Beta(s): islandsmoke & shiv5468
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): None.
(Highlight to View) Prompt: Severus is a Dark Magic detector at an exclusive (and illicit) new Polyjuice nightclub. Imagine his surprise when Hermione Granger appears. Why is she there? He must find out by any means possible (SS/HG)..
Note: This follows the spirit of the prompt if not the exact parameters. It is less illicit than I'd hoped it would be.
Summary: Severus is in the business of fulfilling other people's fantasies. He finds that it's a bit more difficult to fulfil his own.
"Did your stint in Azkaban addle your wits?"
Lucius Malfoy smiled. Severus knew that smile. It was the smile of a cat who had not only gotten the canary, but the cream for afters.
"No. However, it was an excellent place for scheming, seeing as how I wasn't allowed anything except books to read." He sipped his Firewhiskey. "You may be wondering how the idea for this endeavor came to me. If you recall, even during that last year before the Dark Lord was defeated, I was still fortunate enough to share a room with my wife." Another sip. "As you know, after the trial, she divorced me and moved to France. So even though conjugal visits are part of the revamped regulations of Azkaban, I no longer had anyone with whom to exercise those pleasant activities."
Severus smirked. "Except for your right hand, of course."
Lucius' nostrils flared. "Don't be crude, Severus, besides, you know very well that I'm left handed."
Lucius continued. "It was unsatisfactory in the extreme. I have not been that long without a partner since I was fourteen."
"Fifteen. Don't forget, you always did love to brag."
Lucius waved a hand. "As you say." His grey eyes were stormy. "It was five years, Severus. Five. Years. Without." He sighed. "So, during those solitary sessions, I began to imagine what it might be like to have any sexual partner I desired. One thought led to another and naturally I thought of Polyjuice. And the thought of Polyjuice led me to the brilliant, if I do say so myself, idea. After all, I know I'm not the only one with fantasies regarding…the Patel twins, for example." Lucius raised his eyebrows meaningfully. "Or perhaps a curly haired former student who has become a most fetching witch?"
Snape flushed. "I was drunk when I mentioned her."
It was Malfoy's turn to smirk. "So, it's true then. You do fancy her. I don't know why I doubted it for even a minute. She isn't a classic beauty by anyone's standards, but she is very attractive. And a lovely set of…"
Severus whipped out his wand.
Lucius didn't flinch. "…brains."
Severus replaced his wand in its holder.
"Which is as important to you as her other, more obvious, attributes."
"I swear to Merlin, Malfoy, if you keep talking about Ms. Granger, I will hex your bollocks off."
Lucius laughed. "Oh, Severus, you are too easy." He sobered. "All kidding aside. Think about it. A private club where you pay to have your wildest fantasy come true through the magic of Polyjuice. Think of all the students, now full grown witches and wizards, who went to school with Potter, Weasley or even Draco for that matter. The ones who never got a chance to be close to their heroes. The ones who now have the means, and just need the vehicle, to indulge their fantasies." He leaned forward and looked the other wizard in the eyes. "How much do you think they would pay for a chance like that?"
"It's very risky, though. Prostitution is illegal, you know."
Lucius' expression changed to one of distaste. "Give me a bit of credit, Snape." He rolled his eyes. "Prostitution, I ask you. We don't have to supply the bodies. They will come to us. To indulge their most hidden desires." His eyes darkened. "You do recall the fancy dress parties that Narcissa and I used to
Severus nodded. He'd even attended a couple, minus the fancy dress but masked. There was something about one's identity being hidden that released one's inhibitions. Those fancy dress parties had always degenerated into debauchery. He met Lucius's gaze. "We are going to make a fortune."
Since Severus was the only one with any ready cash thanks to his Order of Merlin First Class stipend, he was by necessity the person who bankrolled the entire enterprise. ("Don't worry," Lucius said every time he complained, "you'll get your investment back and more.")
