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"Albus, you must be kidding."
Severus was irked. Somehow Albus Dumbledore had summoned him to his chambers just minutes earlier to inform him of when the teacher auction was taking place. Apparently every teacher that had signed up for his auction had to write out a set of restrictions on what they can or cannot do during their five days of ownership. At first Severus was confused as to why Dumbledore felt the need to inform him of this in private. And then it dawned on him - somehow he had gotten it into his head that he, Severus Snape, the most imposing and unfriendly teacher at Hogwarts, would be selling himself off to the highest bidding student.
"Now Severus," said Dumbledore soothingly, "be a sport. After all, you did sign the contract..."
"I did no such thing!" cried Severus, shocked and indignant. Dumbledore's eyes twinkled and he suddenly felt nervous. Did he unknowing sign a contract? "Albus, when you came down to my chambers at four thirty in the morning with those potions orders to sign that "had" to be signed "immediately", was that all I signed?" The headmaster just smiled and Severus' stomach dropped. His wand hand twitched and craved to strike out at the elderly man sitting smugly before him. Visions of green sparks shooting towards Dumbledore flooded his mind. How dare he volunteer and then commit him to this farce.
"Sorry to disappoint you but I will most certainly not be going through with this. I signed up unknowingly." Severus tried to keep his voice level but he was finding it difficult. "I would never sell my self to a student. Merlin! I can just imagine what they would have me do!"
"Calm down, Severus," cooed Dumbledore, handing him a cup of tea and a cookie. "That is why you get to set down restrictions."
"You're still acting as if I'm going through with this!"
"Yes, I am, because you will be." To silence his protestations Dumbledore gave Severus a stare that would challenge any of his. Severus shut his mouth with a snap. "Yes, I signed you up deceitfully but your signature is on the parchment." Dumbledore's features softened again. "Now, I want you to see this as an opportunity to develop a better rapport with your students. As it stands the marks your students get are consistently lower than the rest of their marks. This can be due to a couple of things but I believe that it is due to the students not feeling confident they can go to you for help. Thus, you will be auctioned off and you will go along with it."
"Well, I most certainly won't enjoy it, you malicious old man," scowled Severus dismally. Damn that man. Who needs Voldemort when Dumbledore was around to torture him.
"I would never be so presumptuous," smiled Dumbledore.
"And I can't promise I won't hex whoever buys me."
"I'm sure you'll do your best not to."
"Fine. Lets get these restrictions down."
Severus mumbled an anti-nausiant charm to himself. He had never been so fearful and nervous in his life, deatheater activities included. The auction was halfway through and he was up next. As each teacher was auctioned off he felt more and more sick to his stomach. Even with is restrictions he still feared what his "owner" would make him do. An intense wave of nausea washed over him as he heard the gavel bang loudly marking the end of Lupin's sale - he had been bought by a large group of Hufflepuffs who needed help in Defense Against the Dark Arts class, which Lupin was once again teaching. There had been, however, a bit of a bidding war between the Hufflepuffs and a group of Slytherin. Apparently Lupin's "no restrictions" policy piqued their interest. He had been shocked when it was announced that there would be no restrictons on him but, thinking back, he remembered that the man had always been an exhibitionist.
"Next on the chopping block is Severus Snape!" called the auctioneer, some Ravenclaw he couldn't identify. A collective gasp went through the great hall, turning into giggles and not-so-quiet whispers. Snape sneered. Apparently the students hadn't been informed of who would and wouldn't be sold. "Professor, if you would." said the Ravenclaw, motioning to the platform on which he was supposed to stand. As he made his way to the platform he performed the anti-nausiant charm on himself twice, sure he would need it.
"Professor Snape, as you all know, is Hogwart's potions master. His likes are midnight walks, reading by the fire, and long bubble baths." The hall erupted into laugher but immediately stopped when he glared. He didn't know what irritated him more, that it had been said, or that someone somehow found out that he liked bubble baths and chose to inform the auctioneer. He fixed his glare onto the Ravenclaw, who coughed nervously before continuing. "His dislikes are poor manners, incompetence, and foolish children. His restrictions are that he will not do sexual favours, homework, and he must be allowed to both teach and prepare for all of his classes. Bidding starts at a sickle."
