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Idris Mulligan brought out a shallow stone basin – it looked like a Pensieve, but its contents were not bright and silvery, like a liquefied mirror, as Severus had come to expect. At first, he thought the bowl was empty, but then the old woman dipped her wand into it, and, when she brought it out, there was a thin, slippery rope of what looked like tar or treacle hanging from the tip. It broke with the motion of her trembling fingers and slithered back into the bowl, with a horrible wet, sucking sound.

“This,” she said, “is Dementor memory.”

“I’m not going in there,” said Snape emphatically. “It’s disgusting.”

“Precisely,” murmured Idris Mulligan, “it is a distillation of all the worst things that happen to people over their filthy lives. The Dementors simply make you aware of it – because people have a tendency to forget, when everything is going right, the torments and indignities that this world can put you through, all in the name of happiness. The Dementors remind us that it is not worth it. They show us the truth, but nobody wants to hear it. They run off with their fingers in their ears, or a filthy Patronus guarding their precious delusions, and banish the Dementors to Azkaban, to work their cleansing powers on those who least deserve it.”

Severus started to look around for an escape route, but Azkaban cells had clearly been designed to squash every thought of this kind. The door and windows were barred, and he knew from the muted moans and screams coming from the neighbouring cells that there were Dementors guarding the corridors. Without his wand – the crazy old bat must have it somewhere, maybe in the pockets of her robes – he couldn’t hope to get past them.

And, anyway, what would be the point? Where would he run to? Everyone wanted to kill him. Dumbledore was his best hope, and he would simply see to it that Severus was thrown back into one of these cells. He might as well get comfortable.  

“These memories were taken from the Dementor that captured you in the Gatehouse,” Idris Mulligan said pleasantly. “I rather think your companions got away because the Dementor had his hands full with all of your bitter recollections.”

Severus frowned. He couldn’t remember a Dementor attacking him. He remembered self-hatred kicking in like a shot of adrenaline, almost making him throw up, but that had been troubling him off and on ever since Lily had been put under the Cruciatus Curse in the Hanged Man. There was nothing special about it.

And Dementors couldn’t see the future, he was adamant of that. All in all, it looked as though Idris Mulligan was trying to trick him. What the black potion in the Pensieve was, he had no idea, but it could be some kind of hallucinogen, designed to make him lose hope. He just had to remember, whatever the potion did to him, that he mustn’t give up Lily.   

Idis Mulligan waved her wand, and the chains that had been binding his arms to the wall loosened, and then retracted into the stone sheepishly, like scolded children. Severus let his arms drop. He still couldn’t move his hands, but he felt a surge of tingling warmth, as though the blood was flowing back into his arms, and trying to reclaim his extremities.

He looked at the compass strapped to his wrist. Handwriting was threading its way across the glass face – it was looped and untidy, almost illegible with eagerness – but he recognized it as Lily’s. It said: ‘Hold On’.

All told, Severus wasn’t sure whether he felt better or worse for this. He would have liked Lily to stay as far as possible from this demented old crone, but it was a comfort to know that she hadn’t forgotten him.    

Idris Mulligan, with a strength that he wouldn’t have expected from a trembling, mad old woman, grabbed a fist-full of his hair, and plunged his head into the bowl like a bully shoving his head down a toilet. Snape spluttered, and felt his nostrils fill with the black potion – it smelled like car exhaust fumes and whisky – it smelled like Spinner’s End – it was like a reverse Amortentia, filling his senses with all the things that were calculated to revolt them.      

And then, as he closed his eyes against the throat-burning blackness, scraps of colour and movement began to appear. He saw people clustered around a war memorial in a village square. Flashing lights were making the white faces whiter. The sound of flames crackling – like popping bubble-wrap – and a child crying, suddenly filled his head.  

And then he saw himself: not much of him, admittedly, because he was a blur too, hurrying through the patches of light and shadow, shoving people out of the way, but Severus recognized the lank black hair, and the billowing cloak, and he followed them through the crowd. The adult Snape – for he was clearly older, but not by more than a few years – was scattering people in his haste; there were yelps and mutterings of pain, but they were all strangely muted. It was as though the crowd had been struck with a Silencing Charm. They were only speaking in hushed voices, and they seemed sheepish, abashed, the way you’d feel if you were watching history unfold before your eyes, and you didn’t feel worthy of it; you didn’t know why it had chosen your life-time, and your location, in which to appear. You suddenly felt as though you should be saying meaningful things; you suddenly felt as though you shouldn’t have kicked that cat on your way to work this morning – because now you were in the middle of an epic drama, and karma counted in places like that.        

