blackbird over the dark field
If I had to guess, dear author, I would assume that you are a meticulous writer, picking out each and every word, carefully shaping sentences until they sound exactly the way you want them. Whether or not that's true is beside the point, because I as a reader most definitely believe it after reading this story. I loved lines like, " Ron is there â€“ he and Hermione are on yet another break and Hermione will no doubt have yet another promotion before the summer." It is such a subtle summary of both their characters as well as the tensions in their relationship; I can't imagine how you condensed such a complicated narrative to so few words. The ebb and flow of your diction is stunning; it made me feel that, as I read, I was being carried along a river of your words. I'm sorry; enough of the melodrama--let it suffice to say that I enjoyed this piece immensely. Bravo!
All in all, I find the relationship between Remus and Severus, especially the depiction of their Post-Hogwarts lives, fascinating. But the narrative left me with a question which I feel needs to be answered within the story so that the ribbons around this pretty present can be tied in a neat bow and shipped off to the next reader without delay! Why is Remus with Severus? What brought them together...? After a line like, "Remus cannot forgive or forget or feel sorry for one second of his pain," I can't fathom why Remus would be reaching out to Severus day after day, seeking to be with him. In canon, they have a relationship which can at best be described as grudging respect and at worst, contempt. How did they transition from that state, to this attached (albeit volative) one? I feel a bit of an explanation--perhaps simply a well-worded line such as the one you used to describe Ron and Hermione's relationship--is needed in order to make this story feasible and resolve any residual doubts which I have.
But once again, your writing style is tremendously powerful... I applaud it and, to be honest, am a tiny bit envious of it. Without further ado, write on! I look forward to reading more from you in the future.
blackbird over the dark field
There's something so elegant about this story. I think perhaps it's the simplicity. I want to say the raw simplicity, but it isn't raw; it's measured and retrained and subtle, and it's that very restraint that enthrals me and leaves this story haunting me.
I think a large part of that is the style and specifically the way you've used the present tense. So often, with present tense, everyone always seems to talk about its immediacy and the way it hooks you into the action, but for me, the present tense works best the way you've used it here: with that sort of cold remoteness as if the present moment is all there is because both past and future are too painful or precarious.
There's a sparseness to your prose, and it makes it into something beautiful because the rare moments of imagery and metaphor really shine against the bare backdrop.
The remoteness of the tone beautifully mirrors the relationship between Severus and Remus as if Remus keeps the reader at arm's length the same way Severus does to him.
I have to confess: it's not a pairing that I would normally consider to be believable at all because they are two characters with such differing values and so much to keep them apart, and yet here I never even questioned them being together at all. It felt totally natural for them to be together. They just are and it's undeniable. I think a part of that is that you never seek to justify them as a couple, and so I just accepted them together because that acceptance of them runs through the entire narrative itself. You don't need to pontificate about why Remus loves Severus or how much because it's so painfully clear in his actions, and how he stays despite how hard that is, that he does and ultimately why or how they got together feels meaningless compared to the power of his staying.
I can completely see how the renewed sense of purpose when the students come back in September would refresh Severus and start to thaw him. He doesn't like students much but at the same time, teaching at least keeps him busy and stills the incessant accusatory chatter of his mind. Similarly, I like how you draw out that he withdraws in October and then allows Remus back in once the horror of his recollections of Halloween has passed. It would be very like Severus to push someone who dares to care for him away when he is hurting most, and it would never occur to Severus that Remus too would struggle with the anniversary of the Potters' deaths and that perhaps his lover might need him then or that they could help to support one another to it.
I do find myself wondering though why Severus' mood should dip so drastically into spring in particular. Perhaps I'm missing some subtle point, but it doesn't seem quite so clear cut to me, and whilst mostly I really liked the way this story didn't slow itself down with explanations, that is one point on which I just found myself wishing for a little clarification.
That said though, I do like the contrariness of Severus withering as the world comes back to life.
I want to know more: I want to know why Remus loves him so much that he stays even when at best Severus' response to him is mediocre; I want to know why Severus' year follows the pattern it does; and most of all I want to know if Severus really does love Remus in return. But I don't need to know any of those things, and it's a real testament to your story I think, that it leaves me with more questions than answers, but in the best possible way.
blackbird over the dark field
I'll admit that I don't ship the two of them, but I love Remus, and find Snape fascinating as a character, and you have really written this well. I love the dark mood of despair (which alternates with the mercilessly small but nevertheless visible sense of hopefulness), the blatant absence of intimacy (or its subtle presence), and how summer is inverted in the sense that it brings the gloom in their lives. Welcome back to writing, Ali!
As threatened, I am going to claim my words, though I won't take all 150 because I am just that perfect. :P And here they are:
The year disintegrates from there on out, a slowly turning spiral, aiming for the pit of the summer.
I can't describe how beautiful this line is. It was worth nearly breaking my hips to get this done.