Title: Photo Perfect
by Predatrix

Lockhart carolled, "Morning, morning, Severus!"

Albus said, "Good morning, Severus."

As Snape turned away, swirling his cloak to show his displeasure, something fell out of his sleeve, curling as the breeze caught it, then it dropped to the ground. No, not to the ground, it actually landed on Albus's left shoe.

A photograph. A big glossy 8-by-10 photograph. Of Gilderoy Lockhart winking and giving his most killing smile (Witch Weekly Most Charming, five times running), and waving one perfect hand.

"What's that there?" said Lockhart vacuously. "Oh how delightful!" he exclaimed, with a dazzling smile. "One of my better efforts there. Do let me sign it!"

Snape grabbed the picture away from the interested audience, and stuffed it into a pocket.

"Severus," said Albus, "I do hope you're not embarrassed at being a fan. Personally, I'm delighted to see two of my staff getting along so well. Particularly the Potions master and the Dark-Arts man. I must say I'm surprised."

"Must you say anything, Albus?" Snape said faintly, losing all hope.

Albus looked him in the face. "Well, since you mention it, I can certainly add it to the many things I know of without gossiping about," he said, sounding more serious. "And I'm sure our new Dark-Arts professor would not wish to embarrass you in any way, would you, Gilderoy?"

The twit...clothes-horse...ridiculously-sexy moron was still murmuring oh-certainly-not's and wouldn't-mention-it-to-a-soul's as Snape stalked away.


It took about a week for Snape to want to discover his prize. His sore feelings about his own idiocy took that long to lose their sting.

He wouldn't have been such a reckless fool, but it had been so good to find a freshly-signed ‛real' photo to confiscate, instead of having to rely on discarded copies of Witch Weekly and a sharp little knife.

Not that he would get into trouble for confiscating things, of course. Nobody ever asked him for anything back. Not more than once, anyway. But stuffing it up his sleeve like an idiot, when a hasty movement would betray him...he could kick himself!

But it still gave him a deliciously naughty feeling knowing he had so many secret pictures of Lockhart.

After a week during which, to his surprise, Lockhart appeared to have the minimal discretion required not to discuss his most unlikely fan with anyone, he relaxed. Time to see if this special photo worked any better.

He sighed, and looked around his bedroom. Three bare black dungeon walls, and one wall entirely covered with pictures of Lockhart. They were beautiful, not that he'd admit that to anyone. All two hundred of them were picked up from discarded magazines, or stolen, and all two hundred of them were waving and winking and smiling as though they were glad to see him. Nobody had looked glad to see him in ages. Not that he cared.

The sun, in the photographs, glinted on jewellery and bright blue eyes. Even the pale skin and hair almost seemed to glitter. He'd love to know how Lockhart got that effect...he'd been making Photograph Potions for nearly thirty years, and he thought Lockhart still had a few odd tricks. The skills and arts of vanity rather than the skills and arts of wizardry, though. If it had been anything to do with his own art, he'd have known about it.

The Lockharts were mostly dressed, not for want of his trying. He'd tried putting a spell on them to make them do a strip-tease, his heart beating fast as the lovely hands wandered to the hem of a blue swishy robe or an exquisite creation in gold enchanted so that it shone. Uninhibited. Beautiful. Tempting. That long beautiful hand (with its fascinating pure and un-calloused skin) gliding all...the...way...up. He'd once heard someone described as having ‛legs right up to her arse', and even if the phrase didn't really make sense, Lockhart certainly did have the appropriate legs. And arse. The soft cloth was brushing and stroking against various Lockharts' bare thighs as if that was a pleasure in itself.

He'd practically given himself eye-strain trying to follow each hem rising slowly: there goes a knee, there goes a positively luscious patch of inner thigh... oh, and the other one's just rubbing his nipples.

Grabbing the one that had started first, he'd gone to bed, thinking his luck would be in and he could get a good view of all those interesting bits under the robes. He settled one hand on himself, masturbating firmly, and the other hand on the picture. He felt almost embarrassed at his dirty sticky calloused fingerprints defiling that sparkling item, but that thought excited him, too.

Unfortunately the bloody little prick-tease in the picture was So Far And No Further all the way, which made him just about as irritating as the real one. Nearly as irritating. The real one talks, god help me!

He'd tried seducing each of the pictures in succession, night after night, but they'd all behaved the same. Brief flash of nipple, hands crawling all over Lockhart's beautiful body under the robes, the rising glide of soft, embroidered, gorgeously-worked robes as they promised to reveal what he wanted so much to see. Then Lockhart would rub the soft cloth over himself, caressing himself until Snape's mouth was dry with want, and the edge of the cloth would rise and slide over the bulge at Lockhart's groin. Then Lockhart would blow him a kiss, and stop.

The Lockharts in the pictures would talk to him, too, but he didn't have to hear them.

He wasn't obsessed, no matter how damaging this Wall of Lockhart's Image would look to other people. He didn't have it for the same reason as the average witch housewife did, i.e. because of admiration.

He was just looking for whichever picture of Lockhart would be most...compliant.

Usually, he covered the Wall of Lockhart's Image with a discreet velvet curtain at the back of the room. Few people came into his bedroom, and if they did, they might reasonably assume that he kept his academic qualifications there, or framed dried bats, or yet more ingredients, and nobody actually cared.

After trying to beguile this latest image, unsuccessfully, he drew the curtain aside and slipped this version (electric-blue robe, golden curls teased and patted delicately, red socks initialled GL in curly writing) between a Lockhart in a bright green robe and a Lockhart in purple-and-white stripes.

He was still rubbing a finger along one perfect thigh when the door opened. He froze guiltily. Why hadn't he done the usual thing and locked his door? He'd been so caught-up in his treat he hadn't even heard the footsteps in the main dungeon, where they tended to echo.

"Oh, how sweet!" exclaimed Lockhart, who looked simply fascinated. "I was just bringing you some signed ones, but you've got your own collection..."

"...of rare unsigned Lockhart photographs," added Snape dryly.

Lockhart stopped for a moment. There was the momentary illusion of a glint of humour in his bright blue eyes. Snape decided he'd been mistaken about that, because Lockhart simply went on burbling with the usual utter vacuity.

"I'm so gorgeous I make myself weak at the knees...who would have guessed that so much wizardly talent would fit in such an elegant package!"

Oh god, groaned Snape mentally, he does make himself go weak at the knees. He watched Lockhart strut in front of himself. The little Lockharts were making eyes and blowing kisses much more fervently than they did for him. To add insult to injury, one of them was pulling up his robes much faster than he did for Snape. Silky thighs parted...and so did Snape's lips, as he watched that stiff prick, under a mere thin layer of silk, jerk suggestively against empty air. Damn thing had never got this far with him. Of course, Snape wasn't quite as pretty as Gilderoy Lockhart.

"Oh, you do like me, don't you!" said Lockhart, looking not at the picture but at the bulging front of Snape's robes.

"I have no idea how you managed to fool so many people into believing you had any magical talent at all. That you may have fooled Albus beggars belief."

"Well, I have never been so insulted in all my life!" bridled Lockhart.

"Maybe you should have been. How did you get Albus to take you on?"

"There weren't many applicants, and once he saw my many qualities in action, no-one else was even in the running, of course."

"Nobody else," Snape decoded smugly.

"Yes, but you still like me!" Lockhart glanced at the pictures again.

"A certain degree of mindless physical attraction is undeniable."

"So let's go to bed."

That was unexpected. "Look here upon this picture..." Snape gestured gracefully at his new glossy "...and on this," he indicated himself in the mirror with slight distaste.

Rather to his surprise, Lockhart picked up on that. Not the quote, of course, but the distinction. "Oh, I don't want somebody as pretty as me...not that there is...I honestly don't like having affairs with narcissistic men. Philippe...my last one...was like that, and the fights for the bathroom had to be seen to be believed. He was always pinching my cosmetics, it was terrible. And the rages he got into if I borrowed one little thing of his...most unfair!" Lockhart pouted.

Snape tried not to smile.

"And of course," Lockhart went on, "a stunningly-attractive tall dark man who doesn't even know he's fanciable is the perfect foil. No little arguments; after the sex he can just stand there in the background looking Byronic and interesting."

"Instead of moronic and uninteresting," Snape sneered. "Just because you can't think of any interesting lines for me, don't project your own verbal inadequacy."

Lockhart wriggled. "Ooh, you're sexy when you're being a bastard!" he exclaimed, and ran his perfect fingertips neatly over the front of Snape's robes.

Snape sighed a little. Surely the inane burbling which passed for Lockhart's conversation would be enough to put him off. He looked down at himself accusingly. It hadn't.

Lockhart looked at the wall of his own Image, which seemed to fascinate him. He leaned forward.


"Sh. This is difficult."

"What are you doing, Lockhart?"

"Strip-tease!" Lockhart exclaimed. He giggled. "But you didn't..."

Lockhart turned round. "Poor Severus! I've been running you around, haven't I? A strip-tease, and I didn't get undressed properly."

"I tried listening to them, and I couldn't hear a word," said Snape.

"I learned to lip-read a while back. So I pulled up my robes like this..."

Lockhart dragged up his robe, fluttering his eyelashes and pouting as he did it. Should be too self-conscious to be sexy, Snape thought, massaging his own erection absent-mindedly.

"Look at my thighs...lovely aren't they!" Lockhart bubbled.

He looked at them. They were lovely.

Lockhart began to massage himself with the soft hem of his robe, just as the pictures had done.

"And then they stop," Snape said wryly.

"So you haven't seen my huge, beautiful cock? I'm a good size, even through my clothes, look at me. About twelve inches, it's a wonder I don't fall over every time I walk." Lockhart shoved his hips forward, displaying himself.

Snape looked at him. "Pretty average, in a good light." He had to admit it wasn't exactly small, if only to himself.

