Pairings: Harry/Snape. Slash, obviously.
Story Summary: Voldemort has been defeated. The horcrux within
Harry has fundamentally changed his nature, but only Snape seems to notice. Harry has plans for revolutionizing the wizarding world, and the worst part is that this might actually be a good thing. Somehow, Snape gets caught up in the web of change, deceit, and power. Slash.
Setting: AU, seventh year. Follows canon books 1-5. Borrows bits form books 6 & 7, though.
PROLOGUE TO POLITICS
Harry Potter won the war. At the beginning of his seventh year, he defeated the Dark Lord Voldemort. The wizarding world rejoiced. Life moved on.
The school year progressed. Harry Potter was quieter, more thoughtful. The quality of his schoolwork improved. He seemed to settle down, become more intelligent, to reign in his famously unpredictable temper, to develop a quiet charm. It was generally agreed that the cessation of the pressures of the war suited him.
Severus Snape wondered that they could be so blind.
In Potions class he watched as Potter stirred with long, precise fingers. Sleeker hair had replaced the springy mess, and the green eyes, so expressive, had turned hard and opaque as marble. The tanned skin was now alabaster-pale. Not a detail escaped that assessing steel-trap mind. And he moved silently, gracefully, like a panther – or a snake.
Snape wondered that the headmaster didn't see. But he was an old man now, weary, and likened Potter to a grandson. Snape thought that perhaps he did not blame Dumbledore that he did not want to see, and turned his eyes away rather than perceive the calculating eyes looking out of a face so loved. Harry Potter was all that Albus Dumbledore had, now. Could he despise an old man for grasping at a fragile, illusory peace and refusing to face that the child he loved was lost?
No. Severus could not.
So Snape watched, and waited, and never let the word 'horcrux' pass his lips, and wondered when the first of the screams would come.
One night he found Harry Potter in his office.
Potter stood leaned against the wall, as his wand twirled casually in the long fingers. Brother to the Dark Lord's wand.
Snape stood still.
"You've been watching me." Pleasant, conversational. "I didn't think it would be you. I'm surprised it wasn't Dumbledore."
"The old do not want to think that they will lose all they care for. Albus has reached the age when he only wishes for peace."
"Probably." Unreadable green eyes looked him over. "You know, I want to know how much you've guessed. What's the magic word?"
Snape swallowed, his mouth dry.
Potter's eyebrows rose, apparently impressed, and he clapped.
"Well done! And yet you've kept this to yourself?" A look of inquiry.
Snape hesitated again. Why had he kept it to himself?
"I suppose," he said slowly, "that I couldn't bring myself to start the war again."
Potter eyed him appreciatively.
"Excellent answer. I'm not Tom, you know. Bloody wanker."
Snape waited for explanation.
"There's better ways to take over the world," Potter clarified. "Do you think I want to go around killing people? I might have a bit of him in me, but I'm not Voldemort. MY plans for the wizarding world are going a bit differently." He gave Snape a brilliant smile. "Can't you just see me as the next minister?"
"No," Snape said flatly.
"Oh, come now." Potter struck a pose. "Harry Potter, the Chosen One, the Boy Who Lived, the Destroyer of Darkness. Honest, handsome, polite. Doing his best for the wizarding world and representing the people." He dropped the pose. "I'll turn their world upside down and make them love it."
Snape could suddenly see it, like a vision, playing out inside his head. He didn't like it.
"Wizarding society is fundamentally flawed, you know," Potter remarked. "It's almost completely static. Progress stopped nearly a century ago. Sooner or later it's going to either collapse or erupt into chaos. I'm going to force through the changes needed to get things moving again. Hopefully I'll make it impossible for a true dark lord to rise again, as well." He gave Snape a beautiful smile. "It'll be remembered as Britain's Golden Age."
"Why all these illuminating confidences, Potter?" Snape asked warily. The Dark Lord had had a habit of declaring his master plan to strategically-important victims before he killed them, and Snape wondered if these explanations were a prequel to his death.
The green eyes glittered brightly.
"Because I'll need an advisor, of course. Someone to tell me the cold hard truth. Someone to tell me when it's all fucked up. And most importantly, someone to tell me when I've gone too far and forgotten that I'm dealing people's lives, not a chessboard of pawns."
"You want me to be your advisor in this new world order of your?" Snape asked incredulously.
"Is this the price of my continued existence?"
"We can play it that way, if you like."
"Very well. Someone has to prevent you destroying the world."
More hissing laughter.
"You exaggerate. I intend to do very well by the world. But U am pleased that you agree to my offer."
"I had such an array of choices," Snape sneered.
Potter turned unexpectedly sombre.
"You had choices, Snape. Death is always a choice. Most people simply aren't brave enough."
"You're an utter psychopath," Snape said flatly.
"No, no!" Potter protested, "not an utter psychopath! There's a little human sentiment left in me yet. Besides, psychopaths make the best politicians. They don't care about opposition, and they're willing to perjure their souls." He gave Snape one last smile as he headed towards the door. "Give it a couple of years. I'll owl you when I need you. Until then, I'm just another Hogwarts student." He left.
And the devil of it wasn't just that he knew that owl would come, but that it was entirely possible that Potter was somehow doing the right thing.