Author's Notes: Thank you to Flavored Sugar for the Beta review.
A Moment of Sin
A man dressed entirely in black swept down the main road of Hogsmeade, his robes flaring behind him. Sunset was drawing near and the reputable shops in the fashionable part of town were closing up for the night. He looked neither right nor left, clearly not interested in either the fashionable nor reputable part of town.
The Shrieking Shack was deserted; the portly owner of the sweet's store was long gone, his windows dark. They closed an hour earlier than most, having a very young clientele. A teenager in Zonko's Joke Shop was weighing out Galleons and Knuts, spilling them in his obvious hurry to get out and enjoy his Saturday night. It was a full moon tonight, always a wild time. Even if you weren't a werewolf.
Open for another hour along the main avenue could be found a variety of tourist shops that had all the usual kitschy baubles. There were a few window shoppers who strolled, killing time before the bars opened. Rosmerta's pub was packed as usual, but these were looking for a wilder Wizarding scene. They ignored the man as he stalked by, as much he ignored them.
At the end of this avenue of shops the popular new Quidditch store was still open and filled with Hogsmeade's family daytime crowd. There you could buy robes and even underwear imprinted with your favorite Quidditch team logos, posters with popular players swooping in and out, and T-shirts that displayed your teams' current standings. The location of the shop was unfortunately cursed, and no store had lasted there more than a year.
The man snorted and he gave this store two months, tops. He knew a thing or two about curses (more than most people), having used quite a few of them in his time, both the mundane swear words and more elaborate, long-lasting hexes. The curse on that spot was formidable.
A pink glow settled on the avenue as the sun fell beyond the horizon, and the man turned briskly around a sharp corner into a black alley littered with refuse. He paused there, drew his wand, and cast several powerful spells that lit the alley on both sides in a sparkle of bright color. It would have drawn quite a lot of attention, even in Hogsmeade, except for the hour, and the fact that this alley had no overlooking windows.
An entirely different man exited from the other end of the alley. Or so it seemed.
He was now shorter and dressed in brown. His greasy longish black hair had become cropped brown curls, his face lightly tanned rather than sallow. The prominent beakish nose was replaced by something indistinguishable from anyone else's. He looked suddenly as ordinary as the brown November leaves that rustled and crunched under his feet.
Professor Severus Snape headed for the bars in Hogsmeade's wildest district.
Along narrow, dirty streets, rude music was already thumping loud enough to annoy the neighbors. The magical street lamps were just starting to flicker and twinkle like stars.
Persons of dubious and quite negotiable virtue were out plying their various trades, while clusters of young people flocked nervously, trying to look cool or dangerous, though only succeeding in looking restless and confused. It was still too early for them to be drunk and genuinely dangerous to themselves.
"Wolfsbane! Silver! It's a full moon tonight, folks. Don't get caught without!"
"Sweetheart, where are you going so fast?" A woman wearing far too little for the chill clutched at his elbow. Snape irritably yanked his arm away in disgust. No one who knew him would have mistaken who he was after that gesture or the sneer, brown hair or not. He stalked on.
"Hey, potions, Mister? Only the best! Add a little kick to your night, eh?"
The man ignored him as thoroughly has he had ignored the shoppers earlier and made directly for the 'Werewolves' Den' with the urgent air of one keeping an appointment. The 'Den,' as it was known by its questionably young clientele (not much older than the sweetshop), featured edgy current music, watered drinks and an owner who asked few questions, not at all caring what happened in his club so long as the money rolled in.
The Werewolves' Den catered almost entirely to men. As you were sure to note once your eyes adjusted to the gloom, black walls and shifting mobile paint, there wasn't a woman in there. Not unless you counted the ladies at the bar, who were all rather tall, had rough low voices and impossibly large décolletage's that they flaunted obscenely. Clearly for sale. The Den was already filling up for the evening. A cluster of young men eyed the newcomer with nervous predatory interest; they were also for sale, of course. They drew the man's eye but he dismissed them after a quick once over. They weren't what he was looking for. He scanned the room from the doorway and appeared to be searching for someone. More people tried to come in behind him, so he reluctantly entered the room.
The pulsing music was a physical force that pressed from all sides, Sonorus charms were used liberally to an intense effect. The man winced at the music that was not at all to his taste, sidled his way between the side-long glances of young men to the bar, and ordered a drink. He hated this place. He took a sip of his watered drink, made a face, and hated it more.