There was an ivy-covered cottage, broken open. It looked wrong to Severus, like seeing a head broken open. There was no wall to the upper floor anymore, and flames were licking the shattered brick-work with misplaced tenderness.

Severus saw his adult self stop: he reached out a hand to steady himself on the gate, and then half-sank, half-fell, onto the little stone wall beside it.

Severus couldn’t see what had stopped him, what had made him fall, what was making him sink his face into his hands. No-one was paying any attention to the black-caped figure on the lawn. All eyes were drawn to the giant – it was Hagrid – standing in the fiery doorway, reeking of smoke, with minor flames fizzling in his beard. He was holding a baby, clumsily wrapped in blankets. Its chubby little arm was stirring. The crowd were gasping and pointing at this unexpected sign of life. The Silencing Charm that had made them so sheepish was breaking up in places, like radio static, and scattered shouts, cheers, screams and whispers were breaking out like fires all over the village square.

“What’s happening?” he asked the shadowy figure of Idris Mulligan, who had followed him through the crowd, her lip curling with disgust at all the hopeful faces. She was pulling the hem of her cloak away from the villagers nearest her, as though she was afraid of being contaminated by their touch.    

“Why don’t you see for yourself?” she replied absent-mindedly.

Severus just shook his head.

“Sure?” Idris Mulligan asked, in that tone of sneering amusement. “She looks ever so pretty. And it’s the last time you’ll see her, after a - ,”

“It’s not real,” he said, not even giving her a chance to finish.  

Hagrid was holding the baby over his head now, and the crowd was cheering, but the adult Snape was not even looking at them. His head was bowed, his arms curled inwards, as though he was screwing himself up against the pain.  

“It’s not real,” Severus repeated, in a smaller voice.

“No harm in looking, then, is there?” Mrs Mulligan replied.

Severus hesitated. He had seen her dead, covered in bruises and blood, hair spread out on the ground around her like a ragged red halo – he had seen that before in his nightmares. It was the sort of thing you were bound to see if you spent all your time reading about poisons and dark curses, and listening to pure-blood Slytherins droning on about what they’d like to do to the muggle-born interlopers who were corrupting the magical world. He’d had to listen to a Bellatrix-monologue where she acted out the tortures she wanted to perform on them – with sound-effects and everything. Snape’s imagination was gloomy, but not without reason. He understood, better than anyone, how cruel people were prepared to be, to make themselves feel better.

He had always comforted himself by thinking: “But I’m smarter than these idiots. Whatever they want to do to her, I’ll be there first. And I’ll make them wish they’d never been born. I’ll make them wish they’d never been thought of. I’ll make them wish their parents hadn’t been born, to even contemplate giving birth to them.”

But, after tonight, he knew that there was one person, at least, he couldn’t protect her from. Bella and Malfoy and Regulus and Avery – he knew how to get round them. He’d had practice. Appeal to their vanity, or their blatant insanity, and you had them in the palm of your hand.

But Voldemort was single-minded. He could be tricked, but only once: and Severus had used up his life-time’s quota already. He couldn’t protect her from Voldemort anymore.

Still, whatever morbid conclusions his imagination had reached by now, the reality was much worse. He wasn’t prepared – could never have been prepared – for how horrible it was.  

Her eyes were open. Those beloved green eyes – the ones that had given him goose-bumps from the first moment he’d seen them – were staring up at him so accusingly, that he had to put up an arm to shield himself from the sight.

There were no bruises; there was no blood. She looked exactly as she had done in life – except that motion was intrinsic to Lily’s life. Severus couldn’t imagine her without motion. Even when he’d watched her sleep, her chest had risen and fallen; she had stirred with the motion of her dreams, sometimes smiling or biting her lip, and Severus, watching with a kind of hungry contentment, would have given his whole life to share in what she was seeing behind those eyelids.

But now there was no eager blush on her cheeks, no mischievous smile. Everything that made her Lily had departed, leaving a pretty little shell on the lawn, staring up at him.

But this wasn’t real. This was just Mulligan messing with his head. This was what he was afraid of, and so this was what he was seeing. Lily was supposed to die tonight, not some years in the future, with a baby and a cottage and – oh, yes, a husband. Severus hadn’t seen him at first. James Potter was lying on the ground beside her, eyes closed, glasses askew. His dead white hand seemed to be reaching out for her. The adult Snape, with a grimace of anger, shoved it away.

Severus was in complete agreement. So Potter had her even in death. He didn’t have to rub everyone’s nose in it by draping his filthy corpse all over her.

