Chapter 4

The first week passed without any major incidences between anyone. The Order members had all settled into an easy routine. Dumbledore was rarely seen. With magic and the degree in which the accomplished Witches and Wizards could perform magic, most of the Order was content to stay in their refuge within the confines of the old Black house.

For the most part, Severus kept himself busy in his Potion Shed. Even though it was summer 'holiday' he still ensured that Hogwarts was stocked for Madam Pomfrey, he brewed Remus' wolfsbane and more subtly, he kept the Dark Lord's potions wishes fulfilled. From sun up to sun down, there was little reason for Snape to venture far from his Potion Shed.

Snape would occasionally join the other members for meals in the main dining area of 12 Grimauld Place. When he did sit down at long wooden dinner table, he would find himself at an end near the twins not saying a word, only an appreciative and thankful nod towards Molly for her cooking before leaving.

Snape ignored the passive aggressive insults and ill intended comments thrown in his direction by Sirius. Snape took no obvious notice to Moody's Death Eater barbs targeted at the only former Death Eater present.

Even Fred and George didn't hang out much with the rest of the order. They still had their charismatic and mischievous ways about them, but Fred and George were true professionals. They focussed on their business and put their energy and magical talents towards inventing new things for their shop. Weasley's Wizard Wheezes was a product of countless hours of hard work and an insurmountable willingness to succeed.

When the twins weren't furiously sketching, drawing and jotting down endless notes for new and exciting items for their shop they were testing or researching. They had become scholars in their own respects. They read advanced arithmancy and charms, transfiguration and defence against the dark arts text books. They understood and applied sophisticated magic.

What Fred and George found themselves studying, reading, researching and testing the most however, was potions. What they did not take for granted anymore, was how prepared they were to continue their own training in potions. Snape was probably the best professor they had ever had, Professor Snape.

Fred and George were constantly busy on their side of the room. They had set up a sort of standing work desk. They had fixed a board behind the desk to the wall where they used a sticking charm to attach their most current ideas, a magical cork board. It looked chaotic but it was truly a beautiful and organized chaos.

Parchment and note books were spread across the floor with a little path left for Snape to reach his invisible crook in the bedroom.

The first time Snape was summoned by Voldemort, or You-Know-Who, was after dinner at the beginning of the second week. Snape was laying across his bed. He was thinking about a potion he wanted to create and ultimately, perfect.

Snape felt a low burn that quickly escalated into a painful blaze emanating from the Dark Mark. The brand he shamefully wore on his forearm.

Snape used the Reducio charm and kept his Death Eater robes and mask in a size that could be hidden in his inner pocket. He grabbed his regular robe and began to make his way to the front door. He thought that it was late enough. Snape thought that the rest of the Order members would have retired to their respectful area of the headquarter.

He was hoping he could apparate more safely from the front of the house rather than risk the smaller area in the side garden. Snape didn't acknowledge the twins as he rushed out of the room. He left them staring at this back.

Snape was striding down the hall towards the kitchen when he saw Sirius coming in the opposite direction. Snape kept his focus ahead, walking with intent towards his destination. Sirius had no motivations other than to be a thorn in Snape's side.

As the two men got closer and the distance between one other shrunk, Snape began to tense. He needed to apparate and quickly. The Dark Lord was not patient nor was he understanding.

Severus could be confrontational but never without cause. He did not want to fight or curse Sirius. He did not have time. He was also acutely aware that this was the Black's house and old pure blood houses like this carried their own magic. Sirius had power under his roof.

Sirius at the last second shifted his weight from right to left and pushed his body weight through his shoulder into Snape. Snape, not totally unprepared for this, braced himself as he was crushed against a hard wall.

"Sirius, I must leave," Severus said roughly under his breath, not even bothering to make eye contact.

Sirius seemed to grow another foot, squared his shoulders and shoved Severus harder, back against the same wall.

"Well then Snivellus, you must leave? I do believe we are all to stay here…you greasy bat."

Severus could feel the Dark Mark growing angry.

Sirius grabbed the lapels of Severus' robe, pulled him from the wall only to thrust him back. Sirius' voice now boomed and echoed through the hall.

"Look at you, just a waste, useless and disgusting."

Sirius continued to hold Snape against the wall, preventing him from reaching the front doors

The sound of Sirius' angry voice reached Fred and George. They came into the hall and saw Sirius pinning Snape to the wall. They also saw what Sirius could not. Snape had his wand in his hand and could have easily cast any spell he wanted removing or hurting Sirius.

Snape needed to leave. He needed to apparate. Snape wanted to get out of there without a scene. A scene would create questions that would need answers and more attention being drawn to his absence. He was getting desperate, he needed to apparat, now.

The twins read the scene and acted accordingly. They were growing fond of Snape and their awe of his intelligence and skill was boundless. Looking from Sirius to Severus, it was not hard to decipher the antagonist in the situation.

Fred and George shared an uneasy glance at one another. Fred took a chance, "Sirius, we want to show you this new powder we've been working on. Come see!"

Sirius seemed to come out of a fog. Finally, Sirius broke his grasp on Snape, shaking his head he breathed in heavily. "Fred? Yes, what? I mean, what did you say?"

"Come on Sirius, we want to show you something.". George beckoned Sirius to follow the two young men back towards their room, he waved his hand jovially.

Snape was able to take in a full deep breath, clearing his face of all emotion. Before marching with pride which would soon to turn to bravado and control out of headquarters, Severus quickly looked at the twins making eye contact.

Fred and George, after locking eyes with their old Professor for a half- second, relaxed. They were surprised to recognize a look of gratitude in his coal-black eyes. They were more shocked when Professor Snape, Severus gave them a short nod before they saw him tuck his wand back beneath his cloak and the robe billowed after him into the night.

It was nearing 4am when Fred and George heard a small jarring of a door and short, shaking gasps. Neither Fred nor George would admit it to anyone but to Fred or George but, they had not slept for even a moment since Snape had left.

What Snape specifically did for the Order was never completely transparent. He was a spy. He met with the Death Eaters and he attended their meetings. He had frequent contact with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. The Order of the Phoenix used Snape's intel and information to make informed decisions. Barring that, what Snape did for Order was unknown.

Fred and George synchronously sat up in bed and let their legs fall over the side. They each put on a sweater and slippers. Again, they heard a trembling breath and a choked cough then a door being open

Lumos

Fred lead the way with George right behind him. They made their way to the Potion's Shed. They opened the side door.

Alohamora

The shed door was opened only a sliver with a small glow coming from inside. Fred and George full of bravado or courage, they were not sure which, pushed the door open the rest of the way.

Inside they found Severus Snape sitting on the edge of a chair doing his best to compose himself and slow down his breathing. Snape had a laceration going from his temple to just below his eye on the left side of his face, blood dripping down and a bruise forming around it. The right bottoms side of his lip was split and bleeding.

A sheen layer of sweat covered his face that seemed paler than usual and he shook. Snape's whole body was tense. He looked like he was frozen without the cold. He was in a state of nerves, and each nerve strained and stressed. His left hand clutched the arm of the chair in a death grip, white knuckled. The right hand balled in a fist, failing to stay still.

Snape raised his eyes and from behind sweat soaked hair saw two red headed boys with worried faces, two young men standing in his shed's doorway.