"All right, eleven. Or you could measure me," Lockhart added flirtily, removing his clothes quickly and apparently forgetting all about the strip-tease.

"What with?" Snape glanced around for a ruler or other instrument of measurement without success.

Lockhart unbuttoned the front of Snape's robes and flipped his prick out neatly. "Measure me," he breathed, "with you."

"Half an inch longer than me," said Snape. "Mine was seven inches when last measured. Not that I make a habit of it, unlike some people."

Lockhart rubbed against him. "Ooh, that's nice!" he exclaimed. "Of course I'll make a habit of measuring myself if it feels this good." He moaned and slid and rocked, nearly knocking Snape off his feet.

"All right, on the bed," said Snape,. Falling backwards, he closed his eyes and let Lockhart go at it. He'd have thought Lockhart would be smooth and slow and stylish, not just rough-and-extremely-ready.

"How long is it since you've done this?" he panted, joining in enthusiastically.

"Oh, about ten..." Lockhart paused "...Oh that's wonderful, don't stop!" Lockhart arched against him and came noisily.

"About ten what?" Snape asked, as Lockhart peeled himself away and fell gasping beside him. "Days? Weeks? Months?"

Lockhart didn't say anything.

"Years?" Snape enquired incredulously.

Lockhart lay there, still panting.

Snape panted too.

He was furious. How dare Lockhart unleash himself upon the world with no practice to make sure he was competent!

He was also unspeakably randy. Shoving himself inelegantly against Lockhart's hip, he set about catching up. Revenge could come later, as long as he came now. When he was about two strokes short of success, Lockhart rolled away. "Well, that's not good enough," he said.

"I can only agree," said Snape nastily.

"I mean," said Lockhart, "I'm meant to be a really good lover. Skill, natural talent, everything. I suppose my wand's not the only thing that's excitable. It's been a while since I've been with anyone gorgeous, except me of course."

"Prove you're good," Snape demanded, thinking I haven't seen much sign of it so far.

"Well, my tongue should be registered as a controlled weapon..."

"Or you could simply shut up!" snapped Snape.

"I meant sex, not talking," said Lockhart, surprising Snape, who hadn't seen much sign of Lockhart following the thread of other people's conversation before.

"As I said, I'm an absolute master of fellatial technique," Lockhart went on. "Deep-throat, humming (and I can put a spell on that for a full orchestra effect) tongue-fluttering, temperature spells...I can do the lot."

"For the love of Merlin, just do something the simple way for once! Without magic!" snapped Snape, who didn't care for the idea of having his prick either boiled or frozen.

"No temperature spells? No orchestral effect?" asked Lockhart, sounding crestfallen.

"I was under the impression that this part of the proceedings was about giving me pleasure," hissed Snape crossly.

"No, I'd never forgive myself if I let you miss out on the treatment. The Full Gildy, as one might say. I'll just have to..."

"You'll just have to be adventurous next time we do it. For now, be prompt."

"Oh Severus! You want me to come back!" Impulsively Lockhart flung his arms round him. Nipple rings rubbed painfully against Snape's own nipples, while scented face-paint rubbed against his cheek. "Nobody ever...that is, it's a brave creature who risks the pleasure overdose of having me twice. Armies of men...women...Veelas..."

"How unselective."

"I prefer men, although don't let that get out or Witch Weekly'll have to do a special black-edged issue for all the readers who thought they had a chance with me. No, I was referring to the hordes of admirers who follow me everywhere on the off-chance. Nobody can believe I'm not part-Veela myself, you know." Lockhart tossed his pretty hair back with a little jingling chime.

"You can use whatever tricks you like as long as they're non-magical." Snape was looking forward to this. Now Lockhart mentioned it, the idea of getting his prick right down Lockhart's throat was quite appealing. Coming long and slow and hard. Letting somebody else take care of it for once. After all, nobody could be that much of an idiot at everything. Maybe he'd discover the man's real talent, and wizards and witches everywhere would thank him as Lockhart went off to a career as an expensive (and non-lethal) prostitute...

A moment later, that particular little dream collapsed. Didn't Longbottom teach you anything? he berated himself, wincing with pain at an unexpected tooth-scrape. Not that he'd ever try this with Longbottom, of course. It was just a question of uniform inadequacy.

It was going to be good to get a little deeper, out of reach of the teeth on his more sensitive parts. Teeth were very nearly enough to stop him, even in the state he was in.

To the accompaniment of various spluttering and gagging noises, Lockhart went a bit further. It was painfully obvious that his expertise at this was just another figment.

He dissuaded Lockhart, rather forcefully.

"I don't care about you lying about your sexual abilities," Snape said, "I can do something about that later. I just find the choking noises distracting."

Lockhart eyed him nervously. Snape let go of his hair.

"Now, let's get to work: move one of your hands up to play with my balls. Gently at first, then more firmly." His voice was getting rougher, harsher with excitement. This was a much more entertaining manner of teaching than his usual. The rewards were...more immediate. "Other hand wrapped round my prick, and squeeze. Yes, that's right." He paused to moan. "Mm, yes, now use your mouth. Just on the tip, you can manage that can't you?"

Lockhart could indeed manage that. The kisses and licking became a little frustrating, just short of what Snape needed. "That's the sensitive bit," Snape panted, measuring his cock-head with a fingertip to show Lockhart. "Just get that in your mouth, don't use your teeth."

Lockhart did so. "Mm?" he said inquiringly around Snape's prick. Who would have thought it? Snape observed dizzily, he actually can do the ‛humming' trick!

"Oh yes...do that again!" Snape gasped.

"Mm, mm?" said Lockhart.

Snape moaned blissfully.

"Mm mm mm mm," observed Lockhart.

"Harder! And keep talking!" Snape had finally found a use for Lockhart's conversation.

"Mm. Mm mm mm? Mm?" said Lockhart, squeezing at Snape's cock and balls mercilessly.

Snape flung his head back and came ferociously, groaning with relief, feeling each pulse of pleasure rise from full balls to well-sucked tip and out and out and out until he was almost too drained to breathe. As he lay there, semi-consciously enjoying the aftershocks, Lockhart moved up and spat into the sheet, then fell asleep on Snape's shoulder. Even the hair-ornaments getting trapped in Snape's hair weren't enough to stop him falling asleep too. It was pleasantly companionable to doze off with a sexual partner, even if he was an unmitigated idiot.


Waking up, he found a naked Lockhart beside him, already talking.

"Was it all right?" said Lockhart. "I tried to keep asking you if I was doing it right, but I don't think you heard me."

"It was adequate...oh, all right, extremely adequate. It's not considered polite to spit the result out," he added, remembering.

Lockhart made a surprisingly-expressive face. "You need to improve your diet, Severus. All the self-improvement books say it tastes less unpleasant if you eat different foods."

"What sort?"

"Less red meat, I think. Plenty of fresh vegetables and some sweets. Mine tastes better than yours."

Snape actually liked his meat rather rare, and he scorned Albus's ridiculous taste for juvenile sweetmeats, but he'd prefer to be a pleasant flavour for Lockhart. Maybe a little more fish and salad, and the odd indulgence in whatever Albus wanted to pass round (as long as it wasn't too revolting), might be in order.

Except...how would Lockhart know?

"I refuse to believe you can suck yourself!"

"No, I was just curious. About the taste. When I touch myself, I, ah..." Lockhart's voice trailed off, and he mimed dragging a fingertip across his belly, and sucking it.

Snape's cock twitched.

"Oh?" said Lockhart. "Want to watch?" he asked, rather lasciviously.

"No. I might blink and miss it," said Snape dryly.

"That," said Lockhart, with some dignity, "was just the first time. After that, I slow down."

"The idea of watching you perform a sexual act at which you have any degree of practice is, of course, tempting," said Snape.

"You're trying to be nasty." Lockhart fingered his own cock gently.

"Your perspicacity is incredible," Snape said. It was. He'd always thought Lockhart had absolutely no understanding of other people, to go with his lack of understanding of magic and scholarship and, well, everything else.

"All right, if that makes me a wanker," said Lockhart cheerfully, "what does it make someone who's got hundreds of photos of me because he wants to watch?" He caressed his own thighs, sighing with pleasure.

"Shut up, Lockhart."

"Shut up and go away?" Lockhart's eyes closed. He did not trouble to get up, but lay back on the bed and fondled himself, with every appearance of contented enjoyment.

"Shut up and show yourself off. You're good at that."

"Ah. Praise at last. I like that." Lockhart did, judging by the effect on his prick, which was getting longer and fatter by the second.

"Show me what you like," Snape murmured.

"I'm feeling my own hand rubbing it so slowly I can barely stand it, and you can't take your eyes off me. That's what I like." Lockhart's voice was improved by whispering, Snape thought. Of course, the fact that he was talking about sex rather than the usual blithering idiocy was also helpful.

"Go on," Snape said, rubbing Lockhart's balls with his fingertips.

"Oh, yes," Lockhart went on. "You can't take your eyes off my cock, so huge and smooth and ready. Nice and wet now, probably dripping on you."

"Untidy of you," Snape remarked, stealthily tracing up Lockhart's prick with one finger.

"Taste good, do I?" Lockhart asked, as Snape licked firmly at the crook of his own finger, and sucked.

"Not bad."

Lockhart stroked up and down slowly.

Snape rubbed the tip of Lockhart's prick slowly with his thumb.

Lockhart crooned in his throat and opened his legs.

Snape moved his hand, letting it droop gently between Lockhart's legs, stroking unhurriedly. Legs right up to his arse, and a lovely arse it was, yes. He tickled at it with one fingertip.

Lockhart moaned a little as Snape drew his hand away. "Don't stop now."

