The day that Gilderoy Lockhart regained his memory was unremarkable in most respects: overcast sky, a Tuesday far enough from Christmas for any lingering festal feeling to have passed, but not sufficiently close to Spring for there to be any particular promise in the air.
The Healer who administered the innovative spell did so without fanfare, and indeed, without a great deal of interest. Gilderoy was just one more patient to see, after all - and luckily a patient who was just about to leave for good and free up a share of St. Mungo's limited resources. When all of the official tests had been made to confirm his newly-restored sanity, he was unceremoniously told to get dressed and take hold of a suitcase, and then escorted to the vestibule and left to fend for himself in whatever manner he saw fit. Dismissed. End of story.
Naturally, Gilderoy's first instinct was to write to his agent.
The tired hospital post owl gave him a dark look as he fussed with the bow around it's leg. It wasn't a beautiful bird by any means, and the quills provided in these places were far from the peacock flourish to which he was accustomed, Gilderoy thought huffishly. Appearances, nevertheless, remained important; he has used his very best script in the note and illuminated his initial at the end.
Hi, Angus! It's me, Gilderoy! You must be delighted that I'm back. Don't worry, I'll still consider using you in the future. How about we do lunch? G xxx
Satisfied that he was minutes from a gushing reply and the next chapter of his stellar career, Gilderoy picked up the case containing the few belongings that he had apparently had with him during his hospital stay and turned for home.
It was only after a Floo journey and a few turns about the streets of a fashionable quarter in wizarding London that Gilderoy began to feel something was amiss. How long had they said he had been in hospital? A week or two, surely. Three, at the absolute most. The bored Healer who had brought him round had certainly made it all sound terribly routine.
On the way back to his flat, however, Gilderoy couldn't help but notice that an awful lot of his neighbours had either moved house, or drastically changed their frontages in the time he had been incapacitated. Front doors that once stood blue were now yellow; saplings had been cruelly uprooted and replaced by strapping great trees, and there were several children playing outside that must have been the older cousins of those who lived within, so striking was the family resemblance.
His sense of unease only worsened when he saw that his own front door had not only been repainted from pink to a dull navy, but that his accustomed unlocking spells had no effect.
This was outrageous! How dare the agency intrude when he was away from home without giving notice? They may well own the building, but he was paying very handsomely to live there, damn it, and he expected to be treated like the star he was. In a snit worthy of Irene the Irascible herself, Gilderoy turned on his heel and made his way to the office of Alicia's Adorable Apartments, Diagon Alley.
Upon his arrival, the girl behind the counter greeted him perfunctorily, and made no attempt to stand or even simper when Gilderoy flashed her his prize-winning smile. Must be a dyke, then, he concluded, and then launched straight into a litany of complaints.
When he had finished, she eyed him warily. "Err, 'Lockhart', you say? 29A Wisteria Avenue?" The girl squinted at the large record book on the table to her left. "I think not, sir. You haven't let that property for over five years."
"Poppycock, I say! Balderdash. Let me speak to your manager."
"She's at lunch at the moment, sir. But I daresay the Gringott's staff will be able to confirm the recent history - or otherwise - of payments made."
"Right!" Gilderoy declared with a flourish. "I shall return forthwith with a full statement and then shall expect generous compensation for this... this... idiocy." He marched out of the office without a backward glance, and very soon afterwards found himself face to face with one of the bank's most surly Goblins.
"Identification?" the creature barked.
Gilderoy handed over his wand, and the goblin nodded in acceptance.
"So what is it you want?"
"A statement of my payments for rental of a rather fine apartment in recent months, together with my current balance, if you please," he declared.
The goblin crinkled his nose in distaste - if that were possible, given that it was pretty crinkled to begin with - then spat, "Current balance: three galleons, five sickles and twelve knuts. Statement indicates a standing payment to St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries each month, for 'continual upkeep and especial treatment,' every month for the past five and a half years, enforced under Ministry decree thirty-seven point six: Financial Aid Withheld to those of Personal Gross Wherewithal." The goblin sneered along the line of his quill, and then looked past Gilderoy to the rest of the queue. "Next!"
The week following his release had not been kind to Gilderoy. He was slowly coming to terms with how much time he must have been locked away in that hospital, and was downright livid with the bungling government for diverting all his hard-stolen cash to pay for the bloody episode. With no better place to go, and no means to pay for it even, he was renting a room in the Leaky Cauldron: basic, bordering on the spartan.