And thus began his auctioning. He was alarmed at how fast his price shot up to fifteen galleons, then twenty. There was a lull and he prayed that he would be bought so he could get off of the platform and hide in his chambers for a couple hours. Then the most dreadful thing happened.
"We're at twenty galleons, seven sickles to Neville Longbottom," she repeated. Evidently Longbottom wanted revenge. "I'd like to remind everyone that there was NOT a clothing restriction put in place which means for five days Professor Snape can be your own, personal Ken doll!"
Snape's eyes widened. It hadn't even occurred to him to put a clothing restriction in his contract! He lowered his head, pinched the bridge of his nose, and groaned. He made a mental note to murder Albus. And then he heard it.
"One Hundred Galleons!" cried a male voice. Snape's eyes flew open to see who called out the bid and shuddered to see that it was Harry Potter. Snape cursed himself for singling him out all those years, taking points off for no particular reason, allowing Malfoy to torment him as he pleased. Oh, he was in for it now. If he was spending that much on him he could only imagine what he had planned.
"Sold to Harry Potter for one hundred galleons!" The gavel banged loudly. Snape wanted to cry.
Hours later Severus was consoling himself with a large glass of scotch while soaking in a bubble bath. He still couldn't figure out how anyone learned of his enjoying baths. It wasn't as if he left any visible sign behind for anyone to find, house elves included. He transfigured his bed to make the bath and kept his bath oil in a vial labeled "essence of boomslang skin". He took a deep drink of his scotch before sitting it on his nightstand. He summoned his shampoo and worked it into a lather before immersing his head in the tub to rinse. Coming back up for air he heard a gentle knocking on his door. Grumbling he stumbled out of his bath, pulled on his robe and padded to the door. He cast a quick hair-drying charm before opening it, not wanting anyone to know he was taking a bath. Opening the door he found himself faced with a nervous, but smiling, Harry Potter.
"Good evening Professor," said Harry politely. "I was wondering if you'd like to set up when your service would take place." Snape could see that Harry was trying not to smile.
"Fine," said Severus, motioning for Harry to enter. "I'd like to get this done with as soon as possible."
"Okay," grinned Harry, clearly enjoying Severus's discomfort. "Would you like for me to own you for five consecutive days or would you like it spread out?"
"Consecutively, if you wouldn't mind," sneered Severus. The thought of drawing it out was out of the question. He ignored Harry's unsuccessfully repressed chuckle.
"Okay, well, how is next week for you?"
"Fine." In nine days all of this would be over, realized Severus and he took comfort in that and used it to brace himself for the next part of the planning. "So, what will you be having me do?"
Harry's cleared his throat and turned red. "Well, first you won't be wearing those robes." Severus' eyes shot open - was Harry to have him go around naked for the seven days? Harry seemed to understand his thoughts and quickly added, "I'll be providing you with a wardrobe from which you can choose your outfits. Uh, second, you'll be tutoring Neville for an hour every evening."
"Well, he needs help in potions."
"Well, he wants to do better but is scared that if he goes to you for help you'll torture him or something." Severus snorted. "So, part of your service is to tutor him and he civil about it. I'll be monitoring the tutoring sessions and if I feel you're being unduly nasty towards him I will find a suitable punishment for you."
Harry smiled. "Just hope that it doesn't come to that."
"Fine. I have to tutor Longbottom. What else?"
"Uh, that's all I've come up with so far." Snape raised an eyebrow. "I'm hoping to be struck with a genius plan."
"Splendid," grunted Snape. "Well, if we're done here."
"Of course. Goodnight Professor." Harry turned to leave. "I'll drop off your wardrobe Sunday night," he called over his shoulder, so that Snape wouldn't see his grin.
