the three witches of Shakespeare; they cackled and chattered and seemed to notice him not at all. His eyes continued to drift as he sipped at his brandy. The smooth, liquid fire was steadily calming his ragged nerves.

Next his eyes wandered to a mixed group of younger men and women. The lot of them were all dressed in matching robes that looked a great deal like some sort of uniform and they were excitedly talking about a sporting event that they'd all just attended. Nothing odd there. He did not notice the pile of brooms at their feet nor the large box jittering madly behind the table or he might have listened a bit more intently to their conversation.

He was just beginning to feel warm and dry when he was nearly bowled over. Out of the blue a huge bear of a man had swooped down over him and was pounding him relentlessly on the back. The man's bushy face was abruptly thrust into his own and the huge grin that split that countenance was a sight to behold. He was sputtering and coughing from the repeated pummeling and had not been able to even croak a protest.

"Professor! Jus' the man I've been lookin' for! Dumbledore is lookin' for you, Sir. He said that he'll be needin' to talk to you tonigh' and fer you ta drop by his office at your convenience. Oh! And he said to tell ya that the new password is Kirsche Torte. Well then, I have some business in Knockturn Alley so I'll be leavin' you to yer, errr, plans." He roughly elbowed Phillip in the ribs all the while rolling his eyes and giving a broad wink. All of this abuse only managed to pull a grimace and a grunt of dismayed confusion from Phillip. "I knew you mus' be up to some mischief for Albus when I saw you in that muggle outfit there. You take care, Sir and don't be getting' yourself into too much trouble."

With a last bone-rattling pound on Phillip's back he turned and with great strides was off. It really was becoming rather disconcerting to be recognized by people that he did not know. And who the hell was Dumbledore?! He made a quick decision and stood abruptly. In one gulp he downed his remaining brandy and without thinking ran his slender fingers back through his hair. He quickly brushed the wrinkles from his pants and turned to follow the large man towards the back of the room.

Hagrid was humming to himself as he galloped along and was about to enter Diagon Alley, when abruptly, Severus Snape quickly exited and brushed by him without a glance. The large man's face crumbled in confusion as he turned to the black frock coat clad man, sputtering, "how did.....where are you.....Professor.....wait!!!"

Severus, finished with his business and returning to The Leaky Cauldron for a final drink, turned in agitation towards Hagrid, still moving forward at a good clip, "Yes Hagrid! What IS it Hagrid?" He saw the large man's bushy brow shoot up and knew the reason for it as he smacked headlong into someone.

"Really now! Watch where you are going!," he pulled his eyes away from the giant man and turned to snap at the poor soul that he'd nearly run down. His mouth dropped open in shock and Hagrid's did the same at seeing Professor Severus Snape at a loss for words. Severus was shocked for he had just run into....himself?

There was no denying that this man looked to be his twin, to spite his odd choice of clothing. They were of a height and regardless of the stranger's lack of a bulky robe or cloak they appeared to be of the same rangy build. His dark mane of hair fell carelessly about the pallid angles of his face, framing his knitted brow and deep set dark eyes, both of which were boring into those of Severus. His rather large, but commanding, nose angled up as he sneered in mistrust, his full lips twisting into a mockery of a greeting smile. His nostrils flared slightly as he looked at Severus, rather like a large pile of dragon excrement, and for a second Severus wondered if this was what it felt like to be a student under the harsh glare of a certain potion's master.

Severus stilled himself and said with aplomb, "And who might you be, Sir?" He cocked a single dark brow, letting it mirror his question.