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And They Didn't Live Happily Ever After

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Chapter Seven
"I'm A Bad Little Hufflepuff!"

 

Disclaimer: Rowling owns all the characters and the canon. I own the plot and the fanon.

 

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Severus sat in his flat, reading his latest monthly copy of Eccentric Elixirs. Since he had been essentially banned from ever touching a cauldron ever again, it was one of the few ways in which he could stay up to date on the latest Potions research.

 

It was nice to have his Thursday evenings back to himself. His usual appointment during that time slot had gone back to her husband determined to work on her marriage, inspired by some of the more creative talents he taught her. This left him with some personal time. He hoped his employer would not be bringing him any new clients for a while, as his schedule was rather full.

 

He glanced out the window and listened to the bustle of the evening. Down in the alleys below, witches and wizards were leaving restaurants to head back home, while others had just arrived for a night of drinking in the many taverns that populated the nexus of wizarding London.

 

If he hadn’t been in his current situation, he wondered if he would still be teaching at Hogwarts, or better yet, free to pursue his own research and publishing. Still, he couldn’t complain about his job at times. He had silently lamented for many years about how pitifully inadequate his sex life was. It seemed that when it rained, it poured.

 

'Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.'

 

It had been a shock when Miss Brown approached him with her unusual offer. The Death Eater Decree had just been declared a few month prior, and he was caught unaware, to his own chagrin. He should have suspected Moody was up to something when the man wouldn’t stop grinning like an idiot. Had he known what was written in that insipid law, he would have flown Britain much like the bat his students frequently compared him to. Instead, he woke up bereft of money, Potions equipment and all his freedom. A quick visit to the Burrow that morning, and Arthur informed him of his own precarious employment situation if the head of the Weasley clan contested the enforcement of the law on his two fellow Order members.

 

It was while he was wondering if he could bribe someone – with the false promise of money later – to help him get his hands on a cauldron and enough of the right ingredients so he could brew a poison for a swift and painless death that she had found him sitting on a bar stool in The Listing Broom. He was contemplating the many ways he could pull out the stopper in death. The barkeep had given Severus a bottle of Firewhisky out of pity, which made the alcohol taste less than pleasing. He hated pity.

 

Sliding onto the stool next to him, she offered to buy him a drink. He could recall the whole conversation with perfect clarity.

 

"It seems I already have one," he replied, grim images of his dead and bloated body found by the street sweepers floating through his mind.

 

"So it seems. How about a job?"

 

He remembered giving her his best sardonic laugh, but he couldn't muster the strength to make it effective enough to drive her away. It was then that he turned and recognized his former Gryffindor student.

 

"Miss Brown, if this is some sick, perverted joke, then I suggest you leave immediately!"

 

She smiled at him in a way that not only confused him, but also made his spy senses thrum with trepidation.

 

"No joke, Professor, or should I say Mr. Snape now."

 

He narrowed his eyes at her with suspicion.

 

"If you are not aware of it, I have started my own company, but have found a lack of Potions masters who are willing to work for me. You, a Potions Master par excellence, are currently unemployed."

 

Severus knew she was fully aware of the limited employment options available to him. He also knew there was more to her offer than just whipping up a batch of wrinkle erasing crème.

 

"Unless you have the Ministry's permission to offer me this job – which I doubt, as I'm not allowed to brew anything more than a cup of tea without breaking parole – then you are just wasting my time," he said with restrained anger for her taunting.

 

"Who said anything about you brewing anything? I need a consultant. Is there a law against you telling me how to brew a potion or beauty crème?

 

He licked his lips nervously. It was too good to be true. Granted, it would be Potions to perpetuate a world of vanity that had scorned him for not fitting within their narrow ideas of beauty, but he was desperate.

 

"What's the catch?"

 

She had the gall to give him a broad and warm smile. That insufferable, machinating wench!