The first thing they did was purchase an old Muggle pub about a kilometer from The Leaky Cauldron. It was also a disaster, which was why they got it for practically nothing.
The first thing they did was enchant it to be unplottable. ("It will add to the mystery," Lucius said.) Next came the daunting task of turning it into a small, luxurious hotel with an exclusive restaurant inside. To that end, it had been gutted and rebuilt. Severus had overseen (and paid for-he'd had serious doubts
about how quickly his Gringott's account was being depleted) the renovations of the building to Lucius's specifications. Real wood. Italian marble. Gilt and brass and crystal chandeliers hung from the beautifully hand-painted, cathedral ceiling.
And that was just the lobby.
The restaurant was modeled after Claridge's in Muggle London. Lucius had even hired away their Executive Chef ("He is a wizard, you know"), so the food was as top notch as the setting. The hotel itself continued the theme of tasteful opulence.
Every room was different in color, theme, style and luxury. And, for a small additional fee, there was even a room that mimicked the Room of Requirement at Hogwarts. Severus had been impressed by the intricate magic Lucius had used to create it. Half of the basement was converted into a potions lab for Severus to brew the Polyjuice and other potions, and the rest was used as storage. Luckily for Severus' Gringott's vault, all the furnishings had been appropriated from Malfoy Manor.
They called it Metamorphosis and placed the location under a Fidelius Charm with Severus as the Secret Keeper.
That had been the easy part.
Collecting the hair they needed for the Polyjuice was another matter entirely.
To solve that problem, before moving most of the furniture to its new home, Lucius had thrown a weekend party at the Manor and invited everyone he could think of. It had been a simple matter to have the House Elves collect body hair from the beds and hairbrushes of the guests such as Celestina Warbeck, Minister Shacklebolt, several members of the Weird Sisters musical group and some former students from Hogwarts such as Lavender Brown and Seamus Finnegan. Lucius had also invited Rita Skeeter. When Severus started to object, Lucius reminded him of the "intrepid" reporter's popularity.
Snape retracted his objection with bad grace.
Bribery had gotten them many of the rest of the samples they needed, but neither stealth nor bribery worked to obtain the hairs from the Potters or the Weasleys. (Snape had threatened to poison, slowly and painfully, anyone who tried to add Hermione Granger's hair to their stores.)
Greed and avarice solved their problem of the Potter and Weasley hair.
Snape and Lucius had been almost ready to give up on ever obtaining any hair from the Potters or the Weasleys when one morning, as Snape walked down Diagon Alley, he passed Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. Which reminded him of the remaining half of the Weasley twins. An idea bloomed, which he shared with Lucius. They requested a meeting with George and invited him to the Leaky for lunch. When Lucius explained their problem, and added that they were willing to pay him a quarter share in the profits as long as he agreed to obtain the hair they needed.
Severus smirked. Once Weasley had learned what they were doing and why they needed the hair and their estimate of the profit, he couldn't sign the contract and take the Unbreakable Vow fast enough. The Unbreakable Vow was for security. They weren't complete fools. With George's help, before the Grand Opening of their establishment, they had samples of hair from almost a hundred people.
At Lucius' suggestion, Metamorphosis was only open twice a week, on Friday and Saturday. When George questioned how the business could possibly make a profit, Lucius provided a lesson in the allure of exclusivity to the younger wizard.
"Put a high enough price on something, restrict the access and people with the means will be begging us to take their money." At George's skeptical expression, Lucius merely smiled. "You'll have to trust my experience on this issue, Weasley. After all, I do have more experience moving in—shall we say
Severus had to admit that, in the year since they opened for business, Lucius' prediction about Metamorphosis' profitability had been proven from the start. The first group of guests had been personally chosen by all three owners. Snape had balked again at including Rita Skeeter, but Lucius and George reminded him that the free publicity would be worth it. And it was. It seemed that everyone wanted an invitation, but to maintain their exclusivity, every guest had to be recommended by someone who had already had the experience, and then had to be approved by Severus, Lucius or George.
