TEAM PHOENIX ENTRY: Adbaculum "Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs: A Comedy" Title: Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs: A Comedy Author:gnomad Team: Phoenix Genre(s): Romance Prompt(s): Tip Jar, Comedy of Errors Rating/Warnings/Kinks: NC-17, *prostitution themes abound* Word Count: ~8300 Summary: When his lover gets himself into a bad situation, Harry comes to the rescue. Whether the stubborn git likes it or not, damn it. A/N: A huge thank you to swtalmnd, treewishes, and alisanne for the speedy and helpful betas! All remaining mistakes are my own. Also, thank you to treewishes for helping me talk out the plot and put it into something that made (somewhat) more sense than the original idea, to swtalmnd for the name of the Wizarding World's red light district, and to the Snarry Games Mods, who are awesome, patient, and have some really fucking impressive modding skills. *tips hat*
'You might want to wear something a little flirty for the occasion. A few lacy frills never go amiss in that place.'
The unfamiliar teasing voice drifted up the back stairwell to where Harry Potter stood in stained, ragged Quidditch gear. His arrival home was earlier than planned, and he was surprised to hear that Severus had a guest. Severus never had guests. Intending to dash off for a quick bath before greeting his partner (Harry's post-Quidditch stink being a constant subject of derision and mockery in their relationship), he stopped when the strange voice caught his ear. It occurred to him for a second that Severus wouldn't appreciate him eavesdropping on his conversation, but since when did anyone suggest Severus should dress up in lace? Harry moved closer to the top of the stairs to listen.
'I don't think that would be appropriate for the occasion. He is expecting someone of a certain status, not some common whore,' Severus replied, his voice hard and tight. Harry crept down a few steps to hear better, his mind racing in surprise and confusion. Whoever this person was, Severus didn't sound too thrilled to have him here. And what meeting was Severus talking about?
'Oh, don't be such a prude; it doesn't become you,' Harry heard the man say, sounding amused. 'He'll be there tomorrow at nine.'
'And who is my...handler?'
'Come through the back entrance like the other guys and Rou will show you where to go. Your buyer'll use the tip jar to request your services. I've got you at eight Sickles and a Knut.'
Harry listened, trying to make sense of what he was hearing and only coming up with absurd answers. 'Who the hell is handling Severus?' he thought indignantly. No one should be handling his lover except him.
He was about to charge down the steps and make his presence known, but he stopped when the mention of a tip jar pulled at something in his memory. Seamus once mentioned a wizarding pub in London that housed rentboys. They apparently had a unique practice of keeping a tip jar at the bar where interested clients would drop in a certain amount of change to order to request a boy's services. Harry had wondered at the time how the management distinguished between real tips and interested johns, but didn't give it much more thought. After all, he didn't think he'd ever need to know the ins and outs of a brothel.
Oh! He panicked at his next thought: Was Severus visiting a prostitute? After everything they'd been through, he couldn't believe Severus would do that to him! But...no, that didn't make sense. The man downstairs said the person would be using the tip jar to request Severus' services. Surely that didn't mean--
'Now, now. Don't worry. The amount bears no relation to the quality. It's just the request fee.' The man's snigger drifted up the stairwell again.
'I assure you my apparent reputation is the least of my concerns.'
'Dunno, I suspect reputation is what's got you this far in these deals. Anyway, Rou will take care of him downstairs and make sure he's shown to your room. I expect you'll take it from there.' The man took on a leering tone. Harry abandoned all thought of interrupting the two and instead found himself sliding down to sit on the top step of the stairs. It didn't make sense.
'And I assume the price was acceptable?' Severus continued to sound irritated. Harry could imagine him fingering his wand in his robe pocket. He had a habit of doing it whenever he was annoyed but had to tolerate the person he was speaking to. He did it constantly during Weasley family dinners.
'He thought it was fair.'
'Good. Well then, if that's all?' Severus said briskly. Harry heard the back door open and the heavy thud of steps crossing the length of the kitchen. There was a scrape as the steps stopped, and Harry had to lean in to hear:
'Are you sure you want to go through with this? There are easier ways...'
'If I wanted your opinion I would have asked for it.' There was a pause before Severus continued in a low voice, 'I'm quite sure about this arrangement; the benefits outweigh the risks.'
'Very well. Good luck tomorrow, Snape.'
Harry heard the back door close and listened as Severus walked quickly down to their basement where he kept his potions workshop. He stared unseeing at the wall across from his seat and tried to digest the most ridiculous conversation he'd ever eavesdropped on.
It couldn't be, though. Severus didn't need to be a...prostitute; he had a business and a family and certainly had ready access to whatever sex he wanted. Plus, he was the proudest man Harry knew. He just couldn't picture Severus debasing himself for money. It was ridiculous!
Only--his breath quickened as a horrible thought came to him--he was the proudest man Harry knew.
