Title: The White Road
Pairing: Snape/Harry, also Lily/Snape in a totally unconsummated sense, Lily/James
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Hettishness but no outright heterosex, voyeurism, accidental incestuous overtones, a bloody moment.
Disclaimer: Is not, never was, never will be, mine
Summary: One day, comfortably set up in the afterlife, Lily Evans Potter switches on the telly and gets hooked on the Harry Potter show.
Word Count: ~46,000



~~~~

It's almost here. They can feel it. Dumbledore gathers them together, which makes it official.

"The time approaches," he informs them. "If I'm not mistaken, Harry will soon call us to him, and the final chapter in this tragedy will shortly begin."

Remus has crossed over, confused and mildly distraught but happy to be reunited with them all. He brings them up to date on rumours about Harry, and the battle of Hogwarts in which he lost his life. He's accompanied by a cheeky young witch who introduces herself as his wife.

"You're joking," says Sirius, looking hard at his friend.

Tonks shows them her ring. "You're Harry's mum, right? Amazing, he is." She gazes around her, frowning slightly at the sylvan landscape. City girl, Lily thinks. Maybe in the future she and this funny young witch can go exploring. "We left our lovely Teddy behind," Tonks blurts, her eyes changing colour through her tears. "I don't know what we were thinking, getting ourselves killed like that. Rotten luck all around. He's too young, our Ted, he'll never remember us." Lily hugs her, her mind flickering to Tom, before remembering she should be thinking of Harry.

Regulus tacks out of the shadows, zigzagging from one spot to another as if he might fool them into believing he's not really there. Or not interested in company, just passing through. Spotting him, Sirius jerks his head: get your arse over here. Reg's posture as he dawdles up is a study in conflicting desires. He trying to act above it all, but really, the boy's petrified with shyness. The only reason Lily can see that he's decided to break cover is that he's utterly bewitched by Tonks.

It occurs to Lily that the afterlife is getting a bit crowded.

She feels constantly nervous now, unable to settle. She holds James's hand a great deal and they smile at each other, overwhelmed by the promise of seeing their son. It seems to Lily that the very grass under her feet glows with love, that the trees sing with it, that the sunlight is composed of waves and particles of joy. The scenes on the telly shrink in her memory to a small, black dot. She pushes them to the back of her mind.

Then Albus beckons her aside and takes her hand. "I have a very great favour to ask of you, my dear. Someone is coming, and there's no one he would wish to see more, and no one who could better reconcile him to death, than you."

Lily withdraws her hand. "Severus," she says. She stands blinking, and the sunlight is suddenly only sunlight. "You mean he's dying."

"I'm afraid so," Albus says gravely. Tears sting Lily's eyes. "He has conducted himself with greater loyalty and courage than I'd any right to expect, and has paid the price. Dare I ask whether you've forgiven him enough to welcome him home?"

"I – yes," Lily says, distracted. It's over. She can't quite comprehend how that can be. The future she saw for Harry, for Severus – it will never happen now. A strange, unplaceable regret wells up in her, a feeling she associates with an almost-forgotten fairy tale. Beauty and the Beast. Yes, she remembers. As a child, she'd never understood how Beauty could break her promise like that, how she could so easily forget the Beast once she was safe, surrounded by people who were eager to assure her that the Beast had no soul. How could she leave him to die of a broken heart? It was callous. She feels a bit like that now.

"I'll go meet him. I'll be happy to." Some part of her finds the prospect terrifying. "If you'll just tell me where to find him?"

"You may choose the meeting place," Albus says. "He'll come to you. Treat him gently, my dear. He has a foot in both worlds right now, and he'll be wavering between. That's not an easy introduction to death. But then, Severus seems incapable of choosing the easy way."

"You mean to say, he's still alive?"

"I believe," Albus mutters, and then hesitates and says firmly, "Yes. But not for much longer."

"I'll go now," Lily says. "And I'll take Tom with me."

Albus has been about to turn away, toward a beckoning Grindelwald. He swings back with a startled air. "Lily. Do you think that's wise?"

"Perhaps not," she says, unnerved by his shrewd glance. "But it's right."

Albus strokes his beard before saying, "I see. Well, then. Perhaps you know better than I." His condescending tone sets her teeth on edge. Holding out his arms, he conjures the baby out of thin air. That's a bit off-putting. Tom's not a bloody elixir. And the way he's being offered? Like a sacrificial lamb. She picks him up, pats his bum gently and props his feverish head on her shoulder. Turning to go, she's swamped by sudden misgivings, and turns back. "If Harry needs me – if he arrives before I – "

Albus waves her on. "Not to worry. Wherever you are, you'll feel the call. I wager James will come to fetch you and the two of you will go together."

Abashed, Lily nods. Of course Jamie will. Stupid of her to think otherwise. She cranes her head, and James scuffs up, hands in pockets. They stand looking at each other. "Always knew you were soft on the bastard," he grumbles, and she's completely thrown until she realizes he means Severus. "Sorry," he says when she shifts away, annoyed. "My nerves are about shot. It's Harry, y'see. It's the waiting. Think I'll take my broom up, fly in circles for a bit." She nods, suddenly wishing she could go with him. "Give Snivellus a kick in the bollocks when you see him, and tell him it's from me, all right?"

Lily snorts, "Go on with you," and then kisses him, glad he's not going to argue or insist on coming with. They part ways, and Lily glances back once. She sees an odd conga line forming: Sirius behind James; Remus drawn in Sirius's wake like a dog on a leash; Tonks tagging along behind Remus; and poor infatuated Regulus bringing up the rear. Shaking her head, Lily Apparates to the field, summons up her childhood home, and pushes open the door.

She hovers by the telly for a moment, wondering what she'll see if she turns it on. A dark shack, a dying man, blood everywhere. She scoops the bottle from its hiding place and stuffs it in her pocket.

~~~~

She knows exactly where to find him: standing on the hill overlooking the swings. Swathed in black, his face bony and unrevealing as a mask, he looks as if he's turned up to audition for the role of Death incarnate.

Lily climbs the hill to meet him, and Severus wheels about. His expression betrays no surprise, no wonder or peace, merely a stunned weariness. When he sees her coming, this changes – at first Lily thinks she must be reading him wrong – to something like fear.

She slows down as she gets closer. His physical presence is a shock; her senses register a stranger. She's alone on a hillside with someone she doesn't know. This sharp-boned, wary man is real, whereas the scenes she's been watching are mere images, flickers on a screen. He's taller than she expects, and the darkness of his magic is like an acrid cloud, the gristly, oily texture of his power staining the air around them. This is what Harry wants? But it's no longer her place to pass judgment. It's just that watching hours of his life onscreen hasn't prepared her for the impact.

She halts within a couple of yards of him, adjusting the blanket around Tom. After a moment, he says her name, very low, with the kind of careful warmth that makes her feel as if he's just taken her hand and squeezed it.

She inclines her head. "Severus."

He continues staring, studying her. The baby might as well not exist. "I – Lily, it's good to – " He stops, clearly unsure, then says helplessly, "You're here." He stands as if paralyzed, and she can't bear to look. She does recognize him. She'll know the moment he dies, because under her gaze he'll become young again. He'll go back as far as he has to in order to become the person she once loved. "Thank you for coming," he turns his head slowly, still bewildered by the view, "to show me the way. You're to be my gatekeeper into this world, then?"

"No. I'm not here to help you cross over." He wavers back a step, confused. Long strands of hair paint his face. She wishes she could be kinder, but in giving him a choice, she, too, must choose, and she wouldn't have brought the bottle if she hadn't already made up her mind. "I've come to convince you to go back."

His veneer of sorrow cracks. "Are you out of your – Back? To what?" For a moment his robes hang sodden with blood, a reminder of what awaits him on the other side. Then his face goes blank, and the overlap between worlds fades. "You don't want me here," he says bluntly.

"Did you think I'd welcome you with open arms?" It's not an answer, but she depends on him not being able to keep up with her motives. She turns to pick her way downhill toward the playground, knowing he'll follow. Tom stirs, and she pauses, then takes a huge chance. "Here, you carry him."

Snape looks at the sore-infested child with distaste. "I'm not good with children, you know that. Babies especially."

"You're not good with anyone. Carry him. He's partly your responsibility."

Looking annoyed enough to spit, Snape takes the child. Once Tom is in his arms, the entire hillside seems to freeze. "Dear God," he whispers.

Lily's alarmed to see the blood reappear on his robes, on his hands where they clutch Tom's blanket, on his face, whiter than bone. She keeps her voice steady. "Don't you dare drop him, or I'll see to it you're banished somewhere without human company. Imagine being alone for eternity, and think better of it."

The moment lengthens, while the wounds in Snape's throat break open and drip onto the grass. Then he closes his eyes, hitches the baby closer, and with an effort of will banishes the evidence of his mortality. His eyes, opening on Lily, are accusing. "Haven't I carried my sins long enough?"

"You have the nerve to ask me that?" She tosses her head the way she's seen the Weasley girl do with Harry. "At least now we have a chance to raise him with love. If nothing else, we can heal his sores."

He says drily, "Love's all very well, but in this case I'd recommend dittany."

"Wounds of the body, yes, thank you, I scored as high as you did in potions, Professor Swot. Dittany's wasted on wounds of the soul." Her downhill foot slithers a little in the grass. "You of all people should be aware of the difference."

They finish the descent in silence, Severus shifting the baby's position several times. At last he says, "It's like holding a part of me that I've tried to cut out with a knife."

"Well, it didn't work, did it?" They reach the edge of the playground before she allows, "He's a part of Harry, too, you know."

For a second, Snape looks desperate enough to take flight. "About the boy. I'm sorry, he's –"

"He'll be fine."

"No, you don't understand. Dumbledore – "

Lily almost stamps her foot. "You need to stop believing everything Dumbledore says!"

Tom starts to cry. Severus shifts the sobbing bundle, looking exhausted, confused, and fed up. "I don't, Lily. I never did." The bitter half-smile he turns on her drives home the fact that he's a Slytherin. He whispers, "That was never the point."

She frowns at her bare feet. "Look, let's get this out in the open right now. Do you really intend to stay here with me? Me and James and little Tommy?"

"I wasn't aware I had a – " He snorts, shakes his head slightly, pivots on one foot, and starts pacing the cement perimeter. "I assume that's an unsubtle hint that you'd prefer me to go elsewhere. Have patience, Lily. I just arrived."

Catching up, she steals a glance at his profile, his exorbitant, hooked nose, which is still the first thing you notice about him, his lank hair, the grace he never exhibited as a youth. His face is lined. She thinks distractedly: he's a man, not a boy. I never knew he would grow up.