 

"Ah, there's the Slytherin I remember." She said it with such relief; he began to worry that she was actually an uncaptured Death Eater under the disguise of Polyjuice Potion. "I have a little hobby on the side. I think you'll like it once you get used to it. You see, I have a growing list of clients who are in need of… 'company.'"

 

He didn’t like her phrasing and immediately understood the implications of her statement.

 

"So you want me to be part of your stable? What's involved? A personal interview in which you judge my performance? Some sick little fantasy in which to seduce your former teacher?" He was revolted by the whole idea and was tempted to not even bother to bid her farewell.

 

"You don’t have to shag me, unless you’d like to."

 

He could not believe his own ears; an ex-student was propositioning him. Questions about her sanity were beginning to form in his mind.

 

"I have watched you over seven years, Mr. Snape," she continued. "Despite your brittle exterior, you have the makings of a great lover."

 

He snorted at her declaration, though secretly, he always thought he would be great in the sack, despite his meager experience.

 

"As a first year, you scared the hell out of me. But as a seventh year, I saw the potential in you."

 

Severus watched her, waiting for her to break into peels of laughter.

 

"Those hands. Your voice, when you're not shouting, sneering or making disparaging remarks. Your keen sense of observation."

 

"You want a Death Eater working for you in that capacity?" He was still in disbelief of the opportunity presented to him. "Don't you think that's a little dangerous?"

 

His name had been published in the Daily Prophet along with Draco and all the other Death Eaters who were walking among the good witches and wizards of Britain. It was common knowledge now. However, his work for the Order was still a secret, thanks to Fudge and Moody's agenda.

 

"I have faith you're a good guy at heart." She winked at him. He wasn't sure if she was jibing him or knew about his life as a spy.

 

It was a tempting offer. He had hoped to parlay his new status as war hero into some time in the sack with several celebrity clinging witches, who would brag that they had shagged him, all claiming to have had the best sex in their young and nubile lives. It was a silly dream, but even snarky, sensible Potions masters could dream of being proclaimed a sex god by voluptuously beautiful witches. It was just unnerving when faced with the offer to prove how adept he was in the art of erotica and seduction.

 

"And if I refuse to become a gentleman of the evening?" He had to know just how badly she needed his potion making skills. Would she be willing to forgo this particular clause in his employment for his expertise?

 

"Then I'm willing to continue my search for a Potions master who would be willing to have a constant stream of royalties from my ever expanding empire of beauty products. I'm doing very well for myself now, but I intend to dominate the market. Everything from hair products, skin cremes, make-up, nail polish, soaps, deodorants, oral hygiene, anything related to the beauty trade I intend to conquer."

 

His mouth twitched. "Royalties?" The thought of calling her bluff quickly evaporated from his mind as he schooled his features.

 

"Of course I could not pay you directly," she said matter-of-factly. "Everything would be kept in a special vault at Gringotts held in my name under some pseudo-business venture fund. Your activities in your other job would pay well, too. Through your royalties and fees, I would take care of food, lodging, clothing, books, and anything else you are allowed to have, so not one single coin would pass into your hands, thus violating your parole.

 

"The job as companion is more of a cover than anything else. You see, the Ministry is willing to turn a blind eye to prostitution, and as your employer, I would be handling all the money. However, I think it only best that you do actually perform some of the work I claim you are fulfilling. You never know when an Auror from the Ministry might decide to look closer into my side business. Moody has been known for liberal use of the Veritaserum when it suits his needs."

 

Severus was all too familiar with the crackpot Auror's methods of hunting for the imagined evil lurking around every corner, especially since he came out of retirement.

 

Before Severus agreed, he wanted to be sure of the terms of his new employment. "I sleep with women and you'll allow me to consult on potions for your company. Is that it?"

 

"Not every woman will want sex. Some will want to talk. They look for nothing more than a shoulder to cry on, or a sympathetic ear to listen to them."