Up to that day, he had been confident that his luck would change at any moment. His stupid agent hadn't been back in touch, but surely it had been only a matter of time before his career relaunched? No-one could doubt a wizard as beautiful and talented as he, after all.
His owls, however, had gone unanswered, and it was only when, that very afternoon, he had strode around to the office in a fit a of pique, that Gilderoy had been told the sorry truth - this post-war world of theirs was now frankly overflowing with heroes. They had no need for more, especially not someone who had slept through the entire thing and hadn't even been shortlisted for Witch Weekly's 'Most Charming Smile Award' for over half a decade. "Besides," the agent had added tartly, "You're hardly the looker you were now, are you?"
That statement hit Gilderoy harder than any of the other unfortunate pieces of information. Destitute? Thought incompetent? He could handle any of that. But unattractive?! That riled him more than any other accusation, and he had stormed out of the office with righteous fury, his now-rather-tatty peacock coat tails flapping behind him.
Sitting as he was on the creaky mattress of such an uninviting room, the sounds of tea-time drinkers wafting up from below stairs, Gilderoy was still livid about such unfair remarks - and was determined to prove that snotty agent wrong. He had not really assessed his appearance since being released, confident that everything was fine. Of course he was gorgeous. After all, who was Gilderoy Lockhart, if not gorgeous?
With such thoughts in mind, Gilderoy approached the room's speckled mirror... and then recoiled in horror. He cast a cleaning charm over the patchy surface, but if anything, that worsened the terrible shock he experienced.
The reflection was obviously his own, but much had changed from the image he held in his mind, and none of it for the better. His eyes sported dark circles and the wrinkles that he had always kept at bay with 'Mr. Miracle's Magical Mulch' had attacked in force, belying every one of his thirty- (or was it forty-?) -something years. He gaped aghast, willing it to be untrue - but the plain reflection before him gaped back. Gone was the honey golden tan, to be replaced by a doughy pallor, the dashing jawline now ghosted with jowls.
Another horrible thought assaulted Gilderoy just then: what damage had befallen the rest of his body? Panicking, he undid his robes and shed them to the floor, then faced the mirror squarely to discover the dreadful truth. He saw his physique - once so finely sculpted, an object of desire for every right-thinking witch and a goodly number of sensible wizards - was a sorry shadow of its former self. Gone were the rippling biceps, the finely turned thighs and calves. Absent were the broad pectorals, and taut, flat stomach that middle aged witches would fantasize about caressing while lying awake at night next to their snoring husbands. Instead, he looked like a weed with the beginnings of a rotund little belly bulging over the top of his underwear. Merlin's balls.
Incensed; distraught; Gilderoy wondered if a hospital could be sued for aesthetic neglect of the naturally gorgeous.
Gilderoy had reached a very low ebb indeed when he saw the sign. His tab at the Leaky Cauldron had become so long he was threatened with eviction should he not make a downpayment sharpish, and he had taken to wandering the streets aimlessly, heedless of destination and without purpose.
Staff needed. Flexibility a must. Enquire within.
It was written in ragged scrawl in the window of a ramshackle terrace; slumped and creaking grimly between its neighbours. There was no other sign of life coming from the building, but the unsavoury vendors and shifty patrons in the street about him indicated the kind of area to which his feet had traveled.
It was, however, the only opportunity that had - or possibly was ever going to - come his way, Gilderoy thought grimly. With a sigh, he pushed at the front door and it strained open to reveal nothing but a dark descending staircase.
He was met at the bottom by a large, threatening man, counting a pile of sickles with one hand and picking his teeth with the other. "Whaddye want?" he demanded, not bothering to look up.
"I've, err... I've come about the job. The one in the window, that is."
That seemed to grasp the man's attention and he rose from behind the small table at which he sat, stepping closer and casting small beady eyes across Gilderoy's form. "Ey, 'ave yer now?" A calculating look. "What's yer name?"
"Lockhart. Gilderoy Lockhart, to be exact."
His stolid features clouded for a second, and then he bore his teeth in a satisfied grin. "Oh, yeah, you're that pretty boy from years ago, aren't ya? Yeah, they're gonna love you!" He raked his gaze across Gilderoy lasciviously. "Gone to seed a bit, though, aint'cha? Still, I 'spose you wouldn't be 'ere otherwise - aint that right. We'll just 'ave to strap you in nice 'n tight." He prodded Gilderoy in the stomach and then laughed; a deep, dirty sound. "Come right this way Mister Lock'art, and I'll show you to yer dressing room."