"You mistake me," she says, using the pang she feels to sharpen the edge of her voice. "I'm just wondering why you don't make more of an effort to stay with Harry."

Startled, Snape turns. She sees a trace of alarm, the faint mottling of a blush, burn through his passivity before it fades. "Are you mad? I'm – "

" – not dead yet," she supplies with relentless impatience. "Listen to me, Sev. You could stay with him. You could live."

"Not without help," he says, breathing hard. "As you may or may not recall, we're in the middle of a war. Trust me, no one's going to come rushing out to retrieve my exsanguinated corpse."

It's said with unflinching bitterness. He believes it absolutely. Her heart aches, and she hardens it. "Rubbish. That's cowardice pure and simple. You simply want an excuse to give up."

He gives her an irritable look followed by a sharp huff that could pass, on a cold day in hell, for laughter. "Do you blame me?"

She says, quick and sharp or she won't say it at all, "I will never stop blaming you, surely you know that," and Severus tightens his arms around the whimpering child, raising Tom close to his chest like a shield. His face looks drained, more drained, considering he was already colourless and bleak when he arrived. She fears the conversation is weakening whatever hold he still has on life.

She steps off the cement and kicks sand on her way to the swings. He follows. Lily settles herself on the hot leather seat and curls her fingers around the iron links, rocking idly back and forth. Tom doesn't like the sun; his fretting grows louder, and Severus scowls.

Lily stretches her legs to the sun. Severus doesn't even glance down at them. "You can stay here as an onlooker," Lily spells it out for him, "envying my happiness, exactly as you did when we were children." He opens his mouth to protest and she talks over him. "Or you can go back and be there for Harry. Defeating Voldemort doesn't mean he's not perfectly capable of making a hash of his life. In some ways, he's just as much of a dunderhead as you always said he was."

Slashes of scarlet light up his thin face. He retorts stiffly, "Potter has friends."

"Potter, as you call him, is over there flying around with Sirius and wondering what the bloody hell I'm doing here talking to bloody you." She can't help it; the smirk on his face at these words warms her. "As I understand it, we're discussing Harry." Severus almost turns his back on her then, and she says, "It's perfectly all right. You can call him by name in front of me."

"He has friends," Severus repeats in a rough whisper. He's bouncing the baby absently, and infant Tom is staring up, as if he recognizes Snape's face. "If he," Severus hesitates, and it occurs to Lily that he genuinely has trouble saying her son's name, "if . . Harry . . survives, he'll want for nothing. He's already the golden boy, and the Wizarding World will rush to lay everything at his feet. He has no need of – "

"Bollocks," Lily sighs. "Right, you do that, you tell yourself whatever you need to in order to justify your emotional cowardice. Stay or go, it's all one to me."

"Is it?" he says, his voice strained.

"What do you think?" Then she does it; she hasn't been sure until now that she would, but she says it, point-blank: "Would I be dead if not for you?"

There's no way of knowing that, actually. If the slaughter at Godric's Hollow had never happened, Voldemort would have continued unchecked. But Lily has no interest in splitting philosophical hairs just now; she has the truth on her side and every right to say this, and nothing less than the truth will drive Snape to his knees. "I may never forgive you, Severus. But I'll bet you anything Harry will."

He stands petrified, fading and flickering like an image on her telly screen, and it terrifies her that he's alive yet, his body suspended precariously by a thread. The living suffer so terribly. Re-opening this old wound of the soul when he's dying of untreated wounds of the body may destroy him.

But there's no way they could meet again and not speak of it. Besides, it's too late to take it back.

"I've tried . . ." There's an odd, choked note in his voice, of baffled anger. "I don't know what more I can do by way of penance. Except kneel. If that's what it takes."

She recoils, even while thinking she should do it. She should make him cry out against her as he did against Harry. Once upon a time, she would have felt she had every right to force him to his knees. But she's learned by example – Harry's example – and she wants to preserve some glimmer of Sev's love for her.

"Don't be daft," she snaps, drawing lines in the sand with her toes. "I'm not exiling you from paradise or condemning you to eternal torment. I'm merely pointing out that you won't find what you want by staying here, because it's not here. You left it behind. So if you really want – " She shrugs, fearing she's talked herself into a corner. There's very little she can promise him, after all. "Look, just hang on until Harry comes for you. Because he will. And it will mean a great deal to him if you're alive."

"Yes, a lifetime in Azkaban is a very great deal. Need I spell out what that would mean to me?"

Severus moves to the swing beside her, but instead of sitting in it, he speaks a cooling charm, lowers Tom onto the seat and then places the baby's hands around the chains, fixing them in place with a spell. He circles around behind them, his robes flapping. A shadowy after-effect paints a ripple of black along the air as he passes, a symptom, perhaps, of his condition, wavering between life and death.

A second later Lily feels his long hands fit themselves to her back. It's not unexpected, but the shock of him touching her sends a jolt right to her toes. She swallows. He gives her a gentle push, then does the same for Tom.

She can't see his expression when he says, "How long do you expect me to ‘hang on,' as you so tactfully put it?"

She smiles to herself; a peevish Severus is better than a tragic Severus. "As long as you can," she says, enjoying the breeze that skims through her hair like gentle fingers. "As long as absolutely necessary. You're good at that."

"I must be, since people keep rubbing my face in it," he mutters with the hint of a snarl. Lily stubs one heel in the sand and spins her seat about, the chains chattering as they cross overhead, metal grating on metal. She hadn't stopped to consider that he might be on the verge of giving her another push; both his hands flare wide to avoid striking her face. For one second, she anticipates them settling like veils over her skin, shading her eyes from the sun, the taste of them white against her lips.

But Severus waits, his hands aloft, uncommitted either way. He'll do nothing unless she gives him permission.

She almost does. Almost invites it. Almost, because she suspects that if he were to touch her with those chill fingers – and Lily knows, despite the sun and the heat of his robes, that he'll feel cool, like clean sheets on a summer's night, because somewhere on the other side, he's dying – if he did, she might kick free of the swing, step forward against those sun-drenched, puritanical layers, and lean up for a kiss. She's pretty sure she can gauge the best angle to avoid the whole issue of duelling noses, she even vaguely remembers the reverent pressure of his thin lips, once upon a time, with the humid, rotting-plant smell rising from the canal, and then her mind flashes helplessly to Harry's hands on that lean, pale torso, because damn it, Harry's seen – will see – more of Severus's body than Lily ever did.

Because she hadn't wanted it then. It had been hers for the taking, and she'd known that and valued it accordingly, at nothing, because it already belonged to her.

The truth was, there'd been no challenge or thrill in claiming something that came unbidden to her hand, even something as wild and potentially dangerous as Severus Snape. As her Gryffindor clique, and most of Hogwarts for that matter, had taken pains to demonstrate, Snivellus was no prize even as Slytherins went.

That's all over. She's long since made her choice. Lily digs her feet into the sand and backs her swing up, so that she's standing, fists clenched around the twisted iron links.

Turned like this, the breeze tosses tendrils of hair around her face. She's aware of Severus watching, his eyes hooded. His eyes aren't actually black, but they're dark enough to fool people into thinking they are, and they dilate at the slightest sign of threat or pleasure. Lily remembers that. He was a passionate child, and somehow she doubts that's changed much.

She can't tell who's more shocked, herself or Severus, when she blurts out: "Anyway, it would never have worked out. Aren't you gay?"

He stares, and Lily catches herself treacherously hoping that his amazing technicolour blush will overrun his face. Alas, it seems to have flown with the winds of puberty, a delicious but temporary side-effect.

"I beg your pardon?" She waits him out, rocking almost insolently against the swing. He reins in the snarl and says, with slightly less violence, "What exactly do you mean by that?"

Time is so short that everything she needs to say is bound to come tumbling out in a flurry of non-sequiturs. Lily shrugs. "Would you really have married me if given the chance?"

"Yes." He doesn't hesitate.

Lily shivers with temptation. After all this time, he still sees her as magical. It would be so easy to keep him here. "You'd have married me and sacrificed your physical desires to stay with someone you had a crush on when you were nine years old?"

Merlin, you can see that broomstick ram right up his spine. He looks at her askance, and she notices that he's turned horrifically pale. One hand flies to his throat and presses, but there's no sign of blood, and she suspects the gesture has more to do with all the things he's never said aloud, all the silences that define him. "I would have been faithful, if that's what you're asking," he says, his manner stilted. "I would have loved you all my life. I've lost so much, of far greater worth, that my 'sexual preferences' hardly qualify as a sacrifice."

Harry would have something to say about that. She supposes she could only offend him more by demanding to know if he's still a virgin, but that wouldn't help her cause.

She concentrates on the flashes of memory, what she saw when she violated his privacy, the way he touched Harry, the way it transfigured them both. She thinks of Harry with his face in his hands, hungry and ashamed, and it makes her push harder.

"I saw you in the Forest of Dean, watching him," she blurts, as Severus reaches a restless hand over to nudge the baby's swing. "Did you know that Harry's Patronus is a stag?"

She's no sooner said it than a shock of dark, angry pink sprays his features. Merlin, it's amazing to see someone so sallow and grim, so starkly wedded to black and white, suffused with sudden colour, even if, in Severus's case, it means he's about to lose his temper.

"Really," he says, with an edge cutting enough to dice runespoor. They lock eyes for a charged moment. "Your point being?"

His coldness startles and dizzies her, like a billywig's sting. This is a Severus she never knew, years older than she will ever be, and she wishes now that she'd treated his adolescent attempts at dignity with the indulgence they deserved. She wishes, too, that she could explain to him how sex and love are magical on their own, unique and indescribable, but when you put the two together, it's like –

"Did you ever learn to fly?" bursts stupidly from her mouth.

Taken aback, he says, "Yes." Then his lips and shoulders tighten. "Not like you, though. It's not the same. When I do it." Funny, she can hear his accent twang through the words. "Not like when you fly. So maybe the answer's no, after all. If flying's what you do, then no, I never learned."

"That's because," she says slowly, and it doesn't matter that it makes no sense, she's saying this as much for herself as for him, "you need wings, Sev. You need someone who'll push you off the edge." His thin body, wrapped in blackness, pulls in on itself. For the first time, Lily gets a glimpse of how disfiguringly lonely his life must be.

Horcruxes aren't the only darkness capable of ripping a soul to shreds. If she could hale Severus's out of his body and spread it alongside him on the grass, it would be tattered and stained, irradiated with despair.

She shouldn't allow him within a hundred miles of Harry. But who will save the saviour if Severus dies?