 

He knew it was too good to be true. He had to listen to the hormonal snivelings of his pubescent charges for years, as Slytherin's Head of House. Now he would have to suffer and feign interest in the inconsequential ramblings of lonely, bored housewives. Sex he could perform; all he had to do was close his eyes if they weren't pleasing to look upon. But talk?

 

But what other options did he have? He almost had to beg for the bottle of Firewhisky that he had sitting in front of him. Somehow this Gryffindor, who he had dismissed as a vanity driven simpleton, had presented him with an option worthy of making her an honorary Slytherin.

 

His pride goaded him to make one request before he struck such a bargain with the formidable Miss Brown.

 

"I would like to draw up a contract, so that the duties in both of my positions are clear."

 

"Of course," she offered and then plopped a sizable scroll into his lap. "I've taken the liberty of having my lawyers draw this up for me. Don’t worry, I Obliviated them after they wrote it up."

 

He read it twice to make sure there was nothing to his disliking, or violated what little dignity he had left. The contract said he would receive ten percent of the profits from products he consulted for development. As a gigolo in the service of Miss Brown, he would have the option of refusing to service any client, as long as he met his weekly minimum of three clients a week. All royalties and fees would be put into a trust under Miss Brown's name until such time as the Death Eater Decree had been lifted from him, or he had been exonerated. Only one thing was missing from the contract.

 

"May I make an addition to this contract before agreeing to these terms?"

 

"That depends."

 

"As my face and persona are well known, I doubt I would be able to meet your standard of three clients a week. Most witches would run away screaming in fright at the thought of having sex with me, much less listening to them without expecting a sarcastic remark escaping my lips. In addition, I would like to preserve my good name as an unsociable bastard. My reputation as a misanthropic curmudgeon should not be tarnished in any way. I would like to have the option of wearing a mask when interacting with the clientele, and your discretion regarding the unsavory aspects of my employment."

 

She gave a low throaty amused chuckle. "Yes, that is agreeable. And you are correct in the respect of your face being known. So glad you thought of that."

 

The contract unrolled so they could see the last clause of the contract and Severus' terms magically appearing in clear black letters.

 

Lavender produced a very expensive quill and handed it to Severus.

 

With a flourish, very much unlike his usual manner of signing his name, he put his signature on the parchment; it was followed by Lavender's rounded cursive.

 

It was done.

 

He was immediately put up in a flat on the fourth floor in a building Lavender had bought from the Weasley twins earlier that year. Of the few personal affects he had not bartered off for food or lodging yet was an armoire paneled with flame mahogany, accented with bird's eye maple and wenge wood inlay, some clothing, a few photographs and his personal library. The Ministry had confiscated every single Knut he had saved from his many years of work at Hogwarts, but at least they had the decency to let him keep most of his belongings, especially his books.

 

The only thing he did mourn the loss of was his precious Potions equipment. Every measuring spoon, scale, knife, sieve, spoon, grater, reamer, ladle, chopping board and cauldron had been confiscated. He knew Moody was sitting in the Ministry laughing his arse off. If it wouldn't have landed him a date with a Dementor, he would have transfigured the man's grotesque eyeball into a rabid Niffler trained to attack the Auror’s more delicate parts, if dark wizards before him hadn’t already hexed them off.

 

That first week was one he would never forget.

 

During the day, he would be in the Lovely Lavender research and development laboratory. Since the Ministry, as part of his Potions equipment seizure, had confiscated his work robes, the only things available for him to wear at his first day of work were robes in lavender or turquoise. Severus threatened to quit the next day if proper black robes weren't available for him. Standing behind Lavender, he would peer into a cauldron brewing the latest batch of beauty crème, his hand itching to stir the elixir just once. How he longed to feel a spoon in his hand and the familiar movements of his body swirling the liquid in clockwise then anti-clockwise motions. He made recommendations and suggestions; she listened and came up with some of her own ingredient combination theories. Though it was not as challenging as the private research he longed to do after the war, it was enough to satisfy his desire to continue working with Potions for the time being.