And he was imagining the reproach in her eyes. Dead eyes couldn’t reproach people.

The wind blew a yellow sycamore leaf onto her neck and the adult Snape removed it tenderly. Then he folded his arms over his chest with a convulsive movement, and hunched his shoulders against the crowd at his back, as though he was trying to fold in on himself, disappear, sink into the stone wall and the fretful night and just cease.   

He needn’t have bothered, Severus thought, glancing around at the crowd: they were all looking at the baby. Lily was already forgotten. But he must have been hiding his feelings out of habit, because he was hardly aware of the crowd. Or perhaps he didn’t want to cry or shout in front of Lily, because those eyes were still serenely open, reflecting the fire-light from the cottage, still mocking death with their vivid colour, which was bright as life itself. Brighter, really. She had epitomized life for Severus. She had kindled life in Severus.  

“Seen enough?” said Idris Mulligan.

“It isn’t real,” he said abruptly, still unable to draw his eyes away from Lily’s discarded but beautiful shell.  

“Yes, you said. Well, come along, Severus. We’ve got a lot to get through. You’re a Dementor’s dream, you know. Not much to eat, but an awful lot to play with.”   
   
The scene faded around him. Severus kept his eyes on Lily’s for a long time: they were the last things to fade, and even when they twinkled out, he knew they’d be scarred onto the insides of his eye-lids forever. He couldn’t un-see what he’d seen. It would replace the circle of Death Eaters in his nightmares. It would always be there to torment or reproach him, when he was feeling sad, or angry. The next time he had a fight with Lily about her moronic Gryffindor friends – the next time Potter made a fool of him in front of the whole school – there it would be – the thread that could make him unravel – and all he had to do was pull.    

He found himself in Dumbledore’s office, staring out of the long windows at the castle grounds below. The last vision had been of an unfamiliar place, had been fragmented with flashing lights and panicky whispers, but this one was spectacularly detailed. Severus recognized everything.

There were the whirring silver instruments that he’d been forced to stare at so many times when he’d been given detention up here, for transfiguring members of the Gryffindor Quidditch team into toads, or some other minor misdemeanor; they were chugging quietly away, some of them emitting puffs of steam which twisted themselves into the shape of arcane symbols, before breaking apart on the high ceiling rafters, or the frames of old Headmasters and Mistresses.

Dumbledore was sitting behind his desk, but there were no noticeable differences in him: perhaps he looked graver than usual: there was less of the impudent, bouncing curiosity that he usually radiated, but then, perhaps he was waiting to tell off a student, or give a speech to the Board of Governors, or advise the Minister for Magic on how to tie his shoe-laces.   

Severus turned away from the Headmaster to stare out of the window, trying to still the pounding of his heart by watching the scenery.

It was a grey, Autumnal day out there. The trees that weren’t skeletal were a muddy gold. The mountains in the distance were half-covered in mist, and there were students on the sloping lawn that led down to the lake, outfitted in cloaks and scarves, throwing leaves in the air or levitating their play-mates, jumping rope or playing tag. They were tripping through the mud and leaves in great excitement. There was something almost hysterical about it. Others – most of them seemed to be Slytherins – were huddled together and muttering darkly. Severus recognized the look of a crowd buzzing with gossip. Something had happened.

He looked – as defiantly as he could, after seeing Lily dead and staring up at him – at Idris Mulligan, who’d materialized beside him, and was standing with her hands clasped behind her back, watching Dumbledore with an air of incredulous disbelief.

There was a curt knock on the Office door, and Dumbledore muttered a distracted invitation to enter. He was staring sadly at the parchment in front of him.

Severus saw his older self come in, and wondered if he’d come straight from hell. His hair was wet from the rain, and there were dark circles under his eyes, but it was the animation, the barely-contained anger, that made him look so hellish. He looked bedraggled, but fierce, like some kind of demonic emissary, crackling with energy – all of it angry, but none of it purposeful. He didn’t know what to do with himself. He looked as though he was waiting for something, but had no idea what. His arms were folded compulsively, as though he was physically holding back his heart, and he put Severus in mind of a coiled spring – as though, the moment he relaxed and uncoiled himself, the sky would fall down on his head.

This angry energy was there to distract him from his pain. He didn’t want to be idle, he didn’t even want to be alone – because, if he was, he would remember – or, worse still, look ahead, to the grey, Lily-less years opening up before him, like some kind of beckoning chasm.

Severus recognized the impulse to keep busy, the urge to be doing something. Passive suffering was not his style. It chilled him to the bone to realize that he could see himself in this man, who was suffering more than he’d ever seen anyone suffer.     