"Go back," she says sharply. "Harry won't leave you."

He pales again, save for two raw, red streaks along the bones just below his eyes. They appear painful to the touch. Mortified. He's holding her with his darkest, grimmest look, almost pleading, You can't possibly know. Don't say it. Do not tell me you know.

Suddenly Lily wants to hurt him. She wants to slap him, claw him, draw blood. Because she does know. She knows he was hers. For years and years he loved her and belonged to her, and now she's lost him. To her own son. Ironic that the whole reason she's here is because, for all that he resists, Severus will go back, and she knows it, and it's up to her to make sure he doesn't leave it too late.

She thrusts the bottle at him. "Take this. Go on. You're absolutely right, I don't want you here. My heart's not that big." Later, she will take a rueful pride in having out-Slytherined the Slytherin. "But I'm sure Harry can find a use for you."

As she speaks Harry's name, she feels the surge of longing. Oh, Merlin, the summons. It's Harry's magic. His call.

Face ashen, Severus holds the bottle for a long moment, then pulls the cork. His nose wrinkles. "Dragon's blood. To put me out of my misery?"

"Don't be a git," she says. "Albus distilled this elixir, with a little help from his dear friend Grindelwald." Snape's eyebrows shoot up, and he re-corks the bottle. "He quoted you, actually. Something about putting a stopper in death." A melancholy smile, like a bird's shadow, skims his eyes, his lips, and Lily sees how one might learn to love this face. "But it's an untested stopper, so you're right, it might kill you. Or it might buy you time."

Restless, she orients herself in the direction from which Harry's call emanates.

Snape holds the elixir up to examine it; the liquid turns blood-red in reaction to the sunlight. His black hair lifts like a shawl in the breeze, and Lily fears that the wind will knock him down, dissolve him. But Merlin, she can feel the tug at her heart. She needs to go. Her son is coming.

She hurries on, "I was going to give it to Harry, but I've realized – well, I can't explain why, but he's not going to need it. He'll be fine. So – there, if you want to risk it, it's yours."

In the distance, James shouts, "Lily, it's time! Harry's summoning us, come quickly!"

"Harry's here?" Snape whispers, his eyes fierce and troubled.

"Just for a while, just passing through, so we can speak to him, tell him," and Lily hates that she's saying this to Severus's face, even if he already knows, "that we love him. That no matter what, it'll turn out all right." She babbles on, desperate to be gone, desperate not to say goodbye. "We'll stay with him so that he won't die alone. So he won't lose hope."

She turns away, scanning the rise of the hill. James is nowhere in sight. Behind her, Snape echoes, "Hope," in an angry voice and then starts to cough. Lily spins around, and he's vomiting blood into the clean white sand. Her nerves strung tight, singing with the need to fly to her son's aid, she takes a step toward him, then turns back, torn between the hill and the swings. "Sev! I'm sorry, I have to go. It's Harry."

He draws himself up, wiping his mouth, and squints beyond her at the trees, at the shimmering sky, as if he, too, can feel the summons. "I know," he says. He doesn't reach out, as if he's used to it, as if he's learned to stand back and let other people go. His cold black eyes shift from the distance to her, then down to the bottle in his hand. He thumbs it open. With no fuss at all, he drinks down the contents, as if he swallows poison every day.

"I'll – I'll see you later," Lily says, sounding callous and childish to her own ears. She's already walking backward up the hill as blood starts trickling from the corners of his mouth. She half-expects him to call after her, "Don't go," or, "I'm sorry," or worst of all, what she most wants to hear, "I love you."

He doesn't. His voice passes her, as if running on ahead. Not even, "Goodbye." The only words she can make out before they're stolen by the wind are, "Save him."

Released, she breaks into a sprint, and there's James on the crest, come to fetch her. The grass under her toes feels cool, clean. She crushes it, running, the sound of Sev's gluey cough chasing after her. It stops, but she continues her climb to the hilltop, clutching the hand James holds out to her before looking back.

Across the way, on the other side of the playground, a middle-aged woman with lank black hair and a half-buttoned cardigan stands with her arms clenched across her breasts. She leans forward, as if wanting to hide her sallow face, and Lily realizes she's crying. As the woman trudges back the other way, then Disapparates mid-stride, a memory snicks into place: the bitter witch of Spinner's End.

Sev's mum. Bloody hell. She must have watched the whole thing.

He's gone, of course. Sev is gone. The empty seats of the swing are wobbling back and forth. Splashed on the white sand, a vivid red stain catches the sun.

Lily's heart throbs painfully. The swings are empty. "Tom!" She forgot. She left him. Oh, Merlin, there's no time. She stares around, disbelieving. "Tom, where are you!" She gives James a panicky look. "Oh, God. Severus didn't take him, did he?"

James shakes his head. "I can't think why he'd want to. Come on, love, we'll be late." She clutches him, still staring to all sides as if Tom might miraculously appear, and he catches her face, kissing the corner of her mouth. "Don't worry, Lil. It'll be all right." He nods encouragingly. "We're going to see Harry."

"Harry," she echoes, and suddenly everything is all right. It will be. She's seen it. She's sacrificed something that once belonged to her, set him free in the name of a greater good, and isn't that the price of a happy ending? In fairy tales, at least.

Then the veil between worlds rends, sucking them to a place in the forest where their son stands waiting with a stone in his hand.

~~~~

Lily's never been so overwhelmed with love. He glows, her son, her saviour of worlds, multi-layered, Harry now and Harry then and Harry overlapping unto infinity. She barely sees the existing boy for all the intervening selves that cling to him, ripple and flicker around him. Knowing too much, she speaks hardly at all, but walks silently with Harry toward his fate. She stands witness. They all do. There's a line of them, holding hands, and it's astounding that Voldemort is unable to detect the sheer volume of love in the room.

He's nothing like Tom.

Then a green flare bursts around Harry and he falls, already gone, and Albus with him. Sneaky devil. But Lily's learned a thing or two about stealth and cunning and the metaphysics of death. She hurls herself upon the great rush of magic that rises in their wake, and it transports her on a wave of sacrificial power, a white descent into death. All Lily wants is to be where Harry is, so that's where it takes her.

King's Cross station, really? Well, all right, it's not her place to ask. Breathless, invisible, she looks around. The emptiness is rather creepy. Tom's there, stashed naked and helpless under a bench, his small, maimed body on display. Harry keeps sneaking glances at him, but Albus says point-blank, "You cannot help him."

Tom trembles and cries, and Lily thinks, Yeah, well, I bloody well can.

She walks over to the bench and sits down to wait, confident that Harry, at least, has no idea she's there. She resists the mad urgency of her heart and leaves the baby where he is. Just for now. She'll have to settle her score with Albus later.

"Tell me one last thing," Harry says. "Is this real? Or has it all been happening inside my head?"

Albus beams; he loves questions like that. As the mist thickens, Lily rises to her feet and steps without hesitation through the glittering hole of Harry's magic. King's Cross disappears, and for a moment she's disoriented. Too slow, she thinks. Perhaps she lost him, after all. Then she emerges into the blurry, faraway land where suffering and death are more common than happiness. The land of the living.

She falls to her knees beside Harry's body. "My darling," she whispers. "My good, brave boy. I'm so proud of you, Harry. I love you so much. My dearest wish is for you to be happy. So listen carefully now. Listen, my love.

"Once you've defeated Voldemort, go back to the Shrieking Shack." She runs her fingers through his hair. "I'm sorry, I know how exhausted you must be. But Sev," she swallows, "Severus is still alive. You know that phrase about life hanging by a thread? Well, you're his thread, Harry. He trusts you to come back for him. But hope alone isn't enough to stave off death. And he's waited a long time. Longer than you know."

Harry's head stirs beneath her hand. It's time for her to go.

"He was willing to die for you, my love. Remember that. Save him if you can."

Then she's no longer crouching beside her son. He's gone, or she is. Instead, Tom lies before her on his back, naked on the grass that sweeps down to the swings. Lily blinks, haunted by the memory of Harry's shoulder twitching under her touch, the texture of his hair beneath her hand. Hollow with loss, she lifts a kicking, sobbing Tom and folds him to the empty place at her breast.

There's a whisper of fabric beside her, the shifting of feet. Albus stands over her, his face solemn. "Lily Evans Potter. What have you done?"

She squints up at him. "I'm not sure," she admits, then smiles. It's cheeky, but she feels absolutely no guilt. "If I'm not mistaken, I've just changed the future."

Albus sighs and tugs pensively on his beard. Then he removes the golden dial from his pocket and extends his other hand, helping her to rise. "Come along," he says. "We don't want to miss the final showdown." He sweeps his arm out. "If you'll do the honours, my dear?"

She blinks at him uncertainly, then conjures the house and precedes him up the drive and through the door. Once inside, Albus snaps his fingers for Butterbeer and biscuits, and someone knocks. Holding a freshly-swaddled Tom, Lily hurries to answer. It's the conga line: James, Sirius, Remus, Tonks, even Regulus. She stands aside, faking the role of hostess, and they all file in. James passes her with an enigmatic look. Albus spins the rings, adjusting the telly, and another knock sounds. "Door's open!" Lily shouts, and Grindelwald pokes his head through. Albus cries, "Gellert!" and ushers him in. The sitting room's crowded; they all settle and re-settle, competing for the ideal seating arrangement. Lily opts for the floor, snuggling between James's feet, Tom ensconced in her lap.

"Look, there's Harry," Tonks cries, breathless.

The room falls silent. Lily puts one hand up behind her, and James clutches it. Together they watch their son fulfil his destiny.

~~~~

The cheers have died down. Sirius has stopped whooping and beating on the sofa, Tonks has got over playing games with her hair colour and her silly-putty face, Albus of course still beams and nods like a benevolent deity, and the Butterbeer is flowing. "Haven't you got anything stronger?" Sirius barks, and Lily raises an eyebrow: "Conjure it yourself."

Someone finds her packet of fags, and Sirius and Tonks both light up. Grindelwald wanders away down the hall, and Lily hears him playing chord changes on the piano. It reminds her of Severus. The room fills with chatter and smoke, excitement ringing from wall to wall. Lily claims a place on the sofa, Tom on her lap and a bottle of Butterbeer in one hand. James joins her on one side, Albus on the other.

Then Albus claps his hands together and trumpets, "Places, please! Our young heroes have one last task to perform. Come one, come all! Gather round! There's an unexpected coda to our passion play, and I wouldn't miss it for the world."

Everyone finds a perch, and Albus turns the sound up.