 

His nights were another matter. His first 'customer' was a recently graduated Hogwarts student he remembered teaching. She had not taken Potions past her fifth year, but he recalled her name and face. She had a little fantasy she wanted help acting out and Severus reluctantly agreed to fulfill her desire, while feigning a keen interest in helping her out.

 

He could still hear her cries in his head. "I'm a bad little Hufflepuff! I'm a bad little Hufflepuff!" Each time she shouted that infernal phrase, a tortoiseshell hairbrush would come thwacking down on her bare bottom. He was the 'stern headmaster' and she was the naughty schoolgirl who had forgotten to wear her knickers. After some fingering while still held over his lap, her bottom welted a bright red, she would orgasm. It was on her third visit that she mounted him as he sat on his chair and came like a wild woman. After that, he never saw her again. He always wondered what Deputy Minister McPeebles would think if he knew his precious little girl had lost her virginity to a Death Eater.

 

His other two clients that week were a twenty-year-old who wanted a brief course in fellatio, so she could surprise her fiancé on their wedding night, and a fifty year old woman who needed a shoulder to cry on. The young bride-to-be was a quick student. It took every last fiber of control, as it had been a very, very long time since he had any oral stimulation of that sort, to keep from grabbing her by the hair and driving his cock down her throat.

 

The middle-aged witch was another matter. It was then that he had a true appreciation for Albus. Severus missed the old fool. His old Headmaster had been his confessor for years. Now he was playing that role. It helped that he wore a mask. He would nod in the appropriate places, ask her the right questions, encourage her to go on, and gave her a hug when she was done.

 

Though he hated to admit it, he felt an obligation to be as an attentive listener to these women as Albus had been to him. In some strange way, it was his own way of honoring his old friend. Some had problems that were petty; others had problems he would never wish on anyone decent. Yet his simple act of listening gave them the absolution they needed, and the feeling that their concerns mattered to someone. He supposed it was another form of penance, but this version did not involve risking his life as a double spy.

 

He was snapped out of his reverie by a familiar rapping at his door.

 

Knock. Knock-Knock-Knock-Knock. (Pause) Knock-Knock.

 

It was his employer. This was her signal that she was alone and he would not have to bother with his mask.

 

Severus opened the door and imperiously looked down his great nose at Lavender.

 

"And a good evening to you too," she cheekily said, swirling her robes as she entered his flat.

 

He watched her and knew something was up. "All right. Out with it. What now?" Severus snapped at her.

 

"I see our mood had improved," she replied as she primly sat herself in a chair next to his chessboard.

 

"You know that I only have Monday and Thursday nights off. You wouldn’t be here unless you have a new client for me," he said testily. He didn’t mind the sex at all. He just wanted a bit more personal time in which to catch up on his reading.

 

"I have a very special client. She's in need of some very tender loving care."

 

"What is she, a stray cat? Send her over to Draco. He gives a fairly convincing performance."

 

"Oh no. This one needs your special touch. Besides, I have a feeling that Draco would be the last person on earth she would want to talk to at this moment."

 

Something in the way her voice paused and lilted made his spy senses tingle. "Who is it?"

 

"She's very bright. I think you'll find her an interesting conversationalist."

 

"Who is it?"

 

"She young and I'm sure quite pretty once she's cleaned up a bit and has not been crying."

 

"Who is it?"

 

"She married and she's only interested in talk."

 

"WHO. IS. IT."

 

Lavender paused, and he could see she was contemplating whether or not to smile when she dropped this little Filibuster in his lap.

 

"Hermione Weasley."

 

There was a moment of silence before he shouted, "Absolutely not! That… that… know-it-all! That Gryffindor! That little boomslang skin stealing, impertinent, pyromaniac bookworm! She set my robes on fire! That was my favorite robe!"

 

Lavender seemed to be having some perverse joy out of watching him pace the room like a caged panther, his brow furrowed. Tense muscles and potential power under a coat of black.

