I know that you said that you should probably stick to fluff and humour but this is really well done! I can imagine it as Dumbledore's voice--he says things in a way that asserts his knowledge, and his wisdom, but still his gentleness.
Although I found the intense conglomeration and heavy reliance on metaphor throughout the story (although my first thought in the place of this word was "poem"--does that say something?) slightly off-putting, it isn't too unlikely that Dumbledore doesn't always think this way. It is very other--seeking to escape, like he always wished as a boy, the basest life, the grungy fatality of the human. Perhaps this demonstrates the irony of the human struggle--we fly in circles--begin as creatures of slag and end the same way, without a bang, without a quiver, but with a last breath.
I love the image most of all of the moth. I think that as a young man, full of zest for thought, and for heightened awareness, for power and manipulation over human fallibility, death in flame and a burst of hell is very apt. I also love the line, "I was a boy, and therefore knew everything." I thought it might have been nice to carry over the structure of this sentence when revealing that he is older now and no longer presumes to have such an extensive and superior understanding of the world--"I am a man, and therefore know nothing." I understand that this could border on melodrama, but I savor parallelism--there's something about it that pops between the teeth, you know?
The images of the clock are effective I think mostly when regarding the man-made infrastructure of time, and how it's relative, and the most that we can have on it is a loose grasp, but it has so much power over us reversely. I think that you implicated this wonderfully :)
Overall I really like this! It speaks to me in Albus's voice, and makes me feel like I'm right there with him while he explains. Recalls the passage at the end of OotP where he explains to Harry that old men are fools if they forget what it feels like to be young.
Author's Response: Thank you for the lovely, long review!
I do agree, there is an awful lot of metaphor and overall weirdness in this piece. Part of what I was doing at the point I wrote this fic, was trying to break away from my usual style, which tends to be much more straightforward (and almost pedestrian, I think sometimes). So I was going for a super-stylized approach, where the meanings aren't readily obvious. Also, I thought Dumbledore's mind would probably work in really weird ways - he tends to speak almost in riddles, or at least you always get the sense that he's not expressing all of what he's thinking.
I love how much thought you put into this review, reading into the fic and the images in it - what with the clocks and manmade infrastructure of time, etc. - I love that it made you think so deeply.
I'd almost forgotten that line from OotP! But I love that this made you think of it.
Thank you again for the thoughtful review!!