The Plan

by Memory

What if Snape hadn't been really following anyone of his masters but a stronger, mysterious inspiration? A dark tribute to the ambiguous Snape we used to know. HBP compliant.

Disclaimer: I don't obviously own the characters in this story, even if I would like to.

PLEASE READ THE INTRODUCTION BEFORE GOING ON!

I know that introductions are always skipped, but I believe this one is important. It's quick anyway, and it won't take too much time.

Just two words of presentation: I'm Italian, and this will probably help you understand why some expressions may still sound awkward or odd in spite of all the corrections my wonderful betas have made to this story. I hope you will anyway enjoy the ideas, if not the style.

This is the first HP story I wrote and it was written during year 2006. When book 6 arrived in Italy (January 2006), I learned that Snape had killed Dumbledore, and the thought was terrifying! Dumbledore had been one of my favourite characters for such a long time! And I couldn't believe that Snape was evil...

Waiting to know the truth, I decided to try my own invention. So, I imagined the Plan: a dark, cruel narration expressing all my anguishes and hopes, a novel featuring an ambiguous Severus, exactly the one about whom we had been left wondering at the end of book 6.

This story has 8 chapters and is completed. I plan (that's the right word!) to post a chapter every three or four days so to finish it in a month time.

This novel is dedicated to all the HP fanfiction readers, in particular to the ones who would dare to write their own novels… but haven't tried yet.

Thank you for following my thoughts till here. Have a good reading and, if you want, let me know your comments.

1. Feelings

"What would a man be without his soul?"

The Plan was burning his mind, consuming his thoughts, ripping his flesh with sharp claws, devouring his bones slowly and insidiously. The Plan had been controlling him for almost half his existence, filling his days with challenges and haunting his nights with doubts. The Plan had claimed his life when he was only eighteen and had joined the Dark Lord. So young and so confident he was in his glorious destiny! But he was soon to be disappointed, because the Plan had other intentions for him, ones more obscure and dangerous than he could possibly imagine.

The Plan had been holding him in a forceful grip, leaving him no choice but to keep roaming its mysterious paths. He had felt its chilled touch the night the Potters were killed, the night the whole wizarding world had been rearranged. He had been aware of its silent paws following him in close pursuit when he had left his evil master to join Dumbledore, seeking oblivion in the quiet darkness of the castle's dungeons.

For eleven years, The Plan had been sleeping in his heart and in his mind… until Harry Potter reached Hogwarts with a gaggle of little witches and wizards. That same night, taking a look at the famous Potter – and his even more famous scar – while the child was eating his first dinner in the Great Hall, he felt a short, sudden, acute pain. He had instantly known there was no hope… The Plan had awoken and was lurking inside him, breathing in his chest, following the rhythm of his heartbeat.

The days, the weeks, the months that followed painfully confirmed his initial feelings. The Plan that had waited mutely for so many years was now roaring at full voice. Its claws were gripping harder and harder, and this was getting stronger each time the Potter boy came near him.

The last two years had been a continuous challenge, an incessant battle to survive, his body and mind divided in two parts. He had allies in each of them, friends nowhere; his fate was to be always alone, eyed in suspicion either by the members of the Order of the Phoenix or by his former fellow Death Eaters, especially the ones who survived Azkaban.

Only two men had decided to trust him completely… or so they declared: the Dark Lord and Albus Dumbledore.

Now, wasn't it funny that he had been able to convince the leaders but not the followers? Were they simply jealous of their masters' confidence in him, or were they merely afraid of the man's power? Because indeed he was growing more and more powerful. Secrets, missions and decisions were constantly entrusted in his hands, his actions fully known only by himself… and his loyalties deeply hidden in his soul.

He had then served his two masters, developing a complicated web of lies and secrets, forgetting his real identity and creating a new one according to circumstances. However, in spite of the contempt, the envy, even the hatred that was surrounding him, he had been secretly pleased. And why shouldn't he be? The two greatest wizards of Britain were relying upon his judgement.

Albus Dumbledore was always asking for his advice and so was the Dark Lord. The balance between Light and Darkness was resting on his shoulders. No woman, no family, no property had been permitted to him, but he had never regretted his choice. Either he had to kneel and kiss the hem of the Dark Lord's cloak or walk in conversation with Dumbledore, with the old man's weak, blue-veined hand trustfully resting on his shoulder.

He was untouchable, because The Plan was watching over him.

Yet he was beginning to feel uncomfortable. The Plan was still flowing in his veins with power he could not contain, but while he never seemed to lose control, inside he felt like he was walking on a sheet of ice that was getting thinner and thinner. There were too many unknowns entering the equation, too many pieces ready to make a move on the chessboard, and more importantly, Harry Potter was amongst them.

Potter, who had held the Philosopher's Stone in his hands, having no desire to possess it. Potter, who had fought and slain the Basilisk when he was only twelve. Potter, who had participated in the Triwizard Tournament against older competitors and won. And Potter, who had faced the born-again Dark Lord and survived his fury, standing by Cedric Diggory's dead body.

But also, Potter, who was always breaking rules and never paying for his indiscretions. Potter, who was the living image of his hateful father and was proud of it. Potter, who was stubborn, exasperating, undisciplined and careless, but no one ever seemed to notice.

Potter, who was the centre of the Dark Lord's thoughts and efforts. Potter, who year after year had gained Albus' respect, admiration and finally affection. The Chosen One, the living menace with his "one and only guardian of The Plan" status. Perhaps the only one he should have really feared…

However, he knew the boy's weak points too well to be truly alarmed. The Plan had been so completely intertwined with his own life that he had always refused to imagine it could ever go on without him.

But The Plan that was always with him, sharing each moment of his days and nights, was a passionate lover that could unexpectedly turn into a wild animal. Sometimes he asked himself what had really happened when Narcissa Malfoy had pleaded with him to take the Unbreakable Vow. Was The Plan trying to bind him even more harshly? Or had The Plan unexpectedly unbound and revealed itself as an uncontrollable, monstrous creature? He didn't like the idea that things were slipping from his hands. Even worse, he couldn't stand the thought that somehow The Plan was going to desert him, denying him the future of power and glory for which he had been working so hard.

Facing his doubts every day had become a rather unbearable burden, yet he had obstinately carried on. For Severus Snape was a man of honour. Severus Snape was a man of pride. Severus Snape was a man of action.

Nevertheless, even if he hated to admit it, Severus Snape was still a human being. Sometimes, when the hours of the night were darker than he could stand, his hand had involuntarily slipped towards the little leather bag where the powerful powder of dream and death was carefully conserved. But immediately, with a deep sigh of frustration, he had blamed himself for his cowardice and forced himself to defy the darkness. And then, as memories and words and sounds were flowing through his mind in an incessant stream, he had closed his eyes in agony, suppressing his thoughts and allowing The Plan to envelop him in its cold embrace.

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank all the many friends who have kindly accepted to read and revise my work. It's mainly their fault my effort has finally been posted here.

So, thanks to Phoenix and Zen Lady, who gave a lot of useful suggestions on the first chapters and encouraged me to post.

An immense "thank you" with all my gratitude to Jynx67, who checked, corrected and adjusted the whole story at least three times!

Many thanks also to Pennfana, who added her interesting comments, and to Overhill for her highly valued opinions.

And finally, many infinite thanks to Notsosaintly who, with her patient, thorough revision and friendly support, definitely gave wings to my piece.