“You’ve cancelled lessons,” the adult Snape said curtly.  

“I did not think anyone would be able to concentrate,” Dumbledore replied. “Lessons will re-commence on Monday, but if you need more time, I can arrange for a leave of absence.”

“Do you usually offer your teachers paid holiday for murdering people?” Snape asked.

Dumbledore didn’t choose to respond to this. He looked up from his parchment and managed a grave smile. “How are you, Severus?”

Snape didn’t seem to like this question, because he dismissed it instantly with the words: “I’ll live.”

“You’re quite good at replying to questions without really answering them, aren’t you?”

Snape just raised his eyebrows. “If you say so. Sir.”

Dumbledore almost smiled, but his heart was obviously too heavy, because it turned into a sigh as soon as it touched his lips. “What can I do for you, Severus?”

“I want to know…” Snape stopped himself. He was talking without opening his lips very wide, as though he thought he’d be seized by the urge to scream, or vomit, if his jaw was ever unclenched. “What have you done with the boy?” he went on. “Is he…” his mouth twisted into a grimace, “safe?”

Dumbledore sat back in his chair and scanned Snape with those penetrating blue eyes. “Perfectly,” he said. “He is with Lily’s sister, Petunia.”

There was a pause. The grimace intensified. “She would not have wanted that.”

Dumbledore continued to look at Snape with benign curiosity. “In order to justify myself in this matter,” he began, “I will need to talk about how she died. Will that bother you?”

Snape gave him a look of contemptuous fury. “Nothing you can say will upset me,” he growled.

Dumbledore smiled. “I’m delighted to hear it. Well, then, Severus, I believe the boy survived because Lily sacrificed her life for him. Her sacrifice caused Voldemort’s curse to re-bound off its intended victim, and strike him instead.”

“Did she know” – again, he had to pause, as though he was fighting the urge to be sick – “what she was doing?”  

“She could not have known that Voldemort would offer to spare her life. She was muggle-born; she did not expect mercy. But she was always a quick-thinker. I believe she realized that Voldemort would underestimate her, would disregard any threat she posed – therefore she played up to his expectations. She played the role of a frightened, muggle mother, begging for her son’s life, so that he would not suspect her intentions.” Dumbledore paused: Snape’s shoulders were hunched. He was curling in on himself, but there were no tears in those fierce, unhappy eyes. “Again, I am only guessing, Severus,” he went on, in a gentler tone. “We may never know for sure. At any rate, her sacrifice means that some form of magical protection will always exist for Harry in those who share Lily’s blood. I wrote to Petunia, informing her of this, and she has been so good as to take him in. I really do not think he would be safe anywhere else.”

“Not even here?” Snape asked impatiently.

“Who has time to bring him up in the middle of a school?”

“Anyone,” Snape growled. “Anyone would have more time for him than Petunia Evans.”

“It’s Petunia Dursley now. She married.”

“She married?”

“Yes. She has a child of her own, roughly Harry’s age. She will be well equipped to take care of him.”

“I don’t understand you.” Snape stopped himself again. His voice was wavering, either with fury or grief. With a painful effort, it seemed, he pulled himself together. He put his hands on Dumbledore’s desk, and spoke in a low growl. “You say that there are worse things than death, and then you inflict one of them on the Potter boy just to keep him alive.”

“Petunia Dursley is worse than death?” Dumbledore queried politely.

“You don’t know her,” he muttered hoarsely.

“There is no other way, Severus.” This was spoken with an air of finality that Snape seemed to recognize, because he took his hands off Dumbledore’s desk, and folded them in again, with a convulsive motion. He then walked over to the window, squinting hatefully in the glare of the sunlight, and the almost equally overwhelming glare of the students’ happiness. The sound of their excited games was echoing through the castle, and it was even starting to make the young Severus feel sick.   

“Lily and James’ funeral is on Sunday,” Dumbledore resumed, in the same careful tone. “Will you be coming?”

“Is that a joke?” Snape snapped.

“Never mind, then,” said Dumbledore. “The boy will be safe, Severus. And I do not doubt that there will be plenty of opportunities for you to save him, once he is grown.”

“He will be beyond saving, if you let him grow up with that woman.”

“He has a lot of his father in him. Haven’t you always maintained that James was immune to criticism? Perhaps Harry will be the same.”