***** ***** *****
Being a hero of the war did not mean that Severus was obliged to be nice. Indeed, he took the view that he was now, more than ever, exempted from ever having to try. He could be as acerbically anti-social as he pleased and no-one would have the nerve to stop him. He could brew whatever he wanted, however illegal. He could visit whatever address he chose, however seedy.
It was with that sense of perverse, debauched freedom that Severus entered the Club on Knockturn Alley, the entrance indicated by a sole red bulb and the pungent stink of smoke and sweat from below stairs. He settled into a shabby chair on the front row before the makeshift stage and ordered a very large firewhisky: made round the back, raw as broken glass.
Severus tended not to make contact with the other patrons; he had no desire for idle chat and they mostly knew better than to attempt to try. There was a fair crowd, though, that night – the show must have been getting popular. The lights were too dim to make out most of the faces - some furtive and hooded, others so ruined they barely left places such as that one – and the fug of smoke and squelching suck of the floor completed the picture just to his satisfaction. Perfectly filthy. Filthily perfect.
He had timed his entrance to coincide with the start of the evening's entertainment, and it was only a matter of minutes before the balding velvet curtains gave way to a gloved hand, then a fish-netted calf, against the guttural groan of some well-worn, raunchy recording. Those limbs were followed swiftly by several more, and then the boys came out in full view; pretty boys trussed up for his delectation.
Severus sighed with satisfaction and leaned back in his chair as he felt his blood already begin to stir at the sight. The boys on stage began to strut and gyrate, parading in holed stockings, faded satin corsets that cut their sides crudely, and ludicrous panties that covered barely nothing, bumping and groaning and posing at one another and at the crowd. Their faces were covered by masks, some encrusted with sequins, some of thick lace. They looked so helpless, so low, so available - and Severus loved it.
He hissed as his hand ventured into the folds of his robes in the darkness. It was best to be a little discreet, but it was clear by the quenched chatter in the cellar, perforated now by only the grinding soundtrack and intermittent grunts, that he was not the only one there thinking along such lines. Severus' eyes scoured the boys on stage; the usual poor waifs marking their steps, some frotting against poles that levitated before them, others down on their knees, licking the thighs of a companion, or parting the cheeks of their scantily-clad arses in lewd invitation to the crowd.
The whippersnappers there were not precisely to his taste, it had to be said, but a gratifying display nonetheless. They were certainly pretty and takeable, but a little too much like students; too young, too easy to dominate, not much of a challenge in which to glorify when they lay simpering below him.
Working himself keen and hard, Severus' breath was caught a moment later, however. He noticed that there was a new boy in the group - or maybe not a boy, exactly. His face, as all the others', was masked, but his frame didn't look as nubile as the usual kind of young street rat that found their way to this place - shoulders broad, corset struggling to keep a thickening waist in check. He moved well though - almost too well, if the heat still rising in Severus' blood was to be a judge - and his halo of blond curls contrasted wonderfully with the trashy attire and lewd gyrations. He was taking to the show like a natural; new there, perhaps, but clearly not new to prostituting himself. He looked not so much an invitation, but a provocation.
Severus drained his firewhisky and made a decision. "That one," he hissed at the bartender.
"Right 'e are, sir," the man snivelled, then made his oafish way to the platform and grabbed at the new man's leg, pulling him offstage and into one of the back rooms.
If the main bar of the club was considered distasteful, the bourdoir cupboards in the rear were downright disgusting. They boasted a couch covered in more stains than patches of the original, faded pattern, and the bare minimum in terms of tissues and oil. There was a stench of sex and sweat in the air, close and unrelenting. Closing the door behind him, Severus reveled in the atmosphere; this was going to be fun.
The new boy was already standing there, seemingly frozen, perhaps unsure as to what he should do. It was true that every customer might have different requests, Severus supposed, and he wasted no time making his known. “Turn around and bend over.”
Something peculiar happened just then, however. The boy gasped and whispered under his breath, “Oh Merlin. It's you.” Severus saw the man's cock twitch within his silky drawers as he stared from the other side of his mask, seemingly transfixed.
He narrowed his eyes as he regarded the strange, alluring harlot before him. Severus may have been well known, but his fame tended to win him obedient submissiveness, not any sort of surprised reaction – particularly not one coupled with obvious arousal. Hero he may be, but Severus had no illusions about the fact that he was still commonly regarded hideous. He decided he needed to know what was going on. "Take off your mask. I like to see what I'm having before I have it."
