Chapter 2 – Always Read a Contract Before You Sign It!

Severus apparated to his parent’s house wondering why they had summoned him. What indignity were they going to subject him to now? Even when he received the letter from the Ministry informing him that he was going to end up betrothed to the highest bidder, they hadn’t even sent him so much as an owl. Now they had formally requested his presence.

As a child he actually thought he was adopted. For both his parents were brunets and had curly hair which they passed on to his siblings. The only person in his family that he ever resembled was his grandmother. She was a stately woman who he was told was of Roma descent. She was where he got his height and coloring. She had called him her pride, her greatest accomplishment. But now she was gone.

He stood outside the parlor door and gathered all his skills as a spy. He put his mask firmly in place and put away painful memories, for he knew that they would only use them against him. He then opened the door to where he knew his family awaited him.

His father scowled, “Severus, you are late.” His brother and sister snickered at him. He resisted the urge to roll his eyes; they were always so juvenile and he did not want to be like them. They both sat huddled around his mother and father. His sister was cuddling against their mother--you would never guess that she was actually 5 years older than he was. It was a fact he took great pleasure in telling everybody he met. His brother sat on the arm of the chair their father occupied. Was there no dignity in the man?

“You’re lucky that your future husband hasn’t arrived yet.” His sister taunted.

“MY WHAT!?! How is this possible? The ad hasn’t been posted yet!” His sister actually clapped her hands with glee.

“We received a very elegant owl from a man very interested in you a few days ago. He was even willing to pay extra to keep us from placing the ad.” His mother said almost as excited as his sister.

Severus knew he was trapped. They had all the right in the world to do this and he had none. “Who?” His parents looked nervous. His mother answered, “Well, we don’t know his name. He contacted us through a barrister in London.”

“You don’t even know who he is?!” Restraint, Severus, you are too young to go to Azkaban for murder.

“Well,” the chit was blushing. “He is coming today to deliver the final offer and has requested your presence. He wishes to take possession of you today if his offer is agreeable.” The sound of apparition stopped all further conversation. His mother rose to answer the door.

Severus was holding his breath. Who was the man that would pay to have him? How would this man treat him? I don’t think I could take another master.

His mother escorted the man into the room. He saw a dark colored head barely rising above his mother’s. The bodies of his siblings and father obscured his face. His father greeted the man, pumping his hand heartily. “My dear, let me introduce you to Harry James.” His mother cooed.

His father guided their guest to the most comfortable chair in the room. His mother was still chatting away. However, as she sat she revealed the face of his future owner. The face of …he could not breathe… Harry James Potter.

Severus wanted to yell, he wanted to curse them all. It was all he could do to stand there, his mouth agape.

Harry was grateful for his colleague and future husband’s lack of speech. He would probably later find it funny but now was not the time.

“Mr. and Mrs. Snape I hope you don’t mind me getting straight to business?” Both shook their heads. Harry could see the dollar signs in their eyes. “I have brought the final offer. It is already approved by the Ministry.” In actuality, he had to threaten Percy with telling his mother that he was planning to elope with a nonexistent girlfriend. He approved the papers without even looking at them.

Harry smirked as he watched the Snape's eyes go wide at his offer. Truthfully, he would have paid a lot more. Harry now knew why Severus was so taken in by Riddle’s promises; he would have to if only to get away from these people.

They signed it without even looking any further then the large sum of money that he had offered. Harry’s smirk became an all out evil smile. “WHAT IN THE HELL ARE YOU DOING!” His now husband bellowed. Thankfully Severus had waited till they signed the contract before regaining his speech. “IF THIS IS SOME JOKE POTTER I’LL…” However, his rant was cut off by his mother’s squeal of joy.

“Potter? You’re Harry Potter?” The dollar signs were flashing now.

“Yes, that is my full name.”

Severus’ father rolled up the scroll and held it out distastefully. “I am sorry Mr. Potter, but our darling son is worth far more than this paltry some. If you do wish to acquire Severus and also for us to keep the affair quiet, more money would be in order.” He looked so smug. Harry was glad to burst his bubble.

“You know Mr. Snape,” Harry snatched the scroll. “You really should read something before you sign it.” The pompous man sputtered. “It says here that if one bit of this is leaked to the press no matter by whom, in your family or not, you forfeit the entire sum and are also required to pay me double that amount as an apology.” They gasped. “Also, when you signed this, you agreed to never have contact with Severus unless he contacts you first. The same penalties apply, of course.”

The Snape lunged for the contract, but it vanished from Harry’s hand a second before he could grab it. Harry laughed, it was outright evil. “The contract has just now been delivered to the Ministry and the money is being deposited into your account as we speak. Now I do believe it is time we left. Come, Severus.” The man had reverted to his stunned state. Harry gently took his hand and apparated them to the gates of Hogwarts.

Severus was too dazed to do anything but follow where he was lead, down the stairs and into Severus’ dungeon rooms. Luckily, Albus had given him Severus’ password so he had no trouble getting into what were now their rooms.

He gently guided Severus to the couch and went to get him a scotch. Giving him the drink, Harry turned back to get himself one.

When a crystal glass, minus the scotch, flew by his head, he knew his Severus was back. With a sigh he turned, coming face to face with an enraged Potions Master. “How dare you.” His voice was eerily calm. “Who do you think you are? Do you think this is some kind of joke? A way to pay me back for years of imagined abuse?”