That bastard. Severus had gone through the entire wardrobe and couldn't find anything at all appropriate. Lots of pairs of tight jeans, even a pair of leather pants, but nothing that he would be comfortable wearing. As for tops, well, there were turtleneck sweaters, which could have been fine except that they were quite snug as well. Every article of clothing was strewn about his chambers before he settled on a pair of the atrociously formfitting jeans, a button up red shirt and a pair of shoes which read "Sketchers" on the side. He didn't know who or what "Sketchers" was but he had to admit, if only to himself, they were quite comfortable. Taking a final look in the mirror, Severus left his chambers. Taking a deep breath and setting a sneer on his face Severus entered the Great Hall for breakfast.
The gasps echoed through the hall and Severus sneered even harder. He glared at those that were brazen enough to make eye contact but apparently its impossible to be imposing and scary not wearing his usual robes. He looked over at Harry and scowled but Harry just smiled sheepishly and shrugged before turning back to his breakfast.
"Intolerable, stupid, bastardly..."
"What was that Severus?"
Severus practically ran to his chambers after supper. One down, six to go he thought, rubbing his hands in his eyes. He had an atrociously difficult time trying to maintain control in his classes. His robes were like Sampson and his hair - remove them and all his power vanishes. There was a disgusting amount of giggling (giggling!) in his classes and it wasn't until he took thirty points from Slytherin for chatting constantly that people calmed down and worked.
"Well, I survived," he said outloud to noone, "but I need to get these damned clothes off." He got as far as the third button on his shirt when there was a knock on his door. He stormed over and threw the door open, ready to cast an unforgivable at whoever stood before him.
"Good evening Professor," said his owner brightly. "We're here for the tutoring session." The 'we' in question was cowering behind Harry, literally shaking. He had forgotten about the tutoring and would have rathered sit in front of his fireplace and read but he was a man of his word.
"Enter," he said, indicating a table for Neville to sit at. He scampered over to the chair and sat quickly, not wanting to keep the very irate professor waiting. Severus sighed inwardly and went to sit down when he realised Harry was sitting in *his* chair by the fire with a book opened in his lap. He was going to tell him to move to a different chair when he caught the look in Harry's eye - what was that look? It was nothing he had ever seen on the boy before. Harry grinned impishly when he caught his gaze, motioning with his eyes at his chest. Severus looked down and saw that his shirt was still unbuttoned half way.
"Do you like your clothes?" asked Harry grinning as Severus rebuttoned his shirt.
"No, Mr. Potter, I do not like the clothes you provided for me."
"Too bad... they look good..." said Harry, turning his gaze to the book in his lap. "The hour of tutoring starts now."
"Oh, for Merlin's sake, Mr. Longbottom! Do you not know the difference between simmer and rapid boil?" Harry cleared his throat loudly and Severus took a calming breath. That was the fifth warning cough he had received. He did not want to know what Harry would think up for punishment.
"S-Sorry Proffessor Snape," twittered Neville, reducing the heat on his cauldron.
"Its okay, Mr. Longbottom," he said through clenched teeth. This was the most trying experience of his life. Neville was truly inept when it came to potions and he overcompensated by apologizing constantly, which simply drove him all more crazy. "Now, stir the potion brusquely seven times... I said brusquely! No, Mr. Longbottom, not gently! Oh, thats it!" he roared, snatching the spoon from Neville's hands. "Honestly boy! You'd think you could stir correctly at the very least! Even a squib can stir things!"
"Professor, you've just earned yourself a punishment," said Harry evenly, looking him dead in the eye. His gaze abruptly softened, and he said cheerfully "Now, back to the lesson. You still have thirteen minutes remaining." Severus remarked to himself how much like Dumbledore Harry was as he handed Neville the spoon. The thirteen minutes passed without any more ordeals. Apparently seeing Harry reprimand Severus put him somewhat at ease and his potions work improved slightly. He left Severus' chambers quickly, leaving the owned and the owner alone.
"If you don't mind, Mr. Potter," he said snippily, motioning towards the door.
"We haven't established the terms of your punishment." Severus rolled his eyes. "I gave you more than fair warning."
"What do you have planned then?"
"I get to cut your hair however I like and it is to stay that way until the end of your service. No spelling it back to its original length."
