When I clicked on the banner linking to this story in your signature, I had no idea that I would find such a lovely, descriptive piece, Rhi! Your word choice and use of similes and metaphors was simply stunning. I don’t think I’ve ever read such a description driven piece that didn’t seem overbearing before this one.
I must admit that I was rather confused at times. I couldn’t figure out if Severus was imagining the scene, having a moment of insanity, or if what was being described was actually happening. Ultimately, I decided he was imagining some of the things, at least, but that’s what the glory of writing can do. It can be interpreted many ways, and I liked that about this piece.
Either way, I think you depicted his grief for Lily in a wonderful way. I don’t think he would be one to grieve rationally, and the images he saw were a great way of showing that. I really liked this bit with the lilies,
Instead, white lilies blossomed where his fingers made contact, turning and twining upwards, enclosing and entangling him in fragrant forest. He knew the lilies weren’t real, but he lay back on them anyway, because that other Lily wasn’t real anymore either, so what did it matter?
Not only was it good imagery, but the comparison of the lilies here was beautiful and strong. The lilies weren’t real, but Lily was dead, too, so in that moment Severus didn’t really care. He was just looking for comfort, and I liked that.
The one thing that I really noticed that threw me off was that the amount of one or two sentence paragraphs threw off the flow of the story. I understand that it was used for emphasis, but it seemed to get a bit overused and thus lost some of that emphasis. It is an easy thing to fix, should you wish to, though. For example,
A febrile headache made his head pound, made him see scarlet on the edges of his vision, twisting and turning with each pump of blood.
He knew he was slipping, knew he was drowning, but he could do nothing to stop his fall.
He knew he was insane, but it didn’t matter. It didn’t change anything.
You could either combine the first two paragraphs or the second two here, and I think that the emphasis would be shown in a better light than this because the flow isn’t broken that way.
Now, the ending of the story was unexpected, but I liked it. I thought Severus’ laughter was, at first, out of character. But then I realised that he is a grieving man, and it didn’t seem out of character at all. One couldn’t be expected to act a certain way in such a situation, so I think your interpretation was refreshing to read. All in all, I liked it.
Oh wow, Rhi, this was powerful! The description and the imagery really drew me in to Snape's mind and I felt I was experiencing everything with him. In this paragraph: He had always liked wind and rain, had opened the window above his bed at night as a child to let the two lull him to sleep, powerful yet rhythmic, wash him away from Spinner’s End till his being was refracted, a million raindrops, one with the universe. I could feel the beat of the rain and imagine the calming effect it would have, making him believe he could escape his home. You allowed me to completely understand his pain and his anguish. There are so many moments in this fic which blew me away that it is hard to pick out just a few. This use of personification in this line, All that was left was the wind sighing mournfully as it died in the trees, was excellent as you took a real sound such as the wind in the trees, which can have a sad sound to it, and presented it as such a vivid image, making me feel that even the wind was mourning for Lily, but that it too, must die.
While I thought the description was the strongest thing about this piece, your characterisation of Snape was excellent also. We see in DH how much his love for Lily was still present years later and so it is realistic that his love for her on the night of her death was so strong that it caused him to feel agonising pain. Generally, Snape is not a character I sympathise with but in this chapter, I felt so completely awful for him and for the pain he was suffering. I could feel in hopelessness in this line: He knew he was insane, but it didn’t matter. It didn’t change anything. It is as if he has completely given up. He knows there is nothing he can do to change the fact that Lily has died and nothing matters to him anymore, including his own sanity, if he can't change things.
I thought the ending was very effective. It seems as though he finally cracks completely, at the thought of celebrating. It was again, so heart-breaking to read. And I shared the pain of how he could ever feel happy or celebrate after what had happened.
Technically, this was excellent and the only slight nitpick I have is that in the opening you describe the sky as clear and the fact that all the stars are clear. However it is also raining which means there must have been some sort of clouds in the sky. But, I wasn't sure if it was metaphorical rain!
I'm so happy I stumbled across this - it's been a while since I've read such a powerfully emotional story.
Intriguing. I have been fascinated with Snape since his apparent murder of Dumbledore on the 'Lightning Struck' Tower. Thank you for an enjoyable peek into his world on the night Lily died.
My favourite line is the second last one: "...scalding his face which would have fit into a frown so nicely, but instead turned upwards at all the edges."
Author's Response: Thanks for the review! I'm glad you "got" the story--I was worried no one would, and would just be totally lost and wondering "why is this even here?". Haha, that's one of my favourite lines too! XD Thanks again!
I love your way with words. YOu make the most grotesque things sound beautiful.
Icy suns suspended in black space.
This line is so beautiful!
Author's Response: Thanks so much! I'm glad you liked it. :)