“I...” the man hesitated, curls twitching about his ears.
Severus grew impatient. “I said, take off your mask,” he snapped.
With a shake in his touch, the boy slipped the mask from his face to reveal – none other than the once-famous, once-Professor Gilderoy Lockhart. Oh, he had changed a bit – lost some tone, gained some weight – but the likeness was unmistakable. Here was the very same cad that had made Severus' life troublesome for a year, had irritated the hell out of a whole castle and had nearly got the saviour-of-the-bloody-world killed before said saviour had even had the chance to grow up.
And now, here he was; smug expression wiped from his not-so-swooningly-handsome-after-all visage, and gift-wrapped in elastic and frills and pearls for Severus' own perverse delight. A cruel smile curved Severus' lips. "Well, well. This will indeed be a pleasure."
His utterance seemed to have a further effect upon the man he now knew to be Lockhart; he whimpered and the tenting in his knickers grew prouder still.
Severus chose to ignore, what, if anything, that could mean. “Get on with it then, man,” he commanded, “I said, 'turn around and bend over.'”
Lockhart complied, and then Severus summoned the oil - more for his own comfort than anything else – and wasted no time in tearing down those delicate silken panties to reveal a wide but tempting rump, criss-crossed with the red lines of suspenders - which he snapped for good measure as he extricated himself from his robes. Lockhart gasped as the garters smacked his skin, and then cried out excitedly as Severus' cock pushed against his entrance, offering his arse even more wantonly at the contact.
Giving a satisfied grunt, Severus pushed inside with one long movement. The man was gratifyingly tight; perhaps the best he'd had in ages, and he quickly settled into a steady rhythm of thrusts; with such happy gloating to be had, he did not wish for it to be over too soon.
As things progressed, however, it became increasingly clear that Lockhart was most definitely not a typical kind of whore. He pushed back onto Severus cock, arching his back needily as if he wanted nothing more than to be fucked, and muttering and litany of "Oh yes, oh yes.... Oh god, yes. Oh yes..." as Severus pounded home.
The needy sounds drove Severus further into a frenzy, and he felt drunk and giddy at the sluttish sight of the once-proud man before him. His pointed fingers dug into the imperfect flesh of Lockhart's hips in a way that was so fallenly delicious and low Severus felt another wave of arousal bloom within him, and the lacings of the corset creaked with strain as they bucked hard and fast. On impulse, Severus muttered a wandless charm to make the thing lace tighter still, and then reveled in the sound of Lockhart's shallow, pained breathing as he clenched yet more strongly and they both strained toward orgasm.
The two men came almost at the same moment, and it was the most powerful climax Severus had felt for years. Lockhart collapsed onto the couch, knickers around his ankles and costume sprayed with come, as Severus leaned against the wall, panting nearly as much as the prone man before him.
Flushed and gasping as he was, Lockhart was still the first to speak. “My gosh, Severus Snape! I always did fancy you...”
Severus' brain felt fuzzy from his exertions, but that unlikely statement – and indeed, the unlikeliness of the whole scenario - definitely gave him pause. He narrowed his eyes in disbelief. “You what?”
“Always had a thing for you - that year in Hogwarts, I mean. 'The nasty, commanding Potions Master, harsher in the bedroom than out - preying upon the gorgeous creatures like me, dragging them from sunlight to shade.' As fantasies go, fairly potent, you know.”
Severus scoffed, mainly to hide the arresting affect such an image had upon him. He extracted a heavy purse of coins from a pocket of his robe and tossed them at Lockhart. It was far more than he'd usually pay a prostitute, but he was rich these days so it didn't really matter - and that had been about a hundred percent above average.
“Excellent,” Lockhart beamed. “I need the cash, so I'll take it. But to be honest, Severus, I would have done that for free!”
Really? Severus considered once more, seized by a mad but beguiling thought. It had been bloody good. Oh how lovely it would be to have that whenever he wanted; all that riblad flesh at his beck and call; that once-stroppy tongue just for his own sick pleasure. ...The mansion he'd bought with his war-honours was definitely large enough to keep a boy or two. With that at home, he honestly wouldn't miss the seediness of a place such as this.
Rearranging his robes, Severus drank in the sight of a disarrayed Lockhart one last time before reaching a conclusion. “Then I might speak to your manger,” he said, and whisked through the door, back into the club.