“What a comforting thought,” Snape observed drily. He swept out of the door without looking back, adding, “I will be at work on Monday, Dumbledore. I don’t need your pity,” before closing the door behind him.
Continuing from White in the Moon. This is part one of Snape's flash-forwards (future flash-backs? Would that be a better thing to call them? Dear me, this is getting complicated!) The second part will (hopefully) follow in the next couple of days. Stay tuned for a meeting with adult Malfoy in Part Two!
This chapter was tricky to write. Now I know why J.K. Rowling never had Harry visiting his own memories, because the multiplicity of Harry's would get confusing! I hope it's obvious which Snape is doing what in this chapter. Wherever possible, I've tried to call the young one Severus, and the older one Snape.
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:icon28dragons:
28dragons Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2013
I'm terrible, but I found Snape saying that Petunia was worse than death hilarious, despite the gravity of the situation.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2013
I'd forgotten about that! “You say that there are worse things than death, and then you inflict one of them on the Potter boy just to keep him alive.” :giggle: 

Oh, I loved writing Sev/Dumbledore conversations! You're making me very nostalgic for this story!
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:icon28dragons:
28dragons Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2013
I'm kind of glad that you've already finished this story, so I don't have to wait. I'm tearing through it because it's so awesome!!  I'd post more comments but they'd all be along the lines of 'OMG THIS IS AMAZING LET IT NEVER END *runs around frothing at the mouth*' 
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:iconwearesevenstudios:
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner May 12, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
This is incredible.

It is somehow a little bit satisfying to see Severus at the scene in Godric's Hollow. Though I like, for most reasons, the choice to step into Snape's memory after he learns of Lily's death, it deprives us of the pinnacle of Snape's tragic scene. As always, with Snape we only get the aftermath. So, painful though it is, it was (dare I say) almost cathartic to see him experience that pain.
As you've already discussed, we don't know if he ever saw her body, but if he didn't, I can't imagine how unresolved that would feel.

they were all looking at the baby. Lily was already forgotten.
I love this observation, because I feel like that must be how Snape sees everything regarding Harry Potter. Really, she was the one who defeated Voldemort that night, but of course only Dumbledore, Snape, and Petunia know that. All the glory is shifted instead onto Harry, who miraculously lived. I doubt very much if Lily would resent that, but I'm sure Snape did.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner May 17, 2010
Oh, I've remembered why I had to write Sev a scene in Godric's Hollow - it was because of two images that popped into my head and wouldn't go away until they were written down. The first one was Lily lying dead with her eyes open (horrible, I know, but since Lily's eyes seemed to be such a potent symbol for Severus, I thought it would be very striking to have her death announced through them). The other one was Severus tenderly taking the sycamore leaf off her neck. I often have this - where I write a whole chapter just to find a home for an image that occurs to me. I think that's why I like to post on DeviantArt - because it's such a visually-oriented place.

But they are both quite painful images to me, so I was definitely being melodramatic and masochistic too! ;)
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner May 17, 2010
All the glory is shifted instead onto Harry, who miraculously lived. I doubt very much if Lily would resent that, but I'm sure Snape did.

I totally agree! Lily doesn't get enough credit - the little baby that she gave her life for also managed to absorb all the glory! I can understand Severus feeling that way.

Yes, I understand that this scene in Godric's Hollow could detract from the beautiful scene Rowling writes when he is in Dumbledore's office, making a sound like a wounded animal. :( I like her version better - where Severus is at the edge of things - powerless, grief-stricken and miles away from the action. As you say, it's more tragic that way. I was being a bit melodramatic (and masochistic) by writing him here on the scene! ;)
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:iconwearesevenstudios:
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner May 17, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
I actually meant that showing him at Godric's Hollow lets him have more of his tragic hero moment (which he's sort of deprived of in the books). I do think she made the right choice to tell it the way she did, but I'm so glad to read your scene with Snape seeing Lily's corpse. Horribly sad though it is, I felt like I released a breath I'd been holding since DH.
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:iconmybreathingselfagain:
This must be one of the most cruel things I have ever read... :tears: It is INCREDIBLY well written, thank you for linking me to it!, but I found it almost unbearable to read (and believe me, I can take MANY things..)! I loved so many of your ideas, and images, and your language is beautiful and intense beyond description; I will never stop admiring you for the coherence and ingeniousity with which you have created this parallel universe. For me it is like reading JKR, better even, for you write about Severus, and you write him perfectly. Wow, I simply lack adequate words. :thumbsup:
PS: I love his concern over baby Harry here and do not find it OoC at all.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2009
:boogie: Thank you so much! :hug: It means so much to me to know that you liked it! Although I'm very sorry to have depressed you - needless to say, it depressed me too! Snape's story in those last years is heartbreaking. :tears: I just wish he had someone to turn to or confide in but then I suppose the life of a spy is always very lonely. You can never quite be yourself with anyone. Poor, dear Severus! :(
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:iconmybreathingselfagain:
mybreathingselfagain Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2009
Yes, poor, poor love... :tears:
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:iconmalfoyfanatic:
MalfoyFanatic Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
As usual I take the weekend to catch up on you :P
So... this was a depressing chapter. Not only for me, because I allways feel sorry for Lily, James and their grim destiny, but also for Severus. He has to face but he'll be causing at some point in the future. After all he has the same kind of destiny :sniff:
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2008
Oh, I feel really guilty, my chapters have been very depressing recently! :( It can't be fun to go through this gloomy sequence all at once! I think the next two (Foe Fire and Jaded) are happier. (At least, he gets to tease Malfoy a bit, which is always fun ;)) I'm still toying with possible futures for Severus, and if you read Jaded, you'll see another interpretation of his future, so it's not all decided yet. I wanted to write these segments that inter-lock with the canon story because I'm fascinated by the adult Snape, with his immeasurable grief and his dark, angry bravery. I wanted to look at his side of the story (as I guess most fan-fiction writers do). Sorry about the gloom. Hopefully, it will brighten up!
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:iconvizen:
Vizen Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2008
Hello!