Like the man, most everyone in the room wore Glamours to disguise their identities. You could tell by the slight shimmer as they moved. Glamours could never quite keep up with normal motion. It was quite an effect on the dance floor. Blurry, half-naked young wizards danced frantically. But like any kind of clothing, Glamours revealed a lot about their owners.
The bartender made a study of Glamours, Make-Up or Costumes as people called them, as he wiped out his beer steins. The surly man had caught his eye immediately as someone whose conspicuous ordinariness shouted 'don't look at me!' He was looking for anonymity, and more than likely was here for the boys. Usually, people wore Make-Up that was lovely in the extreme.
Here and there you found a flashily dressed young man, rich and tasteless. They were more than likely underage. And obviously not truly wealthy or they would fake it better.
Another sort was up on the current trends in Costumes, a sort of self-mocking fashion. Purple eyes and a rather vampiric look seemed to be the current rage. Though red feather masks and bird-like faces were making a comeback.
That lad crossing the dance floor was not a 'regular' among the boys who worked this club, but with the filmy shirt and rippled nearly bare chest, it was clear what he was selling. So long as the house got their cut, 'visitors' (as freelancers were called here) were allowed.
Heavy Glamours almost always indicated someone who was going to pay for their night's company. Glamours broke once touch became too intimate, so if you were looking for 'free love' you had best be as advertised. But that didn't matter if you bought it.
The 'inconspicuous' man clearly knew enough about fine alcohol to not appreciate his drink, so the bartender took pity on him and watered his next a little less than allowed. From the muttered thank you, the bartender could tell he had also disguised his voice. Complete paranoia. Must not be far from home. He watched the man curiously. His Make-Up wasn't even handsome in an ordinary way. That was confidence. He was either very good-looking underneath the Glamour, or knew exactly who he was meeting and didn't feel a need to impress him. It would be a 'him' here. The bartender kept a patient eye on this mystery. You didn't become a bartender without being interested in people.
The bartender's curiosity was rewarded for its patience as a group of the regulars trouped in, laughing and talking. A blond boy with a delicate pointed face, who's Make-Up looked twenty-five or so (though everyone knew he was far younger), split off from his friends with a wave and walked sinuously towards the man at the bar. Working him for sure. Ah. Mr. Ordinary had taste.
Severus Snape had done his homework, he'd made discreet inquiries through the proper channels to find exactly what he was looking for. If you bought off the street, well, Caveat Emptor as they say: let the buyer beware. Once you were bound by a magical contract - more a set of timed, mutually assured hexes if either party didn't follow through rather than anything the Ministry upheld - what you found in your bed without the Glamour could be... unfortunate.
"Oh, he's young all right," the fat man had laughed, earlier that week. He sagged a little over the edges of the park bench in Hogsmeade where they met. He was a friend of a friend of a friend, down an endless chain of command that lead to this crude person, someone Severus would never call an acquaintance, let alone friend. Amazing he could ever be even remotely connected to this sweaty animal.
Severus was not interested in children. His skin crawled at the very idea.
"How young?" Severus asked softly, in that dangerous voice that raised the hair on the backs of peoples' necks. It was meant to.
But fatso either had no sense of self-preservation or he was very confident he was protected. Probably the latter.
"Oh, don't worry! Don't worry at all! He's no child. Age of consent or above, just like you said. He's a specialist in all kinds of custom Glamours too, and young enough pull it off. None of these sad old fucks that throw on a Costume and can't pull it off, you know, up close and personal. Heh, if you know what I mean. Kid's a student, too, or so his regulars tell me."
Student? Oh sure. Severus didn't buy that for a moment. He knew how salable that lie was, the ever-popular 'student' mystique. No one who could afford a good Wizarding school would be plying this trade. Severus was fast losing interest.
"How much?" Severus asked, just to shoot the idea down permanently.
"Oh, eh, yeah... I just screen for the lad. For a commission. He - he does his own negotiating. In person," the fat man was clearly uncomfortable with the arrangement. Afraid that not naming the price right off would lose the customer.
Severus estimation of the boy went up. The smart ones handled their own business and hired their help. It was hard to find youth, beauty and brains. He was beginning to think his friends hadn't let him down after all.
A few discreet spells of a Dark and rather illegal nature ascertained that the fat man was actually telling the truth about the young man's looks and age, but didn't believe the 'student' story either. Yes. Thought not. Not that the 'student' thing did anything for Severus, being surrounded by them every day as he was. Severus released the man from the Spell and got the location where he would meet the young man. The boy insisted on a public place (of course), and also that he set the location. Another mark of a professional. Willing to lose a sack of Galleons indicated a sizable clientele.
