Title: Brave New World
Fandom: Harry Potter
Word count: ~1800 (chapter)
Chapters: Prev | Next
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or any related characters. Making no money here, as they all still belong to their prospective owners.
Summary: Partially DH compliant, most AU. Voldemort arrived at Malfoy Manor quicker than expected, and like that, the war was over. Now, Hermione is Snape's "assigned companion," and as determined as ever to stop Voldemort and save her friends. But that's hard to do in Voldemort's new world…
Chapter One: Broken
How could it have come to this? Severus Snape sat in the corner of the room, opposite the door. His back was to the wall, both literally and figuratively. He could afford no one to sneak up on him now. He had failed.
They had all failed.
When Potter—wandless, reckless Potter—and his friends had been brought to Malfoy Manor, surely they thought that they could escape. No one expected Voldemort's quick arrival. It was odd, since no one Death Eater present could truly recall summoning the Dark Lord. Snape suspected Bellatrix, but none of that mattered now. Nothing mattered except the loss. Bellatrix, as it was, had taken to torturing Hermione, putting her in the unconscious state she was in now, splayed out on a bed in one of the Malfoy's many "guest" rooms. He was sure Lucius and Narcissa was none too happy about a filthy "mudblood" being laid out on their nice, posh bedding, but Snape had arrived shortly after Voldemort. He had been summoned by the Dark Lord.
Voldemort had dispatched Harry quickly, choosing to knock him unconscious rather than kill him. Most found this odd, but Snape knew why he hesitated, even if the Dark Lord himself hadn't fully figured it out yet. Dumbledore had all but told him. A little research done on his part, out of the old Headmaster's prying eyes, and Snape had discovered the rest of the truth. But damned if he was going to tell anyone. Weasley, of course, was the easiest to dispatch. No one ever suspected him to be much trouble for anyone. Again, another member of the Golden Trio unconscious and imprisoned, but not dead. But Snape suspected that Voldemort would not have such mercy on a mudblood muggle-born like Granger. So, in the haste of the events, Snape had scooped the young woman up, carrying her into this room.
Her face looked only slightly troubled, as if she were simply uncomfortable, rather than recovering from various applications of the Cruciatus Curse. The girl was strong, brave, and, above all else, smart. If she died, then the glue that held Potter's trio together would dissolve. All hope would truly be lost. He needed a plan, fast.
"Ah, Severus," came the hissing, high, cold voice of Voldemort as he entered the room, "there you are."
The time for planning was over, and it was wasted. Snape didn't know what to do. Or how to explain his whereabouts. Thank God for his skills at Occlumency.
"Tell me, why are you not celebrating, Severus?" Voldemort asked, further entering the room. "We have won."
We. It was all Snape could do not to flinch against that word. The world still didn't know. Which, he supposed, was not the worst thing at the moment. After all, when he agreed to Dumbledore's plan—all those years ago, and then again in the recent past—he knew that perhaps the world would never know the truth of Severus Snape and his part in the war against Voldemort. He was supposed to be Voldemort's willing servant… but he hadn't been. Not since… Well, that was years ago, no matter how fresh it still felt, and it was not the problem at hand. Now, he had to lie.
"Forgive me, My Lord. I merely… needed time to think…"
It wasn't a complete lie, and those were the best kind. A little truth makes the lie more convincing. Voldemort grinned, and it looked even more horrible than it ever had. He chuckled a bit, striding across the space to rest a hand on Snape's shoulder.
"Ah, Severus… ever in thought. I like that about you, though. When all my other followers are mindlessly carrying out my orders, you find a way to do so more efficiently."
"Thank you, My Lord."
Snape's eyes were trained on Hermione. She had still not awoken from her torture-inforced nap, and more surprisingly, Voldemort had yet to comment on her presence in this room.
"I am not so blind as to not see the pivotal role you played in putting me in power, in helping to win this war against the filth," Voldemort continued.
Snape tore his eyes away from Hermione to gaze up at the Dark Lord. Voldemort still had that grin on his face, and now he patted Snape's shoulder in an almost fatherly fashion.
"That is why I am making you my personal advisor, in the most official capacity."
Snape blinked. The wind felt knocked out of him, though he wasn't entirely sure why. There were a million reasons. He would be closer than ever to information regarding Voldemort's operations, number one. But now he wasn't quite sure what he could do with that information, with the Wizarding World's one hope captured, number two. And, finally, closer to Voldemort meant more opportunities for him to discover Snape's treachery. He swallowed, and allowed not a second more to pass.
"T-thank you, My Lord. I'm… honored. I don't know what to say," he answered, standing only to bow deeply to Voldemort.
