Hair Without The Shirt ( Cheveux sans la chemise )

By Librasmile

Logline: So, greasy git am I? Let the mindless little rug rats laugh. Children are so shortsighted. Just like their parents. Only ever seeing what they want to see… Severus understands the tradition of the hair shirt. He just can't follow it.

Author's Note: Yes I'm one of those sevvie fan girls who wants to come up with a plausible excuse for the state of his hair. This is what I got…

Rating: G

Disclaimer: All characters including Severus' hair, are the creation and property of JK Rowling. I make no profit from their use.


Cheveux sans la chemise.

That sounds so much better, so much more…noble.

Hair without the shirt, on the other hand…

Those words thud to the ground with all the leaden uselessness they possess.

So, greasy git am I?

Let the mindless little rug rats laugh.

Children are so shortsighted. Just like their parents. Only ever seeing what they want to see.

Let them scoff.

Of course their piddling insults sting. But they hardly hold a candle to the inner fires, the ones that nightly stand between me and sleep.

…I've earned so much worse…

…It's not as if…

I suppose I could have done other things, made a grander gesture.

The headmaster had "fixed his cannon against self-slaughter"* so my options were rather limited.

Still, I might have given them something truly comical to laugh at. I could have raided Sprout's greenhouses. Explaining to the arch-bleeding heart of Hufflepuff why I'd stolen all of her lilies would, I'm sure, have yielded me a plentitude of the abasement that was my due.

I could see it now. The Head of Slytherin at the mercy of the sweet little badger - brilliant. Whatever lying excuse I'd come up with would have crumbled under the baffled sympathy - or worse, the pity – I'd see in her eyes. But the headmaster has already left me with a stomachful of useless pity and it wouldn't do to vomit onto a fellow head of house's shoes.

It would have been hilarious.

I suppose I could have held my humiliation up as an offering to the fates that seem hell-bent on tripping me up by offering me the worst possible temptations for my desires and pride. And all of it could have been set to the sound of laughing students.

Yes, that might have been sufficiently humiliating.

But it would have been a one-time event, no matter how intense, and nowhere near enough.

Nor is the grand gesture my strong suit. I release the arrow but it never stays the course, instead veering from the ridiculous to the…the tragic.

I've never been particularly adept at practicing willing humiliation, either.

I suppose that is why there is a time-honored ritual fo these things, a prescription if you will.

Putting aside the pain of the fact that I cannot fully honor it…

I cannot rent my garments and don sackcloth.

But I can drape myself in black.

I cannot sit in ashes and wail.

But I can shut myself up in the dungeons and snarl at those who come too close.

I cannot even cut my hair.

But I can let it soak in the detritus that coats every minute of my cursed life – until the locks are as black and slimy as I know my deeds – my inner self, my soul – to be.

Yes, it is rather funny, isn't it?

Blessed are the ancients, for they truly knew how to mourn.

Blessed are those with the right to mourn.

May they have mercy on me.

Let the world see. Let them that have eyes see.

Let them laugh at the greasy git.

As long as they laugh at my hair I don't have to cry.

~Fin~


Author's End Note: I've read a lot of fan fic author's rationales for why Severus' hair is the way it is and none of them quite satisfied me. While doing yet another character analysis on him for my stories Confessions of a Cornwall Grad and its prequel Healer's Apprentice, I came to the startlingly simple conclusion that he's a penitent and/or a mourner. And what little I know of the rituals of mourning includes the renting ( tearing of one's clothes ), donning of sackcloth, pouring ashes on one's head, and possibly cutting one's hair. Severus can't do any of that because he has no right to do it. So he does what he can to mourn. Hope you liked it! Please read and review! ( P.S. I'm still working on Cornwall Chapter 4. Reviews encourage me to keep going! Nudge, nudge… *P.P.S. the statement "fixed his cannon against self-slaughter" comes from Hamlet and his famous "to be or not to be" soliloquy, courtesy of Shakespeare. )