Harry and his friends are ducking through the underbrush, and Lily recognizes where they are at the very moment Sirius mutters, "Crikey. What is this, old re-runs of stupid mistakes?"

Remus tilts his head back on the sofa and groans. "I could happily go for all eternity without ever seeing that accursed place again."

The kids pile inside. Lily's been hoping there would be some evidence that Snape still lives, but he lies utterly unmoving, arms sprawled out, blood drying under him like a thin blanket.

"Lumos," says Harry, and leans over. Snape's mouth is slightly open, his throat gaping and clotted with blood. The only difference is that his eyes, instead of staring fixedly into permanent darkness, are closed.

"Harry!" says Hermione. "Look at this." She crouches down by Snape's limp hand, and a glassy rattling sound fixes their attention as a small bottle rolls out of his grip. She holds it to the light; there's still a streak of red on the glass.

"Tried to save himself, poor bastard." That's Ginger Chappie. Ron.

Harry waves a hand over Snape, and the wand's glow swipes back and forth, Harry's features flapping in and out of focus with an anxious, searching intensity. Snape flares into cadaverous relief, overlit and shadow-carved. Each pass of the light only accentuates how very dead he looks.

"Professor," Harry whispers, strained. The grim face utterly shuts him out. Without looking up, he says, "Give me some light here," and his friends both cast Lumos, exchanging glances as he sinks down next to the body, one knee on Snape's outspread robes and one pressed into his blood. After a second's hovering, Harry croaks, "Damn it," hunches his shoulders, and bends down, carefully pressing his face into the wet, bunched fabric that is the only thing (Lily thinks) keeping the softness of Harry's cheek from the pale skin of Snape's chest.

"My eyes, my eyes!" Sirius barks, flinging himself back in mock-horror against the sofa.

"If you cannot respect the dead," Albus says quietly, "leave the room."

"This man, you are sure he is dead?" Grindelwald leans forward, elbows on knees to peer closer and drink in the details.

The room – both rooms – are achingly silent as Harry kneels there, lying across Snape's body. His face is a pale smudge against the black of Snape's robes.

Then the camera pans in for a close-up, and Lily gasps; a quiver, like a current of water, ripples over Snape's eyelids.

A second later, his lids part, slitting open on crescents of white. The gap widens to reveal the black iris before his eyes slide shut again. When they open a second time, they stay that way, lost and unresponsive, staring up at the dim ceiling.

"Fuck," grunts Sirius.

"Cripes," breathes Ron.

"Well, that's rather unexpected," and Lily thinks that Remus deserves the Understatement of the Year award.

"What the hell's going on here?" James wants to know.

"Severus." The voice is Dumbledore's, whispering Snape's name with some deep emotion that Lily can't fathom.

Grindelwald swivels his head to give his old enemy and lover a keen and not entirely kindly smile. "You have misjudged, yes? Your friend is not yet ready to join you, it seems."

Lily watches, scarcely breathing. If she were alone, she'd be curled on the floor, almost pressed to the telly, as close as she could get to being in the shack with them. She'd be touching Severus with her fingertips, petting Harry, urging them with soft strokes. Never mind, she'll watch again later when no one's about. Fearing that any moment now she'll have to blow her nose, she strokes Tom's scabby head.

The viewpoint retreats again, and Lily swallows a suffocating wave of jealousy as a gaunt hand, smeared to the sleeve with blood, wavers upward, orients itself, then descends as slowly as in a dream, settling with extraordinary gentleness upon Harry's uncombed head.

"Um, Harry," says the girl, suppressed tears bottled in her voice. "He's – don't you think you should – "

"His heart's beating," Harry insists. "I can hear it. He's alive, Hermione, I swear!"

"Mate, she's only trying to tell you – "

"Shhh," Harry commands, burrowing deeper into Snape's clothing, and Lily suppresses an hysterical giggle.

The moment lengthens, Harry's friends standing side by side fidgeting in embarrassment as their loathsome professor cradles Harry's head to his breast and Harry stays huddled, oblivious, listening eagerly for signs of life. Then the long fingers tighten and Harry jerks upright in shock, blurting, "Shite! You're alive! Let me go!"

Dislodged, Snape's hand tumbles to Harry's shoulder, then slides listlessly down his robes and thuds to the floor.

"Potter." It's a graveyard whisper, and the children's eyes go wide in fright. Then, "Help me up."

Hermione brings out the potions and administers them. She and Ron stand back while Harry helps Snape to sit up, coughing and breathing with difficulty.

"I don't understand," Snape says, raspy and confused. "What are you doing here?"

"What do you think?" Harry says. "In case you were still – I couldn't just leave you."

Snape's face is ghastly, all sunken, glaring eyes and red-cracked lips. His resemblance to a vampire does him no favours. He frowns at the blood on his hands. Then his fingers thread through the folds of Harry's robe and spasm into a fist. "Tell me." His voice is a ragged ghost. "The Dark Lord, is he – "

"Dead," Harry says, and his face quiets. He smiles painfully. "Really dead this time." The smile widens, and offscreen there's the sound of Hermione sniffling back tears. "We won."

Snape stares into his eyes as if he can't quite believe what he's hearing or doesn't understand the words or has simply reached the end of the script he's been following all his life and hasn't the faintest idea what to do when confronted with a blank page. Instead of letting Harry go, he clenches his fingers tighter and his lips move. A small bubble of blood pops, and they recoil away from each other, Snape struggling to swallow, head turned aside. Awkwardly Harry clasps his shoulder. "Professor?"

Brows a fierce V over his closed eyes, Snape tries again. "Voldemort – gone. But you," his voice catches, which could be due to the fact that his throat is an open, draining hole, but Lily doesn't think so. "You're alive."

Harry snorts. "Yeah, sorry about that. Can't have everything."

Snape gives an abrupt, pained shake of his head, and a small gout of red leaks from his neck. Hermione says, "For God's sake, Harry, don't let him jerk about like that. The whole point is to stop him from bleeding."

Jolted by her voice, Snape gazes up aslant, hot and cold and slightly delirious; Lily's pretty sure he's blind to anything but Harry. "I didn't – " The haze clears from his eyes, and he sounds amazed. "I didn't fail you, then."

Harry's chin jerks a little, and Lily smoothes her fingers rapidly back and forth over her lips, intent on hiding the way her mouth stretches, the way her whole face grimaces with a pent-up sob.

"No." Harry clears his throat, his glasses flashing as he seeks out his friends. "No, sir. You didn't fail us."

Snape's head wobbles; it might be a nod. Then, as if he can no longer support the weight of being alive, he lowers his face and slumps like a tired child, his forehead sinking to Harry's chest. Harry blinks repeatedly and bites his lip, then slowly unclasps Snape's arm. Lily takes a deep, shaky breath and lets it out silently when Harry raises his hand and places it with great care atop Snape's black, bloodstained head.

Beside her, there's the rip of a tissue being torn from a box and the wet sound of someone blowing his nose. Glancing over, she sees Albus smiling a little, wadded tissue dabbing at his upper lip.

For a fleeting instant, Lily's reminded of her long-ago, scornful thought, about the impossibility of a unicorn ever finding a Slytherin in whose lap it might lower its dangerous head; to whose innocence it might surrender its own. It never occurred to her that she might have got it backwards, that there might be such a thing as a black unicorn, a greasy unicorn, scarred instead of sleek, a beast with yellow teeth and a history of goring its adversaries. But she's acutely conscious of the magic flowing from the screen as this bitter, dark creature bows down and lays himself entirely in her son's hands.

And she's aware, with a strange sensation, like cloth ripping inside her, that Severus doesn't belong to her anymore.

"I do so love happy endings," Albus sighs as Harry hesitantly begins stroking Snape's hair, obviously embarrassed but not letting that stop him.

It doesn't end there, of course. A great clamour breaks out on both sides of the tube. Ron's, "Ew, will you cut it out, Harry? S'enough to turn a bloke's stomach," and Hermione's, "I really don't think you ought to take liberties – " collide inside the room with the sound of Sirius gagging, Remus interjecting, "Harry's a decent chap, but he does have a tendency to go overboard," and James struggling to spit out the scandalised words, "What. The. Bleeding. Hell?"

Lily hunches over to hide her turmoil. Merlin, it hurts. It really bloody hurts, and she doesn't know why. At the same time, a deep satisfaction is spreading through her, a settled, pleasurable ache of relief that she's done something right. It's bracing to have feelings so at odds with each other, and she wonders, since Albus is sitting right there, how often he used to end up feeling this chaos of contradictory things after meddling so ruthlessly in people's lives. He was like this, too, always stacking the deck. She sneaks a quick, appraising look at him. To her utter lack of surprise, Albus is watching her. The reddened tip of his nose and creases of sorrow narrowing his eyes aren't so much approval – although they're that, too – as they are respect.

It occurs to her, with a strange, belated irritation, that she's not the only one in the room having his face rubbed in the fact that Severus is no longer, and will never again be, theirs.

They exchange wary smiles. Once Lily decides they've reached as much of an understanding as she can tolerate, she looks away.

Rocking a little, she glances down at Tom, who stares back, his wide, worried eyes studying her face. She traces his sore cheek with the pad of one finger and gives him a watery smile. To her shock, his mouth gapes open and he smiles back. There's nothing sly or powerful about it. It could be attributed to gas or an imitation of the many times she's smiled at him or it might, just might, be joy. His toothless grin is infectious, though, and it tips her squirming bundle of emotions over the line into happiness.

She focuses on the scene in front of her and realizes that Harry's been murmuring to Severus the whole time, rocking him – sweet Merlin! rocking Sev – and she's completely missed what he said. Severus's face is buried in Harry's robes, and one hand grips his arm with the desperation of a penitent who expects at any moment to be torn away.

The screen goes black.

Oh no. Please, no. Lily's scalp prickles and her heart turns to ice. She remembers Snape's death, remembers the black screen, and the tears she's managed not to shed start sliding down her cheeks. She reminds herself there were no guarantees. You can only postpone death for so long. But she'd thought this was Harry's channel. She'd convinced herself Severus was going to live.

Then James says, "Oops."

They all look at him. He raises his head and smiles in mock-apology. "I do believe I just broke it." The two halves of the dial lie open in his lap like a hatched egg, and the small, intricate ball of gears has fallen out. The rings lie separately, detached.

"Couldn't stand it anymore, eh, mate?" Sirius grins.

"I've seen enough." James says this with an odd defiance, looking straight at her as he does.

Lily closes her mouth abruptly on a cry of outrage and scrubs her face dry. On her other side, Albus sighs, "Ah, well. I imagine it's served its purpose. We can't sit around forever dreaming of what-ifs and if-onlys."

