I promised this review probably in October or November (or December), so let's keep this in mind: Gubby doesn't keep promises. But being snowed in (a little bit) and being bored and being otherwise fairly productive today, I thought I'd do you this smallest courtesy after all you've done for me the past few weeks.
You know the story of how I found this fic and I'm pretty sure I've told you how brave I think you were in writing it and in posting it, so I'll skip that part and actually talk about what this meant to me. I don't think this is at all like Napoleon - the natural connection I would make and still do after rereading it - because... I don't know, this is so much more intense than anything there.
Rose and Scorpius are so real, so down-to-earth, and so aware of what they're doing that it's almost self-destructive. I cringe to read it because of that element to the story and the characterizations; it's so raw and it cuts deeply into me, because I find a lot of myself in Rose too. I understand Scorpius, too, but probably not to the extent Rose does - I'd probably be more like Sylvia at the end, aware of his shortcomings but still desperate to fix him, whatever that means. And I really respect Sylvia, by the way, and her portrayal and how Rose sees her. She's not stupid, but she views things differently. Not everything has to be this big production, if that's the right word, for her. She doesn't think that life is necessarily as bleak as Scorpius would have it.
Gah, Scorpius... I don't want to say I love him (as we all know, it's sexy roguish Scorpius I adore), but he's just so - gah. That realization that Rose has at the end, that maybe his eyes were never hazy, that really got to me. Mind blown. He seems to enjoy the whole aura that being the "irreparably" damaged cynic gives off and he cultivates it. I remember you drew the distinction between Napoleon's usage of "You like power" and you said (I literally just looked it up): "strangely abusive yet necessary and understanding." Now this is just me speaking, but I don't think this was necessary. Rose grew up, maybe even Scorpius did (I'm glad you didn't elaborate so much about that), but... I don't know. I feel like there could have been a way to circumvent all of the drama. I feel like maybe, if they tried, they could have been happy. Or happier, at least. (This is me projecting my experience with Napoleon onto this, just so you know.) At the same time, even through that understanding, I'm not sure if Scorpius ever respected Rose, and I'm not sure he ever valued her as much as she seemed to him. And again, I like how you sort of remain ambiguous about that.
I know this does not make ANY sense whatsoever, but I'm finding it really hard to review this, for some reason, maybe because we've talked about it before and I don't want to rehash what I've said before. But... yeah. This story really resonated with me on a personal level and now I realize... this has actually influenced me a lot. Your Scorpius especially. It really made me think and feel, and while it wasn't sad, per se, I feel sort of like I've just cried and am now getting over it. I think. It's hard to explain. But... yeah, I hope this makes up for the delays and the broken promises and such, and please know you are my hero. May the socgremlin be with you! *love*
Author's Response: Okay, I've had this on my unanswered review for far too long (like, 2 days. Heh.) It stares at me every time I open up HPFF. I'm also typing out this response on a word doc because that's how long I expect this to be.
I think (and I say I think because every time I revisit this part of my life and this fic, my perceptions of it change) the problem of Rose and Scorpius is that they are *too* aware of what they're doing and indeed, self-destructive. It's like a friends with benefits sort of thing, but instead of sex, it's about sharing every bit of themselves -- without commitment. It's easy to see how that could fail. When I think about myself as Rose, I always see the dark side to my love of happy endings (oh wow, this sounds so angsty already). It was that belief -- the belief that the girl who understands best is supposed to win in the end -- that kept the drama going far longer than it should have.
Sylvia is really the strongest out of everyone, the one who tries to keep things together even when everyone is against her. Both she and Rose want to fix Scorpius, but she's the one who wants to help from pure compassion and not because she wants to be loved. That's the key component that sets her apart, and I really wanted to show how damaging Rose and Scorpius's selfishness was from that. And you've got it spot on for Sylvia viewing things differently. Rose and Scorpius take pride in complicating things. Cynicism becomes synonymous with truth. They both look down on Sylvia for not being the same.
I've probably mentioned something about how writing Unraveling was my coming to terms with this part of my life, but it was also scary seeing how much it stuck with me and how much I still am interested in figuring out the mystery of Scorpius, if there ever was one. I remember right after writing it, I felt that rush again, that need to know the answers, of why he does the things he does. I end on a relatively happy note, but I'm so glad you point out that I never elaborate if Scorpius grew up, whether he ever respect her, or whether Rose even did understand him. I like to think he did value her, but again, it's like my belief of happy endings -- that the belief that she did make a difference is just a way of validating what happened, a way of making Rose still "special" to Scorpius, because she was the one who might have changed him. And it a belief I'm still reluctant to let go of.
Rose and Scorpius were never really made to be friends; they know, or at least suspect, too much about each other to be casual. Rose could never take anything he says at face value. I remember I had the same exact thought about how unnecessary the drama really all was, and that was how it led to the thought that maybe it never meant anything to Scorpius. I think that at most he was grateful she was there and sorry that he couldn't give her the love she wanted.
But what I always remind myself is that in the end, it doesn't matter whether Scorpius respected her or whether they could have been. What matters is that Rose grew up, and as awful as the experience could have stuck in her mind, she looked back thankful. I guess there is a certain sadness due to the sudden disconnect of two really close people, but I also question how close they really were. They shared similar cynical opinions, something they desperately needed at the age of 15, but not so much at 18. Not exactly friends, but they had a certain inevitability to their relationship. Perhaps this is why I chose the word "necessary" before.
Just like how I tell myself to never regret the real life experiences that influenced this fic, I don't regret writing all this down every time I hear someone tell me about how this fic affected them. Knowing that it's influenced you is a heck of a lot more satisfying than knowing whether it affected Scorpius (so that that, cynicism!) Thank you so so so much for this review! *heart*