Severus' bookstore hadn't been doing well lately. They didn't talk about it much, but Harry knew that he was making less than the overhead for his shop. From their infrequent discussions about money, which typically ended with Harry sleeping on Ron and Hermione's couch for a weekend, he knew just how sensitive his lover was about the subject and Harry's wealth in particular. A cold weight settled in the pit of his stomach. Was this Severus' solution to his failing business? Would he really rather prostitute himself and cheat on Harry than admit that he failed at something and ask for Harry's financial help?
Harry began to panic.
He'd thought things were turning around a little. Severus had acquired new robes recently and was talking vaguely about a holiday in France this summer. What if--what if his extra spending money wasn't from an increase in business? Oh! And he seemed to be out of the house more lately. He no longer complained when Harry spent time with Ron and Hermione. What if he was using that time to see clients...
Harry stood up unthinkingly, breathing hard like he'd just sprinted a mile.
Sweet Merlin. His lover was a whore.
Harry flew halfway to Ron and Hermione's house on his broom before he realized that this revelation was something he couldn't share with them. He could picture the conversation already. They would be unconvinced, sure that Harry had misheard. Or worse, Hermione would gaze at him with a look of pity while Ron repeatedly muttered a smug "I knew this wouldn't end well" throughout the evening. Harry slowed his broom and hovered over the empty countryside, bereft at being unable to turn to his friends for help.
He wasn't sure what this all meant for his relationship with Severus. He hated that there were other men out there fucking his partner, using him. Worse, though, was the fact that Severus hadn't even come to Harry for help. He'd rather take the worst, most desperate route to solve a problem than to ask for support from his partner. Anger and hurt burned through his gut. Severus still didn't treat him as an adult, an equal, after all the years he worked to change that.
No. He pushed the thoughts away. If Severus was resorting to prostitution (the word rolled around his tongue like the bitterest potion), it was because he was desperate and didn't know how to ask. And at the end of the day, Harry loved the stubborn git no matter what. So if he needed help he was going to get it, whether he liked it or not.
Harry turned his Firebolt around and headed home with new determination. He would talk to Severus about this, make him see. But...no, Severus would just deny it and become offended that Harry even brought it up. He needed incontrovertible proof. Something grander. Something that Severus couldn't brush off.
He furrowed his brow in thought as he flew. Yes, it was the only way. He would go to the pub tomorrow night. He would find Severus, find him before this so-called client came round, and bring him to his senses. He was a little fuzzy on how to accomplish the last bit, but was sure he'd figure it out when he got there.
Harry touched down in their back garden softly, feeling a sense of confidence in the situation. He would get Severus out of this.
He walked into the house and propped his broom just inside the door as Severus came out of the basement. At the sight of his lover, his confidence took a nose dive faster than a Seeker executing a Wronski Feint.
'Hey there,' he said, trying hard not to sound like he just found out that he was in a relationship with a prostitute. He waved his hand in greeting but quickly put it down in embarrassment. He never, ever greeted Severus with a hand wave.
'Ah, hello. Are you just getting home?' Severus' hair was pulled back in the loose ponytail he favored while brewing and he wore an old dragonhide apron. He seemed preoccupied with the two phials of viscous purple potion in his hands.
'Er, yeah. Long match.' Harry stood in the middle of the room, wondering if he should kiss Severus on the cheek. He often kissed him when he got home, but would it look too scripted? He tabled the idea in favor of asking, 'What's the potion?'
Severus spared him an annoyed glance before setting the phials on the table and hanging his apron on a hook behind the basement door.
'I live with an idiot.' Severus muttered to himself. Harry couldn't help but smile at the familiar lament. 'At least the sex is good.'
'It's all that practice,' he shot back unthinking. Damn! He felt his face heat when he realized what he'd just said. How could he say something so unfeeling to a man who had sex for money?
However, Severus' mouth quirked in an almost-smile and he looked at Harry curiously before he continued, 'I've been experimenting on our standard lubrication potion. I wanted something a little slicker, longer lasting but requiring less of the potion.' He held up one of the phials to the afternoon sunlight streaming through the window and admired it. 'I think I may have succeeded.'
Harry's eyes widened as he stared at the pearlescent purple liquid. Bloody hell. Well, of course Severus would want something that eased the strain of his new profession, but Harry didn't think he'd flaunt it about so blatantly. Wasn't he worried Harry would get suspicious? Or did he think that Harry wouldn't care?
'You don't have to do this,' he blurted out, cursing his impulsiveness as soon as he said it.
Severus looked at him like he'd grown another head. 'Of course, I don't have to do it. I simply thought it would be a nice way to get more mileage out of a frequently used potion. You disagree?'
Severus' words echoed through Harry's head. Frequently used!
'Yes! I mean no! I mean, you know I can help you with anything, like this, any time, right?' Harry started to feel ill; this wasn't how he planned on doing this. Severus narrowed his eyes and stared at him intently.
'Are you feeling all right? You've never once asked to help me with potions before--'
Harry was most certainly not feeling all right, and he most certainly wasn't talking about the damn potions. He could feel his courage flagging, though. And in this case, perhaps retreat was the better part of valor. 'Yeah, I'm fine. Just tired from the game. I'm gonna take a shower--you know, get less stinky.'