"Too right," says Tonks cheerfully. "Besides, Harry's a growing boy and needs his privacy, don't you think? We're dead, and he's not."

"An excellent sentiment," Albus says. "Not to mention an inarguable truth."

"Nonsense," Grindelwald roars, slinging an arm around Albus's shoulders. "I am onto you, my dear hypocrite. Never try to tell me you have not dedicated your life to disregarding inconvenient truths such as that." He grins sideways at Lily. "Mother of heroes, will you walk with us?"

In ones and twos they wander out the door until the house is empty again. Lily's the last to emerge, and she doesn't look back; she knows when the house is gone. She doubts she'll ever summon it again.

"Well," Albus says. "Little Tommy played his part to perfection, don't you think?"

"Are you mad?" Lily cries, remembering her vow to yell at Albus for his treatment of Tom at King's Cross. "Don't you ever do that to him again. That was horrible and cruel. This poor little boy already suffers enough."

"It was in Harry's best interests," Albus says, infuriatingly calm. "We had to know how strong his connection to Voldemort was. If he'd been compelled to pick up the baby, well – "

"Well, what?" says Lily, with dawning suspicion.

"We'd have known he would never entirely be free of temptation."

"Yes? Meaning that at some incalculable point in the future he'd have been in danger of going Dark?"

Albus shrugs, his face inscrutable. "No need to dwell upon it," is all he says. "Harry passed the test. He didn't allow compassion to overrule his sense of what was most important."

Lily almost boils over with the impulse to shout: Don't you dare try to remake Harry in your image! But at the same instant Grindelwald shrewdly re-directs the conversation by saying: "Your Dark Lord, he has finally crossed over, you say? Hum, very interesting. Why then, do you suppose, is this child still here? Is he not part of this larger soul?"

Albus brightens and starts to stroke his beard, gazing, not at Lily and Tom, but straight at Gellert. "That's a very good question. A very good question indeed. I've no idea how that works in death. But you're right, it appears that a fragmented soul isn't bound to reunite, even with all the scattered pieces gathered in one place. Do you know, I believe that bears looking into."

"Thank Gott," erupts Grindelwald. "I am thoroughly sick of piddling around with dragon's blood, Albus. It is enough. I am more than ready to proceed to worthier fields of enquiry, and this seems, as you English would say, just the ticket."