Harry took a seat in a chair by the fireplace. He had promised himself that he would remain calm during this conversation, not giving Severus anything more ammunition with which to fuel his anger. “No Severus, I don’t think this is joke.” A scroll appeared on the table and he picked it up. “This is definitely no joke.” Harry handed the scroll to the looming man. “When I heard what your parents were going to do to you, I made up my mind that I couldn’t let that happen.”

Severus threw the scroll with a growl. “That old fool told you!”

With a raised hand Harry stopped the scroll in mid air calling it to him to keep it from the fire. Harry set it back on the table. He calmly addressed the pacing man. “Yes he did, he even helped me design the contract. Please take a seat, I know you have concerns and I will try to answer them as best I can. But I won’t do it until you’re ready to listen.”

Severus glared at him but took a seat opposite. “Thank you, Severus. Are you hungry? It is past dinner.” Severus did not respond. Harry sighed and called for a house elf.

They ate in silence. Thankfully dinner was light because neither Harry’s nor Severus’ stomachs could handle anything else. The house elf caused the empty plates to disappear, and then delivered them some tea. From the taste, it seemed that the tea had some calming draught in it and is that… veritaserum? Maybe a little, just enough to make them tell the truth, but not to force them to say something they did not want to.

Severus raised an eyebrow but made no comment about the additions, thinking it might be a good idea. “Why did you purchase me?” Harry had to force down a wince.

“I wanted a real husband.” He said honestly.

Severus took that in. “Why do you not find a nice young…gentleman to take to the altar?”

Harry noticed the pause more so than the question. He leaned forward concerned. “Oh Severus I…I didn’t even think that you might not be gay or at least bi. We can break this and try to find another way.”

Severus did not answer, but Harry could tell that he was definitely nervous. Very nervous, if he could see it. “I…I am not adverse to the idea of being with a man. I just have never.” Severus turned his head, refusing to look at the man who once was his student.

Harry did not know what to say. He had not expected this.

Knowing he was changing the uncomfortable subject but really needing to know, Severus growled. “Why are you acting like these rooms are yours? Pouring me MY scotch like it was your own, getting comfortable in my chair.”

Harry understood the need for a topic change, but he knew it was a subject they needed to return to and soon. “I felt it would be better for all if I was the one to move. With you being the Head of Slytherin you need to be close to your students. Also, I thought it might put you more at ease in familiar surroundings.”

Severus nodded and despite himself he yawned, it had been a long day. Harry, noticing this, stood and offered him his hand. “Come on, everything will seem better in the morning.” Severus glared at the hand, and then it hit him. Potter said he wanted a ‘real husband’ he couldn’t mean… of course he could, someone wouldn’t spend money on a husband if he didn’t! He again had no choice. He looked at the man in front of him and sighed, taking his hand. Harry noticed the change in the man but could not place it.

Then he noticed that when they entered the bedroom Severus’ eyes were fixed on the bed. “Severus.” He pulled him to look at him. “I know what you’re thinking and yes, we will have to consummate our relationship before the week’s out for the contract to become final. But not tonight.”

Severus’ face hardened. “Why not just get it over with Potter.” He started pulling roughly at his buttons.

“No! Severus stop!” He grabbed the potion stained hands. “Calm down!”

“Don’t put your pleasure off on my account. I have no rights, you OWN me!”

“Yes you’re right; legally I can do with you as I please. And right now it would please me if you would relax a bit and get ready for bed.” Like Harry expected, Severus did as he was told. Shooting him a dubious look, Severus collected his things and entered the bathroom shutting the door and locking it firmly.

Harry sighed. How was he going to make Severus understand? Nevertheless, his musing was cut short when Severus emerged from the bathroom. Harry’s breath caught. He was wearing black pajamas with dark green cuffs. If he wasn’t mistaken, they were SILK!

Breathe, Harry, breathe. Don’t scare the man. Harry hurriedly grabbed his cloths and went into the bathroom.

He deliberately took his time, wanting to give Severus as much time as possible to get settled. It also gave him time to collect himself. Harry chose to only wear his flannel pants to bed. His husband had to get used to his body. They only had six days left.

Emerging from the bathroom, Harry’s eyes immediately fell to the bed where Severus was laying looking for the entire world like a man about to die. He was flat on his back, eyes closed and covers pulled up to his chin.

Harry noticed that Severus looked paler than usual. He gave a silent sigh. He only had a week for Severus to accept him, for he would not force the man.

Severus flinched when Harry climbed into bed. “Easy, I’m not going to hurt you.” Harry reached out and slowly worked each white finger free of the death grip it had on the comforter. Clasping the potion stained hands; he drew them with him as he laid down, pulling Severus on his side to face him. His eyes closed tighter.

“Severus, Severus look at me.” Harry brushed the hair that fell into his husband’s face away. “Severus you know I wont hurt you.” Severus reluctantly opened his eyes. “I promise that this will be alright.” He kissed the captured hands lightly. Severus’ eyes went wide “Just sleep Severus. We’ll worry about tomorrow when it comes.” He then closed his eyes. Severus watched as his breathing evened out. He didn’t sleep until he was sure that his…husband was deep asleep.