And without waiting for a response, he turned on his heel and bolted up the stairs, leaving a very bemused Severus standing in the kitchen holding a bottle of his new purple lube.
The next morning, after spending a sleepless night staring worriedly at his lover and deciding that half-arsed attempts at bringing up Severus' Situation (as he'd taken to calling it in his head) weren't going to work, Harry was up early to track down Seamus and get more details on this pub. Seamus worked in the Wizengamot Administration Office at the Ministry and was surprisingly difficult to track down for someone with a desk job. It took a few inquiries and a frightening (and somewhat confusing) run-in with a lost vampire looking for the Part-Human Complaints Office before Harry found him assisting with a massive file restructuring project in Auror Headquarters.
'Hullo there, Harry!' Seamus said with a big smile when he spotted Harry walking towards him. He sat in the far corner of the office half hidden behind a teetering five-foot high stack of scrolls.
'Hullo, Seamus, Roderick told me I could find you here.' Harry looked around at Seamus' corner of the room and winced at the piles of newspapers and scrolls and unfolded airplane memos that covered the entire floor. 'I, er, hope I'm not bothering you.'
'Nah, m'boss shipped me down here originally because they were so short staffed, but now that everyone's got their knickers in a twist over this new Purshell case I'm glad to be away from it all.' He flipped his sandy hair out of his face has he talked. 'What brings you by? Something wrong?'
Harry pulled a chair from the nearest open cubicle and sat down, careful not to disturb any of the unsteady stacks. 'Erm, actually I came by to ask you about something you mentioned when we were out for drinks a while back.'
'Uh oh. You're holding me accountable for something I said after drinking a few pints?' Seamus said and laughed. Harry smiled nervously at the joke.
'Well, the thing is...do you remember talking about a pub in London. It was a, er, special pub.'
Seamus' brown eyes gleamed with mischief and he put a hand on his heart. 'All pubs are special in their own way. 'Fraid I'm going to need a bit more information than that.'
Harry looked around for anyone who could possibly overhear, but the other staff seemed to be out on assignments or had wandered off for lunch. He leaned in.
'It made special use of a tip jar,' he said significantly.
Seamus' eyes widened in comprehension. 'Blimey, Harry. I didn't know you're into that kind of thing.'
'No!' Harry shouted before lowering his voice back down to a whisper. 'It's not for me, I swear. I just, er, need to know. For a friend.'
'For a friend...' Seamus repeated slowly, his tone telling Harry that it was as lame an excuse to his ears as it was to Harry's. 'I'd hate to see what Snape does if he ever found you in such a place.'
Harry cringed. Seamus didn't know the half of it. 'I don't think it's something I need to worry about.'
'Well, I've never been there. I just heard a few guys on the Hit Squad talking about it.'
'Can you tell me where it is?' Harry said, leaning in again.
Seamus rubbed his neck in thought and looked doubtful. 'You head down Knockturn and take the third Alley on the left. Karn Alley, I think it is. The pub's down there somewhere.'
Harry nodded. He vaguely recalled the twisted little alley from his occasional wanderings in that area. 'And there's a...protocol with the tip jar?'
'Yeah, each boy has an amount. You drop the correct change into the bar and the barkeep will show you the room you want. Keeps the boys out of the front area and away from any MLE that happen by, you know? There's been such a fuss over that sort of activity lately.'
'Yeah, I suppose. Anything else?'
'Sorry, that's all I know. What's this about anyway? You aren't in any kind of trouble are you?'
'I really can't say, but I'm not in trouble. Thanks though. It's been really helpful.' Harry stood up and replaced the chair in the cubicle, eager to get going and make his plans for the evening.
'No problem, mate. Owl me next time you want to go out for a pint.' Harry gave him a quick smile and started walking back toward the lift.
'Oh! And Harry?' Seamus called out and Harry looked back. 'Whatever you're doing with this pub, get a good disguise, will ya?'
Harry mumbled his thanks and felt himself blushing all the way to the lift. He hadn't even thought of that.
Harry knew he should feel more disappointed and hurt at Severus' easy acquiescence to his lie that he was spending the night with Ron and Hermione, but frankly it made everything a little easier. He left the house at seven and headed to a little bookshop around the corner from The Leaky Cauldron. He couldn't find any ready-made Polyjuice in Severus' potions cupboard, so he used a Colour Change Charm to turn his hair a Malfoy-esque shade of blond and a carefully applied a Furry Fusion to his upper lip for a matching moustache. He sincerely hoped it would suffice. He didn't think landing himself and Severus on the front page of the Prophet would put Severus in a mood to listen to reason.
At a quarter past eight he slipped through Diagon Alley and made his way quietly toward Knockturn. The shops that lined the dark cobblestone street were closed for the night, but stragglers still hung about in small groups, gathering quietly around magical fires. Harry kept his hand around his wand and walked purposefully toward his goal, carefully keeping the hood up on his travelling cloak. He didn't want to be delayed by trouble before he even got to the pub.