"Speculate all you like," Lily says. "But leave Tom out of it."

~~~~

She abandons them to their deep philosophical debate and carries Tom to the swings. On her way, she hears laughter overhead, and looks up to see James flying around in figure eights. There's a rumbling growl from the woods, and Sirius's motorcycle takes to the air, Remus clinging on fearfully behind. The bike backfires, and they surge up to intercept James, who whips about and speeds off toward the lake with Sirius in hot pursuit. Lily waves as the figures dwindle into the blue, then takes Tom by the wrist and makes him wave, too.

As the noise dies away, she steps onto the sand and sets Tom down amid the twinkling grains, pleased when he doesn't whimper. She conjures a pail and shovel for him, then props him up and says, "Now watch this, love. Someday I'll teach you how to do this, I promise."

The leather seat warms her bum. She glides back and forth, smiling at the baby, building up the rhythm, halfway imagining Severus behind her, his long hands catching, pushing, letting go. She'll always think of him now when she comes here. His footprints have silted away, and it's anybody's guess what became of his blood.

But the playground means something to her it never has before: it's the site of a past she could have had and didn't. Perhaps someone, somewhere, has clicked through the scenes of her life and witnessed a future in which she and Severus stayed together; where he turned to her in the marsh and she rolled over and her whole life changed at the look on his face. It would have meant something, surely, that happiness.

Lily pumps the air, urging the swing higher, her hair and skirt fluttering, her mouth stretched with laughter. The sky tilts and swoops, and she rears into it, driving the swing up and up. Tom flashes by, staring at her, and the sun blazes in her eyes, and she feels the perfect moment spring through her muscles. Launching into flight, she spreads her arms wide and descends in a blaze of joy, pure as one can be only in the bliss of childhood or the absolute freedom of death. The white sand rises to meet her, and she returns to the world like the feather dropped from a shining wing.

FIN.

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From: [identity profile] green-grrl.livejournal.com


This is gorgeous! I've had many of the same thoughts about Harry/Ginny versus Harry/Snape, but you've taken what could be meta and made it art. And made Lily a vibrant, flawed-but-real, wonderful person as well. ♥ I adore it.

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


Oh, that makes me so glad. I have a huge soft spot for this fic. And you know, it may simply be a different perspective on the characters, but even if I take Snape out of the picture I still wince at the idea of Harry and Ginny as a couple. It makes me want to shout, Grow up first, you two! Don't you understand, you're just kids! Stop being so insular and see more of the world!

And I was amazed to find how much I had to say about Lily. I didn't realize until that point that certain issues and questions concerning her bothered me, but once I made her the arbiter of Snape's fate, the fic really took off.

Thank you so much for letting me know you enjoyed it! (And your icon makes me laugh! *winks at suspicious Severus*)

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From: [identity profile] green-grrl.livejournal.com - Date: 2009-05-14 12:11 am (UTC) - Expand
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From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


Really? *glee* Oh, I'm so delighted. Frankly, I was surprised that I was able to carry it off - both Lily's POV and the structure. If you'd have told me a month before that I'd be writing Lily and liking it, I'd have thought you were mad. Characters are what we make of them, I suppose; this fic helped me get over some of my knee-jerk attitudes toward Lily by coming to terms with her unsuspected depths. Plus it was hellaciously fun to write, once I decided I knew what I was doing.

Ah, the structure. I have no idea how I made that work and can only be relieved that it apparently does. Especially toward the end, with the deadline snapping at my heels, I felt as if I were juggling too many plates and that five of them were surely about to go smash. :)

Thank you so much for your lovely comment!

From: [identity profile] jordanneleigh.livejournal.com


I was nearly crying through this. This was such an original and beautiful story. Lily was real here, real and inquisitive and motherly, and I loved it.
Thank you for the lovely read. This story was just perfect and wonderful.

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


Oh, my. Thank you so much for the beautiful comment. I wanted Lily to be her own person here, not just Harry's self-sacrificing mother. She was so young when she died, and it seemed to me that she must have had something, some fiery spark, to draw both Severus and James to her. Most of all, I wanted her to be able to understand, finally, a little, why Severus betrayed her and why she lost him.

I'm writing from Azkatraz (squee!), so this is written in haste. Forgive me if it's a little incoherent.

&hearts

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From: [identity profile] jordanneleigh.livejournal.com - Date: 2009-07-19 06:00 am (UTC) - Expand

From: [identity profile] phiibean.livejournal.com


I realise I'm a bit late to comment, but I just wanted you to know how beautiful I found this story. I nearly cried several times (oh all right, I *did* cry once or twice...). I love the way you've given Lily such a three dimensional character, given her such depth, rather than have her simply remembered by the other characters. This is by far and away the best Snape/Harry fic I've read, and definitely in my top 3 Harry Potter fics. Bravo!

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


Wow, thank you. This is incredibly wonderful feedback, and it thrills me to my toes. I wanted Lily to break free of the sanctimonious, perfect mother portrayed in canon, because she was clearly opinionated and charismatic, and I needed to deal with the fact that Snape did betray her and therefore she had serious reasons for never wanting to see him again. For never wanting him near her son. Writing this fic helped me come to terms with Lily and to redeem Severus a little, so it was cathartic in that sense.

I'm at the Azkatraz con right now, so I'm not able to concentrate very well. But I want you to know that this comment has made my day. *hugs*

From: [identity profile] mhorrighan.livejournal.com


I've begun this comment a dozen times and none of what I wrote can describe how much I admire and love this story. It has made me unbearable sad and absolutely happy.

When I started reading it I couldn't imagine to like a Snarry-fic from Lily's POV but this was so much more than "just" a Snarry or "just" a post DH fic. It was beautiful and powerful and so very well written that it makes my heart ache.

The whole concept of Lily tuning in on Harry's life and the possible futures for him, on Severus' life and her own past, the way you described her friendship and love and fallout with Snape, her feelings for him, the jealousy of and acceptance for his and Harry's relationship made me finally see some kind of sense in the whole Deathly Hallows disaster. It's as if I can finally find closure.

This was absolutely gorgeous and I can only say, that it was an absolute pleasure to read your story. Thank you!

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


Sorry for the delayed response - Azkatraz and insomnia have scrambled my brains a bit.

unbearable sad and absolutely happy

I'm so glad you got this from the fic, because that's how I hoped it would feel and it's what drove me write it. Snape's life is hopelessly, relentlessly sad, and I wanted some meaning to come of his tragedy. The interwoven threads of yearning and obligation that stretch from Lily to Snape to Harry and back again were fascinating to play with, and the erotic echoes made sense to me, especially if you assume that Lily may have once taken Severus' devotion for granted.

Also, I really needed to find a way to purge myself of the turmoil Deathly Hallows caused, and this story was a means of laying my ghosts to rest. I couldn't stop until I'd imagined the possibility of happiness, of penance on Snape's part and compassion on Harry's, and who better to cast as judge and jury than Lily herself? It would force her to *see* and by seeing experience a change of heart, just as I believe Snape learned to see after Lily died. Because he did change; he learned to put others' lives above his own, and JKR failed to honor the tremendous moral courage in that.

Anyway, before I end up on my Deathly Hallows soapbox, let me say thank you for this wonderful comment! I was very stubborn about wanting this fic to be beautiful, and there's nothing more gratifying than to know that it moved a reader. :)

From: [identity profile] park-hye-in.livejournal.com


wow, i love this a ridiculous amount. i actually don't often like outsider POVs, but this worked brilliantly despite my general disinterest in lily. you really managed to bring out something fascinating in her character, and i was with her watching the possible futures every step of the way.

i thought the structure was fantastic and engaging, and i never ever thought i'd find a post-DH snarry fic that's epilogue-compliant and yet manages to give them a life together. <3 YOUR BRAIN!!

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


Yay, what a wonderful burst of enthusiasm! \o/ The funny thing is, I've always felt impatient with Lily's portrayal - I don't like haloes much - and The Prince's Tale in Deathly Hallows only made me less inclined to see her as the wronged party in this friendship. (Not counting the fact that Severus ultimately did get her killed, of course. :P) But once I started writing from her POV, Lily turned into a far more prickly and complex person - she had to be someone Severus would want to befriend, after all, neither a saint nor a shrew.

You liked the structure! *beams* I was determined to tackle the raw wounds Deathly Hallows left behind and find meaning in them or give meaning to them or just generally transcend the wreckage. And I swore to drag Snape and Harry there with me, whatever it took. Apparently what it took was a structure that went backwards and forwards and crossed between life and death while playing hide-and-go-seek with the narrative. I needed a version I could live with, so I changed the channel on canon.

Thank you for the delightful feedback. I'm so glad you enjoyed the ride! :D

From: [identity profile] asnowyowl.livejournal.com


I found this via the search on snarryficfind, and I'm so glad I did. This was magnificent - I love your fleshed-out Lily - brave and strong, but still human and fallible. You had me in tears more than once, along with Lily feeling a mother's pride toward Harry. Great job!

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


Oh, thank you! What a delight to get feedback on on old fic! It was rather fascinating taking Lily's POV, and there was so much I wanted to address after Deathly Hallows. Somehow the two impulses came together and created a fic that was greater than the sum of its parts. Or so I hope. It certainly helped me purge some of my distress at the series' end, and it made Lily a three-dimensional figure for me. :)

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


Thank you, I'm so glad you liked it! Although *cough* it's embarrassing to admit that I'm the one who recced myself. I mostly wanted readers on [livejournal.com profile] seperis's flist to take a look at [livejournal.com profile] rinsbane's work, but as an afterthought I tacked on a link to this story. :)

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From: [identity profile] concinnity.livejournal.com - Date: 2010-05-02 10:36 pm (UTC) - Expand

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From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com - Date: 2010-05-04 06:00 am (UTC) - Expand

From: [identity profile] auntie-climatic.livejournal.com


I just wanted to let you know how much I loved this. To finally read a work that dealt with the self-absorbed cruelty of Lily, James, and co as well as the unsettling bits of the epilogue honestly was very refreshing and provoking. You didn't try to make Snape something he was not by exploring his past, and that is truly unique. I very much enjoyed watching Harry grow into a mature and fully formed individual during his relationship with Snape, a task that many writers attempt and few succeed.

In summery: totally awesome. Four stars.

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


Sorry for the delayed response - I've been working out of town, and dealing with an eyesight problem, so I'm behind on comments.

I'm so glad you enjoyed my version of the characters here. I'd like to add that I was trying to be fair to all sides, even though my heart lies with Snape and Harry. This meant dealing with the self-absorbed cruelty of everone concerned, including Severus. They were teenagers, for heaven's sake; "self-absorbed" is a standard part of the job description. Also, that same quality is what, for me, provides a clue to why Severus and Lily could be friends in the first place. Severus was cruel to people he looked down on or didn't care about; Lily was cruel to those who rocked the boat or disappointed her. They were both sarcastic and given to dramatic flouncing. I thought it telling that most of Snape's memories in 'The Prince's Tale' involve Lily being angry with him.

In the end, though, the murder of James and Lily trumps any suffering Snape suffered in childhood, and since I'm not a huge fan of death = redemption, I needed some way for Severus' change of heart to affect them all and transcend old bitterness and still let him live. Enter Harry. :)

And, yeah, I have a thing about wanting Harry to grow up. In fact, sometimes the appeal for me is seeing the two of them "growing up" together, since Severus, once free of his past, finally has a chance to mature beyond school-age grudges and obligations.

I always ramble on too long, so I'll stop now and just say: thank you so much for your lovely comment!

From: [identity profile] carolinelamb.livejournal.com


i am here via [livejournal.com profile] schemingreader. these days i am extremely careful with snarrys (snarries  :) but follow most links she recommends - i am so glad i did. i like stories where people get second chances and possibilities, and where they regret past choices but are able to undo them. 

the descriptions of lily watching her own life from afterlife and pondering her lost moments were heartbreaking but i found the way she faced her life and her decisions were brave, and her ultimate decision - to send severus back and spite dumbledore so gryffindorish!

i also loved how life was like tv shows or channels, how she could switch between lives, something i would love to do sometimes :)

this was a very beautiful tale! thank you writing it!

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


Oh, thank you, what a pleasure! [livejournal.com profile] schemingreader is such an excellent writer and generous reviewer. I was delighted that she recced my fic.

I don't read much Snarry of late, either, because the pairing has taken a direction that doesn't satisfy my particular tastes. Most of my favorite writers have left the fandom, alas. But I keep an eye on everything, just in case.

After Deathly Hallows, I seem to have developed a preoccupation with redemption arcs. For Snape especially, of course, but also as a concept in general. I was left confounded by the way JKR resolved (or failed to resolve) some of her themes, so they nag at me. And Snape's at the heart of many of them.

Lily sometimes gets a bad rap from Snarry writers, but her death was a tragedy and Severus' responsibility in that and in the destruction of their friendship seems inarguable to me. Yes, she led a happier, easier life, until the end when her family became a target, but that doesn't make her unsympathetic. And she and Severus were both teenagers, for heaven's sake.

I agree, sometimes I wish I could change the channels on my life. I don't think I'd want anyone else spinning the dial for me, though.

Thank you so much for reading! I'm glad this ended up being the kind of Snarry that appeals to you. :)

From: [identity profile] avoidetc.livejournal.com

"I'm sure, in some universe, this is epilogue compliant." - Me too!!


This was utterly amazing! The kind of story that send shivers down your spine with every other paragraph, and really what's better than that?