Snape picked up a small jar from beside the bed, and dipped a finger in. Then he traced the wet finger in delicate patterns around Lockhart's inner thighs and arse. "I'm going to give you a good hard fucking once I've trained you to be capable," he suggested.

"I'm a really good fuck," said Lockhart. "People pine away for want of me. I bet you'd love to slide your cock up my tight little arse." He wriggled. "I've done a lot of it. Huge men. I really know how to relax and take it."

Snape tried to slide an oiled finger in, without much success.

"Are you a virgin, Lockhart?"

Lockhart bridled. "I'll have you know I'm not...well, as it happens I'm not as experienced as I might be from behind, but I've tried and it was uncomfortable, so I stopped. What made you suspect I wasn't that experienced, then?" he added, in a ‛might as well work on my cover-story' tone of voice.

"Relaxing is only part of the trick, Lockhart. Consider using one's anus for its primary purpose."

"I don't want to consider that when I'm in bed with someone, thank you very much!"

Snape sighed heavily. "I said ‛consider', not ‛visualise'. I mean, one pushes down and opens up. If you try to push down rather than relax..."

"You've still put me right off," Lockhart remarked.

"And then," breathed Snape, "once one is opened up, one can discover what makes it such a pleasure." He traced inviting little circles on Lockhart's flesh again, rubbing and stroking with both hands.

Lockhart opened his legs. "That sexy voice could talk me into anything."

"Push down and let me in,"

Lockhart sighed. A look of concentration spread over the perfect features.

"Mm," said Snape, "that's it. I'd love to fuck you, but it'll take more practice. Now relax a bit, now I've got my finger in. Let me move." He slid and twisted and moved.

Lockhart said, "Oh!"

"That's why it's worth the trouble," said Snape. He repeated the finger-twist.

"Excuse me," Lockhart said, "I've absolutely got to touch myself while you do that." He moaned gently.

"Does it feel good, playing with yourself while I slide my finger in and out?" Snape breathed softly into Lockhart's ear. "

"Utter heaven," Lockhart sighed, wriggling. "I know just how I like it, anyway. Rubbing and teasing and squeezing...and if I'd known how good it would feel to have a finger tickling me up inside, I'd have done this years ago."

Snape frotted himself hungrily against a convenient patch of soft skin. Actual fucking would take considerably more control than he had, at the moment, but he did wish he could have his cock where the finger was.

"I wonder what it would feel like to have your big cock in there," Lockhart murmured.

"I'm going to have to stretch you a bit before we get round to that," Snape told him. "Next week, perhaps. For now..."

He continued working his cock against Lockhart's smooth skin. Just enough friction to do it. Especially if he closed his thighs a bit, tightening the muscles and pushing harder.

He moaned.

"Shove it in," said Lockhart greedily. "Think of fucking me. God I'm gorgeous. And you're so big..."

Snape slid against him again.

"...and hard, can't get enough of it, there, that's it, in me hard..."

Now! thought Snape.

"Touch it, feel me, harder, I'm coming!" gasped Lockhart.

That was it: nothing but those hot breathy words, and muscles grabbing at his finger when it should have been his cock, and he was there too, spurting and groaning and grinding every drop out of his aching cock.

Lockhart managed to stay awake for long enough to pass him a tissue, wiped up, and stretched out next to him for a snooze.


He was surprised to be awoken by a quiet whisper in the night.

"Nobody knew. Nobody ever knew. Nobody ever wanted to know...."

Still too sleepy and satisfied to move, Snape let it go on.

"All they ever wanted was Gilderoy Lockhart (TM). The wizard who was beautiful, and magical, and could do anything. The wizard who exists in any number of exquisitely-produced books and photographs, and nowhere else. Not really."

There was a long silence.

"Gilderoy Lockhart (TM) is a sham, a scam, a fake. I should know. I'm not him." A faint laugh. "Mum always called me Gil. Only ‛Gilderoy Lockhart' when I'd done something daft, so I can't say I never heard the name. I forget I'm under here most of the time. Good job Mum's dead, in a way. Difficult to explain: I've grown up to be a rotten coward and a life-support system for an ego." The words were bitterly honest. "I only mention it...only remember it...late at night, in the dark. Never when anyone's listening."

Lockhart's head turned, and the whisper was swallowed up in a horrified gasp. Evidently there was just enough ambient light for him to see Snape was awake, watching him.

"Gil, you're a prat. Go back to sleep," said Snape.

With a great gusty sigh, Lockhart relaxed, and was asleep in seconds.


To his own surprise, Snape discovered nothing had changed.

Lockhart behaved every bit as repulsively and irritatingly out of bed as, well, he ever had. There was no further sign of the real person underneath, just the ego.

Snape ignored most of what he said, of course. It was, in fact, easier to cope with Lockhart's loathsome personality now he had some idea Lockhart didn't like it either.

A couple of days after their encounter, Lockhart was incautious enough to mention a Potion at which he thought he was an expert.

Snape practiced his most sleek-but-deadly prowl, cutting through the crowds in Lockhart's direction, and asked Lockhart a few of those answerable-by-the-merest-novice questions that he'd tested Potter's mettle with on first meeting.

As usual, his interlocutor failed the test. He sighed. It wasn't as if those were difficult questions. When he'd come to Hogwarts, the previous incumbent had asked him much worse ones, and he'd performed flawlessly.

When Lockhart managed to fail the question on Photograph Potions (which he had only asked because he'd thought Lockhart might have a fighting chance of knowing it), he gave up.

"Lockhart, you're an inadequate," he said. His tone was less vicious than usual; sex had an emollient effect on his temper. It was still vicious enough that nobody else noticed.

Lockhart shut up, and quivered all over.

Not out of fear, apparently.

Snape leant really close to Lockhart's ear, where nobody else could hear him, and breathed: "Tonight."

It was not a question.

Lockhart nodded vigorously, hair ornaments chiming.

"He's threatening Professor Lockhart!" gasped a nervous first-year Hufflepuff.

He glared at her. "For your information, Henshaw, that was not a threat. It was a promise."


That night, he stared at the ceiling in his room impatiently. After dinner (and he hadn't eaten too much) he'd gone and cleaned up ready for what he intended to do.

When he heard the knock at his door, he rolled over and settled himself with his hips raised over a pillow.

"Where have you been, Lockhart?" he said, twisting his neck round to glare as Lockhart came in.

"You didn't specify a time, Severus. I don't know why you've got your clothes off already. It might not have been me."

Snape glared at him. "How many people drop in on me willingly?"

"Now you mention it, not many. Should be more, you've got a lovely arse!" Lockhart added ingenuously.

"Oh, get on with it!" said Snape, feeling he'd already wasted enough time.

"Well, you have!" Lockhart muttered rebelliously, pouting.

"Get your clothes off."

Lockhart did. Now the only flashes of bright artificial colour were from his fingernails.

"Cut your nails, Lockhart."

"What?" Lockhart looked vacant.

"I want you to prepare me with your fingers. I don't want to feel your sharp nails cutting into me." Snape passed him the scissors.

Lockhart sighed, and did as requested. Sharp polished pieces of fingernail flew about the room. He picked an emery board out of the pocket of his robe and filed the remaining short nails down with an unnerving scraping sound.

"I hope," remarked Snape, "that this is worth all the irritation. I don't usually have to dodge anyone's impromptu manicure." He stretched a little. He was lying on the bed, a pillow under his hips, presenting his arse. Surely even Lockhart could figure out what he wanted.

Lockhart looked at him.

"But I'm really good at fucking. I'm huge, of course, and I can make people beg for every thrust, and I don't just shove it in and come in two seconds, I take hours. People queue up to have me do it to them. I'm incredible..."

Incredible, thought Snape, is the word.

"That bad," he stated wearily.

Lockhart opened his mouth.

"Don't babble, Lockhart. I can tell when you're lying because your mouth's moving. I am, god knows why, still interested, probably because now I've embarked on this sordid little affaire it's too much trouble to start again with someone else. Therefore, demonstrate that you can take instruction. Start with the bottle on the bedside table."

He sighed wearily. That particular Potion wasn't something he'd had occasion to brew since he was about sixteen and having a touch of performance anxiety with Lucius (not the most forgiving boy he might have chosen).

"What is it?"

"Ramrod Potion."

"What's that?" Lockhart's beautiful eyes were as vacant as ever.

"Gets rid of premature ejaculation."

"Well, that's not a problem I would ever..."

"Doesn't it occur to you, Lockhart, that once you admit a problem exists you can deal with it?"

"Well, frankly, no. Problems are something that happen to other people."

"Especially if they have the misfortune to sleep with you."

"Well, if you don't want to..." Lockhart said sulkily.

"If I didn't want to, I wouldn't have taken the trouble to brew that Potion, nor would I have invited you here."

"Well, if you have a touch of quite unwarranted anxiety, Severus, the least I can do is drink the stuff anyway," said Lockhart. "Just to be polite." He did.

Snape waited.

Lockhart pouted again. "It doesn't feel any different. I told you I didn't need to..."

"Listen, my pretty pea-brain," said Snape (as disagreeably as he could manage with his arse in the air), "the only difference you will notice is when you get it in and manage to pound away at me for a mutually-satisfactory length of time."

"Potions are a notoriously tricky..."

"Which is why I'm glad I brewed it, not you. You would probably manage to turn yourself into a eunuch by mistake, which wouldn't be much good for me."

"Severus, that's a very hurtful remark," said Lockhart crossly.

"So show me you're not a eunuch, then."

Lockhart fell on him, inexpertly thrusting.

"It would help if you got yourself into the right place," said Snape, when he could get the breath to. "Use your fingers first, get me ready."

Lockhart at least had the sense to reach for the lubricant.

Snape was very glad he'd made Lockhart clip his nails: the long finger felt rather pleasant. He pushed down and opened up.