But his heart sank at the name of the trendy club in Hogsmeade. The Werewolves' Den. Not his style.
The fat man had staggered away, bumped into a tree, bounced off, and had begun wandering back to Hogsmeade. Well, actually he was going the wrong direction for Hogsmeade. Severus didn't think there was anything in that direction. Perhaps a swamp. The man was going to be a little dizzy after an Anti-Deception Spell that strong.
Severus didn't feel an iota of remorse. He was under the impression that if he had been into children, this man could and would have provided them. As it was, he was letting the bastard off far too easy.
So Severus was here. And he found himself drinking over-watered Scotch in a club where it was too loud to think. How was he supposed to hold a conversation in this? He was certain this was a bad idea overall and considered leaving. The rude sign over the bar said: 'No Hexing! No kidding! No second chances!' The only thing this place had to say for itself was the admittedly attractive men dancing in their shirtsleeves or shirtless. Now that you didn't see every day.
Then a young blond Adonis, tastefully dressed thank goodness, detached himself from a chattering group of men and settled on the stool beside Severus. It was Glamour, Make-Up of course, but the Glamour chosen said a lot. Well. Here goes.
"Hi. I'm Daedalus. What's your name?" the young man asked. His name of course was not Daedalus but it was the code to identify who he was. One benefit of the loud music was that they had to lean close to together to talk. 'Daedalus' breath was sweet and soft in his ear. The voice was undisguised and familiar. Had Severus slept with this man before? No, he was too young.
"Well that's for you to find out, isn't it?" Severus answered. It was not what he was supposed to say, but he couldn't resist needling the man after all the annoying music. The young man's face fell, an expression that told Severus he was certainly younger than his Glamour.
"I'm Artemis," Severus leaned over and added after a moment. And screw the boy for giving him that feminine name.
"What're you drinking?" The blond eyelashes fluttered near his cheek.
Severus took the hint and bought the young man a drink. Another mark of a pro. If this conversation didn't lead to business, he at least got a drink out of it. Very Slytherin. Severus approved.
After a minute or two of sipping their drinks, 'Daedalus' leaned over and asked, "Like to go somewhere we can talk?" Severus merely nodded. Once. Cautiously.
'Daedalus' crossed to a series of booths along the far wall Severus hadn't noticed before. They had deep high-backed seats upholstered in leather, very private. They were all taken, but one group got up at word from him and a backward glance at the bartender. They didn't seem upset, just mildly disappointed. No threats then. It appeared 'Daedalus' had a little arrangement with the management. That explained his insistence they meet at the Den. Severus motioned politely for 'Daedalus' to sit first. Then once they settled in, 'Daedalus' set a Sixth year Silencing Charm around the booth, quite complex. The outside sound was dimmed, but still present. However all sound they made would be incomprehensible to those outside the booth.
Severus blinked. It appeared the boy was a student after all. And the only school nearby was Hogwarts. Though it was possible he was simply older than his Anti-Deception Spell had detected. These things weren't infallible. The Anti-Deception Spell was only as good as the information the fat man thought he knew. The young man could have lied convincingly, which far more likely.
"So what brings you here?" A very discreet question, asking Severus' preferences in a way that wasn't too incriminating, that could only result in legal trouble under Veritaserum, (not used for this level of 'crime.') He had read Severus' Glamour well, his desire to be... careful. Intelligence was very appealing. Severus made himself take a breath. Oh, it had been a while. And a certain student of his was driving him mad. Slow down, Severus.... Intelligence was sexy, but it was also dangerous. Which in itself had its thrill. Severus gave up any idea of leaving even if he was a goblin under that Glamour.
"I'm looking for something more than the usual." That meant money. "For a little longer than usual." Still more money. The boy's interest was piqued, but he was still cautious. Good. That meant he would be careful with Severus' business.
"For a lifetime?" the boy laughed, his blond eyebrows raised in a manner that was disconcertingly like young Malfoy.
"Only if a lifetime is lived in a night." All night, kid. No thirty-minute blowjob. Though I dare say you're beyond those quick pick-me-ups, aren't you? Severus sneered. "If I were to believe your friends, one night in your arms is a lifetime."
To his credit the boy didn't brag or try to overtly sell his charms, he simply looked calmly at his hands. They were elegant, soft and long-fingered, probably his real hands; Glamours were hard to cast on hands, they moved too much. So there was a chance then he was as good as they said. At least he understood they were past salesmanship into negotiations. Severus wondered what those fingers would taste like, and visualized what it would be like to nibble up those smooth arms. Severus shook himself. He badly needed to get laid, and soon. Someone bumped into their booth, and the Silencing Charm wavered in a sudden blare of noise. The crowd was becoming more raucous. It was certainly a crowd now, not merely a full bar. The boy replaced the Charm.