I have to say I was a bit dubious to start with; the summary made me think more of a comedy because seriously a telly and 'The Harry Potter Show'? And it being from the point of view of Lily whom I didn't mind, I just didn't have much interest in her and hearing about Harry and Snape from an outside view just didn't seem so very appealing...
But what can I say apart from that all of my reservations were put to shame in the most total of ways.
This just story just worked. Totally. Absolutely. In every way.
(And it was present tense, I have an unreserved silly love for present tense fics).
First of all the plot - to have ideas like that is beyond impressive. And you manage to carry it all the way through. There are no parts that seem a bit flaky or not quite explained. Everything builds up and hangs together (not sure if you can say that in English). I really liked the way you explain canon parts which would be easier overlooked such as the way that Severus is described as loving Lilly in the books (when we all know that it is really her son that he loves :-). You write it so that I went 'of course, THAT was why. THAT is how he felt.'
Actually I ended up really liking seeing the events through Lily's eyes. Because she used to know Severus so well it made for a very poignant and painful look at him. That part where he always smiles so that his lips hide his teeth was heart breaking.There was so much angst and despair (and I can't really get enough of that it seems as long as there is hope in the end) and Severus' fate without Harry is unbearable.

I guess a case could be made, that seeing your own son having that much sex, repeatedly, could be called somewhat perverse, but even if that is the case, I just ended up liking Lily a whole lot. She grew from being just 'Harry's mother who died' to being a whole person. Your writing of how she developed through watching her own life made such an impression on me. I would not normally have read a story just about her, because I only have limited time to read, and Snarrys have got to have first priority. The part where she and Severus lay in the reeds, and Lily getting to see it from the outside this time, was just so --- I could never have put this into words but reading it just made so much sense, and it makes me I wish I had half as much insight into people as that.

Lily wants grandchildren and she doesn't want her son with Severus. Obviously. How could she? And yet I couldn't help but notice that even very late in the story she still hasn't even learned what Ginny is called but just thinks of her as the red haired witch.. The way you write her changing, realizing how she herself feels about Severus and finally how this is what Harry wants and it is not up to her to decide his life, is subtle and clever. And how could she possibly have seen this future for them if she had not already given Severus the potion and encouraged Harry to go back to the shack, and yet she would never have decided to do just that had she not already seen them being happy together - LOVE time paradoxes!

And then of course there is Harry and Severus, I am not even sure what to say about them to give any sort of due credit. Snape fighting against hope and Harry who loves so unconditionally, even when Snape is at his most nasty and scathing self. They are so awkward at times, intentionally difficult even brutal, but always so passionate.The way they build up their home together with all sorts of strange objects was such a happy thing. And when Snape rages against the ones that abducted Harry, because he belongs to him, I was pretty much wrung inside out and I wish I could just always read this about them.


From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com

Re: "I'm sure, in some universe, this is epilogue compliant." - Me too!!


Hello! I, um, ought to do some public self-flagellation for taking so long to respond to this amazing feedback. Mea culpa. I can only plead that RL has been overwrought and utterly draining lately, and that for some reason (maybe because I've barely been clinging to fandom by my fingernails) I've developed a neurotic response to praise that makes me freeze up and feel weirdly shy about acknowledging it. So please accept my apologies for seeming so indifferent. I'm not! Believe me, I've cherished your comments for the last month and a half.

I think it's too late now to change the summary, but you're so right; other readers have also told me it's misleading. The drawbacks of writing way past deadline, I fear; the summary was the last thing I threw in, and the utter bankruptcy of thought shows.

I'm delighted the outsider POV worked for you. It was a risk - heck, I'm one of those fans who wasn't all that sympathetic to Lily initially, although mostly in knee-jerk reaction to the "this is the only reason for anything admirable Severus ever does in the entire series" attitude in Deathly Hallows. But The Prince's Tale really opened up Snape's character for me, and Lily was an integral part of that.

Also, yay for your love of present-tense fics! Far more people seem to hate them or think them pretentious - I know fans who flat-out won't read anything set in present tense - so I appreciate the occasional championing of narrative flexibility. :)

I'm glad (and still relieved, after all this time) that the structure makes sense to you. I was flying by the seat of my pants while writing, making it up as I went along - I changed stories mid-fest because I was so worried my first attempt was absolutely wrong for my gift recipient, so time was running out while I was writing this. But I had SO MUCH I wanted to say in response to the last book; it had knocked me arse-over-teacup into emotional turmoil, and that turmoil is really what created this fic.

Heh, I admit, I'm surprised I didn't get more of a backlash from readers gasping, "But she's watching her son have sex!" Because it *is* somewhat skeevy and Lily knows it. It's one of the reasons (the other being my personal preference) that I kept her erotic focus on Snape; Lily's protective of Harry and a little repelled and fascinated by his pursuit of Severus, but there's also the fact that she's attracted to Severus, unwilling to admit it, uncertain where it comes from, and just generally starting to understand things she never understood before. Also, Harry was a baby when she died; he's her son, yes, but there's an abstract quality to watching someone whose entire life you've missed out on; whom you don't really know, even though he's your child. And then there's the TV aspect, which is a distancing mechanism. (Ahem. Maybe I'm protesting too much?)

The scene in the marsh was key for me in this fic. Even before I started writing, I knew that scene would be in there. I saw it so clearly. Spinner's End!Severus broke my heart, and I wanted to let him shine for a moment as a damaged, endearing, and incredibly lonely teenager.

Damn, it's time for me to go to work, but I'll be back tonight. Now that I've broken my own impasse, I have more to say (I hope you don't mind). But I want to post this, unfinished as it is, so you'll know how much your feedback meant to me; still means to me. And to apologize again for behaving like a snotty writer who doesn't bother to acknowledge such a lovely and openhearted response to something I wrote.

&hearts

From: [identity profile] avoidetc.livejournal.com


(and just the last part because I write too much)

And I haven't even mentioned the Voldemort being a baby and Lily coming to care for him part, and the reason for him being at King's Cross, again a canon part very nicely explained. And the whole afterlife! And the Dumbledore/Grindelwald was such a nice extra bonus, not to mention that I did get a bit of hope for Remus and Sirius? Surely I am right? Please? And and and I could go on, there are just so many things that deserve mentioning. Just one more thing though - the way you write Snape. Not only is he full of pain and loneliness, he is bitter and unpleasant as he rightly is, and he is also not pretty. He is stained and greasy and deeply flawed, not magically muscled with shiny hair, and yet he is so very beautiful.

Thank you so much for this story!!





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From: [identity profile] andinocara.livejournal.com


I love your writing so much. I just want to curl up in your brain and read. I just read the Rose and the Fire as well, though I haven't gotten around to gushing over that one yet. It was too intense. I needed to think for a bit.
The way you weave in and out between canon (in this and in other fics) never ceases to amaze me. Lily becomes such a real person in this fic, flawed and imperfect. Because in canon we only see her through Harry's filter she has always been a bit of a cardboard cut-out perfect mother this makes her into a real (and rather wonderful) person.
Lily's PoV was perfect for this story, much as I love them, Snarrys tend to follow a fairly predictable path. This put a whole new spin on it, made it all seem as fresh as the first few I read.
I also love the idea of the alternate channels. Snape *not* dying in the Shrieking Shack is almost as deeply ingrained (thanks to fan fic) as his dying. The way you presented it somehow feels *right*.
Also- god, but your language is gorgeous.

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


Sorry, I thought for sure I'd be able to answer this sooner, but most of my online life falls on the weekends because I'm just too brain-dead on work nights.

You've given me such an amazing compliment; I'm thrilled and flattered that you like the way I write. It was one of the revelations of fandom, to get (and give!) responses like this. There's something exhilarating about having readers share my excitement and my struggle to put my love for these characters into words.

In some ways canon serves as the challenge I have to reconcile and subvert when writing about Snape. Lily, too, because I had the same reaction to her appearance in the books as you did. In The Prince's Tale she seems a casual, impatient friend, and as Harry's mother, for all her importance she feels reduced to a plot device. So it was fascinating to gather up all the hints implicit in canon - or maybe I was just projecting, not that it matters - because Lily took shape quickly once I started thinking of it as her story, too.

Snape's death at the end was a massive emotional boulder I had to grapple with and lay down before I could write at all. It almost killed my fandom mojo. But by the time I came around to writing this, I was in a more argumentative mood and all my issues with the last book started to twine through my mind and mess with my muse. It was a seriously fruitful tension, and my need to address some of my own troubled responses really drove parts of this fic.

Yay, I'm glad it felt fresh! I have nothing against tropes and clichés, but I started writing fairly late in the pairing's development and many of the best tropes had already been done far better than I could ever do them. My imagination couldn't see past the classics I'd already read. Plus I was in the mood to play around with structure (little did I know how much I was biting off - but I chewed it, by God!). And two of the images - the scene between Severus and Lily at the canal, and the one of Snape kneeling with his face pressed to Harry's chest while Harry strokes his hair - were iconic for me in the sense that I knew, even before I sat down to write, that those were an important part of the story.

Thank you for your kind words about the language. I adore imagery, and I'm addicted to it. I try not to be heavy-handed, but I can't tell a story without resorting to metaphors.

*hugs your comment and carries it around for days*
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From: [identity profile] mangosorbet007.livejournal.com


Sigh..... It took me a while to read this (RL, go away!) but I kept that tab open. This is such a lovely fic on second chances and forgiveness - thanks for the great read.

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


Thank you so much for reading! I'm delighted you persevered (it is rather long, isn't it?). I'm rather stuck on redemption arcs, so I'm very glad the theme of second chances struck a chord. &hearts

From: [identity profile] lookfar.livejournal.com


Absolutely beautiful. I so admire fics that create a whole world, and you've done that here. There's more meta than Rowling, to its credit. And the gorgeous poetry of the writing and the character development...I enjoyed having this in my life for the last few days.

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


Your thoughtful comments while reading have given me a glow of delight. It's especially nice to receive feedback on an older fic.

More than anything, the characters and the language of the story matter to me. I appreciate you singling them out for comment, because it makes me feel that I did Severus and Harry justice. Thank you for being such a lovely reader.

From: [identity profile] justbecause421.livejournal.com


Oh wow! I'm so glad that I can across a rec for this fic. It was at times exciting and humorous and heartbreaking most of all I had FUN reading it, in fact I cant wait to reread it since I was so anxious to see where you took the story that I'm sure I missed some of the fabulous nuances you weaves throughout the plot. Excellent! Thanks!

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


What a marvelous comment! It makes me giddy to get feedback like this and to know a reader enjoyed so many aspects of the fic. I've never had anyone tell me my stories are fun before - it makes me bounce with glee. What a huge compliment!

I admit I'm still fond of this fic and it always pleases me when someone is touched by it. Thank you *so* much for sharing your excitement. :D

From: [identity profile] demarafis.livejournal.com


Once again, I'm gobsmacked at the fine elegance of your prose.

"I shall suck the truth out of you, Potter, and you will be healed and go forth, relieved of your delusions."

This is one of my favourite quotes, and is not by any means the only favoured quote. Kudos and much thanks to you, madam, for producing such a beautiful opus.

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


I think I mentioned in my previous response that I was sick all week? Well, you have singlehandedly made it ALL BETTER!

*g* Well, no, I suppose recovery doesn't work that way. But I cherish your feedback. And I'm glad that quote struck a chord. Poor Snape, so desperate, so convinced Harry's deluded. So hell-bent on proving that he will reject Harry before Harry can enslave him.

Thank you again for reading and rekindling the glow I felt when I was writing this story. The glow, I mean to say, without the panic. And for calling the end result beautiful.


From: [identity profile] ainaria.livejournal.com


This was a wonderful, touching, beautifully written story, and I loved Lily's narrative. Very addictive too! I had to read this in one sitting - who needs sleep anyways. :)

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


I'm not feeling very eloquent tonight, so let me just say I'm thrilled by your enthusiasm. I adore that addictive experience of reading just one more paragraph -- one more page -- and not being able to stop. Thank you so much for sharing that with me, because there's no better feeling than knowing I've hooked a reader. Especially with a fic that's so dear to my heart.

From: [identity profile] sarkysue.livejournal.com


This is such a genius concept! Having Lily hooked on them and finding out more of Snape through her memories and her knowing him like no-one else has had privy to. I loved how she could interpret his body language, how the child-snape was still in there for her to see. Loved how she chose him, in her past and in her present. James and Lily rang really true, like they weren't wise and forgiving, like they were trapped in the youths of their deaths.

And baby Tom, her love for him growing in confusion, and admist the confusion of her desire for Snape.

The real time viewing and the possible furtures, so original and interesting and never knowing if it's going to work. I think that's something in Blood and Fire too, the geniune feeling that this really might not work out right until the last moment. I'll say it again, so much love for you :D

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


I'm a bit cross-eyed with fatigue at the moment, but before I hit the mattress I want to thank you for the wonderful comment. This fic is much gentler than Rose & Fire (bloody long title, I always abbreviate it), and it gave me a chance to write a more loving and compassionate version of Harry. It also reconciled me to Lily, who was insufficiently characterized in the books and too much the sainted mother for me to appreciate until I tried bringing her to life myself.