Once approved, the guest would receive an invitation. Each invitation was hand-written by Snape on paper that was spelled to disintegrate after it was read. Included with the invitation was an RSVP which requested the name of the guest or guests' fantasy partner (or partners). And there was a card labeled "Portkey" with the activation time written on it. The Portkey delivered the guests, singles and couples, to Metamorphosis in the early afternoon. After check in, they were escorted to their room to rest before the evening's activities.
At six o'clock, the guests assembled in the drawing room for cocktails, after which they proceed to the exquisite dining room for a four course formal dinner hosted most often by Lucius, and joined occasionally by Severus. George had never hosted ("All those different forks? Forget it, Mate."), opting instead for the more casual dining in the kitchen beforehand with the staff. After dinner, the guests are ushered back to the drawing room for a digestif; coffee, tea or a sweet wine such as port or sherry. A good brandy was also available. Upon returning to their room, the guest would find a goblet of Polyjuice potion and the hair of the fantasy partner of their choice waiting.
Severus had experimented with the potion for months, trying to find a formula that extended the transformation to twelve hours. One evening, when, having had too much to drink, he had, during a drunken conversation, mentioned the problem to Hermione Granger. To his alternately remorseful and hopeful surprise, she offered to come into his lab to consult. Within another few weeks, they had found a formula that worked. He had offered to pay her, but she had refused, saying that it had been a delightful experiment and that working with him in his lab had been payment enough.
Severus took that as a good sign that she might one day be amenable to going out for a meal with him.
The extended-formula Polyjuice gave their guests time to fulfill their fantasies more than once ("And with more than one" Lucius had opined), if they desired, while leaving enough time for them to retreat to their own rooms before the potion wore off. They scheduled singles when their fantasies coincided, since not everyone was part of a couple.
After the guests transformed, they were encouraged (if they haven't made other plans) to return to the dining room. In their absence, it was transformed into a lush nightclub. Illuminated by candlelight, it was furnished with chaise lounges, loveseats and other comfortable furniture. There was a dance floor in the
center, soft music and an open bar. The room's ambiance encouraged intimacy and the guests mingle freely and do whatever consenting adults wish to do while in disguise.
They were raking in the Galleons.
One of the surprising benefits of the whole operation was that Severus, Lucius and George were often requested to be partners in a guest's fantasy. Depending on the guest, the wizards could choose whether or not to donate a hair or their actual selves to potential partners.
In fact, so many people had requested the same variation of two popular fantasies with both Severus and Lucius that they’d, first, had to use a room to create a dungeon which could also be spelled to resemble the Potions classroom at Hogwarts, and, second, create a wait list. Severus had been pleasantly surprised at how many former students wanted to live out fantasies about that classroom, him and discipline. And, he had personally taken advantage a few times, but mostly settled for donating a hair or two. He didn't want any tales being carried back to Ms. Granger. And Lucius was always ready to play along with those who had imagined all sorts of orgiastic "dark revels" to have taken place during the Dark Lord's reign.
Severus snorted. As if that sadistic megalomaniac had the time or inclination.
Severus smiled to himself and bent to the task of writing this week's invitations. Just as he was finishing up, Lucius sauntered into Severus' office holding a folded bit of parchment. The smirk on his face caused Snape to narrow his eyes with suspicion.
"We have a last-minute guest this weekend, Severus." Malfoy said. "A bit of a surprise, I must say. What do you think?" He handed over the parchment.
Severus unfolded it and read the name.
He met Lucius' gaze. "Who recommended her?" He asked blandly. It was the standard question when a new guest was being considered.
Lucius pouted, undoubtedly because he hadn't gotten a bigger reaction to his announcement.
Snape almost smiled, but refused to give Lucius the satisfaction.
"Potter and his wife."
