You know, for all the apologies you give about your chapters being long, I really, really don't mind :) I almost didn't review this and wanted to skip straight on to the next chapter! I love this story so much already.
Having Severus' viewpoint here instead really changed the tone and made it much more real in a way. When I think of all the things that have happened in these past two chapters, from both perspectives, makes me so excited to read on and see what else is going to happen. Severus also refreshed my faith in their relationship, in a way assuring me that they do work well together. The last part of this chapter was especially intimate and really loving, because it wasn't just lust or anything - it was perfect to see that Avrille is safety for Sev, because he needs it.
In terms of canon, reading this has made me love Sev so much more than I ever have done in the books. By the end of DH I got that he was the good guy and that he'd done something amazing in being a 'double agent' but I didn't really dwell on it, but reading this really brought it home, just like reading about Cedric in the previous chapter. When I think about the times he would have to have mentally prepared himself over and over again and submit himself to the torture and jeers of the Death Eaters I have so much respect for him, and I know I wouldn't have really thought about him like this if it was not for this. You've made him so strong here, and I honestly believe that he was, because at the end of it he is just a man, not a super human baddie/goodguy. It's like you've taken the Harry Potter books, and shaken the childish naivety out of them and turned them into an adult series all of a sudden. I just love this, I really do.
For the one-thousandth time, your writing has blown me away, because you tell the story in such an effortless way. As I said a moment ago, I just wanted to keep reading on and on, because I am so absorbed by this! I especially loved the way you wrote Voldemort; I didn't even bat an eyelid at anything he was saying because it was all so canon and I really believed it was coming from him. Often some things are a little 'off' with canon characters but no way with this fic, and you've done such a super job at making the baddest of the bad guys so darn believable.
One last thing before I dive into the next chapter - I have so much respect for you in terms of sheer Harry Potter knowhow! Little things really stood out for me in this, like the way you used to correct name for the Strengthening Solution, and the way Sev was concerned he looked like an 'Inferius', and the way I kinda almost felt as though you'd memorised the floor plan for the Riddle's house ;D I know it's silly really, but the way you know and remember and include all these little details from the books makes this feel as though it is just a continuation from JK and makes this fic so enchanting :) You've done a really, really, super duper good job.
See you in the next review!
Author's Response: Well, I'm really really glad you don't mind the length because it was really against my gut instinct to cut them up to shorten them. :)
I really enjoy writing Severus. Like I said in my previous reply, I'm much more into canon events than making up a lot of my own, so I really enjoy filling in all of the missing moments for him. There are a lot, too! Especially with all the spy stuff since obviously Harry wouldn't know what was going on. One of the main parts of the books that always stuck a chord deep within me was when Dumbledore asks Severus when they're in the hospital wing at the end of GoF (and I'm paraphrasing here): "You know what I must ask of you. If you're ready, if you're prepared..." and then Severus answers "I am," instantly without even batting an eye. Even before we knew for sure he was good, his bravery always impressed me so much. That part means even more to me now when I think about that in reference to my own story.
Anyway, trying to not ramble too much. I'm glad the love scene at the end was ok. I'm definitely NOT a person who just throws them in left and right to make it "mature" or anything. There's only one scene in the first book, and it was only there because it was very integral to the plot. What you said about Avrille being his safety is exactly what I wanted that to be about.
It's probably because I didn't start the Harry Potter books until I was in college, but I've always been way more interested in the grown-ups in the series (hence why I will never write a story about Harry or the other kids). Going through some big life changes myself like having a baby brought a new dimension to the canon events and really helped me to appreciate how scary and dangerous the books are when you get past all the silly jelly beans and everyone wearing cloaks. Even the first book has some scary, effed up stuff in it if you think about it logically.
Wow, I'm so happy to hear Voldemort came off as believable. He was one of those characters I wasn't sure about writing. I kind of wanted to keep Ralph Fiennes in my head, but then I would get this more book-description Voldemort pushing his way into my thoughts, like the high cold voice and red eyes. It was weird cause I love Fiennes so much (even his awkward Voldy hugs).
Yes, I'm a huge insane Harry Potter geek. Granted some things I probably looked up on the Lexicon (which I hate to use cause of the lawsuit but sometimes it's a necessity when you're stuck on a fact). I really do work very hard to make everything exactly like the books like capitalization (though I realized there were some I missed, like Wizarding should be capitalized so you have no idea how much that's bugging me!) and dialect with Fleur and Hagrid. I'm actually re-reading OotP right now and smacked my head when I read the Strengthening Solution is supposed to be turquoise. I decided to keep it read on the assumption Severus improved the "official" potion and made it better for his own use ;) So since I'm crazy about canon details, I really appreciate it so much that my "work" shows :)
Thank you a billion kajillion times again for your reviews! They're really just the best (and I know "someone" who will be getting a featured reviewer nomination from me this month for sure!!)