He found Karn Alley at the third turn on the left, as expected, sign written in an elaborate script in lurid red ink. The Alley was smaller than Knockturn, its path taking kinkier turns and creating darker shadows around the buildings. Harry looked for the pub, but didn't see it. Walking a little further on, he stared ahead and worked hard to ignore the aggressive catcalls and flashes of leg (and other things) he got from the men and women he passed. The darkened shop windows around him held displays of lurid sexual apparatuses and promises of the best enhancement potions Galleons could buy. Finally, rounding the corner, Harry saw light streaming out of a grubby first floor window that illuminated a wooden sign hanging below: The Wicked Wand.
It seemed to be the only open establishment in the alley, though the place didn't exactly feel like a pub he ever wanted to go to in order to purchase a prostitute. The name was certainly appropriate, though. He thought of Severus in there, selling his wares so helplessly and felt a pang of pity for his lover. Right. Enough of that. He'd help Severus get out of this mess. No matter what. He looked around once more at the seedy streetscape, secured his hood, and entered The Wicked Wand.
The pub was as dank and dark as its seedy surroundings. A solid grey smoke cloud filled the room and made Harry's eyes water as he stepped across the threshold. He could make out a bar that stretched the length of wall in the back of the pub, patrons filling the seats the whole line down. A squat, ruddy man with long, curly red hair tended the bar. Harry could see him stare suspiciously at his entrance, but decided to ignore it for the time being.
He took a seat at a small table close to the large stone fireplace, and tried to scan the area for what he hoped would be an obvious place to drop spare change. The tip jar, however, didn't seem to be in evidence as Harry had hoped, and he had to stop looking when a toad-faced man two tables over took his searching as an invitation to start staring and licking his lips in what he probably thought was an alluring manner.
Before he could contemplate getting up to search more closely, the curly haired bartender sashayed over to his table. His robe seemed to be cut to emphasize his waist and hips and was made of a red satin that clashed horribly with his hair. Harry imagined that it might have been a beautiful robe once, but the stretching and numerous stains made it look more like a gaudy rag than proper evening wear.
'You in the right place, lamb?' the man said in a shockingly gruff voice. 'I think the Leaky Cauldron was a few turns back.' He looked at Harry keenly.
Harry caught himself smoothing reflexively down his fringe and tried not to fidget. Glancing again around the room, he replied, 'Yeah, positive.' The man still looked suspicious so Harry continued hurriedly, 'I wouldn't mind a pint of mead, if you have it.' He tried to smile. With a grunt and a swivel the bartender strutted back to the bar. Harry assumed it was a "yes".
Unfortunately, suspicious was replaced with lecherous when the toad-faced man sat down uninvited in the seat opposite Harry. Perfect.
'How you doin'?' he croaked coyly, his leering smile revealing mossy, brown teeth.
'Erm,' Harry eloquently responded. The man seemed encouraged.
'You seem up for a good round of swish and flick. I've got a 15-inch wand, hard but springy. Want to come upstairs and see what it can do?' Harry leaned back in his seat uncomfortably, stunned to think those lines actually worked on anyone. Wait--
'Upstairs, you said?'
'Mmmm...it's best when played as a private game.' Toad-face winked and flicked his head toward a corner of the room, and for the first time Harry noticed a tiny stairwell just beyond the bar. Next to the stairs, a large mason jar half filled with coins sat atop an old wooden table. A piece of parchment baring the large letters 'TIPS' was badly spellotaped to the front.
A quick glance at his watch told him it was getting close to 8:45, and he was running out of time to find Severus before his client showed up.
'I'm going to have to pass. I'm afraid I played too much last night and my wrist is still sore from all the flicking, see. Sorry.' Harry shook his head at Toad-face's disappointed look, and got up. He manoeuvred around the drinking men, quickly heading toward the tip jar. But as he approached the staircase, a red satin blur darted out from behind the bar and blocked his way.
'Can I help you, lamb?' the bartender growled, one hand on his hip, the other holding his wand threateningly.
'I was just going to, erm, put some money in the tip jar,' Harry waffled, unsure of how the specifics of this purchasing of whores business played out. 'For the services, I mean, good service.'
'I haven't even brought you your drink yet, peaches.'
'Oh--I just thought--you took my order so promptly. I was sure you'd do a good job with the...delivery.' Harry finished lamely. He could feel himself blushing. How did people do this on a regular basis?
The bartender narrowed his eyes and gripped his wand tighter. 'I suggest you take your seat, boy. I'd hate to take a galleon I didn't earn, after all.' Harry looked at him in alarm. He had to get up there to see Severus otherwise the whole trip would be for naught. Thinking quickly, he slumped his shoulders and decided to play dumb (which, if he thought about it, wasn't all that far off in this situation).
'I'm sorry. I'm just, er, new at...tipping. But I have a friend, see, and he comes here and always says the best things and told me that I should definitely tip for the great service.' He didn't seem to be swaying the bartender in the slightest, but at that moment the door of the pub swung open and the bartender was no longer paying the least bit of attention to Harry.
Harry stopped his explanation to look back through the fog of smoke. The newcomer was hooded in a dark cloak. The man's hands were gloved and he carried with him a large satchel. He looked around for a moment, before making his way slowly to the bar.