Severus couldn't stop the flash of surprise from flitting across his face. Harry Potter and his wife were regular guests. Now, that had been a surprise, and no mistake. Snape had kept his involvement with the Potter's' escapades limited to writing the invitations, leaving the arrangements to Lucius or George. They even got a discount for donating some of their hair regularly.
The Potters had once asked for Snape to be one of their partners for the weekend. Snape had unequivocally refused. And he had refused to even allow his hair to be used.
No, no, no! He drove that thought back into his subconscious where it belonged. He didn't even want to know the why. Just—no.
To Lucius he said, "I thought we were fully booked through the rest of the year…?"
"Potter and his wife have graciously donated their reservation to their friend."
Snape gazed at Lucius, taking a moment to probe a little using Legilimency. Unfortunately, the other wizard was Occluding. Every Slytherin instinct screamed "It's a plot!"
Snape scowled. For the past year, he had been able to keep Hermione from being any part of their business, in spite of the often heated arguments he'd gotten from his partners. It seemed that there were quite a few wizards and witches who had admired Hermione Granger—and wanted to share their admiration in more than one way. In fact, after Potter, Draco, Lucius and himself, she was the most requested fantasy. He knew it was irrational, but he had refused every request, mostly because of his own—admittedly confused—feelings about the witch.
He opened his mouth to refuse but surprised himself by saying instead:
"Fine. I'll write out the invitation and post it with the rest."
Lucius narrowed his eyes. "Is that all? 'I'll write out the invitation'? Snape, you have single-handedly kept this company from fulfilling the fantasies of dozens of clients. Which is not nearly as bad as the hundreds of Galleons we've lost, due to your stubborn refusal to even consider adding Ms. Granger as a fantasy option."
"Lucius, you, of all people, understand my reasons."
Malfoy flicked imaginary lint from his robes. "I do. When do you intend to ask her out?"
"I've been out with her several times!"
Lucius made an impatient gesture. "I don't consider 'accidentally' running into her a half-dozen times at The Leaky to be the same as 'asking her out'. Nor working with her in your potions lab. And apparently, it isn't enough for the lady, either, since she's decided to pay a visit to our establishment." He gazed meaningfully at Snape. "And I have it on good authority just who she will choose for her fantasy."
The quill in Snape's hand snapped in two.
Lucius' smirk reappeared. "This is your golden opportunity, Severus. You may never get one better."
The week passed slowly, but finally, it was Friday night. Severus stationed himself in the room behind the check-in counter. There was a two way mirror there that they used to monitor the front desk.
Well, most of the time. Occasionally, it was used by Lucius, George or Severus to check out a guest who had requested a fantasy with one of them. At the moment, Snape was watching this week's batch of guests arrive and keeping himself from pacing through sheer force of will.
Ms. Granger's RSVP had come back with his name on it as Lucius had said it would. Severus had spent every hour since in an agony of indecision. He had far less experience with women than either Lucius or even Weasley. He couldn't decide if he should pretend to be Polyjuiced or to just be himself. He was pretty sure Ms. Granger would not be fooled even if he attempted to mislead her. And such a deception would simply make her mistrustful of him, not to mention angry.
Snape really didn't want to make Hermione angry.
Snape was still arguing with himself when Hermione entered the hotel. A warm feeling he couldn't control engulfed him as he watched her walk to the check in counter. In fact, he suddenly became aware that the same thing happened whenever he saw her.
Today, she was wearing a lovely pale green dress with a tie at the waist and a slight ruffle at the hem. The effect was a lovely drape that was modest, yet served to highlight her body in an understated way.
In the ten years since the end of the war, Hermione had matured into a very attractive witch, in his opinion. Most wizards of his acquaintance might call her 'handsome' rather than 'beautiful', and they were right. Her chin was a bit too pointed, her nose a bit too snub. But her eyes…to call them 'brown' was damning with faint praise. During their times together at the Leaky, Severus had taken every opportunity to study her eyes. They were brown, but with flecks of green and gold—and those gold flecks became brighter when she talked about a subject she was passionate about.