Lockhart moaned. "Oh, you feel lovely inside. Hot and tight and gorgeous."

Snape arched himself back onto Lockhart's finger. "Another finger," he demanded. Two fingers were just about enough, working him, giving him a very thorough stretch. The rhythm was good enough to make him quiver and sigh.

"Very good," he admitted rather breathlessly. "Come on then."

Lockhart pulled the fingers away rather suddenly, and used them to prepare himself. Snape wished he could watch without getting a crick in his neck: the thought of those long elegant fingers getting it ready was quite appealing.

"Let me introduce you to yet another of my best features," murmured Lockhart. "Here. Feel me."

Snape reached back and encircled it. "You've impressed me. You really do live up to your own press, for once."

"And," Lockhart went on, "shall I introduce it to you?"

Snape spread himself open, and said, "Now just tease it against me for a while. Make me want it. Keep going until I'm dying for it to go in."

He sighed a little as a rounder, blunter, hotter shape rubbed against him. At least Lockhart had the rudimentary sense and manners to believe him when he asked for something. Up and down, across and over, rubbing and rubbing for minutes that felt like hours...


"Now?" asked Lockhart, in a tone with just the hint of a giggle in it.

"Use your initiative, Lockhart," said Snape dangerously.

"That's a long word," murmured Lockhart, "are you sure you don't want me to use my..."

"However you spell it, Lockhart, I want it now." Snape quivered.

Lockhart sighed compliantly and rested against him, the head of his wet cock still rubbing against Snape's stretching arse, which felt as though it might embarrass him by accommodating Lockhart quite without trying.

"Now, d'you think that's enough foreplay? Is that tight little hole of yours absolutely itching to have something up it, hmm?" Lockhart said playfully.

Snape's fists clenched, clawed at the blankets.

"Have an inch," Lockhart suggested.

It was a very nice inch, as far as it went.

Lockhart nibbled his neck. "God it's lovely not to have to come in the first few seconds. I could probably take hours doing this."

Snape snarled at him.

"Could you possibly," suggested Lockhart, "simply want me to just ram it right up your guts, splitting you in half?"

Snape, being far gone enough not to be bothered by Lockhart's ludicrous attempts at amatory rhetoric, groaned, "Yes. Do it."

Lockhart slid in, hard and slow.

It wasn't really splitting him in half, of course, but the feel of being fucked properly full after years of involuntary abstinence was enough to make him cry out.

"Hurt?" Lockhart panted, stopping halfway out of him.

"Oh, yes," breathed Snape, "it hurts very nicely, thank you."

Lockhart wasn't quite stupid enough to miss the point of that, he noticed. In fact, Lockhart just resumed his interrupted stroke, quite hard. Rubbed magnificently raw, feeling the deep slow grind of Lockhart's prick inside him, Snape growled a little.

Lockhart wriggled all over, including his prick. "Ooh," he sighed, "that's good. Would you mind telling me how I manage to come now I've drunk that Potion?"

Completely thick, Snape conceded mournfully to himself. Luckily, also thick where it counts. "Whenever you like."

Lockhart bucked enthusiastically, then stopped. "No. How do I make you come?"

"How unexpected."

"I'm probably the most important and beautiful wizard in the entire world," said Lockhart, "but it would be a tragic waste if you strangled me with my long and lovely hair because you were feeling sexually-frustrated. Not that anyone ever does, with me. But if. And...you asked me twice. You need to be encouraged. There aren't that many wizards who...have the stamina to keep up with me."

"Since you ask," Snape told him, "it won't take much, considering you have me..." he paused a moment to enjoy Lockhart having him, "...in this state already. Move up a bit, so you're not pressing me down into the pillow."

Lockhart did.

"Now get some of that lubricant in your hand, and warm it." He waited for the squelchy noises. "Now stroke it over my prick."

Lockhart did.

"Is that all right?" Lockhart asked.

"Mm. Firmly, that's it." ‛Firmly' was nice. Just a little more pressure and it would be too nice to talk about.

"What do I do?" asked Lockhart, and squeezed.

"That!" gasped Snape. "Harder!"

"Well, failing further instructions..." Lockhart kept going, rhythmically. Each slow deep nudge into Snape's guts was accompanied by a hard squeeze.

"Go on," said Lockhart, "Tell me what you want next."

"I...want... I..." can't talk, must come!

All the sound he could make was a wet, startled, entirely non-verbal noise. He was rigid against Lockhart, and his guts were clenching and moving around Lockhart's prick, which was soaking his insides with its own ejaculation, and he couldn't stop, couldn't stop, all of it pouring out of him until he collapsed.

"Was that all right?" asked Lockhart.

"Don't ask...bloody stupid question..." he managed, between yawns.

Lockhart said, rather poutily, "It's not fair. I've always wanted people to take me at my own high valuation, and I only wanted someone to confirm it for once."

Snape yawned. "In the vernacular, you are an abso-fucking-lutely in-fucking-credible fuck, Lockhart. Now shut up before I am forced to kill you with this pillow for annoying me, which would be a terrible waste because I would have to do without the pleasure of your company for the rest of my life."

"You like...my company?" said Lockhart doubtfully.

"Of course," said Snape.

Lockhart looked even more dubious.

"You do realise," murmured Snape, "that after a seeing-to like that I'd agree to anything."

There was a pause.

"Agree to anything?" said Lockhart with a chuckle. "I'm just about bound to take advantage of that. So you'll let me do anything to you tomorrow. Tomorrow evening, say?"

"Mm," agreed Snape, thinking I might actually be ready for more by then.

Lockhart gave him a ludicrously-innocent smile. "Good. I'll hold you to that."

Uneasily wondering what, if anything, he'd agreed to now, Snape fell asleep in the twit's arms. It feels good to be held. Even by him, he decided.


He woke up, briefly, in the night.

Lockhart...Gil...was unburdening his pathetic excuse for a soul again. Confessing every stupid, unworthy thing he'd done that was currently niggling what passed for his mind.

Snape sighed. He certainly wasn't some sort of Muggle religious, not that he knew much about such things, although he believed some of them wore black, too.

"There are worse things than being bloody stupid and taking the credit for things some Rumanian peasant (who will never find out you pretended you did them) did in a distant forest. It's a form of egoism to pretend you're worse than other people."

"Even when I try to be me, there's nothing but the ego," said Gil quietly.

"It's better than knowing one killed people, again and again, at a distance." The pain of that had come late, by dribs and drabs, in the years after he'd come back to Albus. "When one...when I...kept telling myself, being told, they didn't count as people because they were Muggles, or mudbloods, or enemies. If Albus can forgive me that, I can forgive you for being a tedious waste of space a lot of the time. Gilderoy Lockhart (TM) is annoying, but he hasn't actually murdered people."

Gil didn't say anything. He was shaking in Snape's arms, gulping breaths that sounded like sobs.

"Are you crying?" Snape asked him.

"Or laughing. Not sure. It just occurred to me that now I'm frightened of you, as well. It shouldn't help." Gil blew his nose on the nearest thing in reach, which happened to be Snape's hair.

"Don't do that, Gil. It's insanitary." Snape paused. "You might catch something."

Gil shook with slightly-hysterical laughter. Eventually, he shuddered to a stop, and yawned heavily.

"You do realise you're not to tell people about this?" Snape asked, wiping his hair and putting an arm round Gil.

Gil yawned again. "I'm barely aware of this me, in the daytime. Put the armour of the ego on, and it crowds everything else out in noise." He yawned. "People don't like your mask, either," he said, and fell asleep.

For a surreal second, Snape thought of his physical Death-Eater mask, and then realised that Gil must be referring to the persona he wore every day of his life as a teacher.

Yes, but that's real! he thought, and then isn't it?

God, he was tired!

He hadn't expected the cathartic effect of self-revelation to run both ways. Unlike Gil, he knew who he was most of the time.

He hadn't expected to feel this...accepted in anybody else's arms. Particularly not a casual fuck with only the most rudimentary form of self-awareness.

He yawned, and fell asleep on Gil's shoulder.


The next thing he knew it was practically breakfast time. Odd. He usually got a good hour or two's work in before breakfast.

Snape removed his finger from where it was tracing adoringly around one golden curl, and snarled to himself gently. Sex was meant to get rid of those impulses, not allow them to breed.

Lockhart twitched in his arms, opened those cerulean eyes, and muttered, "Oh hell...my curlers!" Then he smiled and said, "I suppose I can rough it for once."

Snape sighed. Surely after all the sex (and emotional catharsis, not that he was going to mention it), lacking his usual beauty treatments, Lockhart had the right to look as horrendous as anybody else. Certainly, he'd earned excruciating tangles, and he should be wincing in pain rather than looking...fluffy.

Snape decided it was an illusion caused by lack of caffeine.

"Must go and try a bit of emergency repair on my looks. I do so hate to only half stun people with my gorgeousness. See you this evening, as agreed. Keep your clothes on, though. I have plans for you, and I really couldn't stop myself tumbling you all over the bed instead if you weren't dressed." Lockhart kissed the tips of his fingers languishingly at Snape. "Till tonight, then, Severus. Oh, and have some Impervius Potion standing ready."

Snape shrugged the little mystery off. Whatever he'd agreed to, it wasn't worth wasting time thinking about, although it was worrying if he'd actually agreed to let Lockhart play with Potions, which might be only slightly less destructive than letting Longbottom do it.

He found himself singing a merry tune in the shower. Realising with a shudder that it was a Death-Eater anthem, he hastily changed: "Rain down destruction on Voldemort's foes!" to "Rain down destruction on Dumbledore's foes!" There were many complications about his allegiance, but at least metrical scansion wasn't one of them.

He spared a moment to be thankful that he was living in a well-soundproofed dungeon. He'd hate to have to explain changing the words of that little anthem to Draco Malfoy. He'd hate to have to explain what he'd been doing with Gilderoy Lockhart to anyone.