The bartender seemed to come back to himself and began to walk toward the new guest. He stopped, though, before he got very far and turned jerkily to Harry as if just remembering he was still there.
'Fine, boy. Put your money in.'
Surprised at the easy and sudden acquiescence, Harry scrambled to get the coins out of his pocket.
'Come on, I've got things to do,' the man said impatiently. Harry grabbed his change and tried to make out which coins were which in the gloom. How much was it for Severus? Nine Sickles and two Knuts?
'Come on, come on! Pay up, or get out.' He grabbed what he thought was the correct amount and tossed it into the jar. Harry started when, the moment the coins hit the bottom, the whole glass lit up in a deep crimson color for a second before fading back to normal. The bartender nodded as this was obviously an expected response from the tip jar.
'Good. And if I hear any trouble out of you, I'll personally make sure you'll have no reason to ever return to this fine establishment again.' He jabbed his wand the direction of Harry's groin, causing Harry to recoil. Satisfied that the threat seemed effective, the bartender flounced off to greet the mysterious man at the bar.
Harry took one last look at the satin-bedecked bartender and the stranger who had him so enthralled, before deciding it was best not to question his luck and taking off quickly up the stairs.
He wondered briefly how he was going to figure out which room was Severus' until he reached the top of the narrow staircase and gazed into a hallway lined with doors. Halfway down the hallway he saw a door on the right glowing softly in the same shade of deep crimson the tip jar had done. He walked over to the door, uncertain whether he should knock or just walk right in. The decision, however, was made for him when the put his hand up to the door and it opened for him with a snick.
He walked across the threshold and took in the small room. Most of the space was filled with a large bed. The bedding was a faded mustard yellow and looked sloppily made. A hard wooden chair sat by the door next to which stood a giant leg shaped table. Harry briefly thought of the troll leg umbrella stand in Grimmauld Place. The troll leg, however, wasn't quite as shapely as the women's leg that held up the tabletop here. The troll also, thankfully, lacked a high heel and fishnets. To the right stood a large wooden folding screen over which piles and piles of brightly coloured silk and lace clothes were draped. The screen seemed to hide the entrance to another small room. Harry guessed it was a bath from the whooshing sound of running water. It was, quite frankly, one of the saddest rooms he'd ever seen. He couldn't believe Severus worked here.
'Helloo?' a voice called in a falsetto from behind the screen. 'I'll be out in a few, just freshening up. What's your pleasure this evening, dear?' The flirting tone lilted and sing-songed over the sound of the water.
'Severus? Severus--it's Harry,' Harry croaked at the unfamiliar high voice. He'd never heard Severus use falsetto. Hell, he'd never heard Severus lilt and flirt. This was the man whose idea of a declaration of undying love was to shampoo his hair before their date.
'Harry? Harry Potter?' the voice continued quickly. 'Oh! Okay, I've done that one loads of times before. Let me just find my wig...' Harry was having a hard time understanding his partner over the water.
'What? You're just fine with your gig? How can you say that? Look, will you just come out here and talk to me? I can't hear a damn thing over that water.'
The water, thankfully, shut off and Severus cleared his throat a few times behind the screen. 'Mister Potter,' he said, dropping the annoying falsetto and continuing in his own baritone, 'Last I checked I was under no obligation to pander to your demands, particularly when you've been such a very naughty boy.'
Harry suppressed a bit of hurt at the words. He knew Severus wouldn't be pleased with his coming here, but he hadn't been spoken to like this since Hogwarts. 'Look, I know you must be upset at me finding out your secret, but I'm here because want to help you.'
'You've always had a knack for getting into other people's business, Potter. What makes you think you know better than anyone else? I think perhaps I need to teach you a lesson, something to put you in your place.'
'Put me in my place?' Harry repeated, bewildered at Severus' coldness. 'I thought we were an equal partnership!'
'You're a dunderhead if you think I've ever considered you anything but a presumptuous, insolent little child. Now...'
Harry reeled at his lover's tone. How could... Why... He felt like he was back in detention with Professor Snape looming over him and berating him for everything from his friends to his penmanship.
There was a rustling behind the screen as though Severus were searching for something, and suddenly Harry was angry. His lover came here to this disgusting place to sell himself--to cheat on Harry!--just so he didn't have to accept Harry's help, and he had the gall to stand there yelling like he was some fourth-year who blew up a potion. And he wouldn't even speak to him face to face!
'Severus, damn it! Stop that and come out here. You can't just dismiss me and take points like we're in a classroom.'
'Oh, I believe we are way beyond point taking, Potter. Your disrespect requires a more hands on kind of discipline. Undress.'
'Disrespect? You're the one cheating--I...what?'
'I said,' Severus continued menacingly, 'Undress.'
'I'm not undressing in the middle of an argument. And would you come out from behind the damn screen already?'
'I will come out when you strip and are bent over the bed, ready to be spanked like the impertinent little boy you are.'
'Er...' This argument had taken a left turn somewhere, and Harry was hopelessly lost.
