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Review:Toujours Padfoot says:
To see him as follower when he could be so much more... He had a voice that could stir the soul, a mind as sharp as a fatal blade, but ever did he bury himself in the depths of these dungeons, a pawn in the games of others when he could be their king.

- There were so, so, so many lines I wanted to quote back at you, but if I listed them all I'm sure you would be irritated because you, of course, are already quite aware of everything you've written here. ^ ^ But I couldn't resist that quote up there. It is a perspective I have never considered, never thought about, but it makes perfect sense that Lily might notice that. Severus is capable of so much, so to become a drone would seem like an enormous waste. Lily would be able to see his talents in a different light than he could, see how he could use them for good instead of Dark purposes.

Oh, if only Severus had been in Gryffindor instead. :(

This was such a lovely one-shot. I've seen it circulating around and it was very much recommended to me, and of course since you wrote it I knew it would be brilliant - but you still managed to blow me away, anyhow. There were certain parts that I reread several times just because it was too beautiful not to. I love the way you used aspects of their surroundings to explain their emotions as well - his heart turning to stone, Lily's hair turning to torch flame and her eyes becoming the moss on the walls. That description was so incredibly creepy to imagine but absolutely amazing, and I'm still just reeling about your fabulous description here. How she wanted to drink him in, to taste the dregs of his tea, how she wanted to push him out of the shadows and into the light, how she knew that they must keep this mutual silence intact because words could ruin it all... This was marvelous, Susan. It shone a different light on Severus/Lily than I've ever seen explored, the tone and emotions, which is a difficult feat in the fan fiction world. I'm so used to seeing themes I've already seen before, so to have something new and refreshing and unbelievably eerie like this injects fresh life into the ship. The polarities of their personalities here - flame and shadow - were perfectly highlighted.

And the ending - oh my goodness. I feel for Lily because she's stinging with rejection and I feel for Severus, who responded too late. It's so sad, but there's something cathartic about thinking that maybe Lily shared those feelings he had, if only briefly.

Lovely story! I wanted to return the favor after you left me that wonderful review on Water Dragons, and I'm so glad I picked this one to read. It was beautifully written. :)

- Sarah

Author's Response: asdfghjkl what is this?! I'm still flailing over this review - thank you so much for taking the time to read and review this one shot! I never expected this one-shot to garner the recognition it has, but I couldn't be happier about it, to be honest. To hear that people have recommended this story to others, and to see it featured on TGS, it's been a huge squee-fest for me. Haha, I'm glad to hear that this story exceeded my (totally blown out of proportion) reputation - it's the stories that matter most to me, the ability to craft something new and interesting each time I write, to explore the limits of various styles and genres or conventions, constantly challenging myself as a writer. So if I can do that and still please readers, I don't know of anything more I could want.

That quote you pulled out is an interesting one because it came more from my stylistic inspiration of "Heart of Darkness" rather than from a conscious characterization of Snape. I wanted to draw more of a parallel between Snape and Kurtz, and remembering that Kurtz had this incredible power of speech, where he could rally crowds and pretty much stir them into war, I wanted to somehow include that. It would probably better suit someone like Tom Riddle, but at the same time, maybe Snape does possess it. I have in mind that scene in the first book of the Potions class and Snape's speech - there was something in the way that he spoke which drew me in. Even before the movie came out, I was fascinated by that moment, the way that Snape made Potions come alive as a subject. So those two things came together to make that quote.

But I really like your interpretation of it - it fits perfectly. As his close friend, Lily would have a different picture of him than he even would of himself - Snape has this inner insecurity due to his childhood, and he might not have realized all the things he was capable of doing. He may have even tried to repress them to protect himself from others who would be threatened by such abilities. Anyone who can convince Voldemort of his loyalty without meaning it must be a real silvertongue. Imagine what he could have been, if the environment was right, or if he'd pushed himself harder? That's one of the saddest aspects of Snape's life - there's a lot of potential there that's just unrealized, entirely wasted.

The most frustrating thing about Snape/Lily is that it's so often a one-sided ship - unrequited love can only be written in so many ways before it loses its pathos. I've played around with the idea of Lily being equally in love with him, but repressing it, partially out of disgust for his chosen loyalties and partially out of self-protection - I wouldn't blame her for being scared for herself and her fellow Gryffindors and muggleborns in the climate of the First War. She embodied the muggleborn threat to the Death Eaters because she was powerful, talented, and attractive. Yet it doesn't mean that she didn't love Snape, for all his faults. He was the first magical person she had known, the one to show her this new and fascinating world. Maybe she only loved him a little, a passing crush of sorts, but their friendship would still remain, and to lose that must have been crushing to her as well. Gah, I could go on for hours about the two of them. I should just break down and write a novel to get it all out of my system. :P

Thank you for this amazing review! To hear these compliments from you means a fantastic amount. :D This story was crazy to write with those descriptions, each seeming to become darker, sometimes more gruesome, than the next. It's downright violent in places, enough to make your skin crawl. This is what comes from reading the books I do, oh dear, but it's wonderful you found that, together, they made for a good story, even a great one. Thank you!

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