He played his part well, no one could say otherwise.
"None of that, none of that," Voldemort said as Snape moved to stand fully erect again. "Now, for an obvious question… why have you swooped away with the muggle-born girl? Granger, her name is?"
The lie he had not had time to think of. He glanced over at the still-slumbering Hermione. Voldemort let out another low chuckle, shaking his head.
"You can have anything your heart desires, Severus. That is part of your reward as well. You need only ask."
Snape met Voldemort's cold eyes.
"I wish Granger to be spared."
He prayed he did not have to give a reason. Voldemort laughed, louder than he had before, and it left Snape with a cold feeling running the course of his body, like a slow trickle of icy water.
"Done. My, Severus, this… obsession you have with muggle-borns. But yes, she will be spared. Actually, that was another thing I wished to speak with you about."
Snape's gazed narrowed. That cold feeling now seemed to permeate his very bones. "Oh?"
Voldemort now began to slowly approach Hermione's bedside, and Snape's whole body stiffened with a horrible anticipation. Something dreadful was about to happen, but Snape could not fathom what it could be. Voldemort, while awful, was mostly true to his word. Then again, there was always a catch. What would be the catch here?
"Magic is precious, that much is certain," Voldemort said. "There were reasons I did not destroy Weasley, though he is part of those who defied me. And there are reasons why I will not, at least in a large part, be destroying mudbloods. Wasted magic is a tragedy."
Snape's brow was in danger of disappearing into his hair. Where was Voldemort going with this? He wanted to ask as much, but he knew his so-called master's ability to gloat, to stroke his own ego. Answers would come soon enough.
Apparently, Snape's apprehension was showing on his face. Voldemort shook his head, still chuckling.
"Don't worry, Severus. Ever the worrier. Granger is yours. But as such, she is now a greater responsibility to you. You must rule her now. An iron fist, Severus; I know you are capable of it. You mustn't let this mudblood have any real sway over you."
Snape dared the tiniest of steps forward, his head cocked to the side, the very picture of confusion. That wasn't hard to fake, as he was very confused as to Voldemort's true meaning in telling him these things.
"Forgive me, my lord. Rule her? I don't quite understand your meaning," he said, open handed, the picture of innocence.
"She must never be allowed to travel without you. You must command her every movement. Nothing she is to do from now on is to be without your consent. She is, wholly and truly, yours. You see, as filthy as they are, we must use these mudbloods as best we can. They are, after all, still magical beings. They must now find other uses for us."
Snape fought to keep his true feeling off of his face. But his eyes still widened, just a tad, at the revelation of what Voldemort truly meant.
"Slaves, my lord? You mean… for those without pureblood to be used as slaves?"
"Oh, Severus, no. Nothing so crude as that. We have quite a few people to rule now, and such a word… well, it leaves a bad taste, doesn't it? I was thinking more of… assigned companions."
Snape bit the inside of his cheek to keep the grimace off his face. Voldemort had gone from warmonger to politician in a matter of moments. How had no one seen this coming? Not even him?
"Please, I beg your forgiveness, my lord. I… misunderstood."
Voldemort waved his words away as if swatted at a bothersome fly. "Think nothing of it. Of course, there is but one more thing for you to do, before I can fully release Miss Granger here into your custody."
A weight like a stone formed in Snape's stomach. He steeled himself to respond.
"Anything you ask, my lord."
Voldemort smiled, reaching down beside Grangers's slumbering body, somewhere around her hip. Snape clenched his hands at his sides, hiding them in the folds of his voluminous black robes. When Voldemort faced him again, he held Granger's wand aloft.
"Break it," he said.
Snape blinked. "What?"
Voldemort disliked repeating orders. When he spoke next, there was a bite in his cold tones.
"Mudbloods are not to be allowed to do most magicks. Yes, there is wandless magic, but that is far more difficult to do, and apparating, but that is to be closely monitored. Vigilance is a part of your new responsibility, Severus. But everyday magic? Magic that could potentially do harm to you or another pureblood? Unacceptable. Break the wand, and she is yours."
He thrust the wand into Snape's hands. The former Potions master took only a moment to consider alternate possibilities. He knew that Voldemort still held Ollivander, so another wand for Granger would be impossible. For Granger… or any half-blood or muggle-born that Voldemort discovered. But if he refused, for any reason, then everything everyone had worked for, that Dumbledore, or even Granger here, had worked for, was all for nothing.
Snape nodded once. He took each end of the wand in each hand, and snapped it in one easy movement. Voldemort smiled.
"Enjoy your spoils."Next Chapter