After his shower, he dried his hair with a quick spell. If he ever lowered himself to think about such things, he'd be annoyed that his hair always looked lank and depressing and unwashed as soon as he stepped into his classroom and leaned over a steaming cauldron, however frequently or infrequently he washed it.

Luckily, he was always on a higher intellectual plane.

Time to go to breakfast.

Madam Hooch walked up beside him, chuckled, and said, "Good mood today, Severus."

He realised, shuddering again, that he had been whistling the Death-Eater anthem.

"What're the words to that?" she asked curiously.

The glow of red glory, Lord Voldemort's eyes! he whistled softly.

He looked around the corridor for any sign of undesirables. Finding none, he sang: "`May swift fires of fury take Voldemort's lies!'"

"Sounds like a good song," Hooch said. She lengthened her stride: "I don't know about you, but after being on a broom since dawn, I need my breakfast."

After last night, so do I, Snape decided. Instead of his usual slice of toast with bitter marmalade, he piled up toast, fried bread, fried potatoes, scrambled egg, fried egg and kipper, and was about to go for the sausage and bacon option when he noticed Lockhart sitting next to him and looking meaningfully at his plate.

He huffed out an irritated breath, and left the meat alone, devouring the rest of it quickly.

Lockhart shuddered delicately, and said, "I can hear your arteries clogging from where I'm sitting, honestly!"

"All the other meals I have eaten this week have been either toast or sandwiches," Snape said softly. "Obviously I need more sustenance if I'm going to keep up a more strenuous exercise routine than my usual bending over and stirring things."

Snape didn't say anything else, being busy eating. When he'd finished, Lockhart pushed the fruit bowl towards him. "Fruit's really good for it, apparently."

He glared repressively, but ate a peach.

"Take a banana with you, Lockhart," he said, licking his fingers clean in a way which made Lockhart's pupils dilate.


"Good for certain exercises," he murmured, stroking his throat with one finger and waiting for Lockhart to get the idea.

After a moment, Lockhart gave a single sharp giggle, and pocketed the banana.

"What's that in your hair, Severus?" asked Sprout.

Damn. He put his hand up for a quick tactile check, and a small silver jangling thing fell out.

"Oh, excuse me," said Lockhart, picking it up. "Must have brushed against Professor Snape's hair as I sat down. My hair's just a bit too friendly sometimes!" He gave his usual vapid giggle. "Did I ever tell you how I defeated two manticores with a very simple trick involving a spare comb, two kirby grips and a pair of curling-tongs?"

"Yes, you did, Lockhart, shut up," said Snape.

"Yes, anybody can defeat powerful monsters with only the simplest and most everyday of things they might have on their person," said Lockhart.

Snape muttered, "They're not the most everyday things I have on my person." Knives and sample bottles, yes, but only a twit like Lockhart would go around with curling-tongs as a matter of course.

Lockhart murmured, "Well, anybody can see that!"

Well, well, capable of being bitchy. Wonders will never cease.

"Go away, Lockhart," he said. He was beginning to get thoughts about lifting up those glowing pastel robes and spanking Lockhart's arse to a rosy pink, then having him over the table.

From the look in Lockhart's bright blue eyes, Snape thought he wasn't the only one plagued by irrelevant temptations. Oh well, it would have to wait until tonight.

Lockhart wriggled his arse saucily as he left.

Calming himself with a quick (and slightly-painful) ice-water spell that did a good job of shrinking any un-professorial thoughts he might have been having, Snape got up and stalked to the dungeon.


That night, he prepared some Impervius Potion. It was one of those things that were usually easier to do as a charm, so most people didn't bother with using the Potion variant, but he liked to protect some of his books.

For a Potions expert, the sentence "he poured over his books" wasn't necessarily a typographical error. A weak solution of Impervius was good at producing a protective coating that stopped minor spillages damaging the pages. One had to get it just right, of course, otherwise it was quite capable of messing up one's documents on its own.

When he'd finished protecting all his precious books with a judicious flow of Potion, there was still quite a bit left in the cauldron. He might as well leave it for Lockhart to play with, and after Lockhart had pretended he was a Potions (and everything else) expert, they could get on with having sex.

At midnight promptly, after he'd cleared away and been blamelessly reading for an hour or so in his dressing-gown, there came a knock on the door.

"Nice dressing-gown," said Lockhart, kissing him quickly. "Suits you, particularly the snake on the back. Good for quick access," he added with a grope, "but we don't have time for sex."

Snape sighed.

"Have you got a bath as well as a shower?" Lockhart asked.

"As it happens, yes." He'd actually thought it a singularly pointless extravagance when he came to work here, but the bath had proved very useful for soaking ingredients.

"All right," said Lockhart. "Go and lean over the bath, if possible where you can reach the shower. And get your hair wet all through."

"I wash my hair regularly," said Snape, with a sigh. "Whatever I wash it with, it stays much the same."

"Come on now," said Lockhart. "You're just as bad at making the best of yourself as I am...as you think I am at magic. Go on...humour me."

Snape sighed, telling himself he was too tired to argue, and pointed out where the Impervius Potion was if Lockhart really needed some for anything.

He could hear Lockhart pottering about and complaining mildly about where on earth did Snape keep everything, and did he have any lemons?

"In the cold-storage cupboard," Snape called.

"Ah. Next to the...I don't want to know."

"Bat parts," Snape told him helpfully.

"Told you I didn't want to know," said Lockhart, approaching him with a cauldron containing something frothy.

Snape sighed, and knelt up.

However useless Lockhart's latest trick was, the substance smelt pleasant, and Snape began to relax as long fingers began to work it into every inch of his hair.

It had been a very long time since anybody had...groomed him, intimately but non-sexually. Since he was a child, nobody would have either dared to or cared to. Some basic un-evolved primate part of him relaxed and enjoyed it. Long fingers carded and played with his hair, massaged his scalp, and all the while Lockhart came out with a stream of distracting nonsense about hair care.

"You know, it isn't all that oily," said Lockhart. "I have no idea how you manage to get it to look so dreadful most of the time."

"If you tried anything involving actual work, like, say, bending over steaming cauldrons all day, your coiffure would evaporate too," Snape told him.

"This won't."

"I find the boundless unwarranted confidence just a little wearying, Lockhart," Snape said, as Lockhart began on the fourth rinse.

As Snape shook the water out of his ears, Lockhart chuckled. "Remember when you called me a `pea-brain' and said the virility Potion would work when I tried to use my cock?"

"Mm." It had. He ought to feel cross with Lockhart for turning up late tonight and making him waste time with useless hair-care rather than sex, but he felt altogether too good to worry.

"Well, tomorrow night, you'll discover you've been bending over steaming cauldrons all day and your hair doesn't look horrible," said Lockhart.

"I'll believe it when I see it," said Snape.

"Yes, you will. Stand up, now. Can you manage a spell to dry your hair off or shall I do it?"

Snape shuddered, and reached for his wand. Goodness knew what sort of drastic side-effect (probably involving split ends or total baldness) Lockhart would manage to come up with, but he'd rather dry his own hair off.

"That was quick," said Lockhart. "Mm, that looks gorgeous. Almost as pretty as mine. Smells lovely, too. Mine's rose-scented, but I thought you might think roses are a little undignified, so yours adds just a twinge of a cool, lemony note."

"To accentuate all the chemicals," Snape said dryly. In point of fact, he usually showered straight after the last Potions lesson of the day, but that still left most of the day with him smelling of ingredients, which were mostly what Lockhart would consider not-very-nice.

He had to admit, he did like things lemon-scented.

"Oh, sh!" said Lockhart, chuckling. "Sit down and I'll comb you out. I bet nobody's done that for you for years."

If ever, thought Snape, sitting down.

Lockhart prolonged the experience unnecessarily, of course, combing every inch of it right down to the tip until it tingled all through and couldn't even think of tangling. Not that Snape could think of anything.

Lockhart must have spent about twenty minutes combing it out, and every minute of that was a pleasure. Snape was mindlessly relaxed, and enjoying the feel of Lockhart's erection pressing against him as he moved.

At last, Lockhart finished with his hair. "Right, I'd better get going and take care of my beauty sleep. It would be a tragedy for me to become less beautiful. Want a cuddle first?"

Snape put his arms up and pulled Lockhart down to the bed. After a moment, he began to thrust meaningfully against him.

"Oh, you naughty wizard!" said Lockhart, with a giggle, "you know I haven't got time to give you hours and hours of sexual satisfaction when I need my sleep...Oh, all right, just a quickie then, let me get my clothes off."

With a quick wriggle-and-twist, Lockhart shed his robe. He wasn't wearing anything underneath it. He kicked his boots off. He wasn't wearing socks, either.

"If you didn't want to, you could have worn more clothes," said Snape.

"That's right, I could," said Lockhart innocently.

"If you'd really wanted to stop me doing this." Snape pulled Lockhart on top, a sharp relieved gasp slipping out of him as he let Lockhart ride.

"If," said Lockhart, closing his eyes and panting.

Snape moaned a little, and kept thrusting.

"You're ready for me, aren't you?" murmured Lockhart. "What have you been thinking about?"

"You being bitchy about my hair at breakfast. Made me...want to discipline you!" Snape panted, and began to spank Lockhart. Not particularly hard, just hard enough for some satisfactory friction. After a few blows, he couldn't wait any longer, and just gave in to the temptation to feel Lockhart up, stroking that delectable arse until it was hot and tender and quivering, and feeling every inch...every fraction of an inch...of thick stiff juicy cock rubbing him in front.

"Did you want to get my arse all hot and red and well-spanked, then bend me over the table and fuck me among the dirty dishes?" Lockhart said.