I really want to congratulate you for your writting. You're really talented. I'll read more of your fics with a great pleasure.

Well.

First, I have this idea about Lily's sacrifice - not really developped in the HP books, but still logical, I think. I explain : James sacrificed himself too, didn't he ? Of course, he didn't have any time for any old magic nor protection under Harry. And there is somehow always this idea in JKR that mother's love is a the strongest weapon etc. But I thought about the fact that Lily truly SACRIFICED herself - because SHE had the choice of living. Remember - Severus asked for her life and Voldemort told her to go away etc. It means that Lily really had the choice between living and dying and... of course, she decided to protect her child. In a way, her sacrifice was greater and I think it's quite logical to suppose that first the little request made by Severus to Voldemort was what made here sacrifice stronger. Well, maybe JKR simply had in mind that the single motherhood is enough for that old magic, but it struck me that Voldemort indeed first told her to leave...

Finally, I'm an awful canon-keeper with HP books. I mean, I adore fics and I don't mind about your version of Severus of course. But if I can speak only about the canon Snape, I'm rather agree with JKR's version of her character - a man who doesn't care about Harry himself. You're right about his feelings towards dear Petunia ! I just so well imagine that Snape wouldn't care about the baby, or, more, about the baby's happiness in life.

But you know, there are just my ideas about the books. And in the matter of your writting....Thank you again for this fic and this beautiful Severus.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2008
Thank you so much! :hug: And thank you for the comments, I love swapping Harry Potter theories/ideas! :)

I think you're right about the fact that Lily's sacrifice was the stronger, because she truly had a chance to live. When I first read the HP books, I thought: well, James sacrificed himself first, why didn't Voldemort's curse rebound off of Lily, giving her the lightning scar? The Harry Potter books would have been the adventures of a fiery single mother, fighting the forces of evil, which I would have loved! But I think it is because James never has a chance to live - Voldemort had always planned to kill him, so he never got the chance to relinquish his life for love (which he would have done, I'm sure of it). So, in a way, it was Sev's love for Lily that enabled Harry to survive.

The other point you made, I also agree with. It does look strange to see Severus concerned about Harry in this chapter, but I think his hatred for Petunia, the memory of what he suffered himself as a child, and the extreme grief of losing Lily (where he is torn between anger and self-hatred) may justify his concern for Harry in this chapter. After all, we meet the canon-Snape years later, when he has managed to blame James Potter for everything he lost, but just hours after losing Lily, I think he would be so full of self-hatred that he would be prepared to do anything for her son's happiness, because it was the only way he could keep the guilt of what he had done at bay.

But, you're right, I never quite make him spiky enough! I always see the fluffy side of Severus Snape! Anyway, I'm very glad you've been enjoying the stories, and I'm honoured to have your comments. I know from your paintings that you also love his character, so it's great to swap ideas about him with you! :)
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:iconvizen:
Vizen Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2008
Yeah, I liked the idea that Sev's love helped Harry already here (and then played against Voldemort here too XD ). I really like what Jo did with Severus in this part of the story. He's the one who repeats the Prophecy and then he's the one who builts the weapon against the Potters but also against Voldemort. It's a clever plot by JKR, really... I like the idea that fear of Lily's death (especially when HE personally already lost her and has no more hope for himself) and guilty will turn him against Voldemort - it's the proof of him having a conscience at least --- but not completely - Snape isn't an angel from the start (even as a child, he has already many wrong reflexes), and I liked how he didn't care about James and Harry. Snape can't be a totally do-gooder : he was a DE after all.

