It was October 23, 1981. Albus Dumbledore sat in his office at Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry, adding his many worried thoughts into his growing penseive. There was a knock on the door, and Dumbledore looked up. A twinkle, unfamiliar to so many people at this time, sparkled in his eyes.
"Come in," Dumbledore said gently. A stern, black-haired woman opened the door and poked her head in.
"Albus, there is someone here to see you," she said with uncertainty in her voice. Dumbledore raised his eyebrows ever so slightly in bewilderment at the woman's tone of voice.
"Let him in," Dumbledore answered quietly.
The woman turned, and gestured for the person to come in. A man appeared inside the doorway. He was tall and young, with greasy, shoulder-length black hair, and wore a grave expression on his face.
"Why, Severus," Dumbledore said as he tried to hide his surprise. "Do come in and sit down."
Severus Snape walked slowly toward the chair. His eyes flashed around the room. There was no turning back now. He had made up his mind, and was going to do this. It was time that he paid his due to James Potter for saving his life nine years previously. Snape sat down into the chair, and looked up into his former headmaster's eyes. His hands shook as he asked himself if this man would believe him.
Dumbledore's gaze lingered on Snape for a few moments while he skimmed through his mind why this man, rumored to be a Death Eater, was sitting in his office. What was he playing at? Finally, Dumbledore spoke.
"Is there something you need?" he asked kindly. Snape moved uncomfortably in his seat. Then, he decided to speak.
"Sir, I've done something really stupid," Snape said with a shaking voice, still wondering if this was a good idea.
"And what was that, Severus?" Dumbledore said as his curiosity rose.
"I..." Snape started to say. Snape breathed deeply, and sat up straight. "I became a Death Eater." He sat still for a few seconds trying to read any sign of resentment or hatred on the elderly man's face, but saw none. Dumbledore simply stared blankly at the him, still wanting to know why, exactly, Severus was here.
"And..." Snape continued. "I have information...about an attack." Snape swallowed. It was now or never. "On the Potters."
Dumbledore now sat up in his chair and surveyed Snape intently. A moment later, he smiled widely. The twinkle in his eye shone more brightly than before.
"Very well," Dumbledore responded as his smile began to fade. "Do you have any more information, Severus?" he asked.
"Only that one of the other Death Eaters has been passing information about the Potters for almost a year now," Snape said. He could feel his throat getting tighter, and he added, "I would be willing to act as a spy...to try and make up for what I did." Snape sat still as stone, peering into Dumbledore's eyes imploringly. Dumbledore stared back for only a moment, and to Snape's great relief...Dumbledore chuckled silently to himself.
"I will gladly accept your offer, Mr. Snape. And, in order to make it official...invite you to become a member of the Order of the Phoenix," Dumbledore said, a slight note of pride in his voice. One of his students had fallen into darkness and come back to the light.
Snape stood up quickly, unbelievably relieved that Dumbledore had shown him the mercy his former master never would have - and given him a second chance, trusted him once again. Dumbledore strolled over to a portrait of a man with long, dark-blond hair, and muttered the words: "Ad infinitum."
The portrait began to glow brightly. It soon faded into a sparkling liquid...it seemed to be made out of liquid diamonds. Snape stared open-mouth at its beauty and magnificence. He touched his left elbow where he had had the Dark Mark burned into him more then 2 year ago. Why had he ever done something so stupid? The picture swirled itself into a circular orb and emitted a blood-red amulet, bound to a long, gold string. Dumbledore grabbed the amulet from the air, and turned to face Snape. Dumbledore walked slowly to Snape's side and held out his hand. Snape took the amulet from Dumbledore's hand, and put it around his neck.
"Welcome," said Dumbledore, "to the order of the Phoenix."