Snape went rigid as what felt like half a gallon of come gushed out of him. Mm. His balls had been aching for relief all day, and even though he hated letting other people have the last word he couldn't have held on for another second. He was soaking, weak, and shuddery; aftershocks kept hitting him and he couldn't get up; he was completely unable to do or say anything but it wasn't a problem.

"Well, that guess hit the jackpot," Lockhart said mildly, thrusting rather painfully against Snape's over-sensitive prick in a way which made Snape find his tongue, if only to say `ouch!'

"If you wouldn't mind, not straight afterwards," sighed Snape.

"Mm? Oh. Give me a hand with it, would you?" Lockhart said agreeably, and flopped on his back on the bed. "I must say, it's nice feeling you go off pop all over me like that. I like to be wanted. Feel what that does to me."

Snape felt it.


Snape flexed his grip.

"Mm, haven't I got a beautiful big one? Don't you love touching it?"

With a mental sigh, Snape let his tongue blither on about how gorgeous, massive, tempting and so on Lockhart's prick was, while his brain thought can we go to sleep yet? because even if it was massive, tempting &c, he was rather too tired to maintain the proper degree of enthusiasm.

"Oooh, Severus," Lockhart sighed, "god you're good at that!" and finished off slow, greedy and languid. From the look on his face, he'd enjoyed it. He slumped down on the floor, leaning against the bed.

"Oh, you did notice there was another person here, just at the end," Snape murmured, licking his hands. "Sometimes I feel like a mere onlooker to your ongoing serious love-affair with yourself." He shrugged out of his dressing-gown and let it fall on the floor.

"Severus, it would be false modesty to pretend to ignore my own beauty and charm, and one of my excellent qualities is lack of false modesty."

"Or any other sort of modesty," added Snape, as he got into bed.

"Are you trying to tell me I'm not gorgeous?"

"No," said Snape, pulling the blankets over himself as a gentle hint that he wanted to sleep now.

"Well then," said Lockhart, as if he'd won that particular argument. Crawling into the bed, he settled down to sleep with his head on Snape's shoulder.

Snape sighed. Obviously mental vacuity was contagious, because he felt...contented. Pulling some of the blankets over Lockhart, he yawned and fell asleep, still slightly puzzled at how he could fall asleep with Lockhart's hair tickling his nose like that. But he felt too lazy to even twitch.


He could always tell whether it was Gil speaking to him in the dark. The daytime `Lockhart' persona had a loud voice with a tooth-gratingly infuriating drawl. The evening version, his sexual partner and occasional beautician, had an expressive voice full of queeny swoops and dives, and a rather nice chiming giggle. The `Gil' who woke him up in the middle of the night had all of that pared away to leave a quiet and rather toneless whisper.

"I can't remember," said Gil into the darkness, "the last time I felt honestly proud of something I'd actually done. I mean, all the daytime stuff doesn't count. Isn't real. Now I've actually done something, even if it's just washing someone's horrible manky hair."

Snape said, "Open a beauty shop, Gil. Leave teaching. The wizarding world will thank you."

"If it was daytime, I'd have to make a fuss about you wanting to steal my job."

"If it was daytime," said Snape, "I'd probably feel impelled to try to get your job."


"No, of course not. Everyone thinks I want it, but I merely want it taught properly."

"I know. Gilderoy Lockhart (TM) must be using it to train children to feed his ego."

"Gil, are you actually aware you're the same person?" Snape asked curiously.

"In a way. I think, when I'm aware of just being me, that it would be more insane to treat Gilderoy Lockhart (TM) as the real me. Does that make sense?"

"I thought it was bad enough being a spy," said Snape, "but at least I was always the same underneath."

"Lucky you."

"Go to sleep, Gil."

"If you'll hold me?"

Snape put his arms around Gil, and slept deeply.


Again, he woke up unusually late.

Lockhart blinked vacantly at him. "Can I start leaving my spare set of curlers in your room, Severus?"

"No." He knew where that would lead. Lockhart was an entertaining sexual partner, but there was no chance they could live together. He liked knowing where everything was in his rooms, and he did not want them transformed into an over-filled beauty parlour.

Lockhart pouted.

"Still no."

"Oh well, worth a try," said Lockhart cheerfully. "My god, what did I do with my clothes?"


"Looks like it. You're a bad influence, Severus. I could at least have looked for a hanger."

"I'd have jumped you while you were opening the wardrobe door."

"Oh, yes, you're a bad influence!" Lockhart grinned at him. "Pity we don't have time before breakfast," he added, reaching down and squeezing Snape's arse quickly.

"In fact, we don't have time for breakfast," added Snape, pushing him away rather regretfully.

"Well, I don't know..."

Snape sighed. "I have fifth-year Slyth/Gryff, you have third-year Huff/Raven."

"You have such a good memory, Severus." Lockhart smiled brilliantly. "Have you got any biscuits?"

Snape fished some out of the desk and handed them over.

Lockhart crunched. "You eat some as well, Severus," he asked as he finished eating and pulled his robes up.

He did, just to stop Lockhart fussing. No time for a shower, so he did a mild cleansing charm and then put his clothes on and straightened them.

"Oh how clever!" exclaimed Lockhart, so he sighed and repeated the ironing charm on Lockhart.

Lockhart went out into the main dungeon. "What's the time?"

Snape checked it, and swore.

The usual selection of gossipy brats would be right outside the door. He sighed, stalked through the dungeon, and opened the door.

Lockhart was talking the moment he did so.

"...and anyway, Professor Snape, evil spirits would just dissolve with one application of my Patented Perfect Potion."

Snape turned round and hit Lockhart with a Sneer-and-Glare, just as usual. "I believe you have a classful of students to misinform, Lockhart. Do not let me detain you."

"Oh, poor Professor Lockhart!" exclaimed a Gryffindor, "what appalling treatment you have to put up with!"

"Well, as you know, children, I'm terribly brave and modest..." Lockhart blithered.

Snape entertained himself by thinking of visiting appalling treatment on Lockhart, making him beg and squirm and writhe.

The students started edging away, muttering things about "was that the Evil Eye or just the usual horrible glare?"

"If it was the Evil Eye," said Lockhart, "I would be quite comfortable with dispelling it. All one needs (apart from a handsome and talented and charming wizard) is to..."

"Lockhart," said Snape warningly.

"Oops, yes. Trade secrets!"

Lockhart, not looking particularly cowed, slipped out.


Surprisingly enough, the day went without incident.

The oddest thing was a conversation between Bleason and Attery, two of the older Slytherins. He drifted closer on silent feet.

"He looks sleek," said Bleason.

"Well, we've seen that before," said Attery, "any time he's handed out a couple of good detentions."

"Yes, but that's just satisfied-malice sleek. He looks as if he's had his hair done. And he has that expression on his face."

"What expression?" said Attery.

"Well-shagged," said Bleason.

"Oh, ew!" said Attery.

There being no point in letting that little conversation go on, he set about making them they were sorry they were ever born, or more to the point making them sorry he was ever born. He did not, however, give them a detention. Entertaining as it was watching children get ever more restless and irritable in front of him, it wasted a lot of his time.

And, after a light supper of trout and salad, Snape wanted a quiet night in in his dungeon, not having to supervise a detention.

"What are you doing here?" he asked Lockhart, when Lockhart turned up. "I didn't ask for you."

"I rather thought you'd want to thank me for making your hair better."

"I doubt it's had much effect. I have tried a number of different hair treatments, none of which ever worked."

"Oh, of course, you wouldn't have looked in a mirror yet. Didn't anyone mention it?"

Snape thought for a moment, made the connection with what the Slytherins had been talking about earlier, turned on his heel and raced for the mirror, which he fished out from under a pile of ingredients and textbooks.

He steeled himself, and looked. A long fall of thick straight silky black hair cloaked him in shadows. He turned his head this way and that. Still good.

Lockhart produced another mirror that he must have had in his pocket, and walked up behind him so he could see the back.

"Actually," Snape said with some surprise, "it isn't bad."

Lockhart smiled dazzlingly at him. "Well, there's no way I could make you as pretty as me, so I had to make you as handsome as I knew you could be, Sevvie."

Snape snorted. "How on earth did you do it?" he asked, disdaining to even refer to what Lockhart had called him.

"Impervius. If it can keep things clean, and keep the rain off things, if you mix it with a common Muggle shampoo and conditioner, it'll keep your hair nice."

"I never thought of that," admitted Snape.

Lockhart smiled at him.

"Thank you," said Snape, with difficulty. "And thank you for not succumbing to the temptation of making me look a blithering fop like you."

Lockhart smiled even harder. "Apart from the difficulty of making anyone as beautiful as me, I'm a very wise wizard. I could see that you want to keep your dignity." He paused. "What, out of interest, did they say about you?"

Snape told him, without comment.

"How perceptive! Especially since I haven't shagged you since Wednesday...I must have done a damned good job if the effect's still visible two days later!"

"Shut up, Lockhart," grumbled Snape, as his prick stood instantly rigid at the very thought.

"Mm? Not interested?" Lockhart reached out and traced his erection with one long finger. "Want me to suck you right down my throat? I've been practicing with the banana. Or you could fuck me. I've been practicing for that with my fingers. Actually, I rather enjoyed doing that," he added reminiscently. "The fingers, I mean. I don't particularly have a sexual kink about fruit, but having a finger or two inside me was a pleasure. Not that I've really needed to do it myself, lately...Not that I ever do," he added quickly, "as you know, they're queuing up..."

"Shut up, Lockhart. Lie on the bed, on your belly, and I will fuck you."

Lockhart undressed, quickly, and lay down on the bed. He shivered. "You don't have anything for performance-anxiety from the receptive end, do you? I mean, not that I have such a thing, not that I would, merely academic question and so on, always willing to broaden my knowledge of Potions..."