I thought about it and, as it happens after the scene we read in the Prince's Tale in which Snape promises he will protect Lily's son, yeah, Snape could ask where's Harry... ! But as you know, once Harry is a student at Hogwarts, Snape will believe that Harry was a spoiled child etc. Hum. However, he always was absolutely able to deliberately persuade himself of this sort of ideas, even knowing he's certainly wrong XD...

I love many HP characters. I really love Ron, Draco, Remus, Sirius, and James and Harry. And others. Many of them are touching. Of course Severus is my favourite. :) You know, I read many fics and fics are a good food for this love...Sometimes fanon Snape is really touching and lofty, all noble. Actually it's a part of the canon character too - the JKR's Snape is impressive in his abnegation and in his dedication to duty and to Lily. But he's noble always and only in the shadow, while in appearance he always has the bad job...I know how it's difficult to keep this line in a fic ! It was easier for JKR, because she had to always make us think he was a true DE. But it's not the same for a fanwriter. Nor for a fanart maker. I always want to draw him ugly, and to draw a greasy hair, a hooked nose, a nasty look etc. But it's not easy at all !!! See - fans around usually prefer - and so I often do - handsome and romantic Snapes. I can understand it, because ...we love him !!!!

You're welcome. I always enjoy theorizing and I'm just so happy and excited when I read a good fic :)
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2008
Thank you! You always capture Sev's character so perfectly in your paintings, whether you draw him with a nasty look or not. I love your scowling Severus and your paintings of Severus as a sweet, confused little boy! It's the fact that you can see all these sides to him that makes you such a great artist! :)
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:iconvizen:
Vizen Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2008
Wow, that's a lot of compliments, I'm confused. Thank you very much. I get on with my search of a right Snape, but the lad is difficult to catch :) :) :flirty:
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:iconchaobaby7:
Chaobaby7 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2008
This is really good. I've kind of dried up at present for Severus fan fics, reading this is wonderful.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2008
Thank you :hug: I'm so glad you're liking it. I loved having a chance to write about adult Severus (plus, I managed to get his hair wet in this chapter, I hope you saw that, it was just for you! Well, and me! ;))
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:iconchaobaby7:
Chaobaby7 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2008
Oh yes, I love him with wet hair.:) thank you for that.
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:iconnorthangel27:
northangel27 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
There are really no words for how well written this is. One of the reasons I started writing Harry Potter fanfiction in the first place was as a theraputic exercise. It was a means to help me get past the rather traumatic death of my sister-in-law. Your handling of Lily's death in this chapter brought back all the feelings I experienced during that time. That isn't a bad thing, it is just a testament to the quality of your writing.

The description of Snape looking at Lily's dead body on the lawn was something I don't think I will ever get out of my head. Again, not a bad thing, but just because the image was that powerful. This chapter also made me remember what it was that I identified with in Snape that made me fall in love with him in the first place.

I think this is my favorite thing that you have written to date. It is painful, emotional and darkly beautiful all at the same time. There is just so much repressed pain threaded through the whole thing. It makes me wish that I could somehow take all of his pain away, but nothing can completely extinguish pain of that magnitude, and perhaps that is a good thing. Perhaps the pain is left there as a reminder.

Amazing work!
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:iconvizen:
Vizen Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2008
Thanks for the rec. I let a comment and a 'theory' in the next comments :) ;)

PS. You're right about the therapeutic side of HP fandom. :)
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2008
Yay! Thank you so much, I'm honoured to have struck a chord with your own experiences, and hope I haven't upset you with them, because you're a very dear friend, and I'm completely overwhelmed by how kind you've been about my writing! :)
I wanted to write these scenes because they just kept occurring to me after reading Deathly Hallows - I wondered how Severus was bearing up, having to betray his friends, protect someone he hated, and all with this crippling sense of grief hanging over him. It was frustrating that we didn't see more of his character, because he had as much to cope with as Harry, and he didn't complain so much!
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:iconnorthangel27:
northangel27 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You didn't upset me. I was just astounded with how well you portrayed the feeling of being in the presence of the the dead body of someone you have known and loved, and my relationship with my sister-in-law was strained at best, so I can't even imagine what it must have been like for Severus to look upon Lily's dead body, when he had loved her more than his own life.