'Or you can leave,' Severus continued. 'It's your choice.'
He didn't quite understand it, but he trusted his lover more than anyone in the world, so if it made him come out and talk, he supposed it wouldn't hurt to comply. Besides, it's not like Severus hadn't seen or touched (or tasted) every inch of Harry's body at some point. Gulping a bit at the weirdness of it all, he shucked his cloak and robe and threw them on the chair by the door. He quickly tossed his trainers aside as well and stood uncomfortably in the middle of the room in his smalls and socks.
'I...ok. Now will you talk to me?'
'I plan to do much more to you than talk, Mister Potter,' Severus said.
'Yes, well, I'll just be happy if you come out---AAGH!'
Harry jumped back when his lover--no definitely not his lover--stepped out from behind the screen. The man wore a black teaching robe and a black wig similar to Severus' hair but that was where the similarities ended. He was short where Severus was tall, round faced where Severus was long, and had all the commanding presence of a first-year Hufflepuff.
'Who--what--I. Who the hell are you?' Harry shouted. His bare legs backed into the bed, and he realized he was practically naked in front of a perfect stranger.
The man looked confused by Harry's behavior and held up his hands like he was talking to a scared animal. 'Whoa, mate,' he said in a voice that no longer sounded anything like Severus', 'I know the wig's good, but I assure you I'm not going to hurt you any more than you want. We're really good about that sort of stuff here.'
'I'm not--your--' Harry was sure he was doing the perfect impression of a fish. He'd apparently spent all this time trying to convince a random whore that prostitution was not the answer to a failing business.
'Are you ok, mate? You look a little pale.'
'Who are you?' Harry said, catching his breath.
'Well, normally I go by Coco, but in these role play situations I like to try to stay in character as much as possible. Good impression, yeah?'
'Role play? You...role play Severus Snape?' What kind of pervert would want someone to pretend to be his lover?
'Oh, yeah,' Coco said, as he walked over and sat on the bed. 'I get Snape/Potter detention fantasies all the time. People always comin' in wanting to be knocked down a peg or two by Professor Snape. That's why I got the costume.' Harry felt sick.
'I have to go. I'm sorry. I thought you were someone else.' Harry grabbed his clothes from the leg table and rushed out the door.
'Yeah, well, next time, love, make sure you throw the right set of change into the jar,' the man called out from behind him.
There were people emerging from a room down the hall as well, but Harry was too distracted to pay any attention to them. This had become such bad idea and he wanted nothing more than to get home, take a long cold shower, and figure out a different way to deal with Severus' Situation.
'Harry?' Severus' voice called out behind him as he reached the top of the staircase. Harry spun around, angry at the gall of the rent boy still trying to role play as he left.
'Look! I said I need to--oh.'
There in the hallway stood the real Severus Snape.
'Severus.' His lover stood next to the mysterious stranger from downstairs looking for all the world like he was escorting an old friend to the door after an evening meal. His client had his hood down, revealing a pale, angular face with a short cropped beard. He reminded Harry a bit of Karkaroff, but with much warmer eyes. He held in his arms a large, old book as well as the satchel Harry had seen him with downstairs.
He turned to Severus and made a short bow. 'Pleasure doing business with you, Snape. I apologize for the precautions, but Ministry is being so obstinate these days.'
Severus, however, was not looking at his client. Instead, his eyes were focused solely on Harry, sweeping up and down and growing angrier by the second. Nonetheless, he replied softly, 'Not a problem at all. I hope you enjoy the book.'
'And I believe this is my cue to exit. Good evening to you both.' He transferred the book delicately to his satchel and passed Harry quickly in the hallway. 'Lovely hair, Mr Potter,' he murmured as he went smoothly down to the ground floor.
With his exit, Harry and Severus stood silently looking at each other. Severus' jaw clenched and unclenched repeatedly. When he spoke his voice was not much louder than a whisper.
'I must say, with all we've been through in our relationship over the years, adultery was not the betrayal I ever expected from you.'
'What do you mean betrayal?' Harry's voice shot up indignantly, 'Oh! It's not what it looks like! I'm here for you!'
'For me? In what universe would my partner frequenting a whore house be beneficial to me?'
'I'm not frequenting a whore house, you dolt.'
'Your pants beg to differ.' Harry looked down and realized that he forgot to put his robe back on in his haste to leave Coco's room. He blushed and tried to cover himself with his bundle of clothes.
'No! I got confused.'
'You got--do you often get confused in brothels and take off your robes? Have the constant Quidditch injuries really rattled your brain so much that you now just wander into brothels and remove your clothes?' he shouted. Behind them, a few men peeked their heads out of their rooms at the noise.
'No! I'm here because you're a whore and I want to help!'
Severus paled at Harry's words, and he realized that sentence may have come out a little less eloquently than he'd planned. Before he had a chance to correct it, however, Severus once again spoke in a deathly quiet voice:
'I will pack my things this evening. Please don't return home until tomorrow when I am gone.'