 

"If it's any consolation, I'll buy you some new ones."

 

He shook his head, still walking along a pattern in the rug. "Oh, no you don’t. You are not going to make me take this one. In my contract, it states clearly that as long as I meet my three client a week minimum, I can refuse a client."

 

"What if I were to take away enough of your clients so that you would have to take her to meet your minimum."

 

He stopped pacing and faced her. Shock and anger contorted his unique visage. "You wouldn’t dare."

 

"Oh, but I would. And as your employer, I could. I'm sure Macnair could take over a few of your clients."

 

"Now you are joking," he huffed. "That psychotic maniac? The only reason you have him around is so you can have him play the submissive, so witches with a penchant for pain can flay him on the rack." At least Lavender never insisted he take a client requiring him to be the submissive one. As part of his nature, he would always be the dominant one, as he could not let himself be sexually subjugated.

 

"Yes, I am joking. But I do have something to offer you if you take her on as a new client. I don't know if she’ll visit you only once or if it will be a recurring habit. Knowing the touch you have with women, I could see her becoming a regular, despite her… what do you call it? Ah yes, her noble Gryffindor nature," she smugly explained.

 

She had something new to offer him. She always did. It was this skill that got him and Draco caught in her contractual claws. He still don’t know what she promised Draco to get him into her stable, as he never volunteered that information, but it must have been something too good to resist.

 

When Lavender found Draco, he had bartered everything away. He had spent the past week living in empty alcoves. It was when he was eyeing a stray with rapt attention, considering if cat truly was the other white meat, that she found him and made him an offer to work for her. His day job was as a marketing and sales consultant with the same requirements for the evening job as Severus.

 

Draco, Ginny and Lavender were three of the only four people who knew what he did during his nights.

 

Severus stood rigidly and gritted his teeth. "Your terms?"

 

"Meet with Hermione Weasley as often as she would like, and I will let you have twenty percent of the profits of a new sexual enhancing line of potions we're going to begin working on next week."

 

Sex Potions. He could see the heaping piles of Galleons glitter before his eyes. Enough to even bribe Fudge into making a public apology to him, or pay some Auror to look the other way as he fled the country.

 

"Fifty percent," he countered.

 

"Twenty-five."

 

"Forty-five."

 

"Thirty."

 

"Forty."

 

"Deal. Now if you will excuse me, I have to go fetch your new client. She'll be here in a jiffy."

 

And with a pop, she was gone.

 

Severus slumped against the mantle with a weary sigh before walking over to his armoire. He opened it and looked at the display of masks he had available. He pulled out his Casanova mask embellished with a few gold baroque swirls, and the scarf to cover his hair.

 

Though his hair was no longer greasy, a result from the volatile oils that were released during Potions classes and permeated his hair, it was still rather limp. Lavender's attempt to give it some body had resulted in a bad case of dandruff. The best she could do was suggest a long, layered cut, leaving the length to brush the tops of his shoulder. Despite his improved follicle condition, his ex-student and fellow Order member would probably be able to identify his hair. It was unfortunate that glamour charms were so unpredictable as to when they would wear off.

 

Just as he finished checking himself in the mirror, he heard her knock.

 

Knock-Knock. Knock-Knock. Lavender had given Hermione the signal that indicated she was a client.

 

Straightening his robes and steeling his nerves, certain he would be spending the evening listening to her prattle on about academic subjects or asking endless questions, he took one last breath before opening the door.

 

Opening it, he was glad he had his mask on. Before him stood a shadow of the vibrant, though annoying, young woman he once knew. To say he was shocked would be like standing in a hurricane and commenting that it was a bit damp.

 

Glancing at her robes, he wondered how much she was able to pay. By the look of it, his handkerchiefs cost more than what she was able to afford for tonight.

 

He stepped aside and gently bowed his head in a courtly manner.

 

In his most soothing and caressing voice, he said, "Please come inside and have a seat."