Fact: There is no better way to read a Christmas present than with a bar of chocolate when you should be doing something scholastic and productive. But on a more serious note, I can remember VERY well clicking on a random one-shot by a random member, and being so surprised at how good it was! And then moving onto SA and continuing to be blown away, and then being so pleasantly surprised when you turned up on the forums and we struck up a few conversations. And look how far we've come! ♥ I'll always be proud to have "discovered" you as a newbie, dear Isobel.
And this story. Oh my goodness, this story. I'm potentially going to be really, really selfish here but this story felt so completely tailor-made to me that even before the first paragraph was done, it gave me chills. I don't even know how you managed to get ME so accurately, but absolutely everything -- the hair, the book, the large mug of coffee, the hatred of bent corners in books, and the probability that I would someday write a Snape biography -- I want to cry with how perfect it is. And since this is my present I am going to hope that it is on purpose, and if not, I will pretend it is, because this truly made my entire week. I am blathering like an idiot, but it is the only thing I can think to do.
But Eileen was done so well too, and even though I've only written about her briefly, and hardly read anything else about her, it just seemed right, the way you told the story from her viewpoint here. Somehow it never occurred to me that she could very well have outlived her son, and that is very bittersweet. But I love that she sought me (yay!) out to have me tell Tobias's story too, and that more than anything is what makes me think you got her right: she clearly loved her husband, enough to want someone to tell his story. And I will never for a second believe that Eileen Prince did not love Tobias Snape, no matter what kind of a man he's hinted at being.
Your writing style is, as always, lovely. ♥ In a thousand words you're able to put me there in that coffee shop, and maybe it's the mix of second and first person that does it -- I don't know WHAT it is, but it works. It's been a long time since I've read fan fiction that's placed me so wholly in a location, and maybe it's just time for me to read more fan fiction, but it felt like you weren't pretending to write as anyone but you in this story. And that may be confusing, or pretentious, but sometimes I get the sense authors are hiding behind pretty words to paint their story false. Here, it's not that way at all. And I'm rambling again, but I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated it.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS, ISOBEL. ♥ I can say it until I'm blue in the face and it won't feel like enough, but honestly, I cannot tell you what it means to me that you were willing to write me a Christmas story. You're a truly wonderful friend, and even though we haven't talked as much lately, I want you to know that I still consider you one. :) We'll have to catch up VERY soon! Love you, and thank you again!!
Author's Response: Hehe, procrastination is always terribly fun! :P I still remember your reviews on the original version of SA, and of The Badger's Den, and they were so encouraging and positive that I credit you as one of the people who made me want to stay on HPFF and become a part of the family ♥
You aren't being selfish at all! In fact, the whole idea of you writing a Snape biography came from 350k words of Sneth; I just couldn't see anyone else as devoted to the topic, and since this is your present, I decided to create a character based on you. ♥ I'm really pleased that it made your week, although shush - you certainly aren't blathering like an idiot; your review is absolutely lovely. ♥ As for how I got you so accurately - it's well-known that you adore books, coffee and Snape; the way your hair behaved and the corners were educated guesses.
I'm firmly convinced that Eileen and Tobias loved each other, despite what we see in Snape's memory. Something that a lot of people tend to forget is that it was only one memory - if the only thing you knew of James and Lily was the memory where Snape called her a Mudblood, you wouldn't believe they got married and had a son, would you? Plus, I remembered you saying you found writing mental issues fascinating in Ad Venenum, so I sat down and used that knowledge to come up with a plausible explanation for Tobias' actions in that memory. (And yes, you can take that as a hint.)
Thank you so very much! ♥ The mix of second and first person, I have to credit to Nicole (teh tarik) and her one-shot Sanguini, the Vampire, which inspired it - but I quite like it! And that comment is actually correct - I'm probably going to sound really pretentious here, but while I was writing the prologue and sections of the interludes and epilogue, I wrote as if I was Eileen talking to you - in fact, there's quite a lot of resemblances between her and me, and although I didn't plan it at all I'm still grateful that you like it! ♥
I consider you a wonderful friend too (yes, we'll have to catch up very soon!) and since you inspired so much of my writing and have been so encouraging all through the year, a Christmas story seemed an excellent way to express my thanks. I just hope that you continue to love Equilibrium! ♥