Of course in the series we never know if he saw her body, but it is possible that he might have seen her once the body was gathered from the wreckage of the cottage, and taken somewhere to be prepared. It makes me sad and ill just to think about it. I always get sad when I think of the level of pain he carried.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2008
No, you're right, we don't know if he ever sees her body. Sometimes, when I think about it, that almost seems worse. Severus, as a spy, never gets to see these things fist-hand, but always has to hear about the woman he loves from Dumbledore. He has to exist in the background, completely cut-off from Lily's life in order to help her. That makes me sadder than anything else. But then, he does it so well, he's so careful and conscientious! There are just no limits to how I admire him in that role (he could have been a bit nicer to Harry, but he's a difficult character to have patience with at the best of times!) Anyway, I just kept thinking of images of Lily's death - her eyes being open, and the sycamore leaf blowing onto her neck, and I thought I really wanted to write that scene, even though it may never have happened.
When my granny died, and we were at her funeral, with the coffin at the front of the church, I kept thinking about how bizarre it was that she was there, but she wasn't there. You're so used to thinking of your loved ones as physical objects, that it's so confusing when their bodies aren't them anymore. That's why I wanted to write about Sev's confusion on seeing her body, because Lily especially always strikes me as someone who's constantly in motion, and looks completely wrong whenever she's still. It was a sad chapter to write but I'm glad I wrote it because it just made me care for Severus so much more!
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:iconnorthangel27:
northangel27 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well the whole thing was very well done. The thing with the leaf was one of those really small details that gets burned into your brain for some reason, and Severus has always struck me as one who would notice small things like that and never be able to forget them. I liked how you brought it up in the next chapter, when he was walking into the pub to see Lucius and he still cringed a whole year after the fact when noticing that it was sycamore leaves blowing in the door as he opened it. He would never be able to see a sycamore in autumn for the rest of his life without thinking of Lily.

My husband is like that. He has a photographic memory, and so everything he notices, whether beautiful or horrible gets burned into his brain forever. It makes it harder to let things go. You know how over time we start to forget things about those we have loved and lost, we can't picture their face clearly in our head anymore without the aid of a picture of some kind (this usually takes years, but it does happen). That is something that the brain does on purpose, I believe, and it is part of the process of healing and letting go. People like my husband, like Severus (who I believe may have also had a photographic memory even though it is never mentioned in the books, but he acts like someone who does), don't have the benefit of forgetting, and so it is harder, and I believe sometimes impossible for them to let go.

I think that is why Severus loved Lily all his life to the exclusion of all others. That is why he could never let her go. That is why he held grudges against the Marauders for so long, and why the fact that Harry looked liked James seemed to impact him so much more than others. It was his photographic memory paired with his sensitivity that made it impossible for him to forgive, and forget and move on. All he had to do was close his eyes and he would relive every detail of what happened just as though it were happening in that moment, even if 15 years had passed since it actually did.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2008
Yes, that's a good idea, I like to think of Severus with a photographic memory - and, of course, plunged deep in grief, and completely isolated in a school full of people he couldn't really see eye-to-eye with, it's only natural that he would dwell on those vivid memories, to the exclusion of everything else. I think he's a character that is at once very passionate and very loyal - it's an unfortunate combination because it means that, if the person you're loyal to doesn't love you back, that passion has nowhere to go, and it probably drives you a little bit crazy. But, even though it gave him a lot of pain, I'm so happy that he loved Lily his entire life. Sometimes, I find it difficult to believe that someone could stay in love for their entire life but Sev's devotion, even though it was undoubtedly a very unhealthy one, sort of gives me hope. :)
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:iconnorthangel27:
northangel27 Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I found it hard to believe too until I met my husband. He is like that. I thin it is just certain personality types, or something. It must be a very challenging, but at the same time, very beautiful way to live.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2008
Yes, it must be hard to have a long emotional memory, but I bet it is a beautiful experience at the same time. Sort of the opposite of being Ron Weasley! He has the emotional memory of a goldfish (plus the emotional range of a teaspoon!) ;) Severus missed a trick by not choosing him as his nemesis!
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(1 Reply)
:iconlindasnape:
LindaSnape Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2008   Writer
Wow, absolutely love the twists and turns of this one. Nice work. :)
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2008
Thank you :hug: I'm so glad you liked it! I've just posted part two (at the expense of a load of house-work which I was supposed to be doing! ;))
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:iconlindasnape:
LindaSnape Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2008   Writer
You're welcome. :) Ha ha, it's okay. I always procrastinate housework, too. It's so aggravating how quickly everything falls prey to dust and ruin. Stupid houses, clean yourselves. ;P :hug:
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