It's still all about Snape, though. Some of my personal canon for him took permanent shape when I wrote him through Lily's eyes and memories. The erotic tension, almost a triangle, was a fascinating web to weave. I'm still surprised that more readers weren't squicked by the idea of Lily watching her son have sex. Also, the conceit of the competing futures was a very tricky structure to pull off, and I'm still amazed I managed it. This fic contains some of my personal favorite moments from my own work, though -- images that preserve certain feelings I have for the characters. Young Severus' brief happiness, lying on his back in the reeds completely unaware that he's failed Lily's test. The 'avenging angel of desire.' Snape holding his own hand.

Ah, the uncertainty about whether Snape and Harry will end up together. They're so volatile that IMO there's always a deep vein of insecurity or distrust running through their relationship, a fissure that could split open and destroy their precarious balance at any moment. They're incredibly compelling, but there's a suggestion, always, of heartbreak waiting to happen. I tend to write them triumphant in the face of that potential heartbreak, but my awareness of it still influences me.

Right, I should stop typing before my sentences turn into gibberish. Thank you again for sharing your reactions. They bring me joy. :)

From: [identity profile] audreytiphaine.livejournal.com


HOLY FUCKING SHIT.

Oh my god. How are you so clever, and how are we so lucky that you write Snarry? It's unexplainable. I don't even know. This is another of my insta-faves. God. You - just - I mean... I can't even express how incredible this journey was. It was absolutely beautiful. HAVE I MENTIONED THAT YOU'VE RUINED ME FOR OTHER SNARRY AUTHORS? Very few really measure up. Seriously, I think I would love you IRL if I knew you.

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


This is the most amazing feedback. Seriously, I've had a crap week, and this comment just blazed through all the unpleasantness and lit up the gloom.

Writing this fic was a bit like mental gymnastics (hurrah for fests! but OMG deadlines). I kept expecting to trip over the complicated structure and bring the whole thing crashing down. But it was so much fun, and there was so much passion behind it, and so far it's the only love story I've ever written. Plus I had to write my rebuttal to canon. Snape's death (among other things) left me in turmoil, and from love and turmoil are stories born.

*twirls you about* Plus you posted this comment on my birthday! :D Thank you for the lovely gift.

From: [identity profile] jazzy2may.livejournal.com


Lovely, it really was very lovely. I was wondering do you think Severus and Harry had any children together? is it possible? That would be something Lily would also be pleasantly surprised about.

I really liked how Lily progressed from a selfish thinking person to a person who started to remember a bit as to the fact that Severus was a deeply passionate person and that despite his follys he was not all evil, that he was not evil and did not deserve to be treated as such.

I however am always shocked to think she never once rips James and Sirius a new arsehole for insulting her dear friend Severus. But then Petunia and Lily are sisters and despite everything, their differences and such, there would be much that would be similiar i guess. Anyway I just really enjoyed this thoughtful and interesting writing.

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


Oh, thank you! *beams* I was very driven by a desire to make something lovely out of Snape's sacrifice in canon. Also, I generally write an angrier sort of Harry, and this one time I wanted to show him living up to the claim that he "has a power the Dark Lord knows not" -- in other words, love, or at the very least compassion.

I assume Lily would always have preferred Harry to have children, because she associates family with happiness. However, I differ from many writers in fandom in that I think Severus should not be a father. A long-term relationship would be enough of a challenge for him, because he's so damaged and obsessive and inexperienced at loving. That is, his love for Lily didn't take her feelings into account (or he would never have believed becoming a Death Eater would impress her), and after her death it was abstract and griefstricken and it ruled his life for years. He has no direct experience of pleasing a partner or compromising or admitting when he's wrong. As for parenting -- he loathes children. He has a terrible temper and a vicious tongue.

Not to say other people can't write Snape as a father; it's just something I have a hard time believing.

The Snape-Lily friendship was an odd one. I don't think Severus was evil, but he certainly committed evil acts for despicable reasons. He was clearly drawn to Lily for her magic and her joy in life; possibly also because she was middle-class and pretty and well-loved, and he was none of those things. It's obvious that she was far more important to him than he was to her. But there had to be *something* they shared, and I wanted to explore what that might have been, using Harry as the third point in the triangle.

Thank you so much for reading. I'm glad this story still has the power to spark people's thoughts.

From: [identity profile] laventadorn.livejournal.com


This BROKE MY HEART.

In like a really super amazing good way.

This comment sucks in comparison to the wonderful power of this fic, but I am just basking right now and can't manage anything more. But I love this like your Snape loves Harry.

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


Oh dear, sorry for the late response. Too much working! In fact, I saw this comment while at work and nearly did a dance of glee. Your response snatched me out of drudgery; it was like a hit of instant joy.

I love this like your Snape loves Harry

Wow, this line actually made me shiver. Talk about a double compliment. Thank you so much! <3

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] laventadorn.livejournal.com - Date: 2012-08-01 06:16 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com - Date: 2012-08-07 11:14 pm (UTC) - Expand

From: [identity profile] okavango-dino.livejournal.com


Hi! I am a stalker fan that was too shy to try to put into words what this story means to me. With your story The Lost World I finally gathered my courage and after re-reading it I just couldnt keep myself from readin this story of yours for a fifth time. Please do not be scared, I am really harmless even if my reading is terribly obsessive. So after finishing reading I told myself I would try to explain just how much I love your story.

I am such a late comer to Harry Potter fandom. While the books got published I really didnt even know there is something like fanfic. And then after the last book I was a little bit disappointed with the world of HP. Then I stumbled on Snarry and at first I really thought Snape and Harry? And then I noticed how many stories fill in what I wanted to see in that world. And specially what I wanted to see developed in Snape who I always wanted to know more of in each book and never got enough and then the 'he has to die for his sins' end. So I got hooked on Snarry. It made such sense (and sometimes not so) but in stories like yours I found my addiction.

I should get started on talking about The White Road, shouldn't I? :S The idea of Lily watching a TV that shows Harrys life and what ifs, and then her own past and a channel (13!!! brilliant) for Severus. Dumbledore and Lily at the beginning and at the end of the story two persons who took for granted that they own Severus, one used him the other rejected him, each found him wanting his whole life. And I am not saying that I subscribe to the idea of "Lily is responsible he became a Death Eater, he did it all for love", white and black was never my style and thats why I like Severus so much as a character he is gray and murky. But I am still really not comfortable with Dumbledore's treatment of the "prank" that almost got Snape killed, the feeling that he is so expendable, is what I also have translated to Lily. With the big difference that I cant really forgive Dumbledore and with Lily I always think "oh my god they were both such teenagers"! But I feel that for both of them it was a sure thing that he was their property, and I so love the I've been a possession nearly all my life, passed from hand to hand by Lily Evans and Tom Riddle and Albus Dumbledore.! And I resent them for it. I dont really know what Dumbledore really wanted to achieve giving Lily the chance at watching Harry and Severus and the what ifs. At the ending its almost as if he didnt want Lily "meddling" and sending Severus back to Harry, I sensed as if he wanted just that the co-owners of Severus Snape graciously together "welcomed him into their idea of paradise". Or am I being to harsh with my view of Dumbledore? So for me Lily had the chance to fully grow up too and allowing him to go back. I still think that seeing how different Harry's future could be if after the kidnapping he isnt saved by Severus again is what really tipped the scale in favor of Severus versus Ginny. I think if Harry would have escaped/never been kidnapped in the other "reality" he would have sticked to seeing him in a conventional relationship, even if the passion was absent. Or am I now being to harsh with Lily and her reasons?

And that brings me to the kidnapping, there are so many scenes that really ripped my heart out but strangely for the worst was that on top of all he gets to spend nine months in Azkaban...for saving Harry...again. Its just (and I know I sound super mature) so unfair. Each time he tries to do something that he thinks is right the universe at large seems intent of making him pay for it. And even before Harry says it I was yelling (the first time I read the story) "Stupid git dont use a Cruciatus, stun them and wait for the Aurors"! And when Harry says the If you hadn't used the Cruciatus – I felt vindicated and then I really saw that it wouldnt be Snape if he wouldnt react like this to seeing Harry being mutilated and I took refuge in the fact that even if in the rest of his life and maybe afterlife each action of his will be judged, found wanted and be punished for it, he now has Harry!

From: [identity profile] okavango-dino.livejournal.com


Which brings me to Harry, I am always undecided in stories if I like Harry. I have read angry Harrys and even sadist Harrys, and too nice Harrys, and each is a Harry-possibility, and I know that with his life angry Harry is a safe bet. But I love your Harry here. He is not overly, I cant believe it, too nice Harry, but he is incredibly stubborn (which is a trait all Harrys should have) and is what makes him a plausible character to get through a Severus Snape, but he loves. I want both of them to love...irrational...obsessed...whatever kind of love but I think its the characteristic that I always am in search of in a Harry and a Severus. And I find it here.

The humor inside all the sobbing I did heartbreak, I just laughed through the tears I had on that scene with the "Oh, fantastic. Now they're probably convinced we get off by pissing on each other in bed." and the and that he, Snape, had better see to the rusty nails and wooden cross he's got stashed in his own dungeon before he starts pointing skinny fingers at other people!

The martyr complex is another of my favorite themes. Harry is the more obvious martyr of the books, he has to ~die for the world~ and Severus has carried his sins for years and should also die for his own sins. And again I just cant understand Dumbledores motivations. I cant.

The scene which ends with The light Lily saw earlier in his face has drained away, leaving nothing but bone structure, the waxy pallor of his indomitable nose, and eyes as empty as holes drilled in rock. I could re-read for n-times. Also Severus arranging to be put in Azkaban so that Harry could lead the "normal life". For me this is Snape and the other small things you describe of him, specially loved how he gives himself over to reading Severus must be close to forty, yet he still surrenders to books like a ten-year-old boy..

The overlap between the marsh scene of their youth and with Harry. And I was so heartbroken with the single "It's not necessary," followed by It's courage, and hope, and the bands around Snape's heart have been more than twenty years in the making..

The interaction in the afterlife between Lily and Severus is so good, and I feared for a moment that she would give into the temptation of having him kneel to her and belong to her, but she didnt. And everything is perfect in the scene where Harry goes to find him in the shack. The viewpoint retreats again, and Lily swallows a suffocating wave of jealousy as a gaunt hand, smeared to the sleeve with blood, wavers upward, orients itself, then descends as slowly as in a dream, settling with unprecedented gentleness upon Harry's uncombed head. = bawling without shame.

I am stopping now, but there are so many details still I want to scare you with my OCD gush with...but maybe in all this rant that maybe just makes sense to my brain, you get a feeling of just how special your story is for me! Thank you so much for writing and sharing it! :)

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ext_2351: (Default)

From: [identity profile] lunabee34.livejournal.com


I read this story years ago, bookmarked it on a computer that was dying, and then entirely forgot about the folder of bookmarks I imported to the new laptop until now. *headdesk*

So let me remedy my lack of feedback. :) This is a really novel storytelling structure. I love both getting to know more about Lily and seeing Harry and Snape through her eyes. Wonderful fic.

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com


Crap, I am *so* embarrassed about the long silence. I'm moving house, very much against my will, so I've been emotionally inert and uncommunicative. My apologies.

This comment totally brightened my week. It was so very kind of you to come back and leave words to delight me. I'm glad the structure worked for you, because it could so easily have gone off the rails. And it always pleases me when readers enjoy Lily's POV, as she tends to be a contentious figure for many Snape fans.

Thank you for making me smile in the midst of a frantic month. :)

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From: [identity profile] lunabee34.livejournal.com - Date: 2013-02-14 08:53 pm (UTC) - Expand

From: (Anonymous)

fic-reading bliss


This is my third read-through of your story (in about... four or five years?) and I must say that it is only getting better. I only have about 15 HP fic bookmarks (I was lazy about that even when I was reading fanfics regularly), and this is one of the few that has a little note-to-self tag on it - just one word - "fantastic". And it is.

Holy crap, what a study of Severus Snape's character, and of Lily Evans' very special perspective. I loved the story, the way you told it, and the finely crafted, well-chosen and studied wording in every sentence. I think I liken reading this story to eating an extremely satisfying and decadent meal.

Thank you for writing and sharing.

Audrey

p.s. on LJ I'm audreytiphaine, I'm just not signed in at the moment.

From: [identity profile] perverse-idyll.livejournal.com

Re: fic-reading bliss


*hugs you for joy* Hello! Good to see you again!

I'm in the process of turning my life upside-down, so I've been erratic about showing up online this month. Apologies for lateness and thank you so, so much for your lovely comment. It's always a huge compliment when people tell me they've re-read one of my fics, considering all the competition for time and the vast number of stories out there.

And it always thrills me when readers say they like my version of Snape. As much as I'm obsessed with the fics I'm writing now, I suspect my best portraits of Snape and perhaps my best Snarrys (Snarries?) will always be the first two fics I wrote, when I was deliriously caught up in that initial heat of infatuation. It allowed me to lavish all kinds of description on the magic and the characters, and it delights me that you still enjoy my self-indulgence. But then, Snape is very inspiring. ;)

Thank you again for stopping by to give me feedback. Comments are a rare gift, and you've completely brightened my day. ♥
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