"You've been enjoying fingers all week, according to what you were telling me."

Lockhart swallowed. "Your cock's bigger," he admitted. "Just...give me a moment to get used to it."

"Let me stroke your legs," Snape murmured, in his deepest, softest voice. "I will caress those long, lovely legs, right up to that beautiful arse of yours." He did, still talking soothingly as he stroked away at Lockhart. Legs like that deserved to be enjoyed slowly and thoroughly.

"Rest your hips on a pillow the way I do when I'm being fucked, it makes it easier," he went on, and paused for Lockhart to get into position before he moved his hands further up. "Then I'll keep going." One fingertip circled round the entrance with intent. "I'll get my fingers wet." He did. "Up and in." The fingertip slid in. "You remember how good my finger feels there, don't you?" He worked his way in more thoroughly. "As long as I talk, and stroke, and move, all you have to do is lie there and melt from inside."

"You're right, you don't need a Potion," said Lockhart breathlessly, "just bottle that voice." He spread himself open.

"Now I'll just lie on you and rock against you, just to get you accustomed. There...that's what my cock feels like just sliding against you," Snape murmured. "I can still stop, if you want me to."

"Don't stop."

"Another finger, just to stretch you a bit, and now you can feel my cock pressing against you, just slipping in. Mm, that's good. But I can still stop, if you want me to."


An involuntary clench stopped Snape mid-thrust.

"I can still stop," Snape said, "but I will be severely disappointed if I have to."

Lockhart gulped, quivered, and released the clench.

"Good man. That's better."

Snape nudged forward. He nearly said, "Open for me, Gil," absentmindedly. Instead he said, "Push down, as you do to let a finger in you... yes, that's it."

God, it was almost too tight to be comfortable for him, let alone Lockhart, at first. Once he'd got it, tortuously, fraction-by-fraction, into Lockhart, it felt marvellous. Sinking in slowly, he got himself as far and deep as he could. "You have definitely got the most beautiful arse I've ever had," he murmured.

"Mm?" said Lockhart, who seemed to be relaxing properly. "Go on, tell me I'm gorgeous."

"You are. I can sink in, rubbing myself against you until I ache, never had anything this good. Such a very tight fit you make my prick sweat as you slide around me. Let me move."

He half-withdrew, angled himself, slid again.

Lockhart groaned. "Do it again!" he gasped.

Snape did it again.

Lockhart rocked back and forth, quivering. "Again!"

"Get...ready...!" Snape growled, managing another rather rough thrust.

"I'm ready!" gasped Lockhart.

"Oh..." Snape came to a shuddering stop , "Gil!"


Wriggling languidly through the last spasms of his orgasm, Snape had just enough time to think, well, calling him by his name doesn't seem to have any effect on his doubtful sanity. Maybe he didn't notice, before he fell asleep still deep inside Lockhart.


He woke up in the night again. His partner had somehow eased away without waking him, and there he was, smoothly plastered along Snape's body but no longer wrapped around his prick.

"You called me by my name," Gil breathed. "No-one's ever wanted me before. Just the one in the photographs."

Snape sighed. It was too late at night for philosophy. "You," said Snape carefully, "have those cheekbones, and those lips, and those legs, and that arse, just as in the photographs."

"Yes," said Gil, "but everyone else ran away when they'd done it with me once. I suppose I'm just a basically dislikeable person, underneath the looks."

"From one dislikeable person to another," said Snape, "I don't just like the cheekbones..." he traced them "and the lips..." a kiss "...and the legs..." he fondled Gil's thighs "...and the arse..." he fingered that.

"There's also my cock." Gil moved it against him.

"Back on the same relentlessly superficial level, that's certainly a pleasure, but what I meant was... You relax me, and help me to stop worrying about the never-ending catalogue of disasters that is my professional life, and surprise me with the things you say, and make me laugh. Occasionally, even on purpose."

"I've never been good for anyone before."

"It's not exactly anything I was known for, either."

Gil giggled. "I don't usually wake up in the middle of the night and feel happy about me, so you're good for me too, Severus. There's something awfully sexy about lying here in the dark with someone who actually wants me. Do you think you can stay awake long enough to be `good for me' now?"

"All right, then." He pulled Gil into his arms.

"What do you want? Fuck me? Suck me? Kiss me all over?"

"Quick rub or nothing. I need my sleep."

"I'm pouting at you. You may not be able to see that in the dark."

"All those other things later," Snape said firmly, and began to work himself against Gil, also firmly. A few moments of friction, sighing, kissing and gasping, mouth-to-mouth and cock-to-cock, and Snape's cock pulsed into a slow satisfying climax barely seconds after Gil's.

"Good enough!" panted Gil, yawning. "Have you got a tissue?"

"By the bed."

Gil fell asleep in his arms the moment he'd cleaned up.

I'm glad, thought Snape, slightly bemused, that the sex-drive and the sense of humour are part of the real one. It seems that the only part of him I dislike really is `Gilderoy Lockhart (TM)'. He felt protective, affectionate, towards Gil's whispered voice in the night, but he'd hate to feel that the man he met in the evenings was some sort of fake.


Time passed.

It was odd that Snape was having a semi-serious affaire with a deeply-damaged and none-too-bright wizardly failure, but on the other hand he hadn't been exactly undamaged by his own experiences in life, and his considerable intelligence hadn't saved him from a number of remarkably stupid (and worse) things he had actually done.

Lockhart was, after enough work had been put in, bloody good in bed. Snape was still quite astonished that nobody else had bothered. Really, it was just common-sense; wasted effort could be redeemed by teaching, teaching was what he did even if he hated it, and he would rather do the work than admit to failure.

And, oddly enough, he liked Gil. One didn't see much sign of him in public, and certainly not in a roomful of people (which was "Gilderoy Lockhart (TM)'s" favourite place to be), but in private Snape knew he was there. Particularly the sense of humour, of course, and all those times when Gil showed he was perfectly aware of his own shortcomings, he just didn't want to be.

Now the idiot had got him thinking of him as two different people. Obviously stupidity was contagious.

He'd thought there were three of Lockhart a while back. There was Midnight-Gil, the voice-in-the-night who spoke to his own (damaged, disturbed) voice in the night. There was Evening-Gil: cheerful, half-self-aware, likable, fuckable and amusing. Then there was Gilderoy Lockhart (TM), whom he spent as little time with as possible.

He spent most time with Evening-Gil. Lots of sex, of course. Once he'd learned how, Gil was as greedy as he himself was for the pleasure. That version of Gil would chat about nothing-very-much, which was surprisingly relaxing. "You've got to learn to suffer fools at least halfway gladly, Severus," Gil told him once. "There are so many of us, you'll just ruin your life pointing out the idiots you meet. Early-heart-attack territory."

When not in bed, Evening-Gil pestered him with different forms of self-improvement. Snape firmly declined the offers of skin cream or wizardly dental-work, telling Gil he'd got accustomed to the yellow teeth and sallow skin; it was enough of a shock to have decent hair suddenly. He permitted, and enjoyed, the hair treatments and frequent massages.

When he'd woken up with Evening-Gil wrapped around him in the middle of the night, he'd realised that both versions were real, and the same person in different moods. It had been a relief to realise that: he felt a certain tenderness towards that voice in the night, but he'd also hate to feel the other's humour and sexiness were somehow inauthentic. No. Only Gilderoy Lockhart (TM) was a construct. Gil's fear that nobody would actually like his real self had created a monster.

The boundary between the play and relaxation of Gil's evenings and the desperate confidences in the night was somewhat blurred now, but the boundary between evening/night and daylight stayed fixed. Having no wish to be the catalyst for some sort of mental breakdown, Snape carefully made no reference to Midnight-Gil's dead-of-night conversations when speaking to Gilderoy Lockhart (TM).


When mental breakdown came, he certainly wasn't the catalyst.

In a fit of raving cowardice, Lockhart had finally Gone Too Far. Endangered the school, endangered pupils under his care, and finally caught himself with his own Memory Charm, which might have destroyed what there was of his mind. If one could tell.

Snape didn't go to St Mungo's. I think you've taught me to be a coward, Gil, he thought bitterly, aware it would just hurt too much to look into Gil's eyes and see...nothing. He was deeply and consistently miserable for a very long time, although he was glad that now people knew the worst about Lockhart, they didn't usually refer to the man.


"Albus," he said.

"Ah, Severus. I wanted a private chat with you. There's a new shop opened in Hogsmeade I think you should visit. A beautician. Wizardly, of course. By all accounts he has quite a magical touch, and you have been letting yourself go a bit, for quite a long time now."

Snape was quite unable to keep back the sharp gasp of sudden pain. Suddenly he remembered that late-night conversation with Gil, about opening a beauty shop. If only Gil had.

"Severus," said Albus firmly, "I really think you should go." He handed Snape a card, large and glittery, with the name and address of a shop on it.

"No," said Snape.

"Severus, can I insist, as your friend?"

Albus Dumbledore had asked him for any number of things in the cause and course of the war, but he'd very rarely asked for anything else, although Snape knew Dumbledore was the nearest he had to a friend.

"I'll go and look. If you think I should. It's really not my sort of thing."

"I think you'll be pleasantly surprised, Severus. Go there on Saturday, that'll give you a bit of time without lessons to worry about. Oh...and come back here when you've finished. Come and have tea with me Sunday morning at eleven."

"It won't take me anywhere near that long to have my hair done," Snape complained. "Ten minutes before school would be fine."

"Please do anyway, Severus."


In a very bad mood, that Saturday, he went to the shop and flung himself down in the chair. He couldn't help hoping that somehow...no, the shop assistant had long legs, long hair, and a lovely arse, but nothing else in common with who he'd been thinking about.

"Do your worst," he said, through gritted teeth.

