In any event, I was too exhausted at the end of all of that to finish mysnapecase rec post. But, as I am home all day today for various reasons, I can resume my flail. And as my previous post's musical selection was roundly dissed, there shall be no biting dogs nor stinging bees (are you feeling sad?) in this post. (Hey, at least it wasn't The Lonely Goatherd.::g::) No siree - THIS post gets the the highbrow treatment. Just excuse me for a moment while I warm up (memememememememeeeeeee) and slip on this kimono.
As someday it may happen that a great Snape fic must be found,
I've got a little list - I've got a little list
Of truly lovely stories that should be above ground,
And would certainly be missed - they surely would be missed!
There's the funeral for Min that returns Sev back to Scot Land,
Young Sev and Lils and a Snaco fic that's anything but bland,
Sev in dementia's clutches and strung out on potion dreams,
A story of a Baron's ghost and a fic that rends heart's seams,
And Amelia Bones the Auror - I've got her on the list,
And they'd all of them be missed - they'd all of them be missed!
Thank you, thank you. ::bows while dodging rotten fruit:: That sound you are hearing is W.S. Gilbert rising from his grave in righteous wrath. And as I expect the punishment to fit the crime, before I become a wand'ring minstrel, here's the recs my bastardization hinted at:
Servitude and Service: This is Severus in the aftermath of Lily's death, coming to the realization that both his masters have failed him (and, in Dumbledore's case, Lily - the reason he promised him 'anything') and that he needs to choose what purpose he will serve in pursuit of that 'anything'. This strongly characterized and insightfully written portrait deftly shows that process in a way that has the feel of canon, as he makes an alliance with Amelia Bones without Dumbledore's knowledge, shoulders the responsibility of being Head of Slytherin in spite of his youth and sorts through what went wrong at Godric's Hollow and what he might learn from it. Yes, he will serve Dumbledore, but on his on terms and for his own reasons. This is going in my 'obviously canon' file.
Funeral For a Friend: Yes. Well, I'm a sucker for fics about the the relationship between Severus and Minerva, whether as friends or lovers, and this falls firmly into the friendship category - even though one of those friends has passed on and is calling on the other for one last act of devotion. In this lovely story, Severus comes to terms with more than Minerva's death as he prepares for her funeral, and, as often happens at such times, finds that when some things end, others now have room to begin. This story even has a soundtrack (be still, my tartan heart!) of pipe music, as fits this meditative and subdued piece.
To Dwell On Dreams: This was another 'major league flail' piece, where I was so awestruck by the premise and its execution that I couldn't do anything but leave some inane remark that was utterly inadequate to convey my admiration. The story begins with an hallucination, brought on by an overdose of a potion Severus has been taking to find some comfort in his grief and guilt over Lily's death. But this potion is a liquid Mirror of Erised, just as addictive - and he has been taking it for a year. What follows is harrowing - not just in its vivid recreation of the potion-induced psychosis he is forced to endure to break his addiction, but what lies underneath: the justifications and gut-wrenching emptiness and loss which caused him to seek it out in the first place, and his toxic relationship with Dumbledore, who seems on the surface to care, but is who using this as just another means of manipulating Severus ever further under his control. It's devastating.
The Northern Sky in Winter: This piece is just extraordinary for all that it's a sadly common situation. An aged Severus, married for many years to Hermione, has begun to suffer from dementia. He forgets little things, loses objects right in front of him, forgets what is was doing in the middle of doing it - anyone who has seen a loved one suffer through this knows what's coming, but somehow they overlook it until comes the devastating day when Severus temporarily cannot remember who Hermione is. As Severus and Hermione deal with the trials his decline brings, and he adopts one of the most beautiful methods of attempting to hang on to his memories I've ever heard of. And in spite of everything, the end when it comes is comforting and fitting for a life lived in great courage and love. ::sniff:: Sorry - this fic needs a Hanky Warning.
No Pepper-Up for the Brave: I have noticed that I have two types of flail - one in which I can't say two coherent words I feel so Stupified in the aftermath, and the other in which I can't shut the eff up and quote every lovely line that struck me back at the author and still not get at the heart of what I loved so. Sigh. Both kinds make me look like an idiot, so I've got to figure out an alternative, like becoming articulate. And no I don't know what triggers each peculiar reaction. This one generated Patented Lark Flail #2. Christ, I loved this story - every little thing about it: it's pragmatic take on an 11/12 year old Severus who does not yet feel as if he is on perpetual Pepper-Up (the author's description, 'like a boiling cauldron, full of angry broth and ready to spill over' is a pretty cogent description of the adult he will become), the still close friendship between he and Lily and the way just being at Hogwarts is tearing it apart, true to themselves minor characters, the twisted morals of the wizarding world laid bare, and a story which reads like both a slice of day-to-day life at a school of magic and a fairy tale. Wonders abound here and I just wish I could describe them better. Just go read.
Unbreakable: I feel about Snaco the same way I feel about Snarry: I have a very difficult time suspending disbelief, so a fic has to be really good in order to get past my serious objections and allow me to fall into it. This one actually works, and I loved the whole set-up here. It starts in a period of estrangement between them, when Severus, believing that they are both acting under the influence of the Unbreakable Vow he took and under pressure from a Lucius who wants Draco to marry and produce an heir, has acted in what he believes to be Draco's best interests and pushed him out of his life - to the misery of them both. This all takes place in a different sort of post-war milieu than we're used to finding him in and the subplot here is a big part of what makes the story so compelling. Severus is living with his mother in the ancestral Prince family cottage in Cornwall. She is ill, suffering from cirrhosis acquired as result of her disastrous marriage to Tobias, and Severus is caring for her. She is being courted by a village man - a muggle who sets Severus's teeth on edge, more because of the baggage he's carrying than any particular objection to the man. I like this Eileen, and the all relationships here seem very real and are beautifully drawn and the happy ending very satisfying.
The Living and the Dead: This amazing (cue Lark Flail #1), intense story is told from the Bloody Baron's POV. This perspective is compelling, interweaving the tale and fate of the Baron with that of the boy he notices among his Slytherins right away, and whom he cannot resist befriending despite custom otherwise. We see Severus filtered through the Baron's eyes and experiences and he sees what Severus will become and cannot stop it. The writing is lyrical, insightful, heartbreaking, beautiful.
In Infinite Remorse of the Soul: And last, but definitely not least, the unarguably Best of Show. I don't even know where to start (cue Flail #1 again. Arrgggh!). The very first scene grabs you like the hook behind the navel of a Portkey and you are on a powerful, infuriating, corrosive tour of Severus's life and death from the inside of Albus Dumbledore's head. This is one of those fics where I'd just like to sit at the feet of the person who wrote this and worship - it is simply unbelievable. I don't necessarily buy part of the premise, which is that Severus is in love (or at least, in lust) with Harry; the author just hasn't sold me (and I realize that I'm a hard case :-) ). But that's about the only flaw in this for me. It's indicative of the sheer strength of this story that this flaw nevertheless does not in any way dilute the power of these etched-in-acid portraits of the two. The words sing and dance and burn as they spin the tale. I could throw superlative after superlative at this and still not do it justice. A great and terrible beauty, indeed.
Well, that's it for Snapecase, and I've never been so sorry to see a fest end. But, I've got hp_beholder to look forward to, especially since I know there's a bunch of you writing for it, so it's bound to be outstanding.
With various interruptions, this has taken me nearly the whole day to do, and now it's time to put my little maid from school to bed. 'Night, all!