He wondered, not for the first time, if they flashed fire in that way when she was in the throes of a much more pleasurable kind of passion. His erection reminded him of just how badly he wanted to find out.
He turned his attention back to his perusal of Hermione. She had lost the coltishness of her youth and had filled in a bit in all the right places as far as Snape (and his erection) was concerned. She still hadn't managed to tame her hair and for that, Severus was glad. He liked the way her curls framed her face and seemed to accentuate her feelings. Soft and wavy when she was content and wild and a bit frizzed when she was not.
It was a bit frizzed at the moment, which told Snape that she wasn't as confident as she appeared to the clerk behind the counter.
Underneath that mop of curls was a brain that enchanted him as much as the woman herself. Their onversations never failed to stimulate, aggravate and amuse him—sometimes all at once. Her intelligence kept him on his toes, which he liked very much. There were very few witches who could keep up with him intellectually, and Hermione was all the more attractive to him because she did.
Obviously, she would have figured out by now the purpose of that bit of brewing they did a few months ago. And just as obviously, she either didn't care or outright approved or else she would have let him know by now—and in no uncertain terms.
Severus was roused from his musing when a porter took Hermione's bag and led her to the lift. As he watched them disappear into the car, he made his decision.
Severus Snape would meet Hermione Granger tonight as his authentic self.
Severus walked around the perimeter of the dining room cum nightclub for the third time since he'd arrived a half an hour ago, which was a half an hour after the festivities officially began.
Hermione was not there.
He was puzzled and a bit alarmed since things had been moving along so well between them—until now.
Earlier, Snape had met Hermione in the drawing room during the cocktail hour. She was hard to miss, in the lovely blue cocktail dress she was wearing. It was a one-shoulder affair, clingy at the top and flowy where it ended at her knees with a darker blue bit around the middle. She had gathered her hair up in a loose bun with lots of curly tendrils hanging down. The height of the heels on the shoes she was wearing was alarming, but did fantastic things to her legs.
Merlin, he loved Muggle dresses. Much better than dress robes.
Hermione spotted him as he strode across the room to meet her, and when her face lit with a smile of pleasure, he was glad he'd let Lucius talk him into wearing the tuxedo. He watched as Hermione excused herself from the group she had been with and met him before he reached it.
"Hello, Severus." She looked him up and down, slowly. "I have to say, you've surprised me. I never thought I'd see you in a tuxedo."
He felt his face flush. "It was Lucius' idea."
She peered at him quizzically and then beckoned him closer. She murmured into his ear. "It is you, I mean the real Severus Snape: former Potions Master and Headmaster at Hogwarts, Order of Merlin First Class turned owner of the most successful holiday destination in the Wizarding world you? Not some Polyjuiced replica?"
Severus started in surprise. Hermione raised an eyebrow. "Don't worry, the Potters weren't able to break the magical contract they signed about revealing the details of all of the—shall we say surprises?—that Metamorphosis is famous for. But, Harry does have a Pensieve. They showed me memories up to the point of the nightclub, so I saw them use the Polyjuice. I figured out the rest. Now I know why you were working to extend the Polyjuice potion effects."
Severus sighed inwardly. Hermione wasn't called the smartest witch of her age for nothing. It was part of what made her so attractive to him. He stopped Occluding and looked into her eyes. "For good or ill, Hermione, you're stuck with the real thing."
Hermione used Legilimency long enough to determine he was telling the truth, and then relaxed. She indulged herself in another perusal of his person. In fact, she was gazing at him as if he was the last biscuit on the plate. "You wear that tux so very well."
"You look very pretty, Hermione." Severus' heart was beating so hard, he was certain she must hear it. He'd always been terrible at small talk. "I especially like what you've done with your hair."
Hermione dimpled. "Thanks. I've given up donating to Sleekeazy's retirement fund."