"Oh, come now! That is unreasonable! I will NOT have you put me in pigtails or shave me bald."
"I will give you a perfectly stylish haircut," said Harry defensively. "I cut the hair of many of the Gryffindors. Now, please sit down so I can begin." Harry was already conjuring up scissors and a cloak. Severus glared. He had always used a simple hair cutting charm to maintain his hair - to have it cut the muggle way seemed barbaric. Harry just grinned and patted the chair that he transfigured into a barbershop chair.
"I will exact my revenge upon you, Potter, I swear it," he said through clenched teeth as he sat down. Harry placed the cloak around his neck, securing snugly so that little cuttings wouldn't go down his neck.
"I'd expect no less from you," said Harry. He couldn't see him but he could hear the smile in his voice. He was about to complain again when he felt hands running across the back of his neck, gently untucking the hair that was pinned by the cloak. It had been a long time since he had been touched gently in any sense so to have someone do so was a shock. He heard the voice behind him conjure up his supplies and was suddenly tilted so that his neck fit into a groove in a sink. He yelped in surprise, pulling his head up. Harry ran his fingers through his hair, and eased his head back down. "Calm down, I won't hurt you." "You'll excuse me if having my neck exposed to you while you have sharp objects isn't a comforting thought," growled Severus but was drown out by the whoosh of running water. He was impressed at Harry's skills in conjuring and transfiguration, for getting running water was quite difficult, but was swiftly distracted by the warm water flowing over his head.
"Too warm? Too cold?"
"No no.. its perfect." sighed Severus before he could stop himself. Damn that boy. He did not want him to know he was enjoying this thoroughly. He tensed briefly as Harry started massaging shampoo into his hair. It really was massaging too, not the rough and feverish application he usually used on himself. He felt the fingertips rubbing small circles first at his temples, moving slowly across his head. He closed his eyes, but only because he didn't want soap in his eyes, he reasoned, even though Harry carefully kept the soap, gently scented with rosemary and vanilla, far from his eyes. The hands moved slowly back, always making small massaging motions. At the bottom of his head the fingers squeezed and worked the muscles of his neck. He found himself edging back so that the fingers would have better access. Taking the hint, the fingers worked deeply into his neck, working out the soreness and stiffness residing there. He hid his disappointment when the fingers moved off, evidently retrieving the water to rinse out the shampoo.
"I don't think we'll use conditioner," said Harry softly. "Your hair is somewhat oily to begin with." A towel was placed over his hair and the chair was returned to its upright position. Harry summoned a large mirror so that he could see Severus' head clearly. "Now. what to do with your hair." Severus saw in the mirror that Harry had picked up something that looked like a razor and flinched. Before he had time to complain, yet again, the swiftly moving razor attacked his hair. Bits of black hair flew every which way. He looked at Harry's face in the mirror and was surprised to see a very intent and serious expression. He studied the face, realizing how adult Harry was looking. Yes, it was his seventh year and was more or less an adult now. and yet he seemed older than his age would suggest. Perhaps it was due to the fact that he had experienced more trouble and hardship in his young life than most people would experience in five lifetimes. Whatever it was the person he was looking at was the boy he had taught.
Having his eyes meet with green ones derailed his thoughts. "Done," declared Harry proudly. Severus looked at his head and actually gasped. He couldn't believe a hair cut could make that much of a difference. His hair was now short and layered, framing his face and eyes. He wouldn't have recognized himself. He pushed the wispy bangs from his eyes and marveled at soft his hair was now.
"Do you like it?" asked Harry uncertainly.
"I suppose it could be worse," answer Severus, not wanting to admit how much he truly loved it. Harry smiled as if he had just been given the most sincere compliment as he removed the cloak and performed a simple cleaning spell. "Where did you learn to cut hair?"
"My aunt, uncle, and cousin had me cut their hair for them for years," explained Harry. "I was more or less forced to become good at it, what with the punishment I would get if they didn't like it." Harry trailed off, evidently saying more than he had meant to. "Anyway, I'll see you tomorrow professor."
"Goodnight Har... er, Mr. Potter."