With that he swept down the hallway and down the steps. Harry tried to grab him as he passed but was repelled by a nasty stinging hex, which caused him to tumble arse over tit in the middle of the hallway.
The rent boys looked at him curiously, a few of the evil bastards snickering when he got up and rubbed his sore bum. Coco, who had also come out to view the spectacle, looked at him with wide eyes and Harry figured he'd probably put two and two together. However, explaining would have taken half the night and he had a Snape to catch. He gave an apologetic shrug, gathered his clothes, and took off down the stairs.
Harry wasn't sure how, but at some point this night had gone horribly wrong and he had to fix it. He ran through the pub, heedless of the catcalls and whistles from the drunken patrons and out into Karn Alley. The night was cold without a robe or cloak on, but there just wasn't time to stop and throw on his things. He ran down the Alley in the hopes of catching up to his partner.
'Severus! Severus! Wait!' He dodged streetwalkers as he yelled. 'Severus!'
He saw Severus exit Knockturn and Harry sprinted to catch up. They passed Ollivander's when Harry was finally able to grab Severus and stop him. This time when Harry grabbed him there was no stinging hex, but he could feel Severus' muscles tense at the touch and his face was blotchy red in anger.
'Severus,' he panted, 'I'm--I'm sorry.' He tried to explain before Severus decided to Disapparate. 'I went to that place to find you. I swear. I--I got--got the wrong room. And I couldn't see--I couldn't--'
Harry stopped for a moment to catch his breath so he could complete a full sentence. 'I went there because I wanted to make you see that you didn't have to sell yourself!'
Some of the blotchiness gave way to confusion. 'Sell myself?'
'Yeah. I heard you yesterday--at the house. You were discussing plans for that man back there to purchase your services.' Harry saw Severus start to object, but rushed on, 'And I know things have been difficult for you business-wise lately, and we don't talk about money like we should, but how could you ever think that selling sex was your only option? Why didn't you come to me?' He stopped when he realized he was pleading.
Severus relaxed slightly and Harry saw his black eyes glittering with mirth. Harry failed to see anything funny about his lover whoring himself. He shivered as the wind picked up and whipped around his bare legs and chest.
'So, if I understand you correctly, you eavesdropped on a conversation and, instead of talking to me, decided that I work at The Wicked Wand as a prostitute. And then thought that the best course of action was, again, not to talk to me, but to come to the brothel and confront me. And somehow you ended up naked.' Severus crossed his arms and looked like he was waiting for Harry to come to his senses.
'I'm not completely naked!' A snort of contempt followed Harry's statement. 'But, yeah.'
He hated that Severus always had a way of making his best plans seem absurd. Although, standing here in the middle of Diagon Alley in his pants and socks trying to save his partner from the evils of whoring, it did suddenly sound completely mad. 'You're not a prostitute,' Harry stated.
'But...I heard you talking...' he trailed off, confused about what information he'd heard and what information he'd inferred. He was so sure Severus was a prostitute yesterday. 'Then what were you doing at the brothel with that--that man! That client! And all your extra money and your sudden acceptance of my time with Hermione and Ron.'
Severus raised an eyebrow at Harry's evidence. 'You heard me talking to Rafael yesterday about my book sale tonight.'
Harry's mouth dropped. 'Book sale?' he echoed. Severus pinched the bridge of his nose in annoyance.
'Yes, I was selling a very rare edition of Magickal Malaedies of the Darke Ages to an important Healer. He's being harassed by the Ministry right now for a few theoretical essays on Dark Healing, so he wanted to keep his book purchases quiet. They are ridiculous suspicions, but the Ministry is notoriously narrow-minded when it comes to scholarly evaluations. Ironically, it is less harmful to him right now to be seen frequenting a brothel than a bookshop. Hence the complicated set-up. As for the rest, well, his was not the first meeting I've set up lately to sell some of my rarer texts. Thus, it works well for me when you spend time with Ron and Hermione and I can take care of my sales.' Severus shrugged. 'Plus, it means less time I have to spend with them.'
'Oh. That's... Oh.' Harry stared dumbfounded. Severus really wasn't a prostitute. Looking back now, it seemed like all of his conclusions were perfectly stupid.
'Yes, you're an idiot.'
'I thought--' Harry started indignantly, then stopped and blushed. 'Yeah, I'm an idiot.' Severus sighed and brushed a blond lock of hair out Harry face.
'What I'm more concerned with is that you apparently trust me so little that you were so quick to assume I'd rather sell myself than come to you with a problem.'
'Hey! It's not like that conversation yesterday was clear! Books weren't mentioned anywhere!' Harry defended. 'But--I am sorry. I do trust you.'
'I am sorry as well,' Severus responded stiffly. 'We do not, perhaps, talk about money as much as we should. If we did you wouldn't have been so quick to think I was in such dire straits that I needed to resort to prostitution from one misleading conversation.'
'So...we'll talk about it more then?'
Severus looked deeply uncomfortable at the idea, but nodded jerkily. 'We will talk about it more.'
Harry grinned and wrapped his arms around Severus. 'Sounds like a plan. Hey, I'm kind of cold. You think we can go home now?'