Snape smiled. "I like it curly." He was mentally flipping through subjects of conversation and wishing the floor would open up underneath him when he was saved by the proverbial bell.
The dinner bell.
"Dinner is served." The majordomo opened the doors to the dining hall and stood to one side.
Severus offered his elbow. "Shall we?"
Hermione took it and squeezed his arm. "I'd love to."
Somewhere between the soup and the pudding, Snape had gotten control of his nerves, so dinner had been fantastic. He was seated next to her, of course, and the conversation between and around them had been both stimulating and amusing. Enough so that he forgot to be uncomfortable with the clothing and the company and had simply relaxed.
Back in the drawing room after dinner, he and Hermione sat on a sofa side by side and sipped their port. After a moment, she leaned over, put her mouth against his ear and whispered:
"I'm really looking forward to fulfilling the rest of my fantasy tonight."
The heat of her breath against his ear brought his cock to attention; which was more difficult to hide in trousers. Still, his jacket was draped in such a way that no one should notice his raging hard on. He hoped.
Severus turned and replied hoarsely. "I can't tell you how happy I am to hear that because, so am I."
They'd finished their port and he'd walked her to the lift. He reached down and cupped her cheek with his hand, brought his head down and brushed her lips with his and then looked into her eyes. The gold there was sparking like tiny flames against the brown.
The lift opened, interrupting the moment.
"I'll see you soon, Severus," she said.
The doors to the lift closed between them and she was gone.
Severus had made his way to his suite and had changed out of the torture device called a tuxedo and into a pair of comfortable black trousers and a black silk shirt. He'd made his way back down to the dining hall a half an hour ago and had been searching for Hermione ever since.
He'd just decided that the entire evening had been nothing but an elaborate prank (he'd never even asked if she was Polyjuiced!) when one of the porters waylaid him.
"Mr. Snape? A message for you, sir."
"Thank you." Snape left the dining hall for the privacy of his office. If he was going to be the butt of such a viscous prank, no one would be there to see its culmination.
He closed the door, leaned against it, and then opened the message.
I hope you haven't reconsidered fulfilling my fantasy. I've been waiting for you in my room…wasn't that the plan? If you have changed your mind, don't worry, I understand. We will just carry on as we have, occasionally meeting for a drink at the pub. (But, I hope you haven't!)
Severus, berating himself as fifty kinds of fool, turned and Apparated. When he appeared outside of her room with the familiar 'crack', the door was flung open.
Severus lost the power of speech. And, he couldn't help himself. He stood there and goggled.
Hermione was wearing a tiny, black satin and lace negligee. Her hair was down and curled around her shoulders and breasts fetchingly. The skirt was so short that her legs seemed to go on forever until they reached her feet which were encased in a pair of flimsy-looking slippers with another impossibly high heel and black feathery stuff floating around the toes.
Severus swallowed as his gaze rose to Hermione's face once more. Her eyes were shining and her smile managed to be both indulgent and seductive at the same time. He ran a hand through his hair and tried to explain.
"Sorry, Hermione, I must have misunderstood earlier. I thought we were going to meet downstairs at the nightclub."
"I figured that out. Now come in here. We've got some fantasies to fulfill."
He did. It was a long, and satisfying, night.
Lucius was sitting at a table in the dining room, reading the Prophet and sipping his morning tea when George joined him. Malfoy waited until George had prepared his own cup and taken a sip before he spoke.
"You owe me 50 Galleons, Weasley."
"Our partner is, even now, still laying a-bed, presumably in Ms. Granger's arms."
"So, your plan worked."
Lucius turned a page. "Of course it did. I don't know why you were foolish enough to even make that bet."
George helped himself to some of the toast on the table. "I never thought Snape would go through with it. And he never suspected you set up the whole thing? It must have cost a bloody fortune to buy out the Potter's reservation."
Lucius smiled. "Not much. Only 50 Galleons."