There was a chuckle from behind him. "Well, really, Severus, I'd rather do my best. Particularly as you saved my life, or at least my sanity." It was a very familiar voice. It did not go at all with the fact that he'd never seen the assistant before in his life. He watched the man in the mirror. No. Still didn't recognise him.

"Oh, marvellous," said Snape. "Now I'm losing my mind, as well."

"What?" said the assistant blankly, in the same voice. "Oh. Oh, damn, I should have taken it off before I talked to you." He took a large handkerchief from the table in front of him, and wiped it carefully across his face. "Incognitus Potion. I really thought I'd better reinvent myself, due to...circumstances," said Gil, rather muffled by the hankie.

"If you can do magic that works," said Snape, "I really must be losing my mind."

"Incognitus isn't too bad, and it helps when the person people remember isn't quite real. Actors use it, to go down the shops without getting mobbed," said Gil.

"It's a very odd effect now I see it used on someone I know well. Absolutely nothing's changed about your features," Snape said, caressing Gil's perfect chin delicately, "but I just couldn't see it was you."

"As for using magic, I always could," said Gil quietly. "Just nothing that counted. I could do appearance spells - didn't you ever wonder why my hair was still perfect ten minutes after being in bed with you? It was just everything else I couldn't do...all the protection and defence and stuff I was supposed to be teaching. Making myself pretty just happened, whether I was using magic or Muggle tricks. All the stuff I had to learn, the glamorous and powerful stuff, I was hopeless at. Complete rubbish." He smiled. The smile was still beautiful. "Anyway, you mentioned I should run a beauty shop instead of being a teacher, and quite frankly you were absolutely right."

"What d'you mean I saved your sanity, anyway?"

"The Memory Charm hit the persona who'd cast it. Gilderoy Lockhart (TM) was in bits, honestly. Nasty business. Would have been worse if I hadn't had a bit of practice being me, and you'd always kept Gilderoy Lockhart (TM) out of the bedroom, at least."

Snape slipped an arm round him.

"Anyway," Gil continued, "I woke up a week later perfectly normal. Nobody could believe it. So I managed to clear my account just before anybody thought of whether I was really entitled to the money, had enough for the shop, and here I am. God, your hair is in a dreadful state, Severus. You really need me."

Snape pointed his wand at the door and flicked it locked. "You still talk too much, Gil."

"Nice to hear you call me that before sunset, Severus. Shall I do your hair now?"

Snape stood up. "I have had a shock," he said firmly, pulling Gil close against him, "and I need to lie down." Now Gil had mentioned it, he did need him, and hair was the least of it.

"There's a bed in the back."


"Really, this is intended for all-over treatments," explained Gil, as they lay down.

"Good." Snape flung himself at Gil.

"What did you miss most?"

"You...ahh!" Snape groaned, coming messily all over the inside of his robes, clenching his thighs around Gil to prolong the exquisite feeling. Even coming much too fast wasn't too bad. Not when he knew he was going to have as much sex as he liked later on.

Snape flopped back on the bed, reaching out for Gil. Robes open, just enough to get his cock out...

"Mm, nice! Could I ask you for something I've been fantasising about for simply ages?" Gil got up, robes swirling, wet cock bobbing in the air.

"Can't we do it here?"

"Oh no, they're all in the other room," Gil explained.

"All what?"

Gil led him to the front room; which was, to his relief, empty. ‛They' were evidently not people, then.

"Now, I'll just sit down and get myself all comfy." Gil sat down in the chair.

"You haven't done your clothes up, Gil."

"No. Thought you'd enjoy the view." Gil pulled a large basin towards himself, and put his feet in it. "Pass me one of those big blue sparkly envelopes on the side. The one with the waves on it."

Snape picked it up. "‛Instant Pedicure'?" he read doubtfully.

"That's it. I really do love having my feet done. Actually I do pedicures the old-fashioned way most of the time for other people, but if you're inexperienced at it, it's better to use a spell. And there's another reason..." Gil darted him a rather flirty glance.

"All right, I'll watch you indulging your taste for foot-fetishism," Snape told him. Feet couldn't be terribly exciting, but watching Gil squirming with pleasure would definitely be worthwhile.

"Good," Gil sighed, and opened the silver-blue envelope, aiming it at his feet. A gush of hot water and bubbles flowed into the bowl.

"Mmm," said Gil happily. His erection tightened further. "Oooh, that feels indecently good. Even better knowing you're watching me enjoy it."

Anyone can have beautiful features, but he's got beautiful feet. How often does that happen? Snape's admiring gaze traversed each narrow pretty length as Gil lifted them one-by-one out of the water to show them off, then sighed with pleasure as he sank them back in.

"Do you do this often?" he asked, to distract himself.

"When I can afford it. They're quite expensive," Gil said. "I like to sit myself down and indulge myself. Usually thinking about you. Usually thinking about you watching." Snape moved a bit closer. That had sounded like a hint.

Gil kicked his feet out happily. Water splashed on the floor, then cleared itself up instantly. "Worth every Knut, in my opinion," he said.

After a few more minutes in the scented, bubbly water, Gil eased his feet out. "Dry, please."

Snape dropped to his knees beside Gil's feet, but they appeared to become drier without the intervention of any human agency.

"How does that work?" asked Snape, fascinated, resting his chin in Gil's lap.

"Soft warm jets of...oooh...dry air, with a bit of talc. Mm. That's not the best bit." Snape worked his head forward, and breathed on Gil's cock.

"What's the best bit?" Snape asked, sliding his tongue out and licking what he thought was the best bit.

Gil gave a positively scandalous moan of sheer pleasure. "Soft, scented cream, and it feels...feels like hands, rubbing it in..."

Snape gulped Gil's cock right down.

"Suck me...touch me...god, it feels as if I'm coming right down to my toes!" That particular outcry ended with a sobbing cry that left nothing to the imagination.

Snape swallowed every drop, and sat back on his heels.

"I don't know about you, Severus, but I need a rest." Gil took his hand and led him back to the bed. There was just about enough room for them both to lie down.

"I want to say something," said Gil, quietly.

"Go on then."

"Hang on a minute."

He could hear Gil's bare feet patter across the floor of the shop. He was evidently looking for something. Snape could hear him opening drawers and complaining because he couldn't find it.

"Can't you wait a bit before the next beauty treatment?" Snape complained mildly.

"Hold on...just one moment."

Ten minutes later, Gil came back. To Snape's surprise, he was holding a little black eye-mask, the sort of thing people put across their eyes on long train-journeys when they wanted to sleep.

Gil lay down beside him and put the thing over his face.


Eventually, Gil said, in a very small voice. "I missed you. Missed you like anything. You were the only thing out of all of it I would have kept. I couldn't imagine you'd want me, when you...knew. Then Professor Dumbledore came here. I...I think he knew who I was. And he said something about you being lonely since... And you came here."

Snape put his arms round Gil and kissed him gently on the mouth.

"Albus is a meddling old fool who is right far too often for his own good. Take that thing off your face."

Gil did. He looked rather scared.

"Next time you want to find enough dark to speak to me in, close your eyes and pretend. It's quicker than looking for that damn mask, and it leads to less interrupted sleep than having to tell me whatever you want to tell me in the middle of the blasted night."

"Close...my...eyes?" Gil said shakily, closing them. "I'm a terrible coward. I'm afraid I'd drive you away."

"You could tell me anything." You know about the Death-Eater business, I know about Gilderoy Lockhart (TM).

Gil screwed his eyes up so hard it must have hurt. "C-could I tell you I loved you?"

Snape stroked Gil's forehead until he relaxed slightly, then kissed him, very softly, on each eyelid. "You wouldn't have to." He paused. "I might even reciprocate some decade or other. You'd have to wait and see."

In Snape's opinion, questions of love should be passed over in decent silence by both parties.

Gil squeaked joyfully and flung his arms round Snape.

The next embrace lasted a comfortable...very comfortable...forty minutes. Sometimes they talked, sometimes they were silent. Both of them held on.

After that, Gil said, "Which would you prefer, a slow comfortable screw or a slow comfortable shampoo?"

"Both," said Snape. "Not at the same time."

So they did, successively and successfully.


At eleven o'clock precisely on Sunday morning, Snape walked into Albus Dumbledore's office and sank into a chair, wincing slightly.

"Tea, dear boy?"

"Thank you." Snape sipped at it.

"It is my impression that very few troubles in life aren't improved by one's being taken care of. Massage, pedicure...oh, what's the phrase? Wash-and-blow-job?"

Snape spluttered his tea.

"No, it isn't, Albus." He sighed. "I don't know why I even try to keep secrets from you."

"Here's your Christmas present, Severus. A little early this year."

Snape unrolled the parchment. Albus had apparently upgraded his connection to the Floo network. He now had a permanent link into Hogsmeade.

"Thank you, Albus." He was grateful, as well as embarrassed. That sort of season-ticket was expensive. It was, of course, the ideal gift for a couple whose only objection to actually living together was the incredible amount of rubbish the other person accumulated. Gil didn't want to have to look at ingredients all the time, and he certainly didn't want to be tripping over beauty-care products. All they wanted was to have lots of sex, each other to talk to, and sleep in each other's arms.

"It's all turned out much better than might have been expected," mused Albus.

"Why on earth did you take him on as a teacher?"

"Nobody else applied. And it's always possible to learn something from a person, even if it's not what they think they are teaching. The worthless and wrong-headed quest for publicity, for example, and that it can lead people into danger."

Snape drew an indignant breath, but could not in conscience defend such behaviour.

"Or that the real person under the persona can be surprisingly likeable, and have talents of his own as long as he's kept away from teaching. That, however, wasn't a lesson for the children."

"No," said Snape thoughtfully, "it wasn't. If you would excuse me, Albus, I need to go and talk to my manicurist about transportation arrangements."

"Of course, Severus."