Without hesitating, Severus wrapped his arms around Harry in return, and Apparated them both. Harry was surprised to find himself in their bedroom instead of the front porch, but judging by the predatory look in Severus' eye, they were exactly where he meant them to be.
The second Harry caught his balance, he dropped his wrinkled bundled of clothes and leaned up to capture Severus' lips in a hard kiss.
Severus, however, quickly pulled away. 'That moustache has to go.' He pulled his wand out of his pocket and waved it at Harry's face. The blond hair disappeared and, when he reached up to feel his lip and face, realized that Severus had shaved his entire face. Two long, thin fingers softly stroked its way down the side of his cheek, before plucking his glasses off.
Harry sighed at the tender contact. 'I should have known you could never be a whore.'
Snape raised an eyebrow at him. 'You doubt my skills?' Harry opened his mouth to protest, but Severus quickly silenced him with another searing kiss.
He felt hands smooth their way down his back to cup his arse, as he tugged and gently nibbled on his lover's lips. He pushed both of them toward the bed, surprised when Severus swung around before they got there and lifted Harry onto mattress without breaking their kiss.
He lay back while Severus teased his swollen lips and licked at the corner of his mouth. Harry reveled in each new sensation when Severus didn't linger, instead continuing down, trailing his mouth across the corner of his jaw, sucking and nipping as he went. He ground himself into his lover, panting at the lips on his throat, surprised at how quickly he was becoming hard.
Needing to feel Severus' bare skin, Harry worked on undoing the buttons of the black robe in front of him, starting somewhere in the middle when Severus wasn't interested in staying still and cooperative in his undressing. He managed a section and, instead of working on the rest, snaked his hands into the open bit and ran his fingers across the smooth skin he found there. A tweaked nipple, a gasp. He tried to reach lower, but was thwarted by fabric and cruel buttons. Whimpering softly, he received a chuckle for his misery.
''s not fair,' he murmured, trying again at the buttons. He managed a few more before Severus stopped what he was doing to help. They worked through all of them in short order and Severus' robes and shorts were quickly deposited next to the bed.
Harry delighted at the sight of his lover's engorged cock, the purpled head leaking slightly at the tip. Harry reached over and took it in his hand, claiming his Severus' lips again as he began to slowly stroke. His thumb brushed over the slit, and Severus gasped--a slip of control--into Harry's mouth. He felt his own cock jerk in response. He increased his strokes, but Severus quickly grabbed his hand to stop him.
'Now who's not playing fair, Mr Potter?' Severus chided. He reached down and tugged off Harry's own pants, tossing them aside in favor of caressing the hard cock underneath. Harry threw his head back at the contact, reveling in Severus' firm grip. But Severus was right; he didn't plan on playing fair.
He hooked a leg around his lover's torso and flipped them quickly on the bed. Severus landed with an "oof" and Harry managed to brace himself with his arms before he crashed on top of him. A raised eyebrow and a small smirk were the only comment.
He wanted to kiss the smirk off that face, but decided on a better tactic. He crawled down and spread pale, eager thighs, pausing to kiss and suck at Severus' body as he went. He paused when he got to that eager, purple head. Taking it gently into his mouth, he raised his eyes coyly and watched as that smirk faded quickly into an open-mouthed groan. He began licking and sucking quickly, the cock becoming slick with saliva and pre-come. His hand rolled Severus' balls, and he worked his mouth faster and faster, each time taking more. Severus rocked his hips in time with Harry's mouth, a hand fisting the blanket as he gasped. Harry loved this, love making such a severe, controlled man lose his composure. When the head of Severus' cock finally slipped into his throat, Harry rubbed the skin behind Severus' balls.
'Ahhh--Harry!' Severus shouted, and Harry held him as he came, his seed pulsing down Harry's throat while Harry watched in delight.
Harry gently released his deflating cock and rested his head on Severus' thigh. A hand came up and stroked his head and he was able to ignore his own rampant erection for a minute to bask in his partner's rare post-blowjob tenderness.
'Mouth like a whore.' Severus murmured and Harry smacked him on the leg. He envisioned a future full of whore jokes and subtle yet embarrassing references to this incident. Though perhaps not more embarrassing than running around Knockturn in his smalls.
'I am sorry,' he said, looking up to Severus' relaxed face. Severus cracked an eye open at the apology and smirked.
'Mmmm...well. I expect I'll find ways for you to make it up to me.' Harry thought that sounded a little ominous, particularly when Severus leaned up and opened the side table. He sat up while Severus fished around in the drawer. A second later, Severus pulled out a small phial of purple liquid.
'For example, I need a test subject for this new formula, and I see parts of you are eager to apply for the position.' He looked pointedly at Harry's groin and the rampant erection still demanding attention.
Harry grinned and bounced eagerly on the bed. 'You know, if this is the prize I get, I'm going to have to be an idiot more often.'
Severus' groaned wearily, but Harry shut him up with a kiss before he could actually yell. It did the trick, and Severus seemed to abandon the argument in favor of kissing back and getting them both ready for Harry to start his repayment.
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