The Hogshead was oddly busy when the dark wizard entered the smoky tavern. A brief glance told him all the regulars were there, the wizarding world riff-raff. This was a place he genuinely felt he belonged. "What are you doing, Severus," his mind berated him." You've heard the rumors. You know you shouldn't be here with her."

"I don't care. I deserve a little pleasure for a change," he hissed out loud but no one paid any attention to him. A movement from the table in the corner drew his attention. Patrice. After all this time she was just as lovely as he remembered. She was attired in a flowing sky blue and silver robe. He smiled as he made his way through the crowd. "Still every bit the Ravenclaw I see."

"And look at you. Straight out of Slytherin colors and into the black of despair?"

"Not precisely despair, but perhaps a touch of mourning." He bent over and brushed his lips to hers. As he drew away her hand raked through his ebony hair and pulled him close once again.

"I know you can do better than that. Or have you lost your touch, Severus?" Her eyes glittered playfully as she pressed her mouth firmly to his. Her tongue flicked against his lips and he complied, allowing her probing tongue full access to the warmth of his mouth. He had forgotten how aggressive she could be or how wonderful she felt. He moaned softly as she broke the kiss and released him.

"That was much better, don't you think?"

"I don't think that would be considered appropriate behavior for school instructors and certainly not in public." He took the seat opposite from her and waved to the bartender for drinks. "Still drinking meade?"


"So the north has changed you after all."

"Not so much." She laid her hand on top of his. "And what is your poison these days?"

"Poitin, Irish moonshine. But I cut it with a little meade ... in memory." Drinks were ordered and small talk continued for sometime before Patrice made her move.

"I heard you had become a Death Eater."

"That's right."

"But now you work for Albus Dumbledore."

"I'm a Hogwarts professor. Of course I work for Dumbledore."

"That's not the context I had in mind. I am told that you have turned spy. Rumblings in the north tell that He Who Must Not Be Named is back and gaining strength. That Dumbledore is raising an army bent on his destruction. That you are a spy for both camps."

He laughed coldly as he drained his glass. "Me? A double agent? Where do you come up with these fantasies? I am a simple potions professor. Do you think Dumbledore would trust the word of a Death Eater anyway?"

"I think he would be foolish not to."

"Do you think me so ignorant that I would cross the Dark Lord? I have no death wish, my dear."

She refilled his glass and handed it to him. He took a drink and felt familiar warmth spread from his chest and through his body.

"Do you know how much I loved you as a child, Patrice? Truly know how much you still mean to me? I grieved when I heard that you were lost in an avalanche. I thought you were dead all this time and when you finally return you accuse me of being a spy? I could never betray my Lord." He unbuttoned his cuff and, raising his sleeve, exposed the Dark Mark that marred the smooth whiteness of his forearm. "I have but one master, Patrice. Who do you serve?" The veritaserum caused his speech to slur slightly but Patrice was happy with the results. Patrons of the tavern would take him as a simple drunk but she knew the real reason for his outburst.

"So you really aren't an agent of Dumbledore's?" She spoke gently as if to a child and caressed his face while gazing into the depths of his eyes.

"Of course not. Why would I form an allegiance with that old fool? The Dark Lord possesses the only true power and it has always been power that I crave, power ...and you."

"Ah, well I can't offer power but I have rented a small room above the bar for a few days. Would you care to join me?" She stood up and offered him her hand.

He looked at her outstretched hand then into her gentle face. Turning away he muttered, "I haven't finished my drink," clinging to the glass like a drowning man to a life rope.

"I think you've had enough."

"NO," he snarled like a madden animal.

"Fine. Well I'm heading up. I'm in room two when you have finished your drink, if you are interested." She kissed his pale cheek and left, going through a door to the left of the bar.

He stared into his glass, swirled the contents around, and then with a defeated sigh poured the veritaserum laced alcohol onto the dusty floor. Was there no one he could trust? There were times he even doubted Dumbledore even though the great wizard had never given him a reason to doubt. He thought he knew Patrice, loved her. Now he wondered if she had ever really loved him? Maybe the kindness she had shown him in his youth was just another deception. She had drawn him in, stolen his youth, and stolen his innocence. With a loud pop the tumbler crushed in his hand.

"You alright there," the barkeep called to him.

"Fine. Sorry about that."

"No trouble." The bartender flicked his wrist and the glass vanished to be replaced with a surprising clean one. With a snap, a bar rag appeared on the table near the glass. "Thought you could use that for your hand. Guess you don't know your own strength."

"I guess I don't." Severus wrapped the dirty towel around his hand to stop the flow of blood then poured himself another glass of poitin. The clear liquid burned his throat but it was clean and pure and that was something that he needed right now. He needed the assurance that purity had not vanished from this world. His mind wandered to his apprentice. Would she betray him as well? No, he was the one that was betraying her. His hatred and anger turned inward. Was he doing to this young woman what Patrice had done to him long ago? He couldn't think on this right now. He had to believe that he was doing what was right with Jessica, something to benefit the greater good. He drained the glass feeling the veritaserum weakening in his system. Patrice should have known that it wouldn't work on him. All his years brewing the potion in the service of his master had allowed him to build up an extremely high tolerance for the truth serum. It's wasn't well made at any rate. Patrice was poor at brewing potions but she had other assets to her credit.

She had invited him to her room. Far be it for Severus Snape to disappoint his favorite professor. She was aggressive in bed and he was looking for a battle at this moment. He tried to hide his anger but it still shown through his eyes. Grabbing the bottle of alcohol he headed up the stairs to exact a payment that was long over due from the woman that had stolen his soul.

In the morning, Patrice made her way carefully down the rickety stairs. Severus had left in the middle of the night but she was still very much aware of his stay. Her jaw was bruised, her lip split, and her right eye swollen. Every part of her body hurt. When he was seventeen she had taught him about sex and how to play rough but it seemed that he had educated himself well beyond her tutelage. She winced as her blouse brushed the deep scratches he had left along her back, but she couldn't let the pain slow her down as she hurried along to a very important meeting. A sad smile crossed her face. At least she could report to her master that Severus was indeed one of them. The Dark Lord had heard the traitorous rumors and had sent her to seek the truth. She was happy that he had pasted the test. Severus Snape was still very much a warrior of the dark.