My, oh my. This was lovely in so many ways that I'm not sure where to start this review. I suppose the thing that struck me the most in this one shot was that it managed to capture what Minerva herself couldnot standing at Albus' gravesite. This one-shot, what some 5K words? delicately and eloquently encompassed decades of their relationship into a little snowglobe world. I'm always a suck for symbolism, and so the fact that the question Minerva poses to herself is answered in the course of this was gorgeous and made my heart all fuzzy in a awe-filled sort of way. This really was beautiful.
I really can't comment on the depth of the relationship you portrayed here -- I'm not sure a few descriptors could possibly do it justice. So I'm just going to entrust you know how well you wrote it and skirt on to talking about something out. I'm such a copout. I really loved the arrangement of scenes in this. It's not chronological, but it flows logically, thematically almost? It was lovely to see a bit of the present and what they have and then to jump back through the decades and see the school girl adoration knowing where it will one day end up -- a beautiful friendship/partnership/what have you (see, inadequate descriptors ahoy!!) But anyway, I think the structure here adds to the power of the one shot and the impact it has on readers.
Finally, I'm going to comment on description because I love it and far too often find myself abusing it in my own writing until I check myself. Everything was so gorgeous. I could see and feel things as I believe Minerva was. Your descriptions were sort of stoic and succinct and very in tune with her characterization -- nothing was overly flowerly or extended and I really admire that, suiting the description to the character of the narration. gah. My ears are basically tinged green with jealousy :P
All in all, this was gorgeous and I'm so, so glad I managed to sneak in and snag a spot in the review tag -like a ninja- Fabulous Work!
Author's Response: I'm still floored at the response this story has received - it's nothing like I imagined (though I don't know what I imagined anymore, nothing much, I suppose). That history between the characters is one I've held in my head for a while, expanding and editing it over and over as new information came to light, or new inspirations hit me, and to me, all this story does it set it in stone. That makes it twice as strange to hear these things you've said about it - you make it sound as though I put effort into the whole thing! ;)
You're right, though, that their relationship defies description. That's the major thing I discovered while writing this story. By starting at the end rather than the beginning, I avoided the teacher-student issue and instead began with what we see in the books - that complex, intense friendship that at once has no boundaries and yet contains very many. Dumbledore hides so much from her, but it's because she holds a particular place in his life - she is part of the school, not part of the search for the horcruxes or any of that. My way of navigating this issue lead to the scene that included Dumbledore's poisoned hand - she had to be included somehow; Snape couldn't be the only one in on the secret. Then, stretching back, the relationship took on so many different possibilities - it could have become many things, but in the end, it was a way of making Minerva the next Headmistress. She becomes him in a way that no one else can.
Thank you so much for the compliments! *blushes* I love writing description, but it often feels like it's getting out of hand, like a bad Victorian melodrama. It means a lot to hear that that's not the case, and it's instead something far better. ^_^
And thank you for this glorious review! I've unfortunately rambled for a bit, but I want you know that it's fantastic to hear your thoughts on my work, and I really appreciate it.