"Can't we go somewhere else?" Severus snapped.
"I like this song," the young man said gently, looking up from his drink which was nearly gone. A no, without saying no. Very polite. Not anything like Draco Malfoy.
"What you suggest... is expensive. The room service alone..." the young man began.
"Will be taken care of, I assure you." Yes, you'll get dinner. And breakfast in the morning. I do know the niceties at your level, thank-you-very-much. "And I am aware of the going rates." So don't you dare try to cheat me.
The young man sipped his drink, considering. The bartender glanced in their direction, Severus noted. Severus was always aware of his surroundings and didn't like places like this, where there was too much to keep an eye on. The young man had picked a very handsome Glamour. Interesting attention to detail, that showed best at close quarters. Delicately carved cheek, refined mouth. But brown eyes. Nice touch. Unusual, soft. Those eyes sparkled with very real intelligence, humour, and if it could be believed of someone in his 'Profession', warmth. None of which could be faked by any Glamour.
"So. Were you looking for something, or... someone... in particular?" 'Daedalus' asked. That was acceptance. Now we get to terms.
"Someone, actually." Severus said carefully. He stirred the ice in his drink. Too much ice, in addition to watered drinks. He hated this place, and how public it was despite the Silencing Charm. This part of his request was no little bit embarrassing. Not that the young whore across the table hadn't heard it all by now, he was sure.
The young man gave him a sideways smile. Lovely smile. "I'll wager you ten Galleons I can guess who."
You mean tacked onto the price? All right. I'm game. Just how smart are you? Severus raised an eyebrow.
The young man pulled from his pocket a pair of owlish Muggle glasses. Severus nearly laughed. Or choked. They were a perfect copy of the ones Severus saw every day, slipping down a handsome, inquisitive face with burning green eyes. Someone who was decidedly out of reach, for a hundred reasons. Who stood too close in the private tutoring, ignored all rules and bid fair to drive Severus out of his mind.
"Yes," Severus answered, once he could breathe again. He would handle their classes better once he got this out of system. Harry didn't need a Dark Arts tutor who hadn't slept with a man in, god, he wasn't going to admit how long. When had Harry grown in his eyes? When his teacher learned more about his sex life than anyone should know? He'd never figured Harry to be interested in men, until....
Severus picked up the glasses. "Where did you get them? They're real."
His hands stroked along the frame, tracing the curve of the rim softly. They were perfect.
"In a Muggle shop. It took me a long time to find an identical copy: he's about ten years behind Muggle fashion, so they're very hard to get."
Severus gave him a questioning look. Why go through such trouble?
"I do a booming business. Harry Potter is very popular," the young man explained. 'Daedulus' he called himself. The back of Severus' mind was working on every clue to this man's identity.
Severus winced. Popular. He very much doubted even Potter's love of fame would extend to this. He was a little ashamed to be a participant in this newly discovered bizarre subculture. His tablemate misread the wince.
"It's all first class," the young man assured him. "My Glamours don't break until very late, when it hardly matters."
Of course, it did matter. It wouldn't be Harry's voice. It wouldn't be Harry. It wasn't the same, especially when the real thing was so close. But he would have to accept a substitute.
"It is all rather torrid, don't you think?" Severus stroked his lower lip and gazed at the young man appraisingly. I'm not spending the night with someone who thinks I'm pathetic. Even if I am.
The young man was philosophical. "Not really. It's a common enough emotional need, to wish to possess something that is in real life unattainable; one I don't mind fulfilling."
A Ravenclaw! Their complicated self-justifications were infamous and that one was a prime example! He was not a prostitute masquerading as Harry Potter for the benefit of the lecherous masses. Oh no. No, no, no. He was fulfilling a 'common emotional need.' A Gryffindor would be more honest, and embarrassed; a Slytherin wouldn't bother with the justifications; and a Hufflepuff wouldn't be so arrogantly superior about it. Common, indeed.
Severus was insulted. He refused to accept the evidence of the glasses as to just how common his desires were. They didn't want the same as he. He didn't want - or even like - the 'Hero of the Wizarding World' from the cover of Witch Weekly. He knew Harry. He wanted the young man who chewed his lip when he was thinking, and had terrible handwriting. Who could read a warning glance from Severus from across the room and send an answer with a look that was so clear it was virtually telepathic. Who stood too close when they were alone. Who couldn't possibly be interested in his teacher. It wasn't possible. An attractive young man who was deeply involved in a foolish one-sided infatuation with his best friend. Oh god, he tried to warn Harry about that. Learn from my mistakes at least. Don't become a Death Eater. And don't sleep with your best friend.
Whether this was a current Ravenclaw or a former, they were all insufferable. Severus excused himself to replenish their drinks.
As he stepped clear of the Silencing Charm, Severus was taken aback by the sudden raucous noise of the club. He had forgotten that. He had grown pleasantly used to their little corner of peace. It took Severus a moment to reorient himself towards the bar. Young men brushed by him, seemingly immune to the horrors of their own 'music.' The place was packed with young bodies now, more blurry than ever before. There didn't seem to be enough room for anyone to dance, but they seemed to manage. He fought his way to the bar. As he waited for his refills, he looked back at the elfin face of his Ravenclaw, who was studying Severus cautiously. Probably aware this was the make-or-break moment. He was too canny not to know. He was lovely, wasn't he? And polite. Quite refined. Despite his arrogance. Severus reminded himself it had been very difficult to find someone to fit his exacting requirements.
A man brushed up against Severus at the bar and Severus felt a stranger's hand slide over a very inappropriate area. Severus snarled. Damn him! Severus ignored the no hexing policy and sent the man a quick little surprise that wouldn't be noticed till later. As usual in such places, Dark Magic went undetected by the management.
As he looked up, lovely soft brown eyes were watching Severus with shock. So 'Daedalus' had seen the hex, had he? A look passed between the young man and the bartender, and 'Daedalus' shook his head, hardly taking his eyes off Severus for a moment. What was that about?
Severus returned to the table feeling a little better however. He straightened his shoulders. Now if only he could hex the music... and kiss this boy or more, before the night was through. Severus was to the point of biting nails, or taking a piece out of this table. He took another drink to try to calm himself. He stared at the boy hungrily across the table. Never mind the Harry Potter fantasy, I want you. Now.
But Severus could get that anywhere, and he wasn't going to let a moment's impulse ruin his careful work. As tempting as that impulse might be. The young man for his part looked a little wide-eyed still and stared as if he'd seen the ghost of someone he didn't know was dead. You'd think he'd never witnessed a hex before.
'Daedalus' swallowed and recovered himself fairly well. "I, uh, do a fair approximation of Harry Potter..."
"I doubt I'll need your acting abilities," Severus growled.
'Daedalus' seemed to be thinking very, very quickly. He licked his lips. And he looked wonderful when he licked his lips; the delicate pink tongue would be... concentrate, Severus.
"I can do something special for you. I have done it before." Now where had Severus heard that voice? He mentally cursed his memory, which was not as good as it used to be. Though it was still better than ninety percent of the people in this world.
"How special?" How much? And why would I be interested?
Severus blinked. It would be nearly the same. It would be Harry's body in his arms for all intents and purposes. It would be his voice. He would smell the same. Even certain parts of his anatomy would be... Oh, what a terrible thing to do to someone. Severus smiled.
It was extremely illegal. Enough high-ranking Ministry officials and celebrities had been copied in this manner to make the penalties steep. Fines. Jail time if it involved 'Besmirching the Repute of a Wizard.' But still it went on. Of course it did. Such copies were found tied to beds in all kinds scandalous situations. It was a common enough occurrence that whenever a real scandal broke you could count on said official crying 'Polyjuice.'
"But I don't do revenge stuff, or anything ugly. Strictly sex," the young man said, looking anxious.
"Of course," Severus said. He had no interest in anything else. Why would the boy suddenly think he'd want revenge or something? He thought he'd made his request clear.
How does he know I can easily get the key ingredient? Or maybe he can. If the latter, then that would mean he is a student. Dammit!
"You can prepare the Polyjuice yourself if you like. I've no doubt of you on that score. Or if you don't want to wait the month for your own, I know a Ready Made Polyjuice in Knockturn Alley that's reputable."
"Do you often take strange Potions?" Severus was suddenly alarmed for this Ravenclaw. That was dangerous. The boy shrugged, his handsome face untroubled. Not good, not good at all.
"I did it for a woman who wanted to 'get to know' her husband before their wedding night. I don't usually do it, no. But I'll make a special exception for you."
Sales pitch. You're special. I'll only do this for you. Bollocks. Severus crossed his arms and glared. It wasn't as effective with his disguise. Genial hazel eyes just weren't intimidating.
"Don't worry about the main ingredient," the boy continued, "a few Hogwarts students have a - uh - a little business going."
Oh. This was making a bit more sense. Severus was relieved. He was going to have to take a look at his Slytherins' current crop of 'side ventures.' Selling bits of Harry Potter was not a problem so long as they knew what it was being used for, or else they could be party to a felony. Such as the one Severus was about to commit. Hm. Best to cut this off at the source and tell Harry about keeping his comb in bleach and other such Wizarding precautions. Doubtless his Muggle relations, like most Muggles, knew nothing of such essentials.
"How much?" Severus asked finally.
He nearly whistled at the figure the young Ravenclaw named. My. Evidently the boy was certain he had the spare change. Which he did. Severus covered his surprise with a sip of his drink. It was stronger this time. He glanced at the bartender who was keeping an eye on them. Doubtless the young Ravenclaw had bodyguards here as well.
"Well, it's far too much trouble to go through for less than a full weekend," the young man said nonchalantly.
A chance to have Harry Potter, almost the real Harry....
Severus shook his head. "No. I have to work on weekends. One day only."
"Eighteen. I'm not going to pay you to sleep."
"But I do get to sleep?" The blond eyebrow quirked again. The gesture was so much like Draco Malfoy.
"I won't kick you out. Remember? Room service. I'm civilized." That meant breakfast the next morning.
There were certain niceties at this level of the boy's business though not everyone knew it, true. Part of the illusion was that you both pretended you were on a real date, only of course you got whatever you wanted. No coarse intrusive reminders that this was bought. The money was transferred discreetly through Gringott's to a, ahem, 'charity.' And if you took him on your arm to a Wizard's ball and told everyone he was the Viceroy of Lithuania, he had best brush up on his Russian.
Severus stretched out his hand, and the young man took it. The Ravenclaw's Glamour did not cover his hands, and Severus realized suddenly there was no Glamour on his eyes either. That warm brown was his real color. He recognized those eyes, and the last piece of the puzzle fell into place. He knew the voice that went with those eyes.
Seventh year. Ravenclaw. Last class, every Wednesday.
This attractive blond of course was not a blond at all. He really had dark hair and a cheeky smile. He flew for the Ravenclaw Quidditch team. He turned in careful work, had the rare legible handwriting, and asked few questions in class. He talked a blue streak, in class, mostly about Quidditch and served his fair share of detention for his chatter. He had written a memorably insulting poem in his fifth year about his Potions Professor, in a drab iambic pentameter. Severus had intercepted, graded and given it back with his literary comments: 'Pedantic meter, awkward rhymes. Imagery trite and uninspired.'
The Ravenclaw had his wand held between the tips of his forefingers for the contract. They were ignored by the rest of the club. Seeing them dance wildly, but muted by the Silencing Charm was particularly strange. Severus pulled out his own wand, put it between his fingers and leaned over it to his young student.
"So what brings you here, Mr. Terry Boot?" Severus said, ever so softy.
The sharp intake of breath looked very pretty on the blond. The wand slipped a little. Severus realized now the Glamour was based on Draco Malfoy, with many subtle changes of coloring, shape of the face.... No wonder he had been reminded of Malfoy. Must be highly salable. It certainly worked on him. But the gestures, now that Severus recognized him, were unmistakably Terry's.
"Same thing as you, Professor."
Severus managed to keep his surprise - no, his complete and utter shock - to a single blink. Practice as a spy was good for many things.
Terry continued smoothly, picking up his wand again. "Shall we complete the bargain?"
"What makes you think I'm not going to turn you in to the Headmaster? Perhaps that is even my whole purpose in being here," Severus said in a deliberately lazy voice. He might be able to get out of this yet. He had little doubt Terry knew which Professor he was speaking to, though how he had guessed he wasn't sure. Intelligence was dangerous, now wasn't it?
Terry held out the Muggle glasses, spinning them casually by the earpiece. True. The part about Harry would be... difficult to explain. Add the Polyjuice, and he was in pretty deep.
"Mutual blackmail." Severus stated.
"A fine Slytherin-Ravenclaw tradition," said Terry.
Severus actually smiled.
Terry grinned in that amiable way of his. How he could have seemed like anyone else, Severus couldn't imagine now. It was amazing how much meaning one put into appearance.
"You didn't figure it out till the very end there, did you?" Terry asked.
Severus wasn't going to admit that. But he couldn't help but admire the boy.
"Your Polyjuice idea was a stroke of genius. I take it you suggested it once you realized whom I was? In order to keep your identity a secret? You would arrive as Harry Potter, and leave as Harry Potter... Not to mention the leverage if you were caught out." Severus raised an eyebrow. Terry bobbed his head in agreement.
Severus winced inwardly at what a student knew about him now. This was not the anonymous encounter he'd anticipated. Severus Snape had been wickedly outmaneuvered. By a student. His only consolation was the fact Terry was a Ravenclaw, who were known for their cleverness. And the fact Terry was very much a professional.
"It would have worked. So. How did you guess?"
"That it was you? You can't hex in here. The wards are set to disrupt your Glamour a few blinks if you do. That's how they see who to throw out. I had to cover for you with Jervis." He gestured to the bartender. "You almost ate the alley."
Severus had a brief image of a brown ordinary man suddenly turning into the dark hook-nosed Potions master at the bar. Must have given the boy quite a shock. Good.
"You have quite a set-up here. Why didn't you just break off negotiations?"
"I almost did. But then I thought of the Polyjuice. Higher margin, keep the repeat customer..."
"Repeat?" Severus sneered. "Mine was just the once."
"My 'Harry Potter' clients have always come back. Trust me, you will."
Terry held up his wand between his two forefingers. His Professor followed suit, saying dryly, "I don't know what you expect of me, Terry. But for damn sure I want a non-disclosure if nothing else."
"So you'll go elsewhere for your Harry Potter." Terry's voice was flat, visibly disappointed.
Don't worry, Terry. At least you got a couple of drinks out of the bargain.
Severus said nothing and held up his wand. Yes, he was discouraged, he admitted it. That Polyjuice was such a tempting offer. Not one he was likely to find repeated. No doubt Terry had earned his recommendations, too.
"You're really not going to turn me in?"
"Would it stop you?" Severus said pointedly.
The determined look on Terry's face was clear. "It... it's just until I finish Hogwarts," he said faintly.
"Is that why?"
Severus was troubled. Most situations of this kind he knew were more complicated than they appeared on the surface, and didn't have the easy cut and dried solutions good Gryffindors wanted. It was a fact Slytherins seemed to be born knowing.
Terry didn't answer.
Yes. Of course he didn't. Severus mentally calculated the cost of Hogwarts, books, Quidditch supplies for the next several months. He had a facility for figures, owing to a relationship he had had with his Arithmancy Professor while he was at Hogwarts. Another complex situation. He also added up the likelihood of Terry coming back from this life on his own, and it all came to the same answer.
"Two days then. Your original rate, no changes."
Severus ignored Terry's stunned expression. It wouldn't be enough. But it was a sizable portion. He knew better than to even suggest Terry accept a hand out, though lord knows he could afford it.
"And Terry. Regarding those Potions..." Severus seethed in anger at the injustice of the world, where boys such as Harry Potter had everything, while other deserving boys like Terry had to struggle. He ground his teeth inwardly, but swallowed any indication of his feelings. He would have to learn more of the situation before he rushed in and possibly did more damage. Where was his family? In the meantime, let's just keep Terry alive. "You will come to me for whatever Potions are required of you. Is that understood?"
Terry gave him a tired sullen look. "You want a cut then?"
Terry had been around and clearly through this before.
"No." Severus searched for an answer the boy's badly damaged pride would accept. "Neither you nor anyone you work for can afford Potions of my quality."
"I work for myself, no one else," Terry said defiantly.
Thank god for small mercies.
Severus sighed. "Let's just say that if I want to have Harry Potter again, I'll need you to still be among the living. You do accept repeat business?" Thank god for Silencing Charms, too. Not only was he soliciting a prostitute, arranging the felonious use of a Potion, he was volunteering to become a drug dealer. While working as a respectable Professor at Hogwarts no less. Wonderful.
Terry looked at him doubtfully. "Some of them are pretty illegal..."
This shaky, bashful and - dear god, disgustingly grateful - boy was a far cry from the cool professional of just an hour earlier. Probably because Severus could see past the Glamour now. Severus preferred the professional. Severus folded his hands, leaned back in the dark leather seat and gave Terry a smug smile.
"I've probably heard of them." And used them. More than once. But he was not going to admit that, not here nor ever. "Bear in mind that I am able to verify whether they've been used or sold."
Best get that idea out of the way before Terry or one of his friends (there were surely friends - troublesome ones) thought of it.
Severus swept out his wand.
"Do we have a bargain?" Severus asked bluntly, placing it between the tips of his fingers and gazing intently directly over the top of it at Terry.
He took away the Glamour over his own jet black eyes, so Terry would remember exactly who he was. And who he was dealing with. Terry had better understand what he was agreeing to. Not a trick. Not a date. But something more. And Terry was not going to like his interference. Not a bit. No more than Professor Snape's Slytherins did.
Choose carefully, Terry. You are guaranteed to regret either choice, either way. It is the manner of 'complex situations.'
Terry nodded mutely, his blond eyelashes fluttering. Terry brought up his wand and muttered the charm that by rights he should not know so well. Severus was surprised at the tingle he felt suddenly. The boy's Charm had quite a kick. He'd better not break his part of the bargain. Severus did the same.
The contract could be completed with shared blood, a bit of saliva on the fingertips, or most commonly and conveniently for this type of contract -
- Severus bent into Terry's kiss to Seal the bargain. He made the kiss long, deep and slow. Which was completely unnecessary. The Glamour about Severus' face misted, and he had no doubt that while it was still in place for the rest of the room, Terry Boot could see exactly who he was kissing: large nose, greasy black hair and all. Terry was professional enough not to flinch. Severus let his eyes open slightly to take in the fresh-faced young man. Sweet. Though not his type. But who cared. Whatever his altruistic intentions, if they could be called that (Severus himself merely considered it 'cleaning up a mess'), he fully intended to enjoy himself.
He would be sure Terry did, too. Although the Harry Polyjuice was part of the deal, he would Charm himself to not say the name 'Harry' all weekend. Not even once.
Hm. One thing the fat bastard hadn't lied about: Terry was exquisitely good.
Severus Snape walked back from the Werewolves' Den, the gravel crunching under his boots. A glowing mist hung about the street lamps, and a rather fetid smell hung about the district: a mix of vomit, booze and various illicit substances being abused in quantity. Fortunately there was a slight wind to bring in breathable air. It was a beginning. A doppelganger shambled along the sidewalk, but that was normal for this neighborhood. No one had seen any real werewolves, and some of the younger (or drunker) patrons were disappointed. Well there's always next month for them to be torn limb from limb. He silently wished them luck. Something jingled, kicked by his boot. A potion vial, part of the human detritus of the evening. The thumping music seemed very distant and quiet now, though Severus' ears still rang.
Severus had offered Terry a lift back to Hogwarts, as the trains had long since stopped running for the evening. As he feared, Terry had refused.
"Need to fill up your dance card?" Severus had said ironically, finishing the last of his drink and feeling slightly buzzed. He didn't hold liquor like he used to.
"No, my friends are here! We're gonna have a time tonight - if they don't have 'dates' that is."
Yes. The inevitable 'friends' had materialized. Severus had expected them. No doubt the very ones who managed to involve Terry in this life. Terry may have started for the money, but he was in it for more than that, now. It was going to be difficult to extricate him. It would be such a terrible shame for Terry to have gone through so much... effort... to finish his education at Hogwarts, only to be dragged down by the means he used to earn it.
Severus had backed off. It was far too soon to force the issue. That day was coming though. Terry was one of his now. As surely as if he were Slytherin.
No doubt Terry had less and less in common with his school chums, with all the secrets he had to keep. Driving him more and more towards those loving friends, what a mess. Severus would have to enlist the help of some of his more... well, trusted was too strong a word for any of them... competent... Slytherins to pry him loose. Ones with grimy pasts Terry could understand, and confide in. Find out what was going on with his family, who his friends were in Ravenclaw. Start with the Quidditch team.
Severus disappeared into an alley and removed the Glamour in a shower of colorful sparks. He came out the other side. His dark robes flared behind him, blending into the night. There were no stars tonight, and the full moon was hidden.
How did he manage to get tangled in these things? All he wanted to do was get laid, very simple really. At least he did have an appointment for the weekend.
Severus amused himself as he strode back through the 'reputable' part of Hogsmeade, imagining just how bad this looked. Paying a Hogwarts student for sex. In the form of Harry Potter no less, using a felonious Potion. Supplying a student with illegal Potions for use on his 'dates.'
He could just picture the conversation in Albus's office, surrounded by all that charming kitsch. Teacups with teddy bears and licorice whips. Discussing prostitution and drugs. That confused expression on the Headmaster's face once again.
"But Albus - I paid for two days of wild sex, not just one! And I paid him very, very well. Oh, ah, the drugs, yes. Naturally they were charity. I'm not getting paid for them."
Severus laughed